Monday, May 31, 2010

Prayer of the Busy Wife and Mother

Having a Mary Heart and a Martha Mind

Lord of all pots and pans and things, since I’ve no time to be

A saint by doing lovely things, or watching late with Thee,

Or dreaming in the dawn-light, or storming Heaven’s gates,

Make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha’s hands, I have a Mary mind,

And when I black the boots and shoes, Thy sandals, Lord, I find.

I think of how they trod the earth, what time I scrub the floor:

Accept this meditation, Lord, I haven’t time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love, and light it with Thy peace;

Forgive me all my worrying, and make my grumbling cease.

Thou who didst love to give men food, in room or by the sea,

Accept this service that I do -— I do it unto Thee.

—Cecily Rosemary Hallack (1898-1938)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Letter to My Husband

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

Dear Husband,

I am but a mere mortal woman, flawed in many ways. I make many mistakes and errors in my attempt to navigate this life with you and our children. I am weak and afraid sometimes. I need you to guide me spiritually to become a woman of virtue. But I am resilient and strong as well. I am easily hurt, but quick to forgive. I need to hear that I am of value to you as well as loved by you. I am demanding, but I would give my last breath for you. I often wrong and mistaken, I need your guidance. I am also often right, and I need your acknowledgment. I fail miserably a hundred times before I get some things right. I often pick myself up and try again on my own, but sometimes I need you to pick me up and encourage me. I get angry and frustrated with you, and though I try, I cannot always hold my tongue when I know I should. But most of all, most importantly....I LOVE YOU. I love everything about you and every moment with you.


Your Wife

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Quiet and Gentle Spirit

Recently, I have been convicted by God (through several people) of my propensity to dominate a conversation. He has opened my eyes to the fact that I often lack a quiet and gentle manner when I have something I feel is important to say. I have discussed this before regarding listening, but apparently I have failed to completely change my here I am again.

"The words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools." Ecclesiastes 9:17

Did God just call me foolish? Maybe...if so, I probably deserve it. Proverbs 31:26 tells us that a virtuous woman "...opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue are the laws of kindness." So this is telling me that speaking in wisdom, also means speaking quietly. Proverbs 29:11 says "A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back." So not only should we speak quietly, but consider carefully before venting our feelings. Words spoken in anger cannot be unspoken. We can apologize and be forgiven, but we cannot undo the hurt those words cause.

Our society is very "feeling" oriented. Humanism is defined by Wikipedia as "a worldview and moral philosophy that considers humans to be of primary importance." Our media is full of "self-actualization" and "self-esteem" and "self-discovery". People are encouraged to vent their feelings, no matter the cost to those around them. This philosophy has even found its way into our churches, carefully disguised in church doctrine, it is there nonetheless.

This attitude of "self" is the major contributor to moral decay in our country and our churches today. We open our mouths without thinking of the consequences to others, only considering serving our immediate need to share what we consider important. I am guilty of this...I have fallen into the trap of thinking that I have to have an opinion about everything and everyone needs to hear it.

But God teaches us to deny self, to die daily to self. The Bible teaches humility and servitude, characteristics not often appreciated in our culture today. We live in a culture that wants to take credit for all the good and place blame elsewhere for all the bad. Self-actualization does not include taking responsibility for one's actions. But my Bible tells me that I have no worth in only value is in my personal relationship with God.

Elizabeth George uses a term "God"-confidence rather than self-confidence in her book "A Woman After God's Own Heart". Women are taught from a young age in our humanistic society to rely on themselves and to be self-confident. Parents spend unreal amounts of money for therapy for their children to build their self-esteem. But we fail to focus on the One who is the source of all confidence, value, and esteem.

I heard on K-LOVE this afternoon of a challenge to spend the next 30 days only speaking uplifting, positive and edifying words to others and to yourself. I would take it one step further and challenge you to not only speak positively, but to hold your tongue when you would normally not. Don't always be the one to share your opinion or comment on a conversation. Sit quietly and listen to those around you and you may gain more wisdom than you know!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

God's Presence

Last night I had a scary, but wonderful experience. Around 12 am, Mackenzie (my 2-year old) woke up wheezing and coughing and struggling to breathe and crying hysterically. She has had upper respiratory problems in the past so we have a rescue inhaler in her room, but typically her breathing problems are related to bronchitis in the winter. As I sat in our bathroom with the lights out and the hot water running in hopes that the steam would help clear her airway, she began to calm down and laid her head on my shoulder and said "sing, Mommy".

The song that came to mind was Amy Grant's "Better Than A Hallelujah"

God loves a lullaby
In a mother's tears in the dead of night
Better than a hallelujah sometimes

In that moment, singing those words and praying earnestly to God to protect my baby and help her breathe, I felt a calm, quiet voice say "I am with you". I knew that my Savior was there in that steamy bathroom, holding me in His arms as I held Mackenzie in mine. As I write this, tears are streaming down my face. I have never been so terrified one moment and so peaceful the next as I was last night.

"God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What We Can Learn From a Duck

Last night, as I was sitting in the parking lot at Harris Teeter, I observed a pair of mallard ducks...male and female. A couple (human) stopped to feed them some bread crumbs. I watched as the male duck cautiously eyed the woman scattering the crumbs then slowly backed away to let his mate eat. While she was eating, the gentleman (human, not duck) leaned down to take a picture at which time the male duck made it clear that he was too close to his mate. Once the gentleman (human, not duck) backed away, the male duck waited until his mate finished eating and then ate what she did not want.

What a beautiful illustration of a husband caring for the needs of his wife and protecting her from threats.

"So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife, loves himself." Ephesians 5:27-29

Thursday, May 6, 2010

First Impressions

I overheard a conversation today in which a woman was furious with a new acquaintance's husband for implying that she was not appropriate company for his wife because she appeared to be "high maintenance". Her argument was that he had only met her once and that was at a social gathering for which she had taken time with her appearance, more than she would on a typical day at home.

But it made me often are we judged on appearances and within a few moments of an initial meeting. While it is not necessarily fair, it is a fact of life. I want my appearance to reflect who I am all the time, which means being careful to make sure I am reflecting God's image both inside and out.

"in like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works." Timothy 2:9-10

The instructions here are clear, our outward appearance should be indicative of our inner godliness and reflective of our good works. It is important to remember that the way we conduct ourselves and our appearance not only reflects on us, but on God and His people. I want to promote a positive, modest, respectful image of my God.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Heaven's Nursery


In Heaven there must surely be
A special place, a nursery
Where 'little spirits' not fully grown
Go to live in their Heavenly home.

The angels must attend with love
Tiny spirits on wings of doves,
The choir of angels must sing lullabies
Maybe quieten their tiny cries.

The Father must come by each day
To cuddle and play in a special way
These tiny spirits left earth too soon
Little ones called Home from the womb.

These sparks of life did not perish
But came to the Father's love to cherish,
To grow and be taught in His own arms
Safely away from all earthly harm.

The comforter was sent to earth at once
To the parents who lost their little one
Their hearts so ache, their arms feel empty
The question 'why' seems so tempting.

Then all at once in the midst of tears
There comes a peace that stills the fears
The parents share the Father's own need
To hold their tiny spirit being.

They relinquish their own desperate hold
And release their baby to the Father's fold,
Then comes an angel to whisper the truth
Of a nursery in Heaven bearing rich fruit

Of tiny spirits chosen to worship the Father
A place that couldn't be filled by another,
Called to be spared from the struggles of earth,
Chosen to be one of Heaven's births.

So Father, whisper words of love from me
To our unborn 'life' in your nursery.

(From Above Rubies website)

Book Review

Check out this book review at New book by Steve & Candace Watters "Start Your Family". I won't spend too long on it since you can read the review yourself, but it looks like a great guide to God's plan for families.

"The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing. But in our culture we apply for a curse and reject blessings. There is something wrong with this picture." Doug Phillips (Vision Forum Ministries)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Oh what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves.
To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed.
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the voice of truth tells me a different story,
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid"
And the voice of truth says "This is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

("Voice of Truth" lyrics by Casting Crowns)

I have recently been feeling God's call to change some things in my life. In fact, over the past year, I have more and more often heard God's voice in answer to some of my many questions about what to do in my life. Questions regarding the size of our family, work, finances, church, education, and many others.

But recently I was faced with a conflict, a challenge to what I feel has been God's message to me and my husband regarding some of these issues. It made me think...what do we do when someone we love and respect and seek advice from, gives us advice contrary to what we feel is God's answer or God's calling in our lives?

I find many passages in the Bible regarding advice and listening to one's elders. Proverbs 19:20 says "Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days." I believe this is instructing us to listen to those older and wiser than ourselves, but I also believe that man is just man, no matter what, God should be our ultimate guide. The next verse in Proverbs 19 says "There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the Lord's counsel, that will stand." (v.21). This tells me that I should seek guidance from people I trust, my parents, my Pastor, older church members, etc. But my final word should come from God, through studying His word and prayer.

Love & prayers....