Monday, September 22, 2014
When I was a new, fresh-faced wife I didn’t really understand a lot of marriage advice about communication. I felt like there was two conflicting messages.
Side A: Communicate everything. The thoughts, the feelings, the likes, the dislikes, the irratations, the I-like-to-do-it-this-ways, and the my-day-will-go-a-whole-lot-better-if-you-do-it-like-thises. Spill your guts about it all.
Side B: Keep it all inside. Yeah, share the positive stuff but nothing else. Don’t complain or correct or nag. Shut up and get over it. All that stuff isn’t really a big deal anyway.
I would try Side A….yikes. That didn’t go over very well.
I would try Side B….yikes again. After a week of that I would end exploding Side A all over tarnation.
HERE IS WHERE MY NEXT MOVE WAS CRITICAL AND GROUNDSHAKING…
It contains the ability to destroy a man or build him up into a strong godly leader…
AM I WILLING TO STUDY MY HUSBAND? AM I WILLING TO WATCH HIM AND SEE HOW HE LIKES TO BE COMMUNICATED TO?
DO I CARE?????????
The following is an account of a wife that chose not to care. The story is made up but the problems are real.
Side A woman chose not to care. She told him everything. Positive or negative. She destroyed his every move. He couldn’t brush his teeth without her telling him how she would prefer he do it. The man was slowly broken down, brick by brick until he lay defeated in ruins. He was probabaly lying there in a very uncomfortable position because that’s how I’m picture it right now.
She was a hurricane and she sank her ship.
Side B woman was aloof and cool. Not expressing her oppinion. Not interjecting. She was a martyr and carried it with dignity and broody repose. The man felt like a monster whatever he did. He never knew if he was getting it right because of her constant cold shoulder. The man was slowly destroyed. He wallowed in his destruction. Lots of wallowing. She was 10% above the water and 90% below.
She was an iceburg and she sank her ship.
Hurricanes and iceburgs sink ships. Women who don’t care sink ships.
Then there was the Miss I Care…here’s what you gotta do. Lean in and listen close but don’t if you just ate garlic.
You Gotta care!!!!!!!!
Every man has there own communication preferences. You do too! Do you like to talk about finances while the baby is screaming? Does he like to talk about the honey-do list right when he gets off work? Do you like to feel stupid when he talks to you? Does he like when you make him feel stupid when you talk to him?
Please care! Study that man! Work your wordage so that he is blessed!
I’m not going to tell you exactly how to do that because I’m married to my man and you’re married to yours, for crying out loud!!
Look deeply into my eyes and listen….
HURRICANES AND ICEBURGS SINK SHIPS.
Don’t be either or I’m going to come over there and kick your butt. You have the freedom to kick mine.
The Word of God talks about this very thing and I’ll leave you with those perfect words…
He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. Prov 17:27-28
A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.
A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart. Prov 18:1-2
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
My testimony is titled Purity and Pride. My Jesus story is a box containing those two things with a bow that wraps all around it with a tag that says…BUT FOR GRACE.
Phase 1: Purity Good. Pride Bad.
My parents raised me in a home and in a church that was always covered by grace. It’s was their heart’s desire that I would seek all things pure and I truly did. I am told I was a naughty toddler but there is no tangible proof so that is technically hearsay. I gave my heart to the Lord when I was about five but I don’t remember that. That has never bothered me and I know I really was a Christian as a child. It all became real when I turned 14. I remember one day just knowing I wanted to give my heart to the Lord again. I got down on my knees and rededicated my life to Jesus. It then became my personal walk with Jesus. It went from just obeying my parents and being a good girl to opening the Bible on my own and praying and walking with my Father. The next 8 years were filled with a growing, serving, vital, beautiful walk with my Jesus. I taught Sunday School, lead the girls Bible study, sang on the worship team, went on every missions trip the church had, spent four months living in Peru as a missionary.
People…I was a big deal. I was pure…and PRIDEFUL.
(Please, please, please understand that I am so thankful for how my youth was spent. I hope that all those things happen for my daughter. I hope that all of your children have a youth spent serving Jesus and living pure lives. Bad choices leave scars. I have so few scars that remain from a ruined youth. I am so so thankful.)
Phase 2: Grace Makes Everyone Pure
And then a 20-year-old Navy sailor walked through the doors of Calvary Chapel Hanford. He had scars. His youth had all the things that my youth did not. I had served the body of Christ is all the ways that he had not. I had behaved and he had not.
Grace…Jesus giving me what I don’t deserve. Forgiveness and love when I don’t deserve either.
But for grace….I looked at that sailor and I just knew I was going to marry him. I knew God sent me a man that would epitomize His grace. I stood next to that man and knew that in God’s eyes we were both completely pure and completely saved and completely going to Heaven despite any bad choice or good choice we made on Earth. It didn’t matter that we had such a different list of “Christian achievements.”
God saved him and God saved me and we wanted to serve the Lord together. I married him a year and a half later. Our four children came lickitysplit. Which is when it happened.
Phase 3:Pride Gets Ugly
I never knew parenting would make me want to sin so much. I didn’t know toddlers could make you so angry. I didn’t know that learning to sacrifice my whole heart for my husband was going to break me down into a puddle of tears so often. No member of my family was trying to drive me crazy but they WERE. My youth spent on the Christian mountain top singing to sheep (follow the King David metaphor) was now spent running from my King Saul lest I die. My King Saul was my pride. Why were all these little human beings needing me all the time for every little thing when I could be out there serving like back in the day? Didn’t they know who I was? Look at how I spent my youth. I had “Christian Achievements”…didn’t they know I could bring down the house with my holiness? Why were they bringing down my house with their constant mommy needs?
I spent about three years feeling sorry for myself. I had super godly skills that were not being used. I'm being brutally honest about the ugliness of my heart right now. I really was in a rough place. I really was stuck in my ugly pride.
Phase 4: Daily Purifying From Pride
One day I was reading Galatians 6…
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (verse 9)
Then I read Micah 6…
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (verse 8)
So Heavenly Father, You’re saying that I NEVER once did all of that pure stuff on my own? You’re saying that my pure youth with all that dog gone glory was all YOU and none of me? You’re saying that my pride is getting in the way of You daily purifying me? You’re saying that all you really want is for me to…
Quit growing weary of doing good, be just, love mercy, walk humbly with YOU?
Phase 5: What I’m learning every day
I thought for the longest time that I was getting all my spiritual growth from serving in my church. When all of that stopped I felt like my spiritual growth stopped. NOT TRUE. He was still working in my life. He was still there. He still wanted to use me. It was just going to be in a different way for the rest of my life. I found contentment in His new way of purifying me.
Are you in your “singing to sheep phase?” Praise God. Stay pure. Serve Jesus.
Are you covered in scars? Jesus invented grace on the cross. Ask Him into your life and He will make you as white as snow. PURE and PERFECT.
Are you full of pride? Realize that the only good in you is Jesus and all the bad in you comes from you, for crying out loud!
Do you feel like you’re not growing spiritually because you’re taking care of crazy hooligans all day that drive you crazy and if only you could break free and show the world your crazy awesome Churchy skills, you would grow like nobody’s business? No? That’s just me? Okay.
But for grace…where would I be without you Jesus.
God is so good. Wiping away tears right now…
Thursday, September 11, 2014
When a woman writes about a young woman who wants to be a writer, I am then a woman, who herself has always wanted to be a writer, who is then reading about a young writer which is written by a woman who herself wanted to be a writer and became one.
You see how these stories feed my soul.
“Julie”, written by Cathrine Marshall in the last years of her life and career, was a hot cup of earl grey tea with raw local honey to my chilly Fall evenings. This book has become my friend. The kind you actually keep a paperback of and treasure it next to your college copy of The Screw Tape Letters.
Julie is a lovely, tender-hearted, sincere 18-year-old daughter of a troubled former pastor who moves his family of five to a small flood-prone town during the Great Depression. The financial downs and spiritual lifts are centered around the local newspaper that Julie’s father publishes and the effects it has on the poor and rich. The most perfect part about the whole story is Julie’s perfectly normal imperfection. She is flawed and struggling with God’s realness and reachability. She is a part of the church but is she a part of Jesus?
I loved it. It was sweet and warm. Like an old Doris Day movie.
Rachel’s Review Rating
Author’s style…10 stars
Read again…5 stars
Will husband read it…0 stars
Antagonist… -15 stars
Did her children antagonize her while she was trying to read it…10 stars
“Sometimes I wondered how and when this dream had started. For as far back as I could remember, the sound of words, the reading of stories, even the handling of books had not been merely a delight—it had been irresistible enchantment.” (page62)
Exactly, dear Julie. Exactly.