Thursday, June 30, 2011

Answered prayers

The Imperfect Housewife

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." ~Titus 2:3-5

I am so happy to be able to report that I now have a mentor! I asked the pastor's wife at my church a couple of months ago if she would be willing to help me find one, and she did! It has worked out so perfectly. The area I need help in the most is being self-controlled and busy at home, basically, homemaking. The woman that she asked to meet with me has those areas as one of the things I admire most about her, she is an amazing homemaker! I didn't specify when I asked the pastor's wife, so I know this is totally from God! Moreover, the woman that I am going to be meeting with is such a sweet woman that I will look forward to seeing. She is already a friend, not just some face from the congregation. Her wonderful daughter babysits for us, and her son is almost the same age as my oldest boy. She is a fellow homeschooling mom, and just all around wonderful!

We are hoping to meet together tomorrow morning. We actually got together last week for a play date (which is when she told me that the pastor's wife had spoken with her). We discussed what I was looking for and decided she was the perfect match. Tomorrow we will be able to discuss things in more detail. I am really looking forward to it.

I must admit I was extremely nervous when I asked for this, worried that I would be paired with someone who expected too much, or was condescending, I didn't trust God. I was secretly hoping (and praying) that it was this kind woman, while trying to remember that God's will is better than my own. But I wasn't fearlessly trusting.

I am very thankful for this opportunity. I am thankful that God worked it out so wonderfully, and I'm thankful for this wonderful woman! This is something that I have been praying for for a long time, and it is just so awesome to see this prayer, and Scripture, fulfilled.

This week I'm linking up with both Thankful Thursday at Grace Alone, and The Imperfect Housewife's Thursday's Homemaking Link-up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The True Woman: Chapter 2

“Being a true woman demands fearless fealty to the authority of Scripture… the bedrock for being a true woman is the sovereignty of God, the covenant of grace, and redemption.”

What forms the bedrock of your life? Do you live under the authority of Scripture in ALL areas of your life? I know for me, my bedrock is a little shaky. I would love to live under the authority of Scripture, but I fall quite short.

This chapter was so convicting to me. Susan Hunt opened with the words: “The true woman’s purpose is God’s glory.” That just really speaks to me. Is that my purpose? I want it to be. But I don’t know that I could say that it is the reason I do the things I do. I want it to be… but it isn’t always. It’s like Susan Hunt said further down on the first page: “The true woman’s infallible rule for faith and practice is God’s Word. The new woman’s rule for faith and practice is her experience.” I am such a product of the world!

If I had Mary Fish’s father for a dad, he would constantly be asking me: “What? Are you idle my child?” The early American Christians looked to Scripture to find out what they should believe and how they should behave. They viewed their entire life and the world around them through the lens of Scripture, I want that!! However, in the world we live in, biblical truth has been replaced by personal experience. Before we can view life biblically, we must first overcome the world we grew up in, and we all know that that is only possible through Christ.

I so often hear the voice of the new woman coming out of me. I am filled with unrestrained, immature selfism. God has really been using this book to show me that I must move from casual observation to trench warfare if I ever want to become a true woman of God. I need to theologize rather than psychologize my life, and I need to do so now.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mr. Monday: Love does...

It's Mr. Monday!

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7


Those four words are everything I want out of someone who loves me. Did you ever think about it that way? God created us with the desire to be loved, not a physical love, but an emotional love. He created us to be loved the way He loves us.

When I think of Mr. Amazing, I know that he will protect me at all costs. He is my strong defender here on earth. He protects me from all kinds of things. From people talking bad about me in his presence, our children driving me bonkers, and from anything that might potentially harm me physically or emotionally. Mr. Amazing also trusts me. He trusts me to care for our children and for him. He hopes that I am happy, and that his trust isn't misplaced. He hopes to be with me forever, that our love will persevere. He stays with me through thick and thin. When I screw up, or times are hard, he doesn't jump ship, but we persevere together. He loves me. With a real love, not a superficial love. (and of course I love him too!)

This is also a picture of Christ's love for us. He won't abandon us, but His love will persevere for all of eternity, no matter how much we fail, screw up, or come up short. He trusts that we will do our best, and knows that we can't do it without Him. He hopes that we will do better and put our trust in Him. We can count on Christ to protect us (even if His idea of protection seems different than ours), and we know that His love is eternal. That it will endure forever and ever.

If we look at it on the flip side, we can see what love doesn't do. Love isn't something that doesn't care if others are hurt. It doesn't lie or assume the worst. It always hopes for the best, and does all that it can. Love doesn't give up on you, it doesn't trade you for a new passing fancy, and it doesn't cause you pain for selfish reasons. I'm so thankful that Christ loves me with a love that perseveres, trusts, hopes, and protects. I'm thankful that Mr. Amazing does too.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dress #2

Well, I think my sewing is getting worse instead of better... But it might just be that after 10 hours of sewing my hands are totally cramping up...

Usually once I get a pattern figured out the second time I do it, it is so much faster! Well, not today. But it wasn't my fault. I am running out of material! AAHHH! I'm going to have to go to the store and get some more. But I was able to piece together enough to finish dress #2 for the girls:

The boys thought I was making a quilt! I have decided that it really doesn't matter how shabby my sewing is. As long as I put it on adorable children no one will notice anyway!

Now I just have some mending to do and then I can put my sewing stuff away until my patterns for the kids civil war clothing shows up! :D

The Princess Dress

I am planning on sewing civil war outfits for a homeschooling endeavor next fall for the whole family this summer. I am waiting for the first of those patterns to arrive, so I thought that I would practice my sewing skills while I waited (I'm not exactly what one would classify a 'good' sewer). So today, I made the girls a dress:

They absolutely loved the many 'fittings' that I had them do. They call it their princess dress (which is code for I need to make another one so that they both have one). It turned out pretty well! I'm happy, they're happy, we're all happy :D

This dress holds a couple of firsts for me. It was the first button hole I have ever done, as well as the first time I have done a blind hem (I think that's what it's called). I'm so thankful that I got to watch my mom do the hidden hem stitch thingy at Christmas so I knew what I was doing! And I'm also thankful that my sewing machine has excellent directions for button hole sewing :) Oh the joys of automatic stitching ;)

I did get the button hole a little further over then I wanted... but considering it was my first one, I'm more than happy with it!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The upbringing of Mary Fish

We are still going through chapter 2 of our True Woman book study (by Susan Hunt). One of the things that stuck with me though this chapter was from the segment on Mary Fish. The book describes a little bit about her up bringing and I just love it!

*They started each day with morning prayers. She was taught that children should be still during family worship, that they should listen intently to the reading of God's Word (not play around and fiddle, but be taught reverence for the Bible). (Hebrews 12:28)

*Her parents encouraged her (and her siblings) to read the Bible on their own. (Mark 12:24; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

*They kept the Sabbath strictly (not even talking about worldly things). (Exodus 20:8)

*Her parents encouraged her (and her siblings) to examine themselves every night before bed! Every night! To see if they had any sins that they needed to confess, or anyone that they needed to forgive. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

*She was taught to forgive others. If they had sinned against her, she wasn't to be upset, but forgive them. If they pointed out a sin of hers to her, she wasn't to be upset, but examine herself to see if it were true, then either ask forgiveness for herself, or forgive them for being in the wrong. (Colossians 3:13)

*She was brought up to help others unconditionally. To help strangers as well as people she knew, even if she knew that they would never help her in return. (Matthew 5:38-42)

*She was taught to be thankful in every situation (including helping others that would never help you in return). (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

*She was encouraged to be diligent. NEVER IDLE! To always be busy at work, doing something that would turn out a profit of some sort. (2 Thessalonians 3:7)

I'm sure her parents failed at somethings, and made tons of mistakes. But I would love to bring my children up with those values!!! Moreover, these are values and qualities that I wish were dominant in my own life. They were the values of the Puritans. The Puritans valued God above all. His Word was their rule for living. Somewhere along the lines, our focus has shifted from God to man. We no longer live by (and for) the Scriptures, but by (and for) our own experiences. We are no longer duty oriented, but pleasure oriented. I fear that I am more so than most.

I am really enjoying our study through this book. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to study it with such a wonderful group of women!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's not up to us!

In our True Woman study, we were encouraged to read a portion of Psalm 119 and reflect on it. I read verses 33-40 and the thing that stuck out to me the most, is that it just isn't up to us!

ה He

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.[a]
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

We have to be taught to follow His decrees.
We have to be given understanding to keep His law.
We have to be directed to follow His commands.
He has to turn our hearts towards His statues and away from selfish gain, and our eyes from worthless things to His Word.

It simply is not up to us.

Personally, I am ever so thankful for that. I could never do it. But God? Yeah, I trust Him. He can do anything!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mr. Monday

Did you know that it is Monday? Apparently it always comes after Sunday, but I'm pretty out of it today! :( My 3 year old's have been extra whiney today. One of them dumped a quarter of a cup of milk into the fish tank, while the other one cried because I wouldn't take her for a bike ride. I finally got them both to fall asleep, and now the house is quiet. It's nice. I'm enjoying it immensely. How is your day going?

Since it is Mr. Monday, I would love to hear about how you spoiled your Mr. yesterday! We did cards, a gift, cake, and church (where he got chore coupons from the kids). Then we spent the rest of the day lounging around, watching movies. :) We thought about going fishing, but it was way too hot. It was great to spend the day with Mr. Amazing and spoil him a bit (okay, I spoil him as much as possible every day, but you know what I mean!).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day Preparations

“Honor your father..." ~Exodus 20:12

I think that everyone who follows my blog has to know how much I love my Mr! In fact, I love him so much that I just got back from the grocery store, where I shopped for all of our fathers day supplies. Why is that love you may ask? Because I had four small children in tow. Shopping with four small children is stressful! The mom in me wants to teach them how to behave in the grocery store, but we normally shop with Mr. Amazing, and he is an amazing father who teaches the kids how to have fun at the grocery store... this makes shopping alone with them quite stressful.

Nonetheless, we got all of our shopping done. I have all of the ingredients to bake his cake and mix up the frosting. We picked out his cards, and his gift. Plus, we got a few other items that we were out of, and are now back home (where I am regaining my sanity). I still need to do the cooking, but the gift is wrapped and the cards are signed. I'm planning on updating the photo in the frame that we got him last year for Father's day. Then I think everything will be under control. Unfortunately he had to work tonight, but it gave me the time I needed to get things done.

I'm contemplating having the kids all do some sort of craft for him, but I'm unsure. They painted yesterday morning and they have all been begging to do it again. I might have them paint pictures for daddy... maybe. I was hoping to publish the book that wrote for Ty as his father's day gift for the kids, but I couldn't find the cover that he made for it (it's currently printed and contained in a binder). I finally broke down and filled him in on the plan so that he would make a new cover. He was excited and is hoping to have it done before his parents get here next month so that he can give a copy to them... I don't know if it will happen that fast or not. If not, I will just mail them a copy.

What kind of things do you all do to celebrate father's day?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Verse 6 - Take 2

I know I already covered verse 6. But this is just so important! I imagine that this says pretty much the same thing, just worded different, but I couldn't help but feel that I didn't do it justice earlier. So take it or leave it, but here it is:

1 Corinthians 13:6- Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Love does not delight in evil. I can’t help but think of my 8 year old son who is sitting next to me. He and his 6 year old little brother, go through stages where they love tattling on one another. They are currently in this stage, and they tell me every little thing that the other one does wrong. I am trying to teach them that love does not delight in evil, but that’s kind of hard for them to understand. They know it’s wrong, and they think I should know… Oh the joys of parenthood.

But it’s not just kids that struggle with this concept. How many times do we tell others what so and so did? How often do we watch the news just to see all the bad things that happened in a day? This part of the verse makes me think about gossip. Proverbs 26:20 tells us that “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.” How true is that?! When we focus on sharing evil or bad things that happen, all it does is stir up strife. Last night I was the perfect example of this. I had talked with someone on the phone earlier in the day, and they had told me something shockingly horrible that they had done. This person is not a Christian, and didn’t understand how wrong it was to do what they did. They kind of felt like they took it too far, but they didn’t grasp the consequences it had on those around them. Anyway, I was telling my husband all about it (because I try to tell him everything), when it hit me that I was, in a way, rejoicing in evil. I was pained for the person that was effected by this, and for the lack of salvation in the person I spoke to, but there was still part of me that enjoyed telling this horrific story. I was delighting in evil. (On a side note: how is news different then gossip? I have been wondering about this a lot lately… Any thoughts?)

On the other end of this verse, we are told that love rejoices in truth. I love being truthful with my husband, but I don’t think that’s the kind of truth this is talking about. Telling my husband everything is a good thing, but delighting in truth is deeper than that. What about when someone sins against us, but they tell us afterwards and their sin hurts us? Can we rejoice in knowing the truth when it hurts? Can we rejoice in the truth when it is not what we wanted? Let’s say that the truth is that our boss has decided that we aren’t holding up to our end of the deal and we are being fired? The truth is that we weren’t performing well, can we rejoice in him telling us the truth and grow from that experience? Can we rejoice in the truth when the truth is something that we enjoy doing is a sin?

Can we rejoice in the truth that God has rebuked us for something that He doesn’t like, or do we delight in our evil too much and start an argument with God (or other Christians) to defend our sin?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Evil vs Truth

1 Corinthians 13:6 ~ Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Have you ever delighted in evil? Maybe you don't think so, but delighting in evil can be as simple as spreading gossip. You hear something bad about someone, and you just can't wait to tell someone else... that's delighting in evil. It is delighting in evil when we choose to be happy when someone else is in trouble. It's delighting in evil when we attempt to gain happiness through sinful behavior.

On the flip side, most of us would say that we rejoice in the truth. What about if that truth is that our husband is leaving us for another woman, or that our precious baby has cancer? Would we still be able to rejoice in the truth? We could chose to, but it wouldn't be our natural fleshly response. It would only be a response, chosen by someone who loved God, and trusted Him with everything. In every situation, we can choose to rejoice in the truth. We can choose to focus on the good instead of the bad. That's how God loves us. He sees the good in us, and sent Jesus to cover the bad.

There are those times when the two seem to be one in the same. When a co-worker that you can't seem to get along with gets caught steeling from the company and is fired. We shouldn't rejoice that they lost their job, that would be delighting in evil, but we should be happy for the company that the culprit was apprehended. There is a fine line there, and the most important thing is our motives. We can usually weigh our own motives, and know when we need to check our behavior, the trick is to actually do so. Weighing our motives can be hard. We have to open ourselves up to the possibility that we not only aren't perfect, but that we are possibly sinning in something that makes us happy. It means we have to humble ourselves.

Love is humble. Not self-seeking, not delighting in evil, but rejoicing in truth, even if that truth is that we are in the wrong...

The True Woman: Chapter1

The True Woman by Susan Hunt: Chapter 1 reflection

“The true woman is a reflection of her redemption… Because she is the very dwelling place of the Lord God, her reflection of Him is manifested in every relationship and circumstance of life.”

By the above text from the first chapter of The True Woman by Susan Hunt, would you qualify yourself as a true woman? I know that I sure wouldn’t. I fall short so often, in fact, I don’t even think saying that I fall short often would be correct at all. I NEVER hit that mark. I would love to, but there is too much of the world in me. That’s the one thing that sunk in the deepest when I was reading this chapter. The four cardinal virtues were brought up, and honestly, I had to look up piety (it means spiritual devotion). Is that bad or what! I am SOO thankful that she will be going into each of these in more detail later in the book!

I was humbled by the fact that we ALL have a certain amount of power over those around us, for good or for harm? Do you ever stop to think about the fact that while we can influence others for good, we can (and do) influence them with our vices, folly, and degradation. This is a very sobering thought to me.

I love it when the true woman in me comes out, when I am able to see that while my physical heart gets weaker, my heart for the Lord and His people gets stronger. I love reassuring myself with the words, “Okay Lord, I don’t know what you are doing, but I am confident that you will use this to take me deeper into Your love for me.”

These are just a few things that I highlighted while reading this chapter. The whole true woman vs. the new woman really hit me hard. There is so much new in me! I often wish that I was born before the new woman era, but as Susan Hunt points out, wishing isn’t the answer. The answer comes from reflecting our redemption right where we are.

God is the King of glory, and we are His redeemed daughters, and this is the time and place that we are to reflect our redemption.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Forgiveness, or lack thereof

Forgiveness is a huge part of love. I have learned a lot about forgiveness in my life. I talked about it on Monday, when I posted about the end of 1 Corinthians 13:5, I wrote about it back in November when I faced an unexpected surprise, and it's on my heart again today.

Yes, I have forgiven a lot during my life, my guess is, that you have too. We can all think of some of the big things that we have forgiven, but there are countless small things that we forgive without even a second glance. Well, last night God showed me a big thing that I haven't forgiven yet. Most of you who have been reading my blog for sometime now, know that I am divorced. My first husband left me for another woman. While he caused me tons of heartache and made my life miserable for several years while I tried to save our fallen marriage, I have completely and totally forgiven him for that. In fact, I would say that I don't even hold a grudge. That pain is in the past, and if he hadn't put me through all of that, I wouldn't be where I am today. I am practically thankful that it all happened. So where is my un-forgiveness?

My un-forgiveness showed up yesterday, when I was talking to my sweet little 6 year old son. You see, when I was pregnant with this little treasure, my ex-husband (his father), didn't want me to be. I got pregnant after he had told me that he had broke it off with this other girl and wanted to repair our marriage. Then, when I told him I was pregnant, instead of rejoicing, he asked me what his girlfriend was going to say. He had been lying to me, and now we were bringing a second child into the world where mommy and daddy weren't happily married. I was crushed. However, it didn't end there. While that was the last time that I trusted him, he called me almost daily to see if I had had a miscarriage yet. 2 weeks before I was scheduled to deliver I finally lost it and let him know that if I had a miscarriage at that point that it would be the last thing that he would want to ask me about. He had the nerve to show up at the hospital for our sons birth, and of course, my mom stepped aside and let him go to delivery with me. That was the only time he has ever shown any love for our child. After that, he just kind of faded into the background. In the past 3 years, the only time he has seen him was when the boys were visiting their grandparents (his parents) and he has happened to show up. They visit his parents once a year, so in the last half of my little boys life, he has seen his 'father' no more than 3 times.

I have forgiven my ex-husband for all the pain that he caused me. However, I have NOT forgiven him for what he has done to his child. I do not believe that he deserves to be loved by such a special little boy, that he didn't want me to have in the first place.

I'm so thankful that God doesn't only love those that deserve His love. God loves like my little 6 year old boy. Unconditionally. His love forgives, even when we don't deserve it. We have all treated God, just as my ex-husband treated my son. We have wished He wasn't there. We have tried to ignore His existence. We have hated Him. But He loves us anyway. I'm so thankful that He can forgive us for being so selfish, and I pray that He can help me love more like my 6 year old son.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

To love like Christ

What does it really mean to love like Christ?

God's love for us doesn't waver when we sin. Can we love others the same even when they sin against us? Can we love them no matter what, and not hold the past against them? God's love for us is never changing. Nothing we can do can make that love stronger, or let it fade away. Can we love others that way? Can we love everyone in our lives the same whether they are mean to us, hurt us or treat us like queens? If we love like Christ we could. Sometimes this is easier than others. If they do little things, of course it is easy to overlook them. But what about the big things that really hurt us, can we love them the same as before after something major? God loves us the same, even when we make major mistakes. And you know what, He loves them the same as He loves us. He knows more about them than we will ever know, and He loves them just the same. When they sin against us, they sin against Him too, but He loves them anyway, it doesn't change His love in the slightest, He chooses to love them through their sins, just as He loves us. Can we do that? Can we love others no matter what they do to us, no matter how much it hurts us?

Christ loves us with Agape love. Love that is a wide open, unconditional, consuming love. It is a love that is hopeful, truthful, selfless, gentle, trusting, patient, kind, enduring, and everlasting. As my dear friend Robin once said, it is a love that is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. Agape love is the reason that God sent His only begotten son to die on a cross for our sins. Agape love is the reason that Jesus shed His blood for us, and the reason that He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us, to help us love others. Agape love is 1 Corinthians 13 love. Can we love others like that? I believe we can.

Manna for Moms

Most everyone who knows me, knows that I have problems finding devotionals that I actually enjoy. I have bought countless devotional books, and given most of them away because I just couldn't relate to them. Well, a few months back, I was given the opportunity to review Megan Breedlove's book "Manna for Moms". It sounded absolutely wonderful, but I must admit that I some how missed that it was a devotional, and I literally groaned when I realized it. However, I was in for a great surprise!

Megan Breedlove did a fantastic job relating everyday mom moments to Biblical truths. She took normal (and not so normal) happenings from her life as a mom with small children and showed how God is there in every hilarious, exhausting, heartwarming mommy moment. How He provides for our hair-raising, miracle-filled mothering adventure. While reading this book, Megan shared her laughter and tears with me as if I were right there with her, because in all honesty, the events could have taken place right here in my own home (and some of them have).

I have never before recommended a devotional book for moms, but I would go so far as to say that every mom with small children should have this book. It truly is manna for moms, and such a blessing to have. The only thing I wished was different was that it listed the lessons that were learned with each devotion somewhere in the book. These devotionals are so helpful, I would love to be able to look at an index or something and find one that helped me with the problem or situation at hand.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for writing an honest review here on my blog. I was not required to post a positive review. If you read my past reviews you will see that I always speak my mind and would not give a positive review of something I did not like.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Are you keeping score?

1 Corinthians 13:5b ~ "it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

How do you react when someone sins against you? Do you react in anger, or love? Is your first response resentment or forgiveness? Do you keep score so to say, do you remember all the times that they have messed up, or do you forgive and let it go?

There are so many ways we could look at this section of the verse, but when I was faced with an unexpected surprise several months ago, I remembered this verse. I could have reacted in anger, and said things to only make the person asking for my forgiveness feel that much worse, but that wouldn't have been very loving. I could also choose to hold this against them and bring up a ton of other things that really aren't related, but could be if I thought this sin went further than they were admitting. But that wouldn't have been very loving either, and to be quite frank, it wouldn't have been trusting either.

Tons of verses swam through my head that morning and these words from 1 Corinthians 13 were among them. Love is so important. Love helps us to forgive. Without love, there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness we keep records of wrongs, and we react in anger instead of with mercy. Could mercy be considered an opposite of anger? Forgiveness shows mercy and compassion, instead of anger and hate. Love is being willing to forgive, even when it hurts more than words could say.

If we look at this from a different point of view, I sure am thankful that God isn't keeping record of my mistakes. I sin against Him more than I would prefer to admit, but He always forgives me. He keeps no record of wrongs, and He doesn't react to me in anger, but in love. I am so thankful for that. No matter how bad I screw up, God loves me. He loves me with Agape love, true love. I only hope that I can take that love, and love others the same way.

What about you? What are your thoughts on these words? Thoughts about forgiveness or about being quick to anger and/or holding grudges? Are there any verses that you think of?

Mr. Monday: Love isn't

Last week for Mr. Monday I wrote about Mr. Amazing's amazing relationship with my mom. The above picture is one that he insisted on with (his words) "our whole family". :)

For Mr. Monday this week, I thought I would just continue on with my 1 Corinthians 13 study. It only seems fitting to include Mr. Monday in this study about love, as I love my Mr!!!

It does not dishonor others (rude), it is not self-seeking ~ 1 Corinthians 13:5a

These two aspects of love amaze me. No one would dishonor someone, unless they were being self-seeking. It's so easy to put yourself above others, and in the process hurt them or dishonor them. It takes serious mental effort for most people to realize why they think the way they do, and that by putting themselves first, they are more likely to hurt others. I would love to say that I don't dishonor others, as I would never do so on purpose, but I know that I do without trying, just by putting myself first. I try to put others first, especially Mr. Amazing, but I fail. I am rude to others when I don't stop to think about my actions, thus putting my own emotions ahead of the feelings of others...

My family is obviously the one that suffers from this the most. Mr. Amazing never puts me down or tells me that I'm being selfish. Why? Because he isn't being selfish. He loves me, and chooses not to dishonor me with words or actions. While I on the other hand, am sitting here writing a blog post about not being self-seeking instead of finishing something that he asked me to do this morning...

There are so many ways that we can be self-seeking and dishonor others without thinking. If you don't mind opening up a bit this week, what are some of the things that you do selfishly that effect your Mr.? (Please don't tell us about his faults, that wouldn't be too very loving!)

Ways that I am selfish:
-I do things at my own pace.
-I put the projects and chores that I want to get done above all the other ones in the house.
-I cook things that I want to eat, without asking Mr. Amazing what he would like.
-On family movie night, I pick movies that I would like to watch.

I'm sure there are many, many more, but those are just the ones off the top of my head. I don't ALWAYS do those things, but they aren't uncommon...

Your turn!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Boasting and Pride

1 Corinthians 13:4d- … it does not boast, it is not proud.

I think this is the exact opposite of being jealous. Instead of looking at others and thinking they are better than us, or that they have something we don't have, we look at others and think we are better than them. Boasting or bragging is just a way of showing pride. It’s saying look at me! Look at me! Look what I did, look what I can do, or look what I have. It’s seeking an earthly reward instead of waiting for a heavenly one…

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10
I love this verse! If you think about it bragging or boasting is just a way of seeking approval of men. We want everyone to see what we are doing and be proud of us, or complement us. Paul wrote a lot about boasting in 2 Corinthians (chapters 10-12), he talked about how foolish it was and how foolish it made us look. Then he went on to say let whomever boasts, boast in the Lord (10:17) and that he would only boast in his weaknesses (12:9). After thinking about boasting I want to pray the words written in Galatians: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (6:14)

Pride is spoken against many times in the Bible. There are so many Scriptures that talk about how much trouble it brings, boasting and bragging is just one way to show our pride. We can be prideful with our words, or even without ever speaking a word. We can be prideful by the way we look at others; it’s evident in our eyes. We can be prideful with our body language, with the way we respond to something someone says or does. We can even be prideful with our thoughts… We want people to recognize our good work without us telling them about it. We want them to acknowledge our hard work or what we did with our hair, and when they don’t we feel neglected or underappreciated, or possibly even unloved. That is solely our pride thinking, God says that He loves us no matter what. He also says that nothing we can do will earn us His love, or our salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

One of the signs that marks the last days is people becoming proud and boastful. In 2 Timothy 3 we are warned to stay away from such people. Not only is being around boastful and proud people annoying, it can rub off on us. We can get sucked in and try to compete with them. They say “look what I can do!” and we respond with “oh yeah, that’s cool, but look at what I can do!” It turns into a vicious cycle. When this happens sometimes I realize it right away, other times it takes me awhile. But I have always found the best way to handle it is to complement them and then walk away. Temptation can always be overcome with God’s help!

Basically, boasting and pride is loving ourselves, not loving others, and not showing love in any form or fashion. Do you have any thoughts about boasting or pride that you could share with me? I'd love to hear from you!


1 Corinthians 13:4c- … and is not jealous …

Love is not Jealous… Am I truly loving God if I am jealous of others? Can I truly be loving others if I am jealous of them?

I don’t know about you, but I so often look at other peoples walk with God and become jealous of their relationship with Jesus. Does that ever happen to you? I see people with wonderful prayer lives, or extreme Bible knowledge, and I tend to compare myself to them… I don’t do it now as much as I use to, but I still find myself doing so on occasion. Another area that I struggle with jealousy in is with other women. Moms who have these amazing kids, or started teaching them really great things at a young age, moms who can take their kids anywhere and have them not only behave, but obey everything that mommy says without complaining or with a good attitude… Women who get to go on dates with their husbands… How I would love to have the time and money to have a night out with my husband. I honestly can’t even remember the last time we were able to go out by ourselves! God has really helped me in this area by showing me that I need to be happy for others instead of jealous of them.

God has been teaching me that jealousy is a lack of contentment, and in turn a failure to see what God is providing for me, which then leads to complaining… God has given me so much, when I truly love Him, I can see that He provides for all of my needs, both spiritual and physical in His time.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love is Kind

Here's another addition to my 1 Corinthians 13 study:

1 Corinthians 13:4b- …love is kind...

Being kind is something that I often think that I have mastered, but I haven’t… Being kind is actually really complex. To be kind is to be friendly, generous, tender-hearted, sympathetic, compassionate, considerate, gentle, thoughtful, merciful, and helpful. I also found a Scripture that implies that kindness isn’t quarrelsome (2 Timothy 2:23-25). I might be all of those things some of the time, but most certainly not all the time. Kindness is also a fruit of the Sprit (Galatians 5:22) it can be conveyed by our words or our actions. However, kind words can be cancelled out by unkind actions and vice-versa… Proverbs 11 talks about kindness winning respect, but being unkind only brings trouble. Being kind can cheer someone up, and it can make you feel good too!

Proverbs 14:21 says: “He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” This made me think of the story of the Good Samaratin.

There are so many ways to be kind or show kindness to others. In Acts 17:14 it is recorded that God shows kindness to us by sending the rain, thus providing us with food. Acts 24:4 suggests that an act of kindness can be as simple as hearing someone out, making time for them, and just listening and in Acts 28:2 the islanders show Paul kindness by being hospitable. There are so many examples of ways to be kind in the Scriptures! I was amazed while looking through some of them. We can be kind by listening, by being silent, by showing hospitality, by saying nice words, by forgiving someone (Eph. 4:32) or by being stern (Rom. 11:22).

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” -- Luke 6:35

I am looking forward to learning more about kindness. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and the verses that you came across! (Well, I can… but you know what I mean. I will be patiently awaiting your replies.)

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” -- Ephesians 4:32

Friday, June 10, 2011

Back to 1 Corinthians 13

I was putting together a page for the Bible studies I have done on my blog, and I realized that I never finished posting any of them! Isn't that horrible?! First and foremost, I ask your forgiveness. Secondly, I am going to see if I can get some of them finished up. Starting with 1 Corinthians 13. This should have been the second post in the series, you can see the first post (about verses 1& 2) here.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:3

When I read this verse I think of all of the people who have been martyred for their faith. I think of people like Mother Teresa who gave all she had to care for the poor. I think of Polycarp who was burned at the stake and then killed with a spear because the fire wouldn’t burn his body. I can’t fathom giving from myself like this without love. But then, I think of people like the Pharisees… people who would give things away and make a show of their suffering, not because of love, but to make themselves look greater. Then it makes more since. They didn’t have love. All of these actions mean nothing. Christianity isn’t a checklist that we can go through and check off what we are doing and say that we are doing well. We aren’t saved by works, but for works. Why do we do works? Because we love God. If we don’t do them out of love, then they are all for nothing. When I think that way, this verse makes perfect since to me.

After thinking about Polycarp I had to go back and read the letter to the church of Smyrna in Revelation where he was the pastor at the time it was written. He was executed only shortly afterwards, but in the letter John wrote about the church being physically poor, but spiritually rich. I think that is important here too. Our physical state isn’t nearly as important as our spiritual state. We can be poor both physically and spiritually. But Jesus says that it is almost impossible to be both spiritually and physically rich (Matthew 19:23-24). I have more notes on this from the study I was doing with my women’s Bible study group last year in Revelation… I might add them later. But for now, what are your thoughts? What does verse one remind you of? Are there any verses that this makes you think of?

(As noted above, this is the second post in this study. To see the following posts for verse 4 check out the following:

Living for Christ

I have been meditating on Scriptures today, that urge us to live our lives for Christ. Scriptures like 2 Corinthians 10:5 that commands us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. I just really want to think through everything I do each day, and decide if I am doing it for Christ, or not for Christ. There is no gray area there. When I drive my car, do I do it for Christ, or just to get where I'm going (thus, not for Christ). Do I wash the dishes because it's part of the job of a SAHM, because I have to (thus, not for Christ but out of need), or do I wash the dishes for Christ? There are endless examples I could use, and you probably could come up with many more on your own. I have pondered on this from time to time, but it's really heavy on my heart today.

I have so many overwhelming thoughts in my head. Do I react to others for Christ, or out of selfishness? Do I love others out of my own self-centered heart, or do I love them for and through Christ? Do I LIVE for Christ, or is He just a book that I read, necklace I wear, and song that I sing? What does it truly mean to lay down my life, and live for Him, and Him alone? And how far away from that reality am I? I know it is possible, because if it were not so, He wouldn't have told us. We wouldn't be encouraged, commanded even, to do so, if it were not something Christ wanted and desired from us.

So in the midst of all of my deep thoughts, I thought of my sisters here. My dear sisters in Christ, I ask you, what does it mean to lay down our lives and live for Him, and Him alone? Any thoughts?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Circle of influence

I always think of the best blog post ideas after I am in bed for the night. If I write them down, then I'm up all night writing ideas and don't get any sleep, but then if I don't write them down I forget! It's so frustrating!!! Last night I had the worlds best blog post idea... but I don't remember it now, so you get stuck with this. I feel for you, I really do.

I mentioned before that I was doing a book study through "The True Woman" by Susan Hunt with a group of my sisters in Christ on line. We have officially started our study and are reading chapter 1. Today, I am pondering on the circle of influence that we have as women. I think that we have more influence on those around us than we think, or wish we did. Susan Hunt quoted an old article that described this well. Here is my paraphrase of it: "We have the power to influence others for good or for bad. We influence others with our virtues, or vices. We influence them with our wisdom and or or blunders, ignorance, and folly."

No matter what we are doing or saying, it is influencing someone. Most often, it is influencing our children. They don't just get influenced by the good things that we do, but by EVERY word and action. That is so humbling to me!!

Just by reading a book, we can influence our children that reading is fun. By washing the dishes or doing laundry, we can influence them that cleaning and homemaking is important. By reading our Bibles, praying, and singing worship songs, we can influence them for Christ. But on the flip side, sitting around idly, we influence them that laziness is okay. By not staying on top of the dishes and laundry, we influence them that housekeeping and homemaking aren't a priority. By pursuing selfish interests, we send the message that you have to lookout for yourself first, and if you don't take care of yourself no one will.

All of this thought brings me to Proverbs 14:1 ~ The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. When we are being wise women, we take into account that our words and actions (good or bad) influence others and choose to be more careful. When we are being foolish women, we tear down those around us, even if we don't realize we are doing it. We influence others without thought, and carelessly tarnish our witness for Christ.

On a much lighter side note, I have recently found a wonderful blog entitled "The Imperfect Housewife". She does a link-up on Thursdays for anyone who writes about motherhood, homeschooling, homemaking, etc. Check it out!

The Imperfect Housewife

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Outfit of the day

I have been following a wonderful blog series entitled "She wear's skirts", it has been packed full of great information and insight by both moms who wear skirts and husbands view points as well. This week they have asked us all to take photo's of our outfits, just to give each of us an idea of what wearing skirts everyday looks like, then we are all going to link up later this week. Because I have company this week, I wasn't sure that I would be able to participate, but thankfully, my mom took a few photos of me today. They weren't planned, and aren't perfect. But they truly are me in everyday life, wearing skirts!

To give the run down, I was wearing a light blue denim skirt, with a dark blue tank top, covered with a white mesh jacket. I was sporting a dark blue baseball cap and flip flops. :)While helping my darling daughter learn to ride a bike.

To find the She Wear's Skirts series, please click here.

Another great blog that does a weekly outfit of the day link up is True Femininity. She is a young college aged woman who wears skirts and dresses. It's a lovely blog. Her views on modesty aren't quite to the point of the ladies that are writing the She Wear's Skirts series, but she still does a great job living her faith in the world we are in.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Feminist product of the world

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. ~ John 15:19

Most Christians have heard at one point or another that we are to be in the world, but not of the world. I think that most of us would be surprised at just how worldly we really are. Sure, we don't TRY to be of the world, but we were raised IN the world. I'm not excusing worldliness by any means, but I am just becoming increasingly aware of the world in my life.

An example?

The feminist movement. I was that girl in Junior High that argued with the youth leaders about how sexist the Bible was. I was the girl that went to college for automotive technology and gave the guys a run for their money. I was the girl that wouldn't be caught dead in a dress. I was the girl on the football team. I was the living, breathing, feminist movement. What changed? I actually met Christ. He became more than words on a page and entered my heart. I am by no means the picture perfect Christian woman, but I now only wear skirts and dresses (not legalistically, and I would never look down on anyone for wearing pants), and I know for a fact that the Bible isn't sexist, but rather holds women in very high regard.

Somewhere along the road, women (myself included) got so caught up in 'our rights' that we forgot that God calls us to lay down our rights for Him. He doesn't want us to cling to our rights and fight for them with every fiber of our being. He knows we have the 'right' to dress however we choose, but is more impressed when we lay down that right to dress in a way that is pleasing to Him. Yes, we have the right to stand up for ourselves and our rights, but it pleases God more when we lay down that right, to stand up for Him and His Word.

This isn't the culture that we live in. Our culture screams at us to look out for number 1. I agree with that 100%, however the world will tell us that we are number 1, when in reality God is number 1. We should do everything, and think every thought for Him, not for us.

Most women today scream for their rights. When it comes to talks about modesty, submission, or even just happiness, Christian women will tear each other apart. Why? Because of our rights. We have the right to dress as we choose, live as we choose, and talk as we choose, and no one has the right to tell us any different. That is our mentality. I have seen more disputes among Christian women who are defending their rights then in any other situation. We don't want to lay down our rights, not for our husbands, and most certainly not to God or His Word. The problem is that we are too busy worrying about our rights to see it any other way.

Yes, we all have rights, but it takes a much bigger person to lay down those rights then it does to stand up for them. Look at Jesus. He had the right to be God, but He laid down that right to become a human, and die for us. Not just any death, but death on a cross. He laid aside ALL of His rights for us, why can't we do the same for Him?

Mr. Monday: In-law or in-love?

Welcome back for Mr. Monday! I love Monday's! Today my Mr. was home sick :( but on the plus side, I am just so thankful for the relationship between my mother and Mr. Amazing. Not all mother-in-laws and son-in-laws have such wonderful relationships, and I know that I am blessed.

My mom and husband don't merely tolerate one another for my sake, but they really do care for each other. I would say that they aren't just in-laws, but family-in-love. My husband looks forward to my mother's visits, just as I look forward to when his parent's come to visit. He enjoys making her visits as special as they can be, and has even requested that we take a family photo while she is here, so we can have the whole family in it (including her).

Likewise, my mom has told me numerous times how happy she is that I have Mr. Amazing in my life. She enjoys doing things with him, and has never said anything bad about him. I know that marriage doesn't depend on a health relationship between spouses and parents, but it really does help. It makes being married such a beautiful thing, instead of turning two relationships into a chore that you would rather avoid if could. I have heard enough horror stories about these relationships to know that I am blessed beyond measure in my marriage.

So my question for you this Mr. Monday is: Do you have in-laws or in-loves? What about your husband? Does he love your family?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Automobiles and Faith

Mama’s Losin’ It

For Mama Kat's writer's workshop this week, one of the prompts asked what we were passionate about. For me, the answer is simple, I am passionate about my faith in Christ. And most of my followers know that I am pretty passionate about writing. However, I don't know if you all knew this or not, but I went to college to be an automotive technician. That's right, I am passionate about cars! Now, I'm not your normal car nut. I don't go around telling you the size of the engine, and I can't name the make, model and year of a car that is a mile a way (I might be able to tell you how much oil it takes though...). Anyway, there are times where my three passions collide, and this post happens to be one of them.

God has been busy in my life as of late. I am learning all kinds of new things. One of the most important lessons is that Jesus isn't an additive. To explain this, the best analogy that I can possibly come up with is automobiles.

For those of you who don't know the components of a car, it has to have several key components for it to actually be drivable. The body of the car is the exterior, it's just the shell, the body can't run without the key components. It needs a steering wheel, an engine, a transmission, brakes, spark plugs, a distributor, and of course gasoline (among several other things that I won't go into for your sake). Then of course you have optional things, or add-ons or add-ins, like fog lights, cattle guards, lift kits, fuel additives, and the list goes on.

Where does faith fit in here you are wondering? Well, let's say that we are cars. Our body's would be the body of the car, the outer shell. It doesn't make us who we are, it doesn't make us go, it's just where everything is kept (kind of like a temple for those who want the biblical definition). Biblical faith makes up all of the key components that makes our car's go. Our faith should be the engine, the force that makes us go. It should be the steering components, guiding us on our way. God is our transmission, kicking us into the right gear, and He is also our brakes, keeping us from harm and helping us slow down when we are going to fast. Jesus is our spark plugs, providing the fire to ignite our hearts for Him, He is our distributor that distributes the fire and passion to the right place at the right time. The Holy Spirit is the gasoline that fuels the car. The bottom line is that biblical faith isn't optional, it's essential! To accept Christ and declare Him as our Savior, we HAVE to let Him rebuild our car. We have to let Him replace our engine with the one that He has for us, we have to use the fuel that is compatible with the engine He has given us, so that our car will run at the optimal level.

Growing up, I didn't understand all of that. I treated Jesus as more of an add-on to life. I didn't really need Him, but I thought He might make my car run a little better. Kind of like a fuel additive. He wasn't my gas, but something that might help clean things up a bit. The problem is that Jesus doesn't work like that. He isn't some fuel additive that helps things go better for a while, but once it has run it's course things start to get worse again. No Jesus is everlasting, never failing. He isn't some fog lights that help you see better during bad weather, He is more like the daytime running lights that never go out. He's always there to help us see and light the way. Jesus isn't an optional cattle guard that you only need to help you with life's big problems, He is more like the bumper that is there to help soften the blow. He won't stop things completely and ensure a cushy, cozy life, but He is there none the less, and can help you fend off the fears of life. Jesus isn't a lift-kit that helps us sit high above the rest of the world, looking down on them, or flying over the bumps in life with ease. Jesus is the average suspension system. He is there to help absorb the shocks of life, not prevent them. His suspension system puts us at the same level as everyone else, not above or below, but equals.

Where would you say your faith is at? Does it make up your key components, is it your engine, muffler and everything in between, or is it more of an additive that only helps at certain times and is totally and completely optional? No matter what you just answered here, the good news is that Jesus is ready to be your mechanic. He can overhaul your engine, or just help you with minor tune-ups. All you have to do is ask, and then trust Him to do the work.

God's way vs the worlds way

On this wonderful, Word-filled Wednesday, I have been contemplating on a few verses. For one of the crafts the kids and I did, the verse was John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. This verse is about peace, but I think it applies so much to God's love as well. God doesn't love the way that the world loves. He doesn't give His love and then take it back, but loves unconditionally. If we truly love others, we will love God's way and not the way of the world.

On a side note, have you all seen the new Bible gateway? I love it! I'm a creature of habit and wasn't looking forward to the change, but it's great!

The world says love is jealous, that if you love someone or something you have the right to hoard it to your self and attack anyone or anything that might try to get in on it. God says love is kind, not jealous, but something beautiful to share. The world says love is something to be proud of, something you declare and let everyone know what you love is yours. God says love isn't proud, but humble. He says love isn't something to envy or boast about, but something to cherish and enjoy.

The world says love is earned, that it is conditional, and only given to others when it benefits you. God says that love is a free, unconditional gift, that is given to others regardless of whether or not they deserve it, and it has little or nothing to do with us.

The world would tell you that love is easily angered. That if we trust someone with our heart that we have the right to get angry when they make even the smallest mistake. God says that love isn't easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs. He says that love forgives no matter what.

The world tells us that love has the right to talk down, gossip and exploit. God tells us that love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.