World View vs Biblical View: Marriage

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I just read a post by a fellow blogger entitled, “Role Confusion and the Modern Woman” and started writing a comment but as I kept writing and writing (and writing) I thought that maybe this was getting a tad long for a mere comment. Since the questions that she raises are good, thought-provoking ones I thought that instead of commenting I would write my own post in response.

In order to fully appreciate where I am now, one must understand where I came from. Before I met Chuck and got married I led the “ideal” feminist life. While still in my early twenties I worked for a Fortune 500 company jet-setting and leaving my mark on the world. (For the complete story on my transformation take a look at my three-part series: The Farm: Part 1, The Farm: Part 2, and The Farm: Part 3). Now I am a part-time stay-stay-at-home wife; going to work two days a week, selling Pampered Chef on the side, and relishing every moment at home with my baby girl.

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(Our “duck faces”)

I think that part of the confusion of a woman’s/wife’s role, like Lindsey touched on, is the “feminist” view that our generations tend to be indoctrinated with. The denotations and connotations of words like submissive and housewife have become completely garbled up. I touched on this in my Submission is Strength post but, since I am on a role expressing unpopular views (like about modesty) I figure I’ll go ahead and expound a bit.

In Genesis 2:18 we are clearly told the reason of woman’s creation. It says, “Then The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'” (ESV, italics added). First, we were created to be a “helper”, second we were “fit”-we were expressly made and customized (like a pair of couture pants) for our husband! What attention and detail our God gave us!

The problem that seems to grate most is that pesky word “helper”, or “help-meet” in some translations. Before that spur under your saddle digs too deeply, pause for a moment and read Proverbs 31:10-31. REALLY read it, don’t get overwhelmed at all that she does but rather look at the woman that she is; at her qualities or characteristics. Here we have a woman who could easily put all those “feminist” views to rest.

The P31 woman is business-savy (what!?!): vs 16a, “She considers a field and buys it; …]”. She is compassionate (vs 20) and fashionable (vs 21-22). She is hard-working (vs 15) and dignified (vs 25). She has a sense of humor (vs 25) and is well thought of by everyone (vs 31). She is loved by her family (vs 28) and known for her kindness (vs 26).

Now, tell me, exactly what part of this woman is weak? Yes, we are called to submit to our husbands but this does not equal “lesser than”. Is an employee “less than” their boss because they submit to authority? Uhm, no. Each is an equally important member of the organization. The feminist view has contorted the true image of a godly wife and turned her into a voiceless pansy when in reality she is anything but.

So why, then, do we tend shun the biblical role of wife? I think that, at least for me initially, it was a culmination of multiple factors. First, I didn’t truly understand who this P31 woman was. Second, part of me dreaded the responses and looks that I would (and still) get from those who equate choosing to be a housewife (in the capacity that I can) with “wasting” my degree or life. Third, self-doubt; how can I be a “productive member of society” while sitting at home making muffins (even if they ARE really good)?

I wish I knew an instant cure to helping women feel confident in their role as a “helper”. Unfortunately, there are moments when I will see the world’s view of myself, remember who I was, and begin to doubt. But, it is during those moments that God will show me the rightness of His plan. It may be something simple, like the freedom of my schedule allowing me to pick up feed for the mules saving my weary, hard-working man an extra trip to town.

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Or, on one of the days that I do work, Hila Fay wrapping her arms tightly around my neck telling me that I’m “‘posed” (supposed) to stay home with her. Sometimes, it’s the way Chuck wraps his strong arms around me when I’m there to greet him after a long day at work, or the way Hila Fay will shout out, “BEST. DAY. EVER!” when we go for a walk.

I may not get paid in monetary terms or promotions for the work I do around the house, and my voice may be a minority-a whisper in the midst of a roaring gale. But I KNOW that the only way for my marriage to buck the growing trends of divorce and to truly be a happy one, is to follow His way. God has allowed our marriage to overcome odds that in this world’s view should have torn us apart. Yet, here we are. We celebrated our eighth anniversary this past February, Chuck really is my best friend, my face still lights up when I think, write or talk about him AND I still get butterflies when he steals a kiss.

Now, if you’ll forgive me it’s my day off and I have some coloring to do…and then maybe I’ll make some muffins.

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Protecting Your Marriage from the Devil’s Lies: Part 1

March 4, 2013 501 For several months the ladies at my church have been talking about doing a Women’s Bible Study.  Finally, last month we decided that we would start on April 20th and that it would last for four weeks.  I was terribly excited, and extremely nervous because it was deemed that I would be the one not only to lead the Bible Study but, to write it as well.  We had the idea to do our study on protecting our marriages.

I have read  Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets You Free, at least five times (check out my review of her book if you’re interested in learning more about it) and am greatly influenced by it.  In her book, Ms. DeMoss points out how we let lies influence us and, sometimes, control us.  She points out that every sin begins with us believing lie.  When our church’s women’s leader suggested that I somehow incorporate some of Nancy’s teaching into our study I started pondering and throwing things around in my head.  How could I possibly tie together exposing lies with protecting marriage and still keep the material completely original so that my sense of writer’s honor is not bruised?  For several weeks I made notes of thoughts that came to me, scripture I read that had ANYTHING to do with marriage, wives, and/or husbands.  I also listened to podcasts from influential preachers (John Piper has some GREAT apps that allow one to read/listen to his sermons, read past article and search through his blog posts) and read their blogs and sermons they had posted on their websites and jotted down relevant thoughts.  Then, in my typical procrastinating fashion, the night before our first class I began to gather my notes and attempt to turn them into something that the women could both enjoy and benefit from.  As I started writing God showed me the direction that he wanted me to take, and honestly, I didn’t fully understand just how intricately He wove everything together until the study yesterday.  God has given me a clear message to share and I am giddy with anticipation to see it all come to light!

Since not all of our ladies were able to attend the Bible Study, and in case they miss a week or some people would like to attend virtually, I decided that each week I would post a summary (Note the use of the word SUMMARY. These posts will in no way be totally inclusive.  I’ll not be able to accurately communicate the discussions that spurred as a result of a thought or verse, or the movement of the Holy Spirit that causes a speaker/teacher to digress) of what was discussed.  So, without further ado, here it is:

Protecting Your Marriage from the Devil’s Lies: Introduction

In order to create an impenetrable defense one must first understand the adversary.  Sports teams spend countless hours reviewing tapes of opposing teams so they can create the most effective game plan possible.  In times of war, military leaders and top political figures gather in their war rooms digging up every iota of information on their enemy in order to make the most effect tactical decisions.  Armies continually adapt their methods as warfare evolves.  There is a reason that modern day soldiers no longer ride gallantly out to battle wearing full coats of shining mail and sitting astride fierce destriers.   War has changed, dramatically.  Our armies have to make adjustments if they want to survive or to have any hope of winning.

The expression “The best offense is a good defense” is often attributed to 19th century Prussian military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz.  The saying is genius is its simplicity.  If one’s enemy cannot ever wound them, then the enemy has no hope of winning.  On the other hand, a country could have the most sophisticated weaponry money can buy, but if their adversary is able to overwhelm them the game is lost.

Corrie Ten Boom stated, “The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy.”  Our enemy is all around us.  His weapon is deceptively simple and yet far more powerful than we could possibly fathom.  He does not herald his presence with giant flashing arrows or update his status on a social media site.  No.  He captures us with his lies. He has had plenty of time to hone his skills and is quite effective at it.  We know our enemy: he is the oldest enemy of mankind.  He has had many names throughout history: Beelzebub, Lucifer, Angel of Light, Murderer, Satan, Devil.  His name may vary, but his weapon is always the same.  Sometimes it is used in a quiet whisper.  Sometimes it is shouted out-loud. It does not matter what the method of delivery is the result is the same: a lie has been told.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss, in her book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free says that, “Every problem, every war, every wound, every broken relationship, every heartache-it all goes back to one simple lie.”

John 8:44b (ESV)  “[… [Satan] has nothing to do with the truth because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan’s weapon is part of him; it both defines and describes him.  In truth, our only real hope of victory lies not in direct battle, but rather in protecting ourselves with the best armor possible.  Our armor is more than just carrying around God’s Word, it is using it in our DAILY lives.  As Christians we are God’s soldiers.  God does not force His ways on us but rather lets us choose.  However, He despises those that ride the fence.

Revelation 3:16 “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (some versions say “spew” or “vomit”) you out of my mouth.” (ESV)

In my mind, there are three types of Christian warriors:

The “Someday Soldier”

-This soldier leads their life according to their own rules.  They know of God, and believe in Him, but are “not ready” to live for Him.  They think they have plenty of time to “get things right” and are quite content as they are.

The “Sunday Soldier”

-This soldier puts on a very good show.  They go to church every Sunday.  Oftentimes they even teach a Sunday School class or hold an office.  Whenever they are in the presence of their fellow church members they behave impeccably.  However, when they are at work or a ballgame or surrounded by their “unchurched” friends they turn into a different creature.  They cuss, gossip, and have even been know to throw temper tantrums when things don’t go their way.  They participate in conversations that are crude and demeaning.  In fact, many people that know the “Sunday Soldier” would be surprised to find out that they even attend church.

*In my opinion, the “Sunday Soldier” is one of the most destructive things to Christianity.  Outsiders view them as hypocrites and often use these type of Christians as their excuse for not attending church.

The “Saintly Soldier”

-This is the type of soldier that we should all strive to be.  Most of us know people that fit into this category.  Usually they are  the members at church that exude a quiet confidence in their life.  They may not be the most outspoken but they are often-times the most respected.  They are the ones picking up the slack when everyone else disappears, and most times do it without even letting anyone else know.  They begin their days absorbed in God’s Word and kneeling to Him in prayer.  They don’t talk about how much they love God, they show it.

As a high school English teacher I was shocked to discover that the students who came from “broken families” or single parents were quickly out-numbering those that come from parents that had been married their entire lives.  Divorce and/or having children before marriage was/is quickly becoming the norm.  According to studies, about 75% of Americans claim to be Christian.  That’s around 234 million people.  Of those millions of people identifying themselves as Christian, approximately 45 million are married couples.  If we take just the “Christian” Couples who both claim Christianity AND attend church on a regular basis (according to a study conducted by Professor Bradley of the University of Connecticut) then there are 17 million of those couples divorced and/or in the process of divorcing.  To put that in an understandable perspective that would be about the populations of Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas all added together!

*Note, there is a VERY distinct reason that I became an English Major-it is as far away from Math as I could get! When I originally taught the class I underestimated the total number of divorced Christians and, to save anyone from making my mistake again, I’d just like to remind everyone that 17 million couples means 34 million individuals.  Just sayin’.

Through God, with God and because of God-we can buck this trend!

Ephesians 2:1-7:

1 And you were dead in trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-3-among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-6-and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

Christ Jesus gives us the power and the tools to protect our marriages, but His armor does no good if we rarely (if ever) wear it; and in the same way, there is no use wearing protective gear on our chest if we leave our head exposed.  We need to look at any area that may be unprotected and shield it from our enemy’s attacks.

There are four essential areas that need to be protected.  I ask that you think and pray about these as we get ready to delve into the “meat” of things.

1. Protect Yourself

2. Protect Your Husband

3. Protect Your Relationship (bond, marriage…however you want to word it)

4. Protect Your “Next”-this will be the legacy that we leave behind and what we do to help stop the divorce trend. This could be your children, your sister, your youth group…however the Lord leads you.  I’ll explain this more later.

Please pray for us as we continue through this journey!

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Modesty Rules

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Image from promgirl.com

Earlier I read an article on Yahoo! that talked about a school district where parents were all in a tiff because the school was choosing to enforce its school hours dress code at its EIGHTH GRADE Spring Fling dance and therefore strapless gowns were not going to be allowed. This blog post may make me extremely unpopular, and may prove me to be a prudish mom-BUT, I’m gonna say it anyway. GOOD!

There are PLENTY of beautiful, modest dresses available for those young ladies. In fact, as long as my daughter lives in my house she will cover up all of her “assets”. I will, though, do my best to help her understand that her body is a gift from God meant only to be seen by her husband. I will be willing to spend countless hours helping her find a dress that makes her beam in delight, twirl like a princess and STILL honor our Heavenly Father.

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Related Post:
A VERY good post about modesty from my friend over at Faith and Madness (highly recommend following her)

Hila Fay’s Conversations with Daddy

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I’m laying in the recliner trying to rid myself of a migraine. My wonderful hubby is outside working on my vehicle while Hila Fay alternates between playing & “helping” daddy. My heart melted as I listened to Hila Fay talk to her daddy.
(Note: Hila Fay says most of her “L”‘s like “W”‘s. I wrote the conversation exactly as it sounded to me)

HF: Are you handsome, daddy?
Daddy: Me? Naw.
HF: Well, I tink you handsome daddy!

*pause in conversation as I hear some metal banging & hubby grunting*

HF: PUSH, Daddy, PUSH!
Daddy: *grunt*
HF: YAY DADDY! You my SUPER DADDY, huh, Daddy. You my Super-Daddy!

*HF comes inside, goes to fridge then rushes back outside*

HF: Here, Daddy, I got you a Koow-aid. Your bewy told me it was REAWY thirsty!
Daddy: Thank you, baby.
HF: You welcome, Daddy! You’s REALLY thirsty, huh, Daddy! I know cuz you bewy told me so!

*Conversation inaudible as Hubby uses an air wrench to put the tire back on*

HF: (jumping up & down clapping) YAY DADDY! You did a good job! *pause* Uhm, daddy? You better clean up you toows (tools) cuz you made a MESS!

*conversation fades as Hubby walks back & forth putting his tools up. Hila Fay must realize at this point that it means nap time is almost here*

HF: Uhm, Daddy? I full of ni-ni. Are YOU full of ni-ni? Cuz I sure am!

Hila Fay’s obvious adoration for her daddy warms my heart. The two of them complete my world and I thank God for them.

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Who do you vent to?

Continuing my quest pick y’all’s brains, this post focuses on “venting”. Who do you turn to when you are upset or need advise? Do you vent to a friend? Is your first thought to call your husband? Do you ever confide in some of the opposite sex who is not related to you (or not a counselor). Thank you (again) for your help! I will be doing the Bible Study (How to protect your marriage) online as well as in our church so y’all will get to see the finished copy. If you feel so led, I would appreciate y’all sharing these posts. The more participation I get the happier I am! 😀

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Keeping the “Spark”

I am working on creating a Bible Study on protecting your marriage. So, over the next few weeks I’d like to pose questions to y’all and get your input (please & thank you). Today I’d like to ask about what you do to keep the “spark” in your relationship.
Do you still intentionally flirt with your spouse?
How often do you go out on dates?
How do you spice up things when you feel there is a (sexual) lull in the relationship?
Older couples, what advice do you have for newlyweds?

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What does “Family” mean?

One of my friends had this question as her Facebook status:
“What does family mean?”
So, I got to pondering it for a while, and thought I would answer it as a blog post. So this, Becki, is for you! To me, family means…

1.that even when I’m mad at I Josh (my brother) I still call him when something is funny-even if I hang up right after I’m done.
2. that my sister-in-law is more my sister/BFF than anything else
3. that when I’m sick I always want my Momma’s touch
4. when I’m scared I’ll always want my Dad.
5. only I can insult/poke fun of my family!
6. that even if I think your idea is stupid-and I will probably tell you so-I will always have your back.
7. I always have friends, confidants and support-even if it sometimes comes in the form of an argument. Hehehe

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Tabernacle Glory

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I was reading through the passage in Exodus (chapters 25-27) this morning where Moses was passing along God’s instructions for the building of His Tabernacle. While I had no clue what most of the building materials that the passage calls for were (shittim wood?) there were certain items (like: gold, scarlet and finely spun) that I readily recognized as being some of the most sought after (and therefore prized) substances of their time. After a moment of contemplation I was overcome with two emotions:
1. I now had an extreme desire to see the tabernacles of old.
2. I was filled with shame because of the physical condition of many of churches today.

Can you imagine how beautiful the Biblical era temples and tabernacles were? The absolute loving adoration that the early Israelites put into their “churches” puts us to shame radiates in their work and puts our modern churches to shame.

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Which leads me to my second point (which I will introduce in the form of a question). When our church needs something, like when the microwave goes out, are we more likely to donate “an old one we had laying around or buy a new one specifically for the church? The Israelites had next to nothing, yet each one eagerly gave the very best of their belongings: gold, scarlet, gems…NOT leftovers to supply God’s temple-and as a result it was a magnificent place worthy of our all-powerful God.

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Update 8/2/2013

Recently I attended an in-service at First Pentecostal Church in Little Rock, Ar. This church embodied everything that I imagine a modern tabernacle would. Even the bathrooms were decked out! Here are some pictures of the church:

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Women’s Bathroom

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Another hallway in the bathroom

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My first ever bathroom selfie (I was a little obsessed with the bathroom).

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The ceiling in the room where our meeting was held was absolutely stunning.

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Time to go to the bathroom again!

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This is the “Creme de la Creme”, the sanctuary. Yes, that is gold leaf lettering on the ceiling. This room is so absolutely beautiful that my heart beat faster and jaw dropped (literally) in awe.

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Humble Pie: or Two Types of Pride

Yesterday’s post left my mind kind of twirling and all afternoon I could feel God nudging me, telling me to delve just a little deeper. I’ve been reading a book by Beth Moore titled Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds. One of the first chapters is on pride.  You know that expression that says “Never pray for patience”? (If you don’t that’s a whole ‘nother blog) Well, you might wanna add pride to the warning list. A week ago I thought I was pretty humble, then I started reading this book and now I’ve been eating humble pie for three days straight-and I’ve got a feeling that “God’s still working on me…”  Well at least I won’t have to pan the menu for next week.

All this praying and thinking on pride made me come up with my own theory. I think that there are two types of pride:
1. Pride of Self
2. Pride in Self

Pride of Self
Hila has really developed a love for coloring. She will sit for WHOLE MINUTES (she’s a toddler, what did you expect?) and quietly work, perfecting her masterpiece before bringing it to me and excitedly proclaiming, “It’s to your heart!”  Her face beams in obvious delight-in pride-of her accomplishment. This is pride of self. I think it is good and healthy. I encourage it in Hila and get almost as much joy out of the expression on her face as she must from the flutter in her heart.

Then we have…

Pride in Self
This is the kind that I think gets us Christians. This isn’t necessarily the snooty “I’m too good for that”, high-and-mighty kinda pride. This is the sneak in the backdoor and hide in the mud room kind of pride. It whispers that we’re too good to apologize (or forgive 7 x 70) or to ask for help when we need it.  Pride in Self convinces us that our gifts aren’t good enough; so instead of singing that special that we’ve been practicing for a month we once again sit on “our” pew ans hum the chorus in our head.

The more I thought about it, the more ashamed I was. I let my pride in self convince me over and over not to do the bidding of God-even though God warns us about this!  Prov. 29:23a “A person’s pride will humble him …]”  I used it as an excuse not to: call, witness, forgive, try, … fill-in-the-blank … How much more powerful could we (Christians) be if we learned to bridle or pride in self: to mute that voice that says “you can’t” and learn to think “He can!” What if we just try one “bite” at a time? We could mend a broken fence or sing that song. We could grab a friend and go witnessing without letting the worry of rejection stop us. Let’s stop listening to the nagging voice in our head, to the popular mandates of today that says Christian forgiveness and compassion is equivalent to wus and instead choose to believe that God knows what He’s talking about.

Prov 11:2 “When pride comes, disgrace follows; but with humility does wisdom.”

As for me-I still have a whole table full of pie left that I need to try and finish.

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But first, I should finish what I start and right now i