Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Are You a STRONG Wife?

(Please note, these are my thoughts on this topic.  As with anything and all things, I strongly encourage you to seek out the Word and pray for final truth.  We are all human and therefore, no matter how good our intentions, are prone to error. Now that is out of the way, back to the topic at hand...)

She seems like a superwoman who can do it all.  Almost like a fairytale princess, yet she needs no rescuing and could probably slay her own dragons.

Who can find a virtuous woman?  
for her price is above rubies.
Proverbs 31:10

The "she" we are chatting about is that Proverbs 31 woman.  You know, THAT one.  She gets up before dawn, directs her household, makes sure to get the handmaids going on their work, invests in fields, buys nice cloth, etc., etc., etc.

I want to let you in on a little secret.  Shhh.  You can't tell anyone.  Most of my life I didn't care for this paragon of virtue.


I know, right?!?

I confess the idea of the standard she set for wives seemed so impossible to live up to all the time that when it came time to read about her in my Bible, I zoomed right through the passage, full-speed ahead.  I definitely didn't stop until I had plowed through and I mostly certainly did not stop and ask God for directions (and understanding!).

Sadly, that was my own loss.

I wasted a lot of years because I didn't want to (or wasn't ready to) really understand this woman.  Now, years later, thankfully, this passage is probably one of my favorites in the Bible.  Yes, I still struggle to be more like this wife for God and Darling Groom, but this passage, well, it's an excellent map for the ministry and calling of being a Godly wife!  It doesn't happen overnight, but stay on track and you will see the changes.

It wasn't until I took the time to study (II Tim 2:15) that I began to realize some of the things that originally made her seem not-so-real to me.

One was the way this passage is written.  Some scholars believe it is a poem, because it was written in poetic form (each part beginning with a letter of the ancient Hebrew alphabet) that was common at that time, especially for oral tradition.  This was used in other parts of the Bible (think of passages in Psalms, Genesis, etc.)  Okay, so we know it's poetic, and like most poems, the hero/heroine is almost bigger than life-size.  That helped bring her down to mere mortal standards a bit in my mind.

Then I began looking into the words themselves.  God has really been dealing with my heart about words.  For example, in other versions, the word "virtuous" is replaced with "excellent" (still pretty high on the standard bar scale).  Then I got to a Jewish version and the words used were "woman of valor."

Wait.  What?

Valor.  You know, courage, strength, determination.  Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary also backs this up.  It speaks of strength as her virtue.  Strong's Concordance also claims the word "virtuous" used in this verse as meaning "strength".  Other meanings of this word in other passages (according to Strong's) are fortress, might, courage, etc.

I pulled off the road and pulled out the Word and began to really study this woman again. It wasn't her perfection that was being praised after all.  I think in today's modern world, when we think of virtue we think of things like the Fruit of the Spirit (patience, hope, love, meekness, etc.) which are great virtues to have.  But we don't stop to think how we might have lost things in translation through the space of time.  Somewhere along the line, my words were not the same words, "virtuous" did not have the same meaning in my mind as it did in the Bible.

What was once a bit dull, nearly perfect and impossible-to-know woman became real.  Strength implied grit.  Valor implied that she was ready to take on the world for her God and her family.  Courage implied that she has fortitude to overcome and determination to do what is right.  She went from being a (and I hate to say this) weak fairytale princess to a warrior princess with just the understanding of that one word, in context to the Scripture.

Here was a woman I could relate to.

Here was a woman I could respect.

I was hungry for more wisdom about her and how to be her.  I began to question God about why this woman had to be strong.  Where did her strength come from?  Why was it an essential virtue when we are taught loving and nurturing is our virtue?  Why did He create women to be the physically weaker sex if we are supposed to be strong?

Why?  Why?  Why?

And why was her worth so high?

Why did her strength make her valuable?

In asking those questions, seeking God's will for my life as a wife, that He showed me I was on the wrong road.  I was trying to do what I thought was right, and while it wasn't necessarily all bad, it wasn't His plan.   He helped me get back to where I needed to be so I could work toward becoming this exhalted and esteemed woman held up so high for many, many generations.

I will share more of my story in upcoming blogposts, how He turned me around and helped me within my own heart to help my marriage become stronger and also to make me stronger in Him!  It influenced  my relationships with other people as well.  There is still a far road to travel and I've had a few false starts, flat tires and even a stalled engine at times, but at least I am on the right path.

Hugs & Prayers,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Correction: Conviction or Condemnation

For several months this post has sat in my drafts as I struggled with this topic, with my own convictions and condemnations.  Who am I to talk about this with all my flaws and weaknesses?  We all know I am no theologian and that these are simply my observations.  And we definitely know, no one wants to hear about correction.

I simply ask you to read through and pray on the matter.  Most importantly, take I John 4:1 seriously and test everything to see if it's of God--be it from my blog, from our pastors and teachers or the famous preacher we see on television.  We are all human and prone to error.  Only our Father is perfect and only He can take us in the paths He desires us to go.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  ~ II Timothy 3:16-17, ESV (emphasis mine)

So, why talk about correction?  It's so, well, icky, right?

Not one person I know relishes the thought of being corrected in any way--be it a writer whose work is being edited, a child who is misbehaving, or a friend who is doing something that might harm their marriage.  Correction wounds our pride and stings as it works through that pride to our hearts and we make the conscious decision to heed it or ignore it. 

Sadly, the backlash against the hyper-legalist spirit that held sway over the church has resulted in the hyper-grace movement.  Too often, the emphasis solely on God's love and that He doesn't want to hurt us has not been fully explained.  It sounds wonderful, but lacks conviction.  In this politically-correct world, anything that brings us discomfort or stings is condemnation.

Yes, God is good!  Yes, God loves us!  I cannot stress these enough.

But do we really understand that love?  Or have we put a worldly, romanticized view of that love in place of what we know is truth?  Are we ignoring the correction, convinced that it's condemnation?  

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. ~ Proverbs 13:24 ESV

As a parent, it's not always easy to correct our children.  Sometimes we do it to keep them safe (do not touch that stove).  Sometimes we have to teach them so they learn and grow (the answer is not correct, try again).  Sometimes, heartbreakingly, we have to correct them for difficult things such as stealing, lying, drugs, etc., because we know it harms them.  Discipline takes different forms for different situations.  Sometimes it's a gentle word with encouragement and other times it's difficult.  No matter what form it takes, we do it because we love our children.  We discipline and correct  them so they grow, healthy and wise and prayerfully in Truth of the Father.

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much more than we could love each other.  If we do these things to protect and love our children, how could we expect any less from our Father?

In this day and age, it's become so muddied--the line between conviction and condemnation--and it would behoove us to follow I John 4:1 more than ever. It might not feel "good" (most often, it won't).  But in the end, we are so much better for the correction.  And if it's condemnation, we can pray through it, giving it to God and letting it go.

For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:11 ESV

If we want peaceful righteousness in our lives, as the above verses state, then we must learn to discern the truth about conviction and condemnation.  We need to learn to give true condemnation to God and we need to learn to accept that when God corrects us it's because He does love us so very much.  


Friday, April 5, 2013

Feeling Beachie ~ Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun - 106

Joining in one of my favorite blog hops!  If you'd like to join in, go HERE

If you aren't familiar with this, Feeling Beachie hosts a blog hop and shares four questions to be answered and shared.  If you blog, consider joining in for a bit of Friday fun.  If you don't blog, feel free to answer here or go to Beachie's blog and answer there (as well as find a bunch more blogs participating).  :)

This weeks statements are:

1) I don't remember the last time ALL of the socks in the house were matched (at same time).

2) Sometimes I go all out on my hair but usually it's simply washed and braided.

3) When I think of my childhood, I remember the good things.  Like how close family lived, cooking lessons, playing in the backyard, and my brother who was kind enough to let me use his cars and trucks for my Barbies.

4)  I am not always forgetful, but I do get distracted or am slow so it seems like I forget.  :(  I am praying on this one.

Your turn!  Share with us all.  :)


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Your Faithfulness To The Skies

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. ~ Psalm 36:5

 A few close friends know that I have a wait problem.

Yes, you read that correctly, I said "wait", not "weight" (that's for another day).  It's not that I can't wait. I wait all the time.  In line at the grocery store.  For my children to finish their assignments.  Waiting is a part of life.

My struggle is that I don't always wait with patience and grace for God to move in HIS TIME.  I get frustrated or maybe even doubt.  I begin to wonder if the issue I've been seeking His will on is perhaps not His will after all, but my own desires being pressed into my heart. 

I'm not talking about something we want and hope it's His will.  I'm talking about when He tells you something and then you don't hear much more, or just enough to make you antsy until so much time passes by that you begin to question if you really heard from Him, because He touches your life in other ways, just not that particular issue.

I have been wrestling with just such an issue. It has worn me down.  "Wait."  Every day for nearly seven months now, just that, wait.

Some days are easier to wait than other days.

At times it has made me weary and when I have been at my weakest and not vigilant I found myself on the angry side of things instead of tempering my attitude with mercy and grace. It has been a lesson in brokenness, soul-searching and repentance. 

I guess that's why winter seemed so long.

After the 2011/2012 winter-that-wasn't, I had hoped this winter would be different.  I hoped there would be some snow. Cold days blended with dreary too-warm-to-snow days as I waited.  We had a dusting here or a sleet storm there, maybe an inch or two that would be washed away in the rain the next day.  Still, I dared hope.

It reached the point that I literally prayed for snow.  It was selfish, really, but it was a hope of mine--just one pretty snow to cheer my weary heart.

Do you know what answer I received?  You guessed it.  Wait.

I waited all season for that snow.

By the official arrival of spring I had given up hope.

I thought, next winter. Maybe.

Then, just when my flesh failed and I resigned myself to waiting another year, He sent an absolutely gorgeous reminder of His faithfulness that He does things on HIS timetable, not ours.

Sunday, March 24, 2013, we received an abundance of snow.  Nearly nine inches fell!  It wasn't just some unworkable snow either; it was the best snowman-making-snow in recent memory.

It was marvelous.  It was breathtaking.  It was pure J-O-Y!

Stunned at the beauty, I went outside with my sons and rejoiced in the day He had made.  We built snowmen and they made snow angels and chased each other with snowballs.  At one point, I just looked up into the sky and whispered a very heartfelt, "thank you, Father" into the falling snow.  When we finally came in, blue-lipped, soaked from head to toe and laughing with our pink cheeks stretched wide in smiles, the truth hit me.

I had given up too soon. 

God is faithful.  If He has a plan, we can rely on Him to reveal it when He is ready.  Be prepared though, because His ways are not ours and we can fall into the trap of thinking too much time has passed when He knows what time is needed.  I think that is why there are so many admonitions in the Bible that tell us to stand and overcome to the end.  We cannot give up the faith that He is moving even if we can't see it.

Yes, I still wrestle with that issue, but now I KNOW He is there and He will tell me what to do when He wants me to do it.  He will give me an answer when He is ready and the time is right. Until then, let the trials and tribulations perfect the patience that waiting in grace builds.  Easier said than done, but well worth it.

I leave you with a challenge to not give up.  Remember that He is faithful even until the end.

My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations (tribulations); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4

Hugs & Prayers,

Friday, March 29, 2013

What we show our God...

There is an article on The Washington Post website, written April 3, 2012, by Mark Driscoll (pastor at Mars Hill). It is titled What we tell our kids about the Easter Bunny. It came to my attention today on facebook and I've seen comments for and against it. If you would like to read the Post's article, you can do so HERE.

That article and this blog post are directed to those professing Christianity. It is from Mark Driscoll's title that I created this blog post title.

I'd like to give you some food for thought.

This is not a condemnation as I am the last wretch to accuse you. Especially as our family has done the bunny and egg thing. It would be hypocritical.  To be open here, I do buy my children a chocolate (sans basket) and I will not lie to that even that practice has weighed on my heart.  Yes, my children have done egg hunts at their grandparents' houses.  Consider this however you will, though, I have been praying this year about God's direction and for the first time, neither side will be doing egg hunts.  Make of that what you will.

It is because I love you that I share what has been laid on my heart after years of prayer and study (Biblical and historical) and encourage you to seek God for the final answer--not me and not even Mark Driscoll.  Only God has the Truth.

I present an argument:

If I were to go out on a date with another man, my husband would consider that cheating.

If I were to kiss another man, my husband would consider that cheating.

If I were to become emotionally intimate, even with no physical affection, my husband would consider that cheating.

Cheating = Adultery

In the Gospels, Jesus told us that to look upon another with lust in our hearts is a sin, so if I were to lust after another man, my husband could rightfully consider that adultery.

The tiniest part of my affection and attention that I give to another man would mean less that I have to give to my husband and would be considered adultery in my heart.

That is physical adultery.

We are taught in our Bible and churches that we are the Bride of Christ and that our physical marriages are a reflection of our relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Could we be guilty of spiritual adultery?

What happens when we mix our love for God with our love for things of the world? 

One tiny element here.  One little bitty item there. A little leaven.

What are we showing our God about our love for Him when we do?

What do you think?

Listen, you have to seek God's will for your family.  If it includes eggs and bunnies, that is between you and God.  I will not condemn you because I am not walking in your shoes and do not know where God has you at this moment.  We are all being refined by Him, and the dross in our lives comes out at different times. 

Bear in mind though, that because someone disagrees doesn't mean they are "interesting" Christians who "write end-times charts on ammo boxes in crayon," nor are they necessarily legalistic pharisees. 

If we think that another is in error, should we not 1) seek God's will to make sure we are walking in it and 2) lift them up before the Lord instead of calling them names and publicly denigrating them?   If we feel strongly about something we can express it in a Godly way without belittling others.

What we do, what we say, how we say it and what we share in real life or online will impact our witness.  (Yes, I have had to repent of this myself, many times.)

I simply ask that you think on these things, more importantly, pray on them and let God lead you.



Exodus 20:14 ~ You shall not commit adultery.

Proverbs 6:32 ~ But who commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding:  he that does it destroys his own soul.

Matthew 5:27-28 ~ You have heard that it was said by them of old time, you shall not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

II Corinthians 6:14-17 ~ Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?  And what concord has Christ with Belial?  or what part has he that believes with an infidel? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

Ephesians 5:25 ~ Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, gave himself for it;

Galatians 5:7-9 ~ You did run well; who hindered you that you should not obey the truth? This persuasion comes not of Him who called you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Menu Planning Mondays

It's Menu Planning Monday!  (Click on the name link to go to The Young Retiree's Monday link-up and find other great weekly menu ideas!)

Pam over at Troop Petrie seems to find some great blog hops and this is no exception.  By the way, if you have a moment to spare, please share some love with Pam and stop by to say hi on her blog, and maybe while you are there, find out how to win a copy of The Hobbit (DVD)!

Without further ado, here's our menu plan for the week (we may switch things around, but it's all good).

Breakfast ~ Cold Cereal
Lunch ~ Leftover Chili and corn muffins
Dinner ~ Beef Tips w/egg noodles and gravy

TUESDAY:Breakfast ~ Chocolate Chip Muffins
Lunch ~ Soup & Grilled Cheese
Dinner ~ Oven baked BBQ Chicken (if I can find my racks) or Mock KFC Chicken Tenders

Breakfast ~ Hot Cereal
Lunch ~ Wacky Mac
Dinner ~ Homemade Taco Pizza

Breakfast ~ Cold Cereal
Lunch ~ PB&J, fruit/veg
Dinner ~ Pizza In A Pot, if time allows homemade bread sticks

Breakfast ~ Hot Cereal
Lunch ~ Leftover Pizza In a Pot
Dinner ~ Special Dinner for Baby Girl's Birthday!   :)  

Breakfast ~ French Toast
Lunch ~ Mac N Cheese
Dinner ~ In Planning Mode

Breakfast ~In Planning Mode
Lunch ~ In Planning Mode
Dinner ~ Leftovers from lunch

You'll notice that I don't add many sides.  That's because we keep a steady supply of fresh/frozen/even a few "canned/boxed/prepared" fruits and veggies on hand.  We prefer to use up what we have in leftovers first, so unless it's something special that I want with a certain meal we figure it out that day to try to prevent waste.

 Have a delicious week!

Hugs & Prayers,

Miscellany Monday ~ March 25, 2013

Welcome to

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

This past week has been busy.  We are in midst of serious spring cleaning/decluttering and so it has consumed most of my free time, except for the night I had to continuously give thanks that I had a computer attempt to go wonky on me, lol.

It was utterly beautiful here on Saturday and then came the snow storms.  Okay, I have a confession, it was so lovely watching the snow fall today. The boys and I went out and had a grand time making snowmen and playing in the white fluffy stuff. Darling Groom made his chili for dinner (bonus - I didn't have to cook!) and it was delish. It was such a fun day, only missed having my daughter home.

Enjoy your week!
Hugs & Prayers,

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Follow-Friday, Four-Fill-in-Fun Blog Hop - Week 100

I am late getting in a round of get-to-know-your blogger with Feeling Beechie's Blog Hop.  For those of you who aren't familiar with it, each week, Feeling Beachie lists four statements with a blank for bloggers to fill in (if you don't have a blog, leave a comment!).

This week's statements are:

1)  I can't believe that February is almost over.  Where is 2013 flying to?

2)  I never liked the TV Show Fear Factor.  Seriously, there are a few that I never cared for but for some reason this one was at the top.  

3)   If I were a better blogger I would most definitely keep up the pace here.  (Sorry, all, I have been praying about what to do here and in real life so I'm kind of in a "waiting" stage right now.)  

4)  I craft when I need to relax (though not as much as I should).

If you get a chance, stop by and congratulate Feeling Beechie
on the 100th Blog Hop!   Way to go!

Hugs & Prayers,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Feeling Beachie Four Fill-In Follow Friday ~ 10/12

Time for another round of get to know your blogger with Feeling Beechie's Blog Hop.  Each week, Feeling Beachie lists four statements with a blank for bloggers to fill in (if you don't have a blog, leave a comment!).

This week's statements are:

1)  Given the choice of cake or salsa'n'chips for snack time I’d pick the salsa'n'chips.

2)  If you told me I would call my mother weekly, apologizing, sometimes with humor and sometimes sincere (as I raise my children), I would never have believed you.

3)   The last time I cooked orange chicken it came out a bit too orange-y...need to use less OJ next time.

4)  My favorite color is peach.

There ya go!   What about you?

Hugs & Prayers,

Five Question Friday - 10/12

It's Five Question Friday time again. (Again?!?  What happened to the past seven days?  They have flown by!)   In case you aren't familiar with 5QF, every Friday My Little Life puts up five questions.  Bloggers answer and then link up. The most important part of this process is to have fun!

Today's Q&A:

1)  Did you have any homecoming traditions?  Well, seeing as I went to a small inner city school, our homecoming was pretty much the dance.  Got together, hung out with my girlfriends to get ready.  It was my Junior year homecoming prep that we found my first gray hairs.

2)  Do you ask your spouse before spending money?  It depends on what it is for.  We discovered long ago that it was easier for us to have two budgets, a main one and then a micro one for the household needs (groceries, cleaning, clothing) and I handle that one almost exclusively with a set amount he gives me each month.  For big purchases or for something outside the scope of our current budget we do talk with each other and pray about it, or I'll ask him about it and save up for it.

3)  If you could be famous for something what would it be for?  Wow.  Tough question.  If it was for anything I wanted it would be that people would see Jesus in me before they see me.  If it's for an ability or talent or something that I currently have, probably something creative (crochet, etc.) or for my mini apple pie tarts.  Truth be told though, I'm more of a behind-the-scenes kinda gal, and don't often seek the limelight so this is a moot question since I wouldn't seek fame.

4)  Have you ever seriously thought you were going crazy?  SNORT!  Personally, I think most women on the planet have felt this way at one time or another (even if they don't admit it to anyone).  But yes, too many times to count.  Thankfully am learning each day to take thoughts captive!

5)  How do you eat your steak/burger?  (as in well-done, medium, still mooing)   I don't like my meat charcoaled crisp, but neither do I want it still mooing.  I prefer medium well, leaning more to the well-done side with just a HINT of pink.

And that's the info for the week--what about you? 

Hugs & Prayers,