Lessons

Marriage: Love, Sex and Kids

In the early part of spring, God challenged me to pray and ask for something big in my life. For a while, I could not think of anything, but then my marriage came to mind. I asked the Lord to transform my mind on marriage. At the time, I was miserable to be honest. The stresses of life had taken hold and I felt farther away from my husband than I had ever felt. Frustration and roots of bitterness began to take hold as my ideas of happy marriage slipped away. I was mad all the time, I felt unloved and wanting and I hated it. I didn’t want to be like this so I knew asking God to transform my marriage was going to be a huge undertaking.

Slowly, God began to transform my thinking. He taught me what it meant for him to be my husband.

““In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ’”

‭‭Hosea‬ ‭2:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He taught me to find my desire to be loved fully in him. As a quality time person, our normal time together began to be transformed into a deeper more vulnerable way. He dug deep into my heart to mend old hurts. He peeled away wrong thinking and walls I had placed in order to “protect” myself. I had become raw and exposed. Nothing was hidden from Him, my husband or myself.

He then began to teach me the meaning behind love making and truly being intimate with my husband. In the past, I had never understood the book Song of Songs. I could not see how what seemed like a bunch of lusting had anything to do with God. However, God revealed it is not lusting but desire and passion of love towards another. He first revealed that as Solomon describes the body parts of the individuals with such admiration and love that God and I do the same with attributes of character. I praise him in prayer of his faithfulness, kindness and loving ways. He reminds me I’m his beloved and knows me fully. As this revelation sunk in, He presented the idea that sex was as much meant for spiritual growth and out pouring of Love from the Lord as it was a physical act. I served God by serving my husband. This blew my mind. I have always felt like I had a third grade maturity level when it came to the three letter S word so to be so honest about the mysteries of sex and how I am to grow in my spiritual walk was and is a bit of a challenge.

With these new revelations, actions were taken in obedience. I had not realized in all of my misery, I had placed my husband and my marriage on the back burner. Even more so, I had not realized I had the kids placed so highly. In order to obey God, I was confronted with habits I had with the kids that placed them above my husband. It revealed fears of leaving my kids with others so we could go on dates. I had convinced myself all these years that I was being a good mom by focusing on them and I felt guilt when I was away from them. What was really happening, was a deceitful snake in my marriage and in my family. Lies of guilt for taking time with my husband away from the kids flooded my mind and stunted my actions. LieS were told that hurts could not be forgiven. I was convinced that in order to grow in my marriage I was going to have to force Steve to grow with me and if not that we could never grow.

The light was shed on all of it. My heart and my mind was transformed about my marriage and my husband. It was never more apparent I was on the right track as the events of last night. It was our anniversary. I had spent the day preparing Steve’s gifts and getting a special dinner. I told the kids it was a special day or us and the oldest decided to draw a heart note for his dad. The kids were fed an early dinner so that Steve and I could sit and eat at the table and have a conversation while the kids watched tv. We spent the evening close to one another focused on being together. Then as we got the kids to bed and tried to spend “alone” time. The oldest woke up and started some dramatic theatrics that were out of character. After finally getting him to talk, he revealed that he was upset that I had spent the day talking about dad and spending my time with dad. He was ultimately jealous. It was then I realized I truly had set them ahead of my husband. I explained that things were changing that I had placed his father below the kids and that it was not right. I told him in order for Steve and I to truly teach him and be a good parents we must also make sure we are spending time together. I assured him that we both loved him very much and that we would enjoy playing games and such in the morning.

Making time for our marriage and loving each other well is tough business with young kids. Sleep schedules are crazy, stress levels are high and exhaustion is right around every corner. It is easy to say I’m too tired or when the kids get older everything will change. It is easy to set your spouse on the back burner and put the kids in the a spot light. It’s easy to turn your attention to what your spouse isn’t doing rather than what you can do for your spouse. It’s easy to forget to find your love in God when the tangible person in front of you is suppose to love you.

However, make that time! In order to teach your children to be godly adults, you also have to teach them to be godly wives and husbands. If you want your kids to learn to serve others, first learn to serve your spouse even when you don’t feel like it. Find your love and fulfillment in God alone and allow his love to be an out pouring into your marriage. Serve your spouse in ways that they receive love. Show them God’s love for them and for you. Your children are watching. They will learn to love others by your example of how you love your spouse and how serious you take the commitment of marriage. Don’t wait for the other to start the actions of service and love in order to grow but ask God to transform your thinking and begin to love as He loves you.

““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.””

‭‭John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Daily Reminders, Lessons

Speaking a Foreign Language

I love personality tests. I love to see how each person ticks and how God created them to work, learn and love. Each person having their own language in the way they perceive life.

Over the last couple of months, God has shown me by learning the language of others, I can better communicate Christ’s love to them. I’m an introverted person who loves the details of life and how they all connect together forming a larger picture. I find the most loving thing a person could do is spend quality time with me talking over big ideas and going deeply into the meaning of them. However, the people in my family do not have this same perception of life. I live with several inventors and big picture people who get bored easily with the little details. I have loved ones who don’t need long talks but constant snuggles and little special things done for them. Some speak to me using their words others bottle their feelings and use actions more loudly. A few need to be praised and others shy away from praise. Each made in the image of God with their own unique way of viewing life and love.

Although, I have always made an effort to understand each one in my family, God revealed to me my lack of understanding on truly speaking the language above all languages, the language of the spirit. He opened my eyes using

‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭2:3-4

“Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.”

The Holy Spirit, at the time of Pentecost, enabled the apostles to speak foreign languages to men and women present so each could hear in his or her own native tongue. How amazing is that!?!

God showed me that through his Holy Spirit I can learn to speak into the hearts of my loved ones by speaking their language. He revealed that even in those whom I have a similar love language our ideas of quality time are drastically different. For those who are not like me, it is not enough to do what I think they would like. To truly speak to them, I must listen to the spirits prompting and speak their language. It would require me to move out of my own comfort zone, change habits because it would hinder me from expressing God’s love to them and go to greater lengths in planning and being intentional. It would require me to become selfless and speak the exact language they needed to hear.

However, in all of this beautiful revelation God has reminded me of the greatest thing, that to love supernaturally I must have my own love tank filled supernaturally. In other words, in order to love my family well through the spirit I must remember that my own love tank must be filled by God himself not dependent of others. Knowing the God of the Universe loves me and does in deed speak into my heart personally, I can love others through his spirit without feeling depleted or unloved.

Through the Spirit, we can learn to love our spouses and our children. We can demonstrate God’s love by speaking their language and going beyond ourselves to love as God loves us. Imagine the beautiful blessings that would come to our marriages and our families if we chose to speak the languages of our loved ones as the spirit prompted.

Matthew‬ ‭22:36-40‬

““Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””

Book Recommendations

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman

The Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

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Daily Reminders

You’re So Pretty Mom

1 Peter 3:1-6

Each one of my older Children at random times of the day will walk up to me and say, “You’re so pretty mom.” It is usually followed by a hug or a kiss. I will tell them thank you and compliment them on an aspect of their character.

As a mom of four, in all honesty, I don’t feel all that pretty. My body has changed so much over the last 7 years. It has had ups and downs in weight and shapes that I’m not even sure how to dress it anymore. My normal mom uniform consists of yoga pants and t-shirts for their practicality and comfort. Make-up and straightening my hair seems to be left for special occasions of church and the doctors office. Jewelry is toned down. Where I once wore my beautiful engagement ring and band, it is now replaced with multiple colored silicone rings and my ears only bear occasional simple pearls. My outward beauty has seem to have faded into an assortment of convenience and comfort.

So what is it that kids see that is so pretty? I actually asked them one day. I first asked what makes a person pretty and my four year old responded, “Your heart.” I then asked him why do you think I’m pretty? He said, “Because you are nice to us.”

Of course, my heart melted! It also reminded me of Proverbs 31:30

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

At this stage in my life, looking into a mirror does not thrill me. At times, I do lament the body I use to have but it is often followed by gratitude for what my body has gone through. I sometimes get frustrated with my daily uniform but remember it allows me to focus on my children gives me comfort to run around and play in the floor. I’m not worried about spit up or other bodily fluid destroying nice clothes or binding me up where I cannot play tickle monster. My face might be bare but I don’t have to worry about mascara running down my face because I have had a hard day with the kids and I’ve been crying out to Jesus.

This is a time of inner beauty rather than outward beauty. It is a time that God is cultivating fruit of the spirit in me as I seek desperately for Him so that I can teach my children. A time to see beauty in the way the Father sees beauty and a challenge to have confidence in him rather than the way I look.

Before long, the season of little kids and yucky hands will be gone. I will no longer need to wear the mom uniform for practical purposes. The kids will not require my full attention as they do now. However, I suspect that as I move away from this season, I will also be moving away from the phrase, “You’re so pretty mom.” I see the evidence in my oldest. So I will relish this time and continue to peruse beauty in Christ that will last into eternity.

Daily Reminders

Living a Messy Life

Lately God has been using imagery to help me understand His will for me. I have felt like I have been living a messy life. Following God but then trying to take control or getting my focus thrown off. This morning he brought to mind this picture.

Christ lived the perfect life. He did God’s will even unto death. He is our perfect example of how we are to live our lives.

Those who choose to follow God tend to lead messy lives. we have a sinful nature and are prone to sin so we battle between what we want verse what God wants.

Others choose themselves and forsake God’s will altogether. They choose what they believe is best and live life according to their desires.

However, at the end life and when we come before the thrown we will have to give an account for our lives. Christ’s life template will be laid upon our own. His grace will cut away all that laid outside of God’s will. We will either have a life full of his blessings and rewards or we will have had a life that was empty.

How do you choose to live your life? Will you choose to live your life in God’s will even though messy or will choose to live your own way and have lived for nothing?

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭

Daily Reminders

We Were Not Meant To Juggle Life

I was having an overwhelmed moment this morning thinking about how I was to juggle all the facets of my life. The idea was paralyzing. God in his faithfulness, made clear his perfect direction and will.

I have a lot going on in my life. When I take control, it is a constant juggling act and I forget to live life. Everything is competing for my attention and I have limited thought processes for it. I focus on one or two things but everything else falls apart. I get really overwhelmed and I freeze and become ineffective. This is not the way God designed us to think or live our lives, He has a better way.

He wants to be the focal point of our lives. He doesn’t want us to separate life out into neat little boxes and then allow him into each one as a bystander. He doesn’t want to be “in” our lives he wants to be the sovereign authority of our lives.

When he is placed as the authority of our lives every facet of our life falls under him. It would then be his responsibility to balance life for us. Bringing to the forefront of our minds, the right thing at the right time in the right way. When I place life under my authority I cannot balance life because I do not know the right time or right way.

How is This Done Practically?

-Release The Expectations

We all have expectations of how life should go or the way we want it to go. We have in our mind the type of mother we will be, the type of marriage we will have the person we will become. However, these expectations can get in the way of what God has for us. We have to lay down our own thoughts and reasoning and pick up his. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

-Set Our Mind on Christ

We cannot follow God if our minds are not attuned to his. We must make it a priority in our life to have a relationship with God. Developing a quiet time and walking hand in hand with him through out your day is crucial. (Romans 12:2)

-Trust in Him

You are not God and cannot be everywhere and be everything for everyone. However, you can be in the right place at the right time if you trust God to lead you there. You can trust God’s timing and his ways on how to handle each thing. You can trust that his way is best and he is working to your good no matter how it may seem. (Romans 8:28)(Isaiah 55:8-9)

-Remember God’s Grace is Sufficient

You must push away the lies you “need to do more.” The enemy wants you to believe God and his ways are not enough, that you need to add to what he is doing. He will convince you to pick up a facet of your life and try to add to it to take control and make you believe what is being done is not enough. Resist it and remember that Christ’s grace is sufficient and his power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9

-Remember Who You are Serving

Work for God’s glory and his approval not that of friends, family or the world. In the end, it is God’s reward we will store up in heaven that will not perish. If we seek the approval and and glory from those who perish our reward will perish with them. Store up eternal treasure through obedience to the Almighty. (Matthew 6:19-21)

-Remember His Mercies

God’s mercies are renewed each day. You will screw up and fail. You will war within yourself. BUT you don’t have to stay there. You can repent and move forward and what is lost he will restore. Where you fail, he will close the gap. Where you succeed it is through him you were successful. His purpose will be fulfilled regardless. His plans are never thwarted. We are privileged to be apart of his plan and to share in his glory, sufferings and goodness. (Lamentations 3:22-23) (Job 42:2)

If you are overwhelmed and constantly trying to juggle your life, lay it at the feet of Jesus. Allow Jesus to become the authority over your life so he can give you the freedom to live it.

Daily Reminders

Parenting Through Transformation

I truly believe parenting is more about parenting the parent rather than the child. If striving to be a godly parent, the Lord uses parenthood to challenge our ways of thinking, how we live and handle life. It exposes our sins and bad habits and weaknesses. We see ourselves, the good and the bad, in our children and are confronted with ugly truths about ourselves. It is in that confrontation, we make the decision to allow God to transform us so that we may teach our children a new way.

Our mind is the gateway for our actions. What we dwell upon is what we will act upon. If we feed our mind with God’s word, We will be more inclined to act in accordance to His Word. However, the same goes for the opposite. If we dwell upon what is of this world we will act like this world. What we hold onto in our mind is where our heart lies.

When we fail to guard our minds we put ourselves at risk. Satan is like a lion ready and waiting for someone to devour. We must stay vigilant and do away with our sinful desires that will entice us to stray away from God. We must continually seek to have our hearts and our minds transformed by the Lord so that we can test and approve His Holy and pleasing will.

We are blind to our enslavement of our sinful mind. We think our understanding and reasoning is wise and good but we are far from truth. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we can see clear the path that the Lord has laid ahead. It is only through the spirit that we can gain true wisdom and understanding. He says in proverbs 3:5-6, “trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all of your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.”

As parents, we try to do what is best for our children, but if we ourselves do not have the mind of Christ we cannot do what is best for them. We must first surrender our ideas of good and pick up what is good in Christ. We must lay the template of Christ upon our children in preparation for their minds to be transformed by him. Place Holy and pleasing things before them that will build them up in Christ. Guard hearts from what is evil and share with them the knowledge and wisdom that God has shared with you so when the day comes and He knocks upon the hearts they are prepared to open the door.

We must not allow ourselves to become fooled by the worlds way of doing things. It is easy to see the “logic” behind human reasoning but it is godly understanding we must seek. In all of this, it is impossible to do ourselves. We must first seek Christ and not become wise in our own eyes. Acknowledge our lack of understanding and ask for wisdom and it will be given. Be humble in spirit constantly striving toward the eternal prize. Let everything we do and what we say be a testimony of the power of God that resides inside of us. We were not placed here to live as we wish to live but to live as Christ lives so that we may be witnesses to all. Walk in His grace and peace claiming his name because we have been made new. We are raising the next the generation of believers, servants of Christ. Let us be the example of a transformed life. Living the words we preach so that even we fail, because we will, we will still be pointing them to Christ because it is Christ who restores us.

Supporting Scripture

  • “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21
  • “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:8‬
  • “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans‬ ‭12:2‬
  • “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” Romans‬ ‭8:5-8‬
  • “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬
  • “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭11:18-19‬
  • “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:7‬
Daily Reminders

The Unforgiving Heart

I don’t handle hurt well. In the past, I have made very poor decisions when I have been confronted with pain from family or friends. I have been defensive and attacked back with words. I have cut people off refusing them into my life or withholding affection. I have even committed the same sin and justified it because of the hurt I had.

By the worlds standards, I am totally justified to react that way. If someone hurts me, I don’t have to have that person in my life anymore. I can get even and I am justified because of the pain they have brought me. This is so far from God’s word.

My real problem was not the pain that I had incurred. It was the unforgiving heart that I harbored. My unforgiving heart held on to the pain. I made myself a wide open door for Satan to make a stronghold into my life. The unforgiveness I held on to just fueled the pain and distorted my perspective. I believed I was justified to hurt them however I saw fit because they had hurt me. I held them always at an arms length saying in my mind you have hurt me and I reserve the right to cut you out of my heart.

In reality, the only one who was paying for all of this was me. Bitterness grew in my heart and the unforgiveness led me to hurt the ones I loved. I failed to see those who hurt me positively. I always focused on what they did wrong and how they continually failed me. I lacked joy in my life because my eyes were so fixated on what had been done to me. I didn’t want to let go and forgive because I was terrified of being hurt again.

Finally after being so miserable in my state of unforgiveness, I cried out to Jesus to restore what had been destroyed. He began to repair the brokenness I had felt by reminding me I was his. He reminded me that I needed to forgive because I was forgiven. He then began working deep in my heart cutting away at the sin of bitterness that tried to justify my actions. Although, I had already asked him to forgive me, He humbled my proud heart and I sought forgiveness from the ones I had hurt. The amount of shame I felt for what I had done was beyond words. At the time I had committed it, I was so blind I felt no remorse but now my heart breaks for what I did.

Forgiving someone who has hurt you is very difficult and sometimes impossible. However, holding onto the the pain and not forgiving them will only destroy you from the inside. It will skew your perspective and cause you to justify your actions towards them that are against Gods word. The losing party will be you. You will lose life lost in the pain of what they did. You will constantly be looking for them to screw up next and expecting the next round of hurt.

In Christ alone, can we choose to lay down our hurt and pain and forgive those who hurt us. We can choose to lay down that offense and forgive because we have been forgiven. We are the ultimate offenders against Christ. With our sin, we placed him on the cross and he died there for us. He forgave us when we did not deserve anything but death. He wiped clean our slate and brought us back into right standing with the Father. Let us walk in His grace and extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us so that we can live like Christ.

Supporting Scripture

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

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Matthew‬ ‭5:38-39‬ ‭NIV‬

““You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

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