Tag Archives: fear

I just can’t forget it.

4 Mar

We’re going to tackle another comment and concern that arose during the sex series I posted 2 weeks ago.

Again as always, if you’re in an abusive marriage or one where habitual addictive sin is present (drug use, an ongoing affair, physical violence) please seek professional help.  I am not qualified to assist in those situations.

It was brought to light that some women reading along are really struggling with trying new things, being vulnerable, and letting loose in the bedroom because their husband has said something or done something that really hurt their feelings.

If you’re married, there is no doubt in my mind that your spouse has hurt your feelings.  We are all sinners, we all struggle with selfishness, and it’s inevitable that we will occasionally hurt each others feelings.

In this instance, we’re not talking about when he said “your spaghetti isn’t quite as good as my mothers.”  While that can sting, it usually doesn’t make someone filled with sexual inhibitions for years.

We’re talking about the comments that sting a little worse in that department directly.

Comments like:

“I’ve noticed you really haven’t shed all the baby weight yet.”

“Hmmmm, I was with someone else before and SHE liked that.”

“That position isn’t really the best view for me.”

“You’re wrong.  Plenty of women do that for their husband.  What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m actually really attracted to “this” body type (showing you something polar opposite of yourself.)”

Can we just say this all together now? …… OUCH!

Those words (or similar ones) can cut like a knife.  And they don’t vanish very quickly.  In fact, even when apologized for — Satan LOVES to bring them back to the front of our minds over and over again like a broken record.

Even when we’re committed to forgiving and moving on, many women do better in a lot of ways, but still secretly struggle and hold back in other areas because the words just wounded them in such a way they can’t seem to heal and move on.

If you’re looking for me to write a couple of paragraphs with magic words or a quick fix, I can’t. I wish I could, but there is no “quick fix.”  And even though you’re the hurt one, it’s going to take work on your end to move on.  BUT, I really believe you can move on.  And I’ll share with you how I think you can get started.

I honestly believe across the board with forgiveness, the best way to start the process is to empathize with the person who hurt you.

WAIT! Don’t stop reading.  I know you’re thinking, “empathize with the man who said it really shouldn’t take two years to get that twenty pounds off?!”

I’m not telling you to imagine you said those words, because you didn’t and you wouldn’t.

What I want you to do is think of the worst thing you’ve ever said or done.  Seriously, the WORST thing.

Hold on.  Don’t breeze past this.  This is REALLY crucial.

Have you ever lied to someone and they found out?  Have you ever gossiped about someone not even really knowing if it was true and in turn caused some major repercussions for this person? Have you ever said something hurtful to someone and you knew the second the words came out of your mouth you’d went too far?  Have you ever told someone they could trust you, but then used what they said against them or told someone else anyway?

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?

Now, imagine if that was the yard stick in which you were measured for the rest of your life.  Inhibitions go up everywhere in that area of life from anyone who knows.

You can no longer be trusted, be confided in, be believed, be accepted, or be a safe place for another person again.

If the desire inside of you for your apology to erase the hurt, and provide a new chance exists for yourself – you’ll finally find the empathy inside of you to extend that much mercy and forgiveness to someone else.  Including your husband.

Does that mean you’ll magically forget immediately?  Of course not.  But when those thoughts arrive, it’s a lot easier to take them captive telling Satan, “No.  This yard stick is not the standard for measuring my husband.  I’m going to measure him based on the hundreds of amazing things he’s done and said for me. He deserves forgiveness and another chance.  You want to destroy my intimacy.  You know if you keep this hurt at the front of my mind, the sexual experience we need to keep practicing over and over again to bind us in a way we can never be separated will be hindered and this tactic stops.”

Will repeating this once make all the pain go away and never allow it to come to your mind again?  No.  But! You WILL feel the chains loosen.

Now, comes the proactive part of fighting for your marriage.

Your goal is not to make the hurt vanish.

Here is the reality — a wound is an open sore.  There is the process of scabbing over which usually comes in the form of an apology and/or a choice to forgive (even without an apology), and finally comes a scar.

Scars do not hurt.  Yes, they still exist and can be seen but not every scar has to remain a negative story.  It can become a positive.  It can be a reminder of your growth in Christ by being able to forgive, extend mercy, show grace, and overcome Satan’s attempts to defeat you.

What happens for most of us in these situations is when the scab is almost healed, we ourselves rip it back off exposing the wound again.  If we never let the scab heal all the way and become a scar, we live with an open wound constantly and endlessly hung up on that one incident and destroy our whole future.

There is a lesson in learning to scar.  It’s unfortunate when it comes at the hands of our husband, but God wastes nothing.

The purpose of marriage is to MAKE US HOLY, not to make us HAPPY.  Being married to a human hurts sometimes.  That doesn’t mean it’s beyond the hand of God.  There is no way that God wastes a thing in our lives.  If the wound happened, He wants you to grow into holiness because of it.  Not to stay wounded because your happiness was faltered.

I know your husband caused the hurt.  But it really is up to you to become holy, or to stay the victim.

Practical Application:

Think about your biggest mistake and what it would mean if that was the yard stick in which you were measured for the rest of you life?

Take that realization and turn it into empathy for your husband.

Get on your knees and come to a place of accepting that this wound was always an opportunity for you to become holy, even when it hurt, and even when the scab kept coming off.   God wants it to scar over so you can use it in your testimony instead of being held back from what He has for you in the future — especially in your marriage.

You want me to WHAT?!

1 Mar

I’m going to write a couple posts addressing a few comments to my sex series that came publicly and through private email.

Today’s topic – How do I handle it when he asks me to do something new that I’m not thrilled about?

This question is pretty heavy because there are SO many different scenarios this addresses.  So, please read this knowing that I will not touch on every single issue, but that I’ll do my best to cover the most common ones.  Especially if you’re looking for professional guidance on abuse, porn addiction and physical infidelity, I am not qualified to be the main source of help. (If you’re in this situation, please seek professional support.)

First and foremost, let’s address our responses to new ideas before we even dig into if you really should try them.

I know that for many women, we really struggle with our feelings being our truth.  That is such a dangerous reality and can cause us extreme problems in every area of our lives.  It’s good and right for us to first ask ourselves if we have a habit of doing this.  Ask these questions:

-When I feel something about a specific issue, does it affect how I react in numerous areas of my life? (I’m upset with my husband about “x”, so I’ll stop doing this, this and this for him too.)

-When I feel something, do I trust that feeling and assume I should act immediately on that feeling? (I feel hurt.  I bet my husband doesn’t even care how much that hurt me.  And he’s not even going to apologize for what he did.  He probably even did it on purpose because he cares about himself more than he cares about me.)

-Do I often speak with the words “always & never” when I have a strong feeling about something? (You forgot to call me and let me know you would be late.  You NEVER take my feelings into consideration.  You ALWAYS do what is best for you and don’t care about how it’ll affect me.)

If you’ve struggled with this habit (that most women do) first of all, you’re not alone.  But secondly, it is really good to recognize this and get a handle on this outside of the bedroom so it doesn’t carry over into the bedroom.

Otherwise, when he asks you to try something new — you might “feel” a certain way about it, trust that feeling, and then in turn make wrongful assumptions or conclusions and really hurt your husband.

Whether or not we “like” this truth — the only thing I can find in scripture that is printed clearly for us that is wrong sexually is:

– sex before marriage

– infidelity (sex outside of marriage, or in marriage with the inclusion of more than one man and one woman.)

– lust for anyone other than your spouse

– homosexuality

– bestiality

I don’t see anywhere that says “multiple positions, oral sex, anal sex, conversation (the inclusion of any/all words), or role-playing” is listed as wrong, sinful or unholy.

In fact, scripture tells us that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.

For the couple that includes these things with the permission and enjoyment of both people in the marriage – this is good.

For the couple that includes these things against the will or to the discomfort of one or both people in the marriage – this is not a beneficial addition to the sexual relationship.

However, the important thing to remember is that even if something is really scary for you, or not something you desire, THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOUR HUSBAND IS WRONG FOR WANTING TO TRY.

It is easy for us to think strong things when we feel caught off guard or asked to do something that feels wrong to us.

Maybe these thoughts have crossed your mind or come out of your mouth before:

– I’m not doing that.  I’m not a whore.

– Nasty.  That’s gross.

– What?  Are you gay if you’re that into anal sex?

– What is wrong with you that you’d even consider something like that?

– Are you unhappy with “ME” and what I will do so you’re trying to change me into someone else?

– Where did you even see something like that, are you being unfaithful to me?  That desire can’t possibly come naturally.

– That’s disgusting that you’d even ask me that.

That’s not a holy response, and it’s not OK for us to say these things.  Unless he is OUTRIGHT asking you to sin… we have no permission to shame, belittle, disrespect or condemn him for having a desire and asking us (HIS WIFE) to consider fulfilling it.

(To the men who read my blog- I RARELY address you, because I write primarily as a woman to women, and I take seriously that Scripture says a woman should not teach with authority to a man… in this instance, though, I am going to offer a suggestion that I think you should strongly consider before dismissing.  Our culture is sex crazed, and Satan can convince us to give into every desire we have by making it an idol or give it improper jurisdiction of our hearts.  It’s OK to have ideas for the bedroom and to take them to your wife, but not everything is beneficial sexually for you, your wife, or for you both as a couple.  If you’re really interested in something -like anal sex- do some DEEP research on the matter and discover if it is really safe for both of your health and what you’d need to consider to make it safe or after looking into the possible side effects for many women- if this is something worth even taking to her, what things you could present to her that would help her consider it, and even how to dismiss this craving if it would cause her physical or emotional harm. Just like she has no business shaming you for a desire, you have no business shaming her for her inhibitions to a desire.)

That being said women – we are their wives and it should be a desire of our heart to meet their deepest needs, requests and desires.  Before acting wildly harsh because of emotions, fears or inhibitions — give what he’s saying some thought.

A few good responses are:

– I’m up for giving this a try.  I’m not sure how it will go.  Can we take this slow? If it’s not working out, I’ll let you know so we can do something more comfortable.

– Wow! That sounds sexy.  I’ve never considered anything like that before.  Can I think about it and research it a little before we discuss giving this a try?

– I have a few fears and reservations about that. I’m not ready yet but I promise to pray about this and see if I can overcome my concerns.

– I love you so much and I think it’s awesome that you have that desire, but that position hurts me and I’m unable to do it with joy.  Would you be up for trying something close or brainstorming together for something to replace that desire?

Despite how crazy some of his suggestions might be — it’s really an honor ladies that he desires hot and crazy sex and that he wants YOU to fulfill these exciting longings in him.

Practical Application:

– Spend some time on the first section discovering if your emotions get to control your thoughts and actions.

– Consider your responses, and use gentleness to express what you’re ready or not ready to do.

– Pray about being willing to try some new things.  You never know, it might sound outlandish and freaky at first — but often times, he’s looking for new ways to please you too and it might be something you end up being wild about yourself!

I’m bringing sexy back, move over worldly girls. (Part 3 of 5)

22 Feb

If you’ve ended up here without first reading “What is the big deal about sex anyway?” which is part 1 of this series, please stop and go read that first.  It’s important to gather all the information in a series to gain the full benefit and understand where we’ve been and where we’re going.

 If you are in an abusive marriage, a marriage with continual habitual sin (like an addiction or an affair) or have a past that contains sexual abuse or rape, please seek professional help.  This series is not written with the intent to address these exceptional situations, but rather is being written for married Christian couples who are seeking the truth about sex within marriage assuming there are no abusive or habitual sinful behaviors taking place.

Move over worldly girls?  What exactly are you getting at here?

If you don’t believe in Satan, then this post will mean nothing to you.  And if you don’t believe that Satan roams the Earth looking for souls to devour, and that he is insanely beautiful and his temptations play deeply into our actual God-given needs and desires…. just stop and don’t read any further.  Because you’ll just end up feeling like you wasted your time.

For the rest of us, one of Satan’s greatest games comes in the form of worldly women.  The way they talk, the way they dress, the way they entice, the way they beg, the way they tease, the way they flirt, the way they give so freely, and the way they care about nobody else but themselves — they are after one thing and one thing only…. EVERY. SINGLE. MAN. ON. THIS. PLANET.

They aren’t just chasing the tale of those super-model gorgeous types.  They are wolves, and they want every single guy to drool over them and gawk out of the corner of their eye, no matter how old he is, what he looks like, and if he’s married or not.

And every truly Godly man on the planet has a battle to fight each day.  The temptations are everywhere.  And their desire is REAL and TOTALLY GOD-GIVEN.

If you miss that point, you’ll walk away without being changed.  Listen to this again.

THEIR DESIRE FOR SEXUAL STIMULATION THROUGH NAKED, SEXY, BEGGING WOMEN IS 100% GOD-GIVEN!!!

It is no mistake that men crave women’s bodies.  God CREATED sex… and without excitement, the penis wouldn’t become erect enough to function properly.

So to think that arousal from visual stimulation and inviting women isn’t normal is foolishness.

Do these women who entice our husbands realize how destructive they are?  Some of them do.  And others don’t.  I never said Satan only used those who knew what they were doing.  He can trick anyone into sinning – and make them think they are actually doing something good or normal.

Do you know why the success of the porn industry is so great? It’s for two reasons.

1.) Satan thrives on tricking and trapping us by exposing our real honest God-given desires and needs and coaxing us into fulfilling them in sinful ways.

2.) These women appear to truly desire the men looking and watching.

WOW! That number two is a game changer.

Before I get hateful comments and emails let me clear two things up really quickly.

1.) I am not at all saying that men only sin because women dress or act a certain way.  Of course a man has the choice to give into temptation or not.

2.) I am not at all ABOUT to say that wives are responsible for whether their husbands sin sexually or not.

However, wives – we have a choice.

We can stand up and fight for our man and marriage against Satan, or, we can sit back and blame him relentlessly for having desires we don’t feel like filling.

Let’s talk about how we bring sexy back into our  marriage like nothing he’s ever seen before.

It’s all about ONE thing.  Are you ready for it?

CONFIDENCE.

When you command the bedroom with confidence, that is the SEXIEST your body can ever look no matter what your hang ups are (and we’ll get to those in a minute.)

I’m not suggesting you’ll be able to do all these things by tonight, but start small and stay focused on getting better and better.

Take your clothes off for him.  Crawl around on the bed.  Talk sexy.  Look at him like he’s the sexiest man you’ve ever seen.  Put his hands on you and beg him to make love to you.

What’s that?

Oh.  You’re too fat right now?  You have acne? The kids left you with some stretch marks? Your boobs shrunk two sizes? You have some cellulite on your thighs or butt?

Check, check, check, check and check…. I’ve said them all at different times.

I know you don’t believe me, but you’re gonna have to come to grips with this truth some day…. or you’re going to miss out on the joy God truly created the marriage bed to be.  Your husband doesn’t care and he doesn’t see you like you see you.

With dim lights, intimate and sexy talk you never say in front of anyone else and confidence, he can’t see any of that… and his mind is TOTALLY elsewhere anyway.  And even if the lights were totally on…. his visual is not your visual.

You have something over every other woman on this planet as an arsenal if you decide to strap on your armor and start fighting for your marriage bed.

HE. LOVES. YOU.

If the woman he loves is confidently rolling around in the sheets with him, everyone else becomes invisible. Even when you’re apart, he’s picturing you naked in that crazy position the two of you made-up last night that blew his mind. And the girl at the grocery store has to look for new prey to try to lure in her trap.

But just to be real with you…. when your husband committed to marry you, he agreed to enjoy every ounce of sexual desire he could muster up with you and you alone.  Take some pride in that.  Keep up with yourself.

Am I saying you have to work out like a fool to be a size zero and get plastic surgery?  No.  That’s ridiculous.

But if you’re not feeling good about yourself and it’s messing with your confidence…. then take some pride in the commitment he made to you and do something about it, so you can give him everything you want him to have for the rest of his life.

Find a way to get some of the weight off, go see a dermatologist, buy some lingerie to cover the parts you’re struggling with so you can command the bedroom without feeling too exposed.

And for heaven’s sake…. don’t start believing he isn’t worth it.  The minute you think that, that’s the very moment you’ve given up on Echad.  And that means, you’ve given up on your marriage…. even if you never ask him for a divorce.  You can divorce him in your actions, without ever signing a single paper.

Practical Application:

Start small, but be intentional.

Maybe the safest thing you can think of is to start by sending suggestive text messages that are confident and initiative but not actually you performing a strip tease.

Awesome.  Start there.  But resolve in your heart that you’re as committed to him as you want him to be to you.  And don’t give up.  Get your confidence back and fight for your husband’s sexual desires. Once you really realize how beautiful it is that he has those desires, and you have the power to unlock every ounce of pleasure he’s ever felt…. you’ll realize how good it is that he begs you for sex everyday.

Here’s some awesome resources on this subject from another awesome blogger!

Train for trust.

15 Jan

Last night, I got my first real chance to trust my husband without time to think and prepare.  One year ago, I would have crashed, burned, devastated my husband and hurt our marriage. I’m really thankful this morning that I now have a years worth of training under my belt.

Training?  Yep. You got it. We do not learn new habits or grow in our strength without training.

Just like with the muscles in our physical bodies, we have spiritual muscles as well.  Situations in life are constant opportunities for us to build and strengthen our muscles, or ignore them and allow them to remain weak and unhealthy.

If you were to lay down on a weight bench having never lifted weights before, it is very unlikely you could lift 100 pounds of weight ten times, especially without fatigue or injury.

But if you’ve been strength training for a year, multiple times a week, your chances of succeeding would be much higher and your body would feel conditioned instead of exhausted and sore.

The same is true of our spiritual muscles.  Our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, trust, forgiveness, and maturity muscles all need exercised and conditioned.

And in marriage, TRUST is a big, big muscle.  Especially for a woman trying hard to be submissive to her husband.  Submissive, that’s a loaded word right?  Actually, no… if you know the Biblical meaning, it’s not really that loaded, at least not in a negative way.

A submissive wife is just a wife who has chosen to honor God and His design for marriage by accepting her husband’s leadership and coming under his protection.  She simply has enough self-control to help her husband instead of compete with him for control.  She is not a doormat or a slave.  She’s an encourager, supporter and friend who trusts God and His design more than herself and her pride.

Submission does not come naturally or easily.  We all need practice. And constant help from the Holy Spirit.  And the best way to practice is to practice on purpose.

Most people don’t strength train their body on accident, or only when situations present themselves.  They intentionally set up a routine and keep their appointments.

The same is true in marriage.

Satan would like to interject here that this is manipulation.  No, it absolutely is not.  There is a VERY REAL DIFFERENCE between manipulation and intent to grow as a God-honoring submissive wife.  And that difference is defined by motive.

So before practicing to grow any spiritual muscle, define your motive.  Do you hope to move closer to God?  Or do you hope to control God, someone or something?

On a personal note, I knew growing my trust muscle was going to be intense work.  Just like trying to flatten a belly after having four kids.  It wasn’t going to magically happen on its own.  Especially because I was a VERY controlling wife.

I, like most women, fell very hard into the feminist preaching that “I am a capable, brilliant and hard-working woman.  My ideas are valid and intelligent, and often better than a man’s.”

So, when interacting with  my husband – I trusted myself and my ideas always as the best option and the safest and most secure choice.

I remember my husband once calling me outside to tell me about a landscaping idea he had.  And what did I do?  Question it.  Why would you do it like this?  Why wouldn’t you do it like that?  Doesn’t this make more sense?  I’d do it like this…..

Truth be told, I couldn’t care less about landscaping!  Why was my gut instinct to do that? Because I had very little trust in my husband to make good choices and to lead me.  And over landscaping?  Yikes!!  I TOLD YOU I had a lot of growing to do.

So how do you practice your trust muscle in your marriage?  Be intentional about asking your husband’s opinion and then trust him.

If you have been untrusting and unsubmissive for a long time, you’re going to have to start small and help your husband find his voice.  Chances are, your husband doesn’t even give you his opinion anymore.  Why would he?  And he may even bulk at being asked and side step your question putting it back on you.

Start small and start safe.  Use five-pound weights and do only a few reps.

Ask him something he definitely has an opinion about.  A really great option is picking his favorite meal and putting it up against something he really doesn’t like.

Would you prefer pizza or meatloaf for supper tonight?  And when he answers say “Ok.”  And then after supper, thank him.  “You know, that was really good pizza tonight.  You made a great choice.  Thanks for helping me decide.”

Everyone appreciates being validated and we’re all encouraged to give our opinions and ideas when they are appreciated.

Then, continue weekly to ask questions that are more challenging for you to trust, and stick to your guns.

The truth is, even if your husband picks wrong or leads you in a direction with a negative consequence, God is sovereign and His design is flawless.  Your husband can only become a better leader by making mistakes and growing in His listening ability to the Lord by the weight of consequences, both good and bad.  He isn’t going to make a decision that removes you from the will of God (unless He asks you to sin, in which case, you should be submissive to Christ first and not sin with him) and God will bless you and your marriage for honoring His design.  You will grow closer to God individually, and as a couple.

As you grow in your trust, your husband will grow in his confidence and leadership.

It will not always be easy.  Like I said when I started this post, last night was hard for me.  But I feel safe with my husband and I know that God will be sovereign over all his decisions.  No matter what happens, I have joy in the Lord knowing that I’m trusting Him, and I’m protecting the unity of my marriage.

Practical Application –

Do you need to start exercising your trust muscle?

Make a list of questions you can start asking your husband and trust his leadership and wisdom.

Resolve.

3 Jan

So, I’m sorry to get so mushy, gushy on you yesterday.  Thank you everyone for not unsubscribing.  I’m a little smitten lately and I’m bouncing around like a love struck twelve-year-old. I promise… no lovey – dovey post today.

I’ve had some time to reflect on the past and what it means to be entering 2014.  Does that look weird to anyone else?  Shouldn’t it still be like 1999?  Anyone? Anyway…

And in true cliché fashion… here are 14 things I need to work on/ change for 2014.

1.) My prayer life.  The next time I’m at the store, I need to pick up a prayer journal.  I recently ran across some old ones and I remembered, my prayer life was so much more intentional and genuine when I took the time to write them out.  I’m very good at offering up quick prayers, and praying with the kids in the car on the way to school (both good things) but the real heartfelt confessions, prayers for others, and seeking the Lord’s guidance-  has been sorely lacking and missing.

2.) Quality time with my children.  If you think you’re not a selfish person, have some kids.  In fact, have four.  I lose the drive to do anything with any of them because I’m going to have to do something with all of them and frankly, I rarely have the patience.

The fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, PATIENCE…. yeah, about that.  Why I am not getting this?  Selfishness.

3.) I suppose that means I better work on selfishness.  I can’t be patient with others, including my kids because I’m too concerned with myself.  What I’d rather be doing, what I feel – what I like – what it’ll cost me – what I have to give up. ME, ME, ME.

4.) Fasting.  I started out last year with my first ever 21 day fast and it was so good.  We saw some truly incredible fruit from the Lord and I was so encouraged. I mean things we’d been praying over for 10 years, and God just busted walls down and made things happen like I’d never seen before.  It blew my mind!!  I kept fasting once a week for a long time… until, I stopped.  And I never started back up.

I’m gearing up for another 21 day fast.  You want to join me?  Let me know and we’ll encourage and pray for each other through email.

The best way to cure selfishness — fast.  If I want to learn to be selfless, it’s time to deny myself and elevate Christ — and fasting does that instantly.

5.) Serve my family more.  I  spend a lot of time serving my family by keeping the house running.  But to really serve each member individually – well, I don’t do it.  But I want to.  I want to learn each of my children’s love languages, and build them up more.  I don’t want to co-exist with them and discipline them for 18 years.  I want to love them and build a lasting relationship with them.  I need to study them and serve them in ways that speak right to their heart. Because they matter to me. I love them.  My husband too.

6.) Laugh more.  Life is serious.  Death comes quickly.  And eternity is permanent.  But life is beautiful, precious, and a gift — it’s not meant to be lived in a state of constant worry/stress, depression or bitterness.  It’s meant to be enjoyable and fulfilling.  We need to laugh and joke and smile so much more than we do.

7.) Trust and submit to my husband.  I learned last year (as you read from my sappy love saga yesterday) that God’s way works, it’s wonderful and perfect.  But if I for one second think I have this stuff mastered, let my guard down, or stop praying for God’s constant help — I’ll fall right back into a worldly way of living out my marriage.  It’s easy for natural human tendencies and ideals of the world to creep in quickly.  But I know my husband was given the headship of this family by God Himself and He will not fail us, forsake us, or leave us when we follow Him.  My husband is amazing, and he’s an incredible leader.  I trust him.  But I will never stop making this a constant priority.

8.) Protect my eyes and ears better.  I’ve noticed that we’re spending more time with non-Christians and the language and conversation topics can turn unholy quickly.  Instead of listening, or trying to participate still in some way… I need to remove myself.  I spent many years speaking unholy, and if I know anything to be true for me – it’s what goes in is most likely to come back out.  I don’t need to be picking up any accidental temptations or habits.  I need to give myself the freedom to walk away.

9.) Touch more.  More hugs – More kisses – more holding hands – more running my fingers through my husband and my children’s hair.  Physical touch is so important.  And I’m convinced that a lack of physical touch can lead to earlier sexual experiences for the hope of being held and wanted.

10.) Spend less time on the internet.  I have no idea why the darn thing is so addicting anyway?  What really am I searching for? What need is it meeting?  Why is it appealing to check Facebook and check it again five minutes later… like some life altering thing might have happened in that five minutes I might have missed.  And really… why am I bored?  Sounds like I have too much idle time… and we know what scripture says about women with idle time…. yep – let’s clean that up this year.

11.) Talk less.  Oh boy… confession time.  I *can be* the type of person who is planning what I’m going to say while you’re still talking. I mean, we all have to do that a little…. or else conversations would have a LOT of dead air time and wouldn’t flow very well.  But, I shouldn’t be so busy preparing what to say that I really don’t listen well.  Besides, without my interjection… people might have more to say.  And more that I should hear.  I’ve been working on this for  few years, but I have more work to do.  I actually hate the sound of my own voice – just hearing my own voicemail is awkward, and yet… I talk like other people love the sound of my voice.  Hmm…..

12.) Continue to grow in mercy.  Again as with # 7, I’m a fool if I think I have this mastered, especially on my own.  I know without the Holy Spirit, I couldn’t know or show mercy at all.  But everyone in this world is being judged by someone, it’s a good idea to understand, we are not the judge.  God is the judge.  It’s our job to love God and love others.  It’s pretty hard to love someone you’re judging.  But it’s really easy to love someone you’re merciful toward.  Keep choosing mercy, and leave the judging to the Judge.

13.) **If you’re under 18 or unmarried, SKIP THIS ONE!!**  Have even more sex – Better sex, longer sex, take your time, give back rubs, and TALK, TALK, TALK about EVERYTHING in the bedroom. Why?  Because NOTHING, and I do mean NOTHING binds a married couple better than sex. If you’re going to be with one person the rest of your life and you want that marriage to be intimate, fulfilling and rewarding — make your sex life the best sex life of any couple to ever exist.  And talk about intimate and non-intimate things before or after sex while you’re naked and cuddling.  It’s easier to discuss, and it’s much more vulnerable and intimate and gives you that ability to drop walls and male/female hang ups.  If you want to be married to your best friend – this is the one thing you give each other that you give no one else… do it often, do it well, and add more dynamics than you had in 2013.

14.) Last but not least…. stop waiting to have enough money to (fill in the blank with….) Give / Go on dates / Fix a need — (I would never advice being a poor steward) however — God provides for His children.  Don’t stop giving to His people, cultivating your marriage, or refusing to fix needs for fear that God won’t be faithful to provide.  God is good for His word.  Don’t wait to trust your bank account instead of Him.

Practical Application —

I’ve got other things to work on too… but these are what I’m focusing on this year.  It’ll be tough, and I won’t be flawless.  But my goals are set.

What about you?

Phil is not a victim.

20 Dec

This whole saga with Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty consumed the air waves and social media outlets yesterday like I’ve never seen anything else before! I read at least 5 different blogs or articles yesterday and viewed a minimum of 10 different edited photos with a picture of Phil or the family and some sort of quote added.
Majority of my friends on social media are Christians so I didn’t view too many that weren’t in major support of Phil, the show and the family. But they are out there too!

My personal opinion on all this? Let me put it in three parts.

1.) Yes I agree, Christians seem to have a hard go of it when it comes to freedom of beliefs and speech. However, there is a difference between freedom and consequences. Phil was not thrown in jail or killed (freedom) Phil was suspended from work (consequence). Unfortunately, there are negative consequences to even the good actions we make as Christians some times, and this is the result of A&E in a panic that the loudest most vile sect of people are going to destroy them if they don’t act rash. Fear makes us do all kinds of irrational things.

2.) The world is watching every Christian right now. If we stand in protest in a name-calling, crude and degrading humorous way, we are not representing Christ well. Yes, it is good and wise to stand up for your beliefs. But with dignity, humility, honesty, love and tact. Be careful of those pictures and links that you like and share on your page.

3.) Phil is not a victim. And we’re slandering the gospel if we make him one. Scripture tells us that persecution is coming and that we are blessed when we are persecuted for righteousness sake. And that we are to rejoice when we face trials of any kind because it develops perseverance.

I do not know Phil personally, so maybe I am speaking way out of turn here — but I think I know him well enough to say, He does not feel like a victim today. He is living his life for Christ today, exactly like he was three days ago. He is not compiling a team of lawyers to sue everyone upside down and inside out for picking and choosing what they used from his interview, or the slanderous way they are portraying him on national television.
Instead, he’s praying with his family for strength and asking God how they can best keep spreading the gospel and serving Him.

If we treat Phil like a victim, we’re acting surprised. We shouldn’t be surprised. The Bible, which we put our entire faith in as the living, breathing, Word of God is proving itself true and accurate. We should be praising God for His unfailing prophecies that solidify our faith. And, we should be rejoicing with Phil for the rewards he will receive, and thanking God for godly men out there living the truth of the gospel unashamed.

Practical Application:

I think all too often, we run for the victim card – assuming if we’re the victim, we’re the winner in the situation. But on God’s team, there are no victims, only saints who receive their treasures in Heaven as they build their eternal home while working on Earth.

We bring the Kingdom come.

11 Dec

I think I’ve told you here before that a few years ago I was taught through scripture what spiritual gifts are and when they are given – and it changed everything about my walk with the Lord.  The moment you are saved and the Holy Spirit explodes inside of you specific gifts given with the intent for you to complete the body of Christ on Earth, and you discover what those gifts are, your entire life mission changes.

In the same way that Paul was a Christian killer and then suddenly was an apostle who started the early church.

And how Barnabas was the encourager who refuted arguments among believers and strengthened their confidence in their ministries.

And how Peter had discernment that could ONLY be given by God in that he knew that Ananias and Sapphira were lying about the amount of money they brought forward and they fell dead instantly.

The majority of Christians live their entire lives not knowing what their spiritual gifts are and never strengthen or use them.

Gifts are just like a muscle.  If you want it to grow, you exercise it and practice using it in the correct ways.  If you were given the gift of incredibly strong legs, but you choose to never walk – your legs would be weak and unproductive to the body.  If you were given the gift of strong sight, but kept your eyes closed, your eyes would be useless to the body.

The same if true of our spiritual gifts and our effectiveness to the body of Christ.

If you are given the gift of teaching, but you never teach anyone – you are wasting your gift to make the body of Christ productive and functionally fully.  If you are given the gift of hospitality but refuse to be hospitable to those you’d rather not be, your gift only gets exercised with light weights and it’ll never grow becoming all it was meant to be.

My gifts are Mercy and Teaching.

When I first discovered this, I flounder in learning to use them both.  Teaching was a piece of cake for me.  But mercy, well, I only wanted to be merciful to those I wanted to be merciful to by my own choosing.

My gift was weak and unexercised. I started to challenge myself to ask God to grow this gift, and to help me die to myself in the process.

This incredible thing happened — the people I felt the least merciful toward in my life kept coming to mind and kept crossing my path.

It reminds me of something I heard on the radio this past week (not an exact quote because I can’t remember it perfectly, but you’ll get the idea.)

– I asked God for courage, so He led me into a dangerous situation.

– I asked God for contentment, so He allowed for a season where I was unemployed.

– I asked God for patience, so He provided a season of waiting.

– I asked God for forgiveness, so He brought to mind someone I hadn’t forgiven.

That’s powerful right?! We don’t miraculously obtain everything we ask God for — we grow our faith in Him by practicing and exercising that faith in the world we live.

I started to really develop the gift of mercy when I came face to face with my past a couple of years ago.  I have a rap sheet that’s pretty horrible.  I ran away from it the best I could…. but it always followed me somehow.  And it usually came in the form of someone not letting me forget by their actions that I was “known for who I really was, hated, mocked and not worthy of love.”

It’s very hard to let go of your past, when others won’t.

But, I had to start coaching my mind with the truths from scripture.  God truly had forgiven me as far as the east is from the west.  He created in  me a clean heart and renewed a right spirit within me.  He had called me from the mire and put my feet on Holy ground. He made me a co-heir in the kingdom of Heaven and gave me spiritual gifts to bring that kingdom to Earth.

I had been shown great mercy.  And so, I longed through  my gift to show great mercy.

Maybe your rap sheet isn’t as bad as mine, so your feeling like you haven’t had to be forgiven for much, leaves you with a lack compassion – mercy – and forgiveness for others because they are way worse than you, and you’d never do what they have done.

But maybe just maybe, you’re like me — and you know exactly what you’ve done in this life that Jesus had to die on that cross for, and you’re ready to find out what your spiritual gifts are, and get busy bringing the kingdom come.

The words of this song just pierced my heart this morning — so I’ll share them here.

Sitting at the stoplight
He can’t be bothered by the heart cry
Written on the cardboard in her hands
Oh, but when she looks him in the eye
His heart is broken, open wide
And he feels the hand of God reach out through him
As heaven touches earth

Oh, we bring the kingdom come
Oh, with every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom come

There’s silence at the table
He wants to talk but he’s not able
For all the shame that’s locked him deep inside
Oh, but her words are the medicine
When she says they can begin again
And forgiveness will set him free tonight
As heaven touches earth

Oh, we bring the kingdom come
Oh, with every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom come

God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you
I said, God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you

Oh, we bring the kingdom come
Oh, with every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom

Click here to listen to it now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4bB7BUxBbY

Practical Application –

Whatever God speaks to you… go with that.