Support Your Husband in His Mission

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This is just a glimpse of the story of the man, William Wilberforce, who fought against slavery in England – a fight that took his entire political career, and much of his health and wellness.

He was such a brave man – to go against so many who were for slavery when it was such an acceptable, totally normal evil that had been absorbed into their society.  And to stand the silence of those who in their hearts were against it, but would never dare speak publicly against it.  Knowing it would be the cross of his life to bear, he did it anyway.

The image above is from the sweet movie “Amazing Grace 2006.”  It’s a good synopsis of his political and personal life, with a focus on the kind of wife he had when he endured being an abolitionist.

The movie takes you through the passion of his youth,

the fever to want to change the world,

the anger that so many kept silent,

the rejection,

the humiliation,

the isolation,

the dejection,

the depression,

the anxiety,

the recurring bouts of serious illness,

the feeling chosen for this task,

the believing he was failing… even failing God in fulfilling his task.

Wilberforce had a passion for his mission that caused him to fight for 20 years before seeing it ever come to fruition!  He saw the abolitionist movement birth, then grow brighter like a flame… but then in the face of his country at war, he watched it’s supporters fall away, hide themselves in the hills, and refuse to support him publicly in the face of being labeled seditious.  Close friends like William Pitt, the man who became Prime Minister at the age of 24, who encouraged him to consider his participation in the Abolitionist movement as a work of God, weren’t able to openly support him any longer.

Isolation fell way to dejection, which overtime, fell way to despair.  His illness, caused by the immense stress of his mission, took over his mind and his body.

His friends and the people of his upper class were concerned that he was killing himself over his passion and mission.  They also didn’t understand his fervor for God – as evangelicals were ridiculed and criticized harshly in those times, and distrusted as “radicals,” by his Tory party.  The movie portrays his activities fairly accurately, based upon his diary entries.

He had so much opposition, that the great and renowned John Wesley, at the age of 87, wrote to him and said, “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of man and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you. . . .” [40].

Enter his future wife, Barbara Spooner, a beautiful, young, 20 year old (William was 37), who helped reignite his fire to change things.  To remind him of his worth.  To help him fight again, the good fight he almost gave up.  They had the same moral standings, Evangelical faith (when most were still of the Church of England), and vision for society, and she undoubtedly appreciated what he had already accomplished in his political career.

He fell in love with her, and proposed only 8 days after meeting her.

They married after a short, 1-month courtship, and then had 6 children in 10 years!  It is said that William relished being a father and having the joy of a family.  If anything, having his wife and children gave him more energy and passion to continue on in his mission – because it renewed his purpose to make the world (as much as he could) a better place.

In the 2006 movie, his wife’s role of drawing him out of depression and despair, nursing him while he was sick, and inspiring him to live without powerful (and dangerous) opiates, is one of the most beautiful facets of the entire movie!  Each time I’ve watched it, I’ve been so encouraged to renew my efforts in helping my own husband attain his goals and aspirations.

She believed in him when he needed it the most.  When no one seemed to be able to encourage him to continue, her faith in him somehow did.  It’s a remarkable thing to me, the power that a wife can have in helping her husband through rough patches in life.

I know I don’t often talk about my own personal struggle as a police wife, in part because it’s just such a public life and anything I say reflects back onto him – for good or for worse.  These past years have been very hard for everyone in policing – their children, their families, but especially the officers themselves.  Many have quit or chosen to retire early.  And who can blame them?

There were times when it was extremely difficult to see my husband serve what I thought, was such an undeserving society, and then I would be humbled by seeing how so many would pour out their love and support in letters to their police.  I had to take pictures of the many letters I ended up collecting one year for the officers at my husband’s sub, so that I could reread them when I was tempted to feel like he was fighting alone.

I know I’m selfish, but it’s hard to want to give my husband to people who don’t know him like I do, who don’t understand the incredible man they have, so selflessly serving them day in and day out.

Back when all the repeated officer deaths and shootings were taking place more frequently, I had a crisis-like moment where I had to make a choice to continue supporting him anyway (knowing he could be murdered), or to try to get him to do something else much safer.  Obviously my feelings and my “heart” wanted to stop supporting him in his mission and purpose.  It was very painful to watch him go through the emotions and difficulty he went through during those years, when officers were painted in the worst light possible, and then murdered for crimes they never committed.  It was hard to try to still believe that it was a cause worth fighting for.  It’s painful to support someone and love them so much, all while understanding that their purpose involved their possible death!

But his purpose was more than us, and more than even our kids having the certainty of a father!  Accepting this was difficult to say the least.  

Through lots of time with God and periodically asking mentors for prayers for peace during that time, I came to a place of accepting his calling as being something truly sacred.  He was, to put it bluntly, willing to die for the love of serving our city, because what he was doing – fulfilling a Romans 13 calling – represented more to him than even his own life.

***

What is your husband passionate about?  Is there anything he lights up when talking about?  Are you trying to support and encourage him, to listen and enjoy his thoughts on the subject?  If you don’t know what it is that your husband cares deeply about, why don’t you find out?

Maybe the things he used to feel passionate about, he’s lost hope in ever seeing come to fruition, like Wilberforce almost did.  Maybe his dreams and aspirations have withered away and have left him feeling empty inside.  I think it’s normal for a man who isn’t supported in this amazing way that a wife is able to do, to fall into depression or even apathy.  Life is so difficult, but I believe it’s even harder for people who have strong convictions and a sense of purpose – they’re more prone (I think) to depression and feeling like a failure.  We have so much power as women, to give inspiration and motivation to our men, but most of us don’t recognize this amazing power.

I believe God put that desire in every man, to long for a purpose and mission in this life, even if it seems minor to an outsider, or not as glamorous as someone famous from history – it is still important to your husband, so it should also be important to you.

***

 

When Women Come Between Man & His Mission-

Can a wife ever be her husband’s mission?  I know this probably sounds laughable 🙂 but trust me, I’ve seen many people write in such a way that you would believe that a wife IS supposed to be her husband’s sole purpose and mission to make happy in life.

No.  A woman can never be a man’s mission.  But it is surprising how often we see that in real life and in books or movies, and much to that man’s detriment.  Instead, it’s normal to see throughout history, examples where instead of like Wilberforce’s wife where she is able to support and ignite his passion again for his mission, we see women who derail, ridicule, or even despise her husband’s mission in life.

I worked with a man who had a wife like this.  Even though he was accomplished, smart, making good money and doing research that was his passion and mission in life, his wife would actually ridicule it at home and despised his purpose doing it.  She even refused to come to a public ceremony where he won an award for his research!  Again, history is rampant with wives like this though, so it’s not an uncommon thing to find women who have no appreciation for their husband’s passions and desires in life.

So be a woman who seeks to understand her husband in the deepest way possible.  And try to be diligent about not standing between him and his purpose in life, instead try to make it easier on him by showing him that you support him ❤ .

Here is a poem written back in 1649 by Richard Lovelace, about a man leaving his love because of his duty and honor to fulfill his mission in fighting a war he believed in.  Richard himself actually fought in the English Civil War on behalf of the King, so his poem springs from those experiences and emotions based in his reality.

To Lucasta, going to the Wars

Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such
As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee (Dear) so much,
Lov’d I not Honour more.

Stephanie

 

Related Reading –

William Wilberforce

Peculiar Doctrines, Public Morals, and Political Welfare

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Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Image result for woman with megaphone images

This is a post I’m truly excited to write.  This phrase, Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” is something my mother told me ALL. THE. TIME.

She also would say,

“I’m sorry I can’t hear you – your actions are just too loud!!”

I didn’t realize how rare this was… to have a mom who actually held me accountable to what I said I would do – and who I said I wanted to be character-wise.  It’s normal I think for women to lack a sense of insight into what they’re actually doing – compared to what they say they want to do or are doing.  It’s a huge disconnect that is so strange to see from the outside.

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This is displayed when a woman does something that is obviously even painfully so disrespectful to her husband, and yet she’s submissive and Christian and otherwise looks like the perfect “quality woman.”  She often even says that she loves him, respects him, and submits to him, and yet does things that are just beyond disrespectful.

How can her mind be so disconnected from reality?

It’s because she was never held accountable for her actual actions,

yet was taught to say all the right things to cover the deception.

Yes, it’s a type of self-deception, basically being in denial.  In severe cases, it can even lead to someone living a double life, and not even truly being aware of how disconnected their life has become.

So be introspective, Sweet Girl.  And have many advisers/mentors who you can talk to and bounce ideas off of before you take action.  It may seem weird to other people, that you go to others you look up to and trust to see what they think about something, but trust me, it will strengthen you to know you have people backing you and supporting you in your decisions (and to feel like you had enough knowledge to make the right decision at that time).

Know that people will always judge you by your actions (as they should), and not by just the things you say.  This is critically important if you want to make an impact in your life for good.  You can’t just say the right words, without backing them up with the right actions.

If you want men you may be interested in, to take you seriously, you have to actually show them through your actions that you admire and respect them.  Words are completely meaningless to prove that kind of love.  You could have an entire blog professing your love to your husband, public to the world, and yet if you do not treat your husband respectfully at home, and in a myriad of other little ways in public, it will prove you a fraud.  Don’t put yourself and your family through that kind of pain by not living out your beliefs.

The only way to have integrity and respect in this life, is to back up your words with actions that prove them.

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I promise as your mother, to hold you accountable to your words and guide you along in this area as you grow.  I have no doubt that you will learn this well, and be able to exemplify it in your own life as you become the woman God wants you to be.

 

Spiritual Post – Are There Really No “Levels” of Evil?

criminal sapd

My husband’s department just caught this man recently.  A fairly notorious criminal.  There are many out there just like him waiting to be caught.  It’s eye-opening to me when I see the photos and look into their eyes.  Which I have done… more than a few times.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw my husband on the news, doing the “Perp Walk” as they call it, bringing in a man who just shot a bullet into another man’s head over road rage (they were actually both at fault – the man inciting the rage kept fighting with him… apparently, that’s normal in road rages cases).

When he arrived at the scene there were brains all over the inside of the car, and a giant gaping hole in side of the man’s head.  He can see this kind of stuff and eat a sandwich at the same time – doesn’t even phase him anymore.

But looking into the eyes of the murderer my husband brought in (and seeing my husband there as well, looking like a darn hero – because he is!), really put into perspective the difference between good and evil, and how shallow Christians are when they try to say everyone is the same in their hearts just because everyone sins.

It is true though that just ONE sin will send someone to hell.  But not every person will shoot a bullet into the head of their enemy, let alone a stranger who cut them off in traffic. Not everyone harms children and goes about with no guilt… for decades, like pedophiles typically do.

Not everyone is a reprobate, and we should never judge all people by lumping them in with the truly evil and diabolic.  Everyone is capable of such evil to be sure!  But not everyone decides to act on their most evil fantasies and basest thoughts.  Everyone is a sinner, but there are different levels of sin and evil that is within someone’s heart.

Something I’m grateful for when watching from the sidelines what my husband deals with on the regular, is that it’s taught me things like this.  It’s taught me to be more appreciative of the normal sinners, even though they clearly still need God, they are not the same, and should never be judged the same by us, as evil doers.  His work and the stories he can tell, have even made me be able to judge character better from afar, which is a safety measure against potential harm and evil doers.

This video above is excellent in explaining the principle God has of reaping and sowing.

The man in the video plainly states that if someone continues sowing sin, they will eventually reap a much harder life for themselves, full of all kinds of problems.  The point is not whether or not they can be saved from their sin, and it’s not even asking whether “big” sinners receive the same punishment as “little” sinners.  No, the point is that some sins have greater eternal consequences and judgments!  If you’re a Christian, this is a super important topic to understand fully, lest you get it wrong and lead many other people astray by adding words to the Bible!  The Bible warns that “not very many of you should be teachers,” because teachers (male or female) will be rightfully judged harsher when they get it wrong or lead others astray, because they have a huge responsibility to first, get it right, and second, to be humble enough to admit when someone has pointed out that they were wrong.

Personally, I’ve found that the Christians who do make these mistakes, are typically not able to admit their wrongdoing, but instead keep plunging ahead into more sin themselves by continuing to lead others astray.  It’s a problem of humility, when we’re not open to corrective discipline or criticism.  Even if an enemy is criticizing you, you always have to check if there is truth in it.

In the video, the man also talks about how Jesus reveals there are different levels of sin (or degrees of evil).  Not only do different kinds of sin have different kinds of real world consequences, they also are viewed differently by God in that they seem to have different eternal consequences.

Either way, the point or “takeaway” should not be that evil people can’t be saved – the murderer that my husband brought in may someday repent – and that would be wonderful!  God tells us in Ezekiel that He craves people like that to finally someday repent, and that He allows them into Heaven, even if they repent right before their death! 

We can’t have a superior attitude that denies even the worst of sinners God’s acceptance if they repent – but we should have a good attitude toward them and accept them back in.

So the takeaway should be a warning that yes, there are different levels of sin, and all sin separates us from God.  Jesus speaks on the different levels of sin a few times, warning people who repeatedly sow evil, or do truly treacherous deeds, that their punishment is harsher, both here on earth, and also in eternity.

Our God is a just and wonderful God, who sees everything and judges accordingly.  For that, I am so so grateful!

Stephanie

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: You Will Have Deep Roots to Withstand Persecution

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Strength and honor are her clothing,

and she can laugh at the time to come.”

Proverbs 31:25

I keep referring to the series I wrote on the Proverbs 31 woman a couple of years ago, because I just can’t get over the messages I discovered when creating the book for our family.  This verse in particular, just shows the incredible amount of boldness of faith this kind of attitude requires!

Its hard for me to put this topic into words, but I feel it’s necessary in encouraging not only my daughter and women of my own family, but all spiritual daughters and sisters doing a good work for God.  This kind of boldness of faith, this kind of staying focused, it requires you as a woman to not be disturbed or shaken, even in extremely hard and difficult times.  It amazes me, the strength behind that kind of woman.  How I so long to become a woman that strong in the Lord – like Sarah who obeyed and  had “no fear.”   I want the ability to look at something that may seem to be too much to deal with, have the wisdom to put things into perspective, and to look at things with a degree of humor and mirth!

This is something that every person who takes a stand for God must grow through to spiritual maturity over.  It’s what Paul described when he talked about how he persevered, having full confidence in the Lord’s giving him competence (excellent ability to minister) in his ministry, and was able to endure some of the harshest forms of persecution.

From Paul:

“We have this kind of confidence toward God through Christ: not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God.  He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life.” 2 Cor. 3:4-6

Our confidence in God reinforces our competence to be ministers of His Spirit through reaching His people.  It’s interesting to me, how many times Paul talks about not giving up.  He endured so many afflictions, it is incredible how he soldiered on in his calling.  We must emulate him and his reliance on God for his strength and perseverance, or we will lose our influence by giving way to fear or discouragement.

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not give up.  Instead we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God’s message, but in God’s sight we commend ourselves to every person’s conscience by an open display of the truth.

So again, he says, “we do not give up.”  It must have been extremely tempting to give up doing the very hard, but very necessary and good things he was doing.  We have to keep in mind that his entire physical and mental being was subject to hardships and persecution that’s hard to imagine.  He suffered not only physical beatings and shipwrecks (three!) where his life was endangered, but also the psychological trauma or continued and relentless persecution, extreme criticism, and slander and false accusation from powerful religious leaders of his day.  We shouldn’t underestimate how much he went through, and the cost it was to him, as well as the great reward he received personally and spiritually, for doing so much for the Kingdom of Heaven.

And Paul also says that he and his followers commend themselves “to every person’s conscience by an open display of the truth,” – you can’t do that unless you are completely 100% open with people, and therefore, opening yourself up to extremely harsh criticism, persecution, and being hated like Paul was.  Some of it will be right!  Most of it may not be, but it’s very important to have like-minded believers, mentors, family members even, willing to criticize you to hold you accountable to continuing on in your goal and keeping on the course.

***

Let’s go back to the Proverbs 31 woman again for a moment.  We know she doesn’t easily give way to fear because of another verse as well:

“She has no fear for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed.”

Proverbs 31:21

We are instructed that she had “no fear” for her household because she not only was doing what she needed to do to provide for it (making their clothing and extra bed coverings vs. 22, never being idle but carefully watching over all the activities of her household vs. 27) but she was also relying FULLY on God for her provision.

It’s not talked about very much in our modern churches, but usually in the Bible (except for a few instances) fear is actually a sin.  In most cases, giving way to fear was shameful because it revealed a lack of trust and faith in God.  Even when you look at how many times the Bible commands us not to fear, it’s over 365 times, and “fear” itself is spoken of over 500 times in the Bible.  Fearing man is also a great sin; we are supposed to live for an audience of One.  Remember how Sarah was praised in the New Testament by Paul… for not giving way to fear but persevering by Abraham’s side in obedience.

In fact, we are supposed to view our trials with joy!! (James 1:2-4).  We are supposed to view it as being effective and attaining the same treatment that the prophets of old received.  Having an attitude of a victim or “poor me, I’m being ‘harassed’!!!” is not godly and doesn’t produce anything good in you or anyone else.  Acting like a coward is never good… for a man or a woman.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity,

she can laugh at the time to come.”

*

“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

So we are to view trials and persecutions as good for us ultimately!  Because we know that God will work all things according to His will, for the good of those called to Him (Romans 8:28).  We have to view it not as cowardly women who give up too soon, but as women “clothed with strength and dignity,” who do not give way to fear or playing the victim, but instead choose to view it as a purifying process of discipline, meant to develop us into further maturity and completeness!

That change in mindset, amazes me so much!  It’s the difference between cowardly resentfulness or pride in expecting to be above even the prophets or Jesus Himself in how you’re treated, to humility and gratefulness for the opportunity to grow deeper and bolder in your faith.

***

The Virtuous Woman has Mirth

I’ve written another post specifically talking about the second phrase of this verse, that she “can laugh at the days to come,” and how it means the ability to have mirth.

You can read the entire post if you’d like, it’s short but full of the different facets of what that quality of character implies for a woman.

It doesn’t mean not ever feeling the depth of tragedy in a family, or mourning, but it does mean to keep things in perspective with a healthy attitude of what truly matters in eternity, so that we’re not rattled by hardships and trials or even persecution here on earth.

Again, the only way to have this attitude is to be continually focused on God and His opinion of us and rely on Him to set all things right when He sees fit to do so.

Women of WEAK (Selfish) Faith vs. The Proverbs 31 Woman-

There’s a big difference between the way human nature prompts us to react when hard times come, compared to how the Proverbs 31 woman was said to respond.  Women who have a weak faith and get scared off too easily, typically are focusing on the wrong things altogether, and not keeping their eyes on Jesus for their strength and peace

The Bible says that women like this, those who put their trust in people and lose sight of how powerful God is even in hard times, are actually cursed womenThey end up “living in a salt land where no one lives,” completely lose their influence over others for good, because they’re swayed by fear of people, rather than in fully trusting in the Lord.

Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind, who makes human flesh his strength and turns his heart from the Lord.

He will be like a juniper in the Arabah; he cannot see when good comes but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one lives.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord.

He will be like a tree planted by water; it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes and its foliage remains green.

It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.

I, the Lord, examine the mind, 

I test the heart 

to give each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.

Jeremiah 17:5-8,10

See these two examples contrasted together?  One woman is cursed and loses their influence altogether, because she sinned against the Lord by giving way to fear in hard times.  The other is blessed because the Lord is her strength; she doesn’t worry or fear when hard times come, and her “foliage remains green.”  Her confidence is in the Lord, she has deep roots that she sends out toward a stream.  She “doesn’t worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit,” which means she continues in the work God has for her, producing fruit in her life and in the lives of others.

When we start to take our eyes off of God and His goodness and promises for us, we falter in our faith like Peter did when he tried to walk on water, but then was scared when he saw the terror of the waves around him.  If we allow ourselves to be like that, we’ll get scared, and end up not finishing what we said we’d start.

We want to have the kind of faith Paul described when he talked about keeping his eyes on the prize and running the race with endurance… not giving up even though he had tremendous hardships and beatings and shipwrecks, or giving in, even though he also had tremendous temptation to after going through so many trials and tribulations!

I’m even reminded here of Hebrews 11 where it talks about the heroes of faith in the past.  But remembering that passage would be remiss, if I forgot to include the very next passage of Hebrews 12, and how the entire purpose of Hebrews 11 (reminding us of those great heroes of faith) was to encourage us today to think about them as a “cloud of witnesses” encouraging us on to be bold like they were.

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.  In struggling against sin, you have no yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons:

‘My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly,

or faint when you are reproved by Him;

for the Lord disciplines the one He loves,

and punishes every son whom He receives.’

Endure it then, as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons.  …

No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but healed instead.”

Hebrews 12:1-7; 11-12

One of the main reasons why I’ve continued writing even though I’ve come under attack or harassment (even to the point of fellow Christian women supposedly on “our side” calling for Child Protective Services to get involved and possibly take my children away based on false accusations), repeatedly throughout the years, is because I’ve been encouraged by reading Paul’s descriptions of staying the course, even though no one was in his corner at the time, or came to his defense when his enemies were opposing him verbally.

I want to be like the woman who has the deep roots, so that when the “heat” comes, she’s able to suffer it but with endurance and perseverance, allowing it to better her character over time.  Her foliage remains green even when other plants (with lesser root systems) get scorched by the sun, or wither away completely.  She still bears good fruit even while enduring difficulty or painful times of suffering, all because her confidence is in the Lord, and she continually trusts that He will give her competence through working in her.

Again, let me encourage you from Paul’s own words about what he went through.  To me, it is a very great reminder to not be so proud, that I believe that I should be spared things even Jesus went through and did so with grace:

“We give no opportunity for stumbling to anyone, so taht the ministry will not be blamed.  But in everything, as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves:

by great endurance,

by afflictions, by hardship,

by pressures,

by beatings, by imprisonments,

by riots, by labors,

by sleepless nights,

by times of hunger,

by purity, by knowledge,

by patience, by kindness,

by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,

by the message of truth, by the power of God;

through weapons of righteousness on the right hand and the left,

through glory and dishonor,

through slander and good report;

labeled as “deceivers” yet we speak truth,

labeled as “unknown” yet we are recognized;

as dying and yet look – we still live;

as being chastened yet not killed;

as grieving yet always rejoicing;

as poor yet enriching many through our work;

as having nothing yet possessing everything.

You are not limited by us, but you are limited by your own affections (emotions).”

2 Cor. 6:3-10;12

If you’re a young woman reading this, remember, this is not only for my own daughter’s benefit, but to also benefit you.  Like Paul said, you are not limited by outside factors when being called to endure, instead you are limited by your own emotions and lack of faith and strength to endure and run the race and fight the good fight.

She sees her situation through open eyes:

A big part of being able to endure like this, is having a clear picture or clear mindset of what the end result is.  It’s also being aware of Whose you are, and how supported you are.  You can only “see” that when you are in step with the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to reveal these things to you through Scripture (and being poured into daily, like I referenced before).

Again, let’s look at how Paul stayed the course… what was his secret?

“Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.

For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen for what is seen is only temporary, but what is unseen is eternal and forever-lasting.”

2 Cor. 4:16-18

His secret… his ability to persevere with such BOLD and lasting faith through so many ridiculous hardships, is:

  1. Being renewed in his inner person, day by day (again, what I talked about here)
  2. He knows this is only a “momentary light affliction” and that it is producing in them an “absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory!”
  3. He chooses not to focus on what is seen, but focuses on what is unseen

It’s that simple really.  It’s what I’ve been trying to say for years now here on this blog as I was going through my own trials and false accusations and harassment and threats to have my children taken away based on false accusations to CPS, or get my husband fired (and lose our sole income) etc.  How could I have endured all of that for so many years if it wasn’t God supporting me and me going to Him daily for crucially needed spiritual renewal?

Something I heard a couple of years ago that helped me through those times of pressure and being slandered and falsely accused, was the story of Elisha when he was about to be attacked by the King of Aram’s army.  He was with his servant, and his servant wasn’t able to see the “unseen” like Elisha was – and therefore, his servant lacked the courage that Elisha had.

 

“When the servant of the man osup and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.”

Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

2 Kings 6:15-17

Hopefully this rather long post sinks in deep to your heart, Little One.  May you never fear man, but always put your hope and trust in the Lord, who will sustain you while you pass through the fire or the waters, and who will develop your faith into this kind of bold faith that lasts through your lifetime.

May you be like Paul, and focus not on what is seen (that may be admittedly terrifying), but on what is unseen, and remember the “cloud of witnesses,” surrounding you, encouraging you to run the race with perseverance.  We do not fight this fight alone.  The entire mass of heroes of faith are hoping that you will persevere and not give up.

Reread all these Scriptures as often as you need to, to give you the ability to keep on pressing on.  The Word of the Lord is your strength, as well as the joy it is to experience these things like the prophets of old did.

You will have victory if you persevere and do not grow weary doing good, for the Bible says that you will reap your reward in the proper time.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, a man will reap what he sows…  So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.”  Galatians 6:7,9

By this I know that You delight in me:  my enemy does not shout in triumph over me!  You supported me because of my integrity and set me in Your presence forever.”  Pslam 41:11-12

 

 

 

Skincare – To Not Wear Makeup

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ZERO Makeup!!!

I don’t do very many posts on skincare, at least… not as many as I wish I could find the time to do.  There’s so many do-it-yourself ideas I’ve seen over the years that would be great to write about… especially for teen girls to start doing.  I think of beauty – a woman’s beauty – as her being a good steward over her countenance (face and the spirit of joy behind her face that shines forth), and her “crowning glory” as the Bible calls it – her hair!

“Doesn’t nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? 

For long hair is given to her as a covering.”

1 Cor. 11:15

I do think beauty is important – whether married or single, beauty is something I believe every woman has a deep deep desire to give or bring to the world. ❤

And with skincare, to me the goal should be making your skin look so healthy, that you don’t hardly need makeup at all.  Obviously I’m totally ok with makeup – I wear it almost everyday.  But lately, after using only 3 new products I’ve tried out this past month I wrote about here, I’ve actually been forgetting to put any makeup on at all!  I almost can’t tell the difference when seeing my face as to whether or not I have my foundation and concealer on, and so I just forget!

This NEVER used to happen to me!  I always felt like I had to wear my makeup, almost as part of the grooming process before being “presentable.”  So this… feeling good enough in my skin to the point where I totally forget to even put it on – I’m either getting early Alzheimer’s or my skin is looking A LOT better.

Hopefully, it’s the latter LOL 😉

The picture above is without makeup.  My skin is nice and even-toned now, it even feels so much smoother than it did just a month earlier before using these products.  My little pores have shrunk down.  My skin is baby soft again.

Side note–this isn’t a product review per say, and I’m not getting compensated to say these things LOL.  I just thought I’d do an update on them though to let y’all know that wow, these 3 simple products really do work.

So go back and read what I’m using here.

***

And since it’s almost the end of the week… I thought it’d be fun to do a questionnaire thing! 🙂

  1. What is your favorite color?  Pink, the shade of ballet shoes.
  2. What are your favorite hobbies?  Dancing, playing with my babies, doing anything together with my husband, exercising, cooking, cleaning (yes – I’m OCD so it’s actually “fun” to me), painting, writing, being in nature, and especially gardening!
  3. Extrovert or Introvert?  Extrovert 100% !! And an optimist.  This combination tends to be annoying to some people 😀
  4. Meyer’s Briggs Type?  I always get the “ENFJ-A” (Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Judging Assertive) or the ENTJ-A (Thinking instead of Feeling).  I’m not sure why it changes over the years, but it does.  Most bloggers seem to be introverts, so it’s interesting to me that I’ve blogged for so long and yet am an extrovert.
  5. What is annoying you right now?  Wearing my horrible braces – but I’m almost done in a few more months!!  They hurt!!  It’s been just over a year since I had to get them, but again… almost done!  They even change the way my mouth looks lol!
  6. What’s a daily habit you can’t live without?  Um… lots of things.  Probably my morning quiet time reading the Bible and talking with God is the first thing.  But then also writing in a journal (a planner/journal).  I actually go back and re-read prior years’ journals to see how God’s gotten me through rough patches and things.
  7. What defines you in your life?  I always wanted to grow up to be a woman who had a beautiful family and had a garden.  A couple of years ago I realized that I’m actually living this, so I wrote it down in my journal as something I’m thankful for.
  8. What do you consider yourself?  Texan.  😀
  9. Parents married or divorced? Married 40 years!!
  10. How many kids do you have?  3 right now
  11. Do you want more kids? My husband wants us to stop at 4 🙂  For me… I could literally keep on making babies with him until we had 20 or something.  I hate pregnancy and being pregnant, but I love carrying his babies inside me and knowing we’re growing our family.  I never knew it would feel this joyful.
  12. Length of marriage? 10 1/2 years ❤
  13. Schooling/education or training?  Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with just one year short of a double major in Chemistry
  14. What kind of student were you growing up and in college?  Sometimes straight A’s, sometimes a few B’s.  I ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude and that was after giving birth my senior year, which was hard.  I remember being a little disappointed I missed Cum Laude (the higher honors), but considering I was a married student with a baby lol, I was ok.
  15. Favorite thing you own?  My socks.  lol  Seriously though!!  I find a ton of value in the little things like that!

 

Back to skincare… what do y’all use that you feel has really helped your face brighten up or become softer or smoother?  I’m actually amazed that retinol is working this well for me.

Stephanie

Don’t Ruin Your Husband’s Love Toward You

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Painting by Tate 1863 – Part of a 3 piece composition dedicated to a “Woman’s Mission.”  This painting was to depict a loving wife being her husband’s companion, titled, “Companion of Man.”  It was said that the woman in the paintings strongly resembled the artist’s own wife.  He honored her so much, and was so grateful for her companionship, that she became his artistic inspiration.

You may think I sound dramatic in the title of this post.  I wish it weren’t true.  I wish that humans really could love each other easily, endure each other’s faults effortlessly, but I’ve found the reality of how we treat others is reflected back in how they end up treating us.  Grace or not, Christian or not, I believe God often allows us to reap what we have sown into the hearts of others – our friends, our family members, our children, but especially our husbands.

It’s not usually talked about in our culture, especially in regard to how women treat their husbands.  But the fact and spiritual principle of reaping and sowing, affects everything we do and everyone around us – whether we want to admit to it or not.

Think about this first painting.  How the artist was said to have used his own wife as the model and inspiration for his creations, because she fulfilled his deepest needs emotionally, and therefore inspired his love to greater depths than we normally see in average marriages.

Our society pretends that women won’t reap what they sow (even people in general to a larger extent).  This overwhelming problem is why I believe we’re having so much trouble with people not taking responsibility for their actions.  Acting (really manipulating others) through pretending to be victims, has become almost like the modern-day Westerner’s hobby!

Here is an excerpt (below) from one of my favorite books on a woman’s role in a godly marriage.  It reflects on how a wife can harm her husband’s ability to love her so terribly, that it almost becomes impossible for him to feel the same feelings toward her as he once did.  Keep in mind this doesn’t usually happen within the first 10 years or so of marriage. I think it happens after a couple or more decades… it’s a slow husband-love killer.

And I think we’d be wise to have a healthy fear of this.  If we love our husbands, we must take into effect that this could be possible if we continue in sin against him, always believing that tomorrow is another chance, and yet never taking the measures to truly change for good.

Here is the story of Leo Tolstoy and his wife….

When a wife constantly pushes or nettles her husband, it is like the bite of a poisonous snake and can cause the destruction of a could-be holy marriage.  One of the most tragic cases in history is that of the Russian novelist, Count Leo Tolstoi and his wife.

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In the beginning of their marriage, Tolstoi and his wife were so blissfully happy that, kneeling together they prayed to God to continue the ecstasy that was theirs.

Tolstoi is one of the most famous novelists of all time.  Two of his masterpieces, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are considered literary treasures.  He was so admired by his people that they followed him around day and night and took down in shorthand every word he uttered.

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Although he was a man of wealth and fame, after studying the teachings of Jesus, he gave away his property, worked in the fields chopping wood, and pitching hay, made his own shoes, ate out of a wooden bowl, and tried to love his enemies.  He gave away the publishing rights to his books and had the courage of his convictions to live a life he believed in.

But his wife never accepted him or his simple philosophy of life.  She loved luxury and he despised it.  She craved fame and the esteem of society, but these things meant nothing to him.  She longed for money and riches, but he thought these things a sin.  For years she made every effort to change him and his views.  She screamed at him because he insisted on giving away the publishing right to his books.  When he opposed her she threw herself into fits of hysteria, threatening to kill herself or jump down the well.

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After 48 years, this man who had adored his wife when he married her could hardly bear the sight of her.  And one of the most tragic scenes as when Countess Tolstoi, heartbroken and old and starving for affection would kneel at her husband’s feet and beg him to read aloud the exquisite love passages that he had written about her in his diary fifty years previously.  And as he read of those beautiful happy days that were now gone forever, both of them wept.

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His dying request was that she should not be permitted to come into his presence.

Wow!  I mean wow, right?!  His dying request was that she should not be allowed to be in his presence?!  They had such a perfect, blissfully happy prospect of marriage in their early days, and yet her decision to buck his convictions (which I think are beautiful and so touching he wanted to follow Jesus in that manner – how noble!), and had utterly no reverence for his deepest longings and convictions!   I think after decades of mistreatment, it makes sense logically that a wife will eventually reap what she’s sowing into the heart of her husband (or her children, friends, even enemies… it goes on and on with human behavior).  At the end of her life, she tried to make herself out to be a victim of his gruff behavior he had toward her in his old age.  But only people who were aware of how she secretly behaved toward him, truly understood she had caused his gruff behavior and grouchiness.

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Sophiya Tolstoi (his wife & children)

When I was in a marriage group some time ago, I would see women like Tolstoi’s wife come in fairly often – already usually a couple of decades into their marriage – and be desperately pleading with us on how they can turn everything around, all the while admitting that they’ve been treating their husbands horribly for the past few decades.  What motivated them to come to someone who could help them have a happier marriage?  Usually he had finally had enough, or reached some kind of “breaking point,” and he wanted out.  Or he had found another woman who treated him kind again – who admired him and loved him more than his wife seemed capable of.

It was usually apparent that it was already too late, but it was very interesting to watch these women go through psychological changes of first being extremely repentant and humbling themselves, eager to learn and read and practice trying to honor and respect him.  I often had such great hopes for them that they were truly changing in their hearts.  But when it didn’t work (and often times the husband wouldn’t believe their change was real or genuine), they would turn angry, they would get bitter, and then become very resentful even toward us as they believed our advice for happy marriages wasn’t true.

They would become indignant that their husbands’ didn’t accept their changes.  I would see these women start suddenly claiming that their husbands had really “emotionally abused them,” all this time, and that their (the wife’s) sin was in submitting to them too much.  Then they’d often blame sites like mine in creating women who submitted too much!  It was… like I said… very interesting to watch psychologically.  I talked about that here in this post a little.

Again, though, like in the Tolstoi example, this sort of behavior is actually tantamount to abusive in my opinion, toward the husband.  It falls under the “Borderline” or “Cluster B” disorders, which are extremely hard to fix, never-mind how hard it would be to live with someone with those psychological disorders.  A wife like this will usually never be able to admit she was verbally or emotionally abusive for years, until it’s almost too late, but it’s interesting how quick they are to act like they were the victim of emotional abuse, when just a few months before, they were admitting (finally) that they treated their husbands so terribly that they couldn’t believe he put up with it for so long!

If you’re a young wife reading this, I do think it’s good to have a healthy fear of ruining your marriage or your husband’s ability to love you in this way. 

I don’t think it’s healthy to have this idea that no matter how bad you mess up, no matter how many fights you start, or the terrible words you say to him, that it’s going to not have a devastating affect on him as a person longterm.  Men feel so deeply – especially when it comes to their wives’ opinions and treatment of them.  It would be like a husband abusing his wife for decades, and then expecting it not to have a diminishing effect on her ability to love him.

Can God redeem marriages like this?  I believe He can do anything.  But it’s not the norm that these marriages are ever fully repaired, so it’s best if you don’t ever fall into this pattern, as it all could have been so easily avoidable from the beginning.

And if anything, please remember Leo Tolstoi’s bitter marriage, and be on guard against women like his wife who suddenly tried to twist the truth in the end, in an effort to destroy her husband’s legacy and reputation.

Stephanie

 

Excerpt from Fascinating Womanhood

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: You Were Prophesied Over As an Infant

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Back almost 8 years ago, when we had our first child, we knew immediately we wanted to do a special Baby Blessing that our church offers.  It was so wonderful and so touching to bring our 2 week old baby to be blessed and prayed over in front of the church and with all the members praying for us as a couple and over him!  Very very touching ❤

We did the same with our second baby boy, and it was also so sweet.

But nothing like what I’m about to write to you, sweet girl, has ever happened to us before.

About the time that you were 4 weeks old, I had to return to my doctor to make sure everything was healing well, as is normal for after-birth, c-sections especially.  Your daddy wasn’t able to come due to work, and I had your Grandma watch the boys for me.  It had been a somewhat difficult recovery… I got mastitis within the first week because of how much you were feeding (every hour of the night!), and I had somewhat scary problems with swelling in my lower body.  But by this time, we were set in our little routine and everything was going pretty well.

There was a new, young nurse there helping me, and toward the end of my time with her (and after the doctor had left), she asked me if she could pray over you!  She said she could just tell that we were a Christian family, and I was amazed at how bold her faith was to ask something like that in our secular (harsh-toward-Christians) culture, as well as to be so bold as to actually ask to pray over another person’s baby!  I was so glad for her and accepted her offer of prayer.

I thought it would just be a normal kind of prayer… I guess I didn’t really know what to expect, but this young nurse prayed a powerful prayer of prophesy over you.  I found myself crying during the prayer it was so intense and powerful.  Very very strange.  Again, I’ve never had something like this happen before – to me or any of our children – and I’ve grown up in the church and around very religious, wonderful teachers and mentors throughout my life.  I’ve never experienced anything this strange, and this powerful spiritually.  I knew it was important to remember, and write down for you so that you will know your purpose and stay forever strong and rooted in God.

***

The boldness of that young nurses’ faith touched me so deeply in praying over you in that way.  I went in thinking it would just be a normal, run-of-the-mill appointment, and left with my face glowing and wiping away tears from that super-natural experience!  I came away feeling in awe of what God had in store for you, as well as terrified even more so that God expects me to be a mom to such wonderful, wise little children.  You and your brothers are just so different, both your dad and I have noticed this often.

Regardless, we will commit to teaching all of you all of the Word of God continuously.  You will have deep roots.  You will be like the good soil Jesus talked about, that accepts the seed (His Word) and grows and flourishes.

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Your heart is good soil, Little One, never forget that.

Never falter in your faith.  Never lose heart in doing good.  Never be afraid of anything other than having the fear of God, who supports you in your integrity and honesty.  You will watch as He shames and destroys your enemies and false people who come up against you.  You will watch your prayers be answered after you hand certain people over to Satan; them having nightmares and anxiety and great fear because of their terrible deeds.  You will see His Hand over your life in a way most people don’t get to.

Many women will lose heart in doing good, or give way to sins or even idolatry because they care more about pleasing other people, than living for an audience of One.  But you will stand like a lily among thorns.  You will still be standing even when all the others have lost heart and given away to fear, because their faith in God was weak.  Yours will remain strong, because of your deep roots and the faith God will grow in your heart.

We will continue teaching you and your brothers the decree we received from our father Moses:

“Listen Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One.  Love the LORD with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  These words I am giving to you today are to be in your heart.  Repeat them to your children.  Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  Write them on the door-posts of your house and on your gates.”  Deuteronomy 6:4-9

 

Timothy, my child, I entrust you with this command in keeping with the previous prophecies about youso that by them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and thereby shipwrecked their faith.  Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” 

1 Timothy 1:18-20

Giving God Your First Fruits – Early Morning Quiet Times

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About two years ago I wrote a very long – probably too long  – post centered on Proverbs 31:15, which was part of an even longer series that became a book now in our living room, on the virtuous Proverbs 31 woman.

“She rises while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and makes portions for her female servants.”

To me it was such a beautiful verse, like each verse in that short passage is!  BUT… it actually was one of the posts that got a lot of interesting negative posts & comments from a few sites, as even fellow Christian women tried to accuse me of being “malicious,” a “shill,” or a Pharisee “tying heavy burdens onto the backs of wives,” while myself not being able to do what I wrote about.

Here’s Elspeth’s comment back then accusing me of such, from here:

“On seeing your husband off: It’s another one of those issues where our goals can be out of step with what our husbands require. Just yesterday I was scrambling around, behind schedule, not getting it done at the pace I wanted. My husband, who is used to- and fully comfortable with- being waited on said to me, “You know, I can iron my own shirt and pack my lunch today. Chill out.”

And we don’t even have any toddlers underfoot. I have a hard time believing that other husbands are not understanding, patient, and willing to assist their wives when they are doing the best they can while living on less sleep and chasing toddlers. I am reminded of something Jesus said to the Pharisees as it relates to all the things a wife is supposed to do perfectly with no rest and little relief:

They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. Matt 23:4″

***

I ended up taking the series down, but the post may be available in the wayback machine for looking up.  I do remember taking great pains in that post and in the comments to tell women to do what one’s husband wants his wife to do.  There was even a female commenter who asked us (my husband and I) if this verse was to be applied to her, since she worked overnight as a nurse, and we both told her it’s whatever her husband wanted.  It’s the principle behind each verse that matters.

But also I didn’t skirt around all the research that shows that being an early riser is actually a very beneficial thing, and may be connected to why it was mentioned in the Proverbs 31 passage as being something the virtuous woman would make a habit.  Study after study has seemed to prove the this principle in the Bible is correct – that being an early riser, being prepared for the day ahead or spending time with God in the morning – really does help in all kinds of ways in benefiting one’s life.

Here’s an excerpt from that post from my paper version:

“In taking the time to look through each of these verses, it has really amazed me how beautiful this woman’s character is.  Everything she does is motivated by the desire in her heart to be a woman of God, to love her husband, and to care for those who are in her life.  In verse 15, it’s like we get to peer through her window, and watch how she quietly contributes to her household management through the efforts of something simple, and yet profound, her morning routine.   …

When writing this post, I found myself wondering if there really were any benefits to waking up early, aside from just getting a head start on the day, or some quiet time in before your children are up.  Those are great things to pursue!  But I’ve often heard and thought  myself, that quiet time could be done even in the evening if that suited a person’s schedule better, and that it doesn’t take waking up at 5am in order to get a “head start” on the day – some women would much prefer to wake up only 30 minutes before they have to leave, and even more prefer to sleep until their children wake them up.  We like to equalize everyone’s preferences or lifestyle in order to not offend people, but what I found was that there really are some great advantages that come with early rising, that we’ll miss out if we choose to sleep in!

The early riser increases their productivity –

Waking up early shows our virtuous woman values productivity, which is a cornerstone to leading a successful life or even business venture.  When interviewing over 200 of the most highly successful people of the world, Forbes Magazine was surprised how many focused on their morning routines as being their “secret” to success.    … [examples cited in the post]

Not only does nurturing your mind in the morning with prayer and Scripture reading give you inspiration for the day, just the practice of waking early can give you more control and motivation in your life.  According to a Journal of Applied Social Psychology study in 2009, early risers were more likely to confidently assert things like: “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself,” and “I feel in charge of making things happen,” (2).  They don’t find themselves living a life of constant crises and urgent situations, but feel a healthy assurance of some control of what happens.  This same study found that “morning people are more likely to anticipate problems and minimize them.”  When we wake up early and have time to think and plan in solitude, we find ourselves foreseeing possibilities that may crop up during the day (or week).”

I then rambled on for a few more pages about Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People where he breaks down time management into a quadrant, then I wrote on the importance of getting enough sleep (sticking to a good bedtime), the effects on health and weight related to sleep schedules, the importance of discipline in our lives, how oversleep actually contributed to depression in women, etc.  Again… it was probably too long, the whole post was more like a “chapter,” but I did try to cover multiple aspects of why the verse made sense logically, even in our modern day culture.

I even found research studies that followed students and their daily habits, which showed that early risers earned a full point higher on their GPAs (3.5’s compared to 2.5’s), than those students who called themselves “night owls” (5).  Rising early – the principle at least of taking care of what needs to be taken care of and preparing for the day ahead – I do believe it is part of having a “Spirit of Excellence,” where we consciously decide to do the best at whatever it is God has given us to do.  Sleeping late – sleeping in – if it’s a part of our daily routine, may not have the same mental and psychological effects, and therefore have different life results.

Rising Early … with babies?

Throughout the years of our marriage, even with having multiple children – babies nursing at all times of the night, I still find that waking up early (5am or 5:30am) to spend that quiet time with God is so crucial to my faith longterm – and it impacts my entire day!  I’m just not the same without it.  He literally changes my perspective and helps me deal with the day ahead with a much better attitude.  I’m definitely not perfect or always want to follow through with this goal.  There are some times when I’m not able to get up early, but I do notice a difference in my heart and attitude if I miss a couple of days in a row.  I need God all day, but especially in the early mornings before anyone else has woken up, so that I can spend time alone with Him and reading and studying His Word.

There’s also the principle of giving God your “first fruits.”  For anyone who has ever seriously studied the Bible, it’s apparent that God wants our best – and yes, that usually means we are required to sacrifice in order to give it to Him.  He wants our “first fruits.”

The first 10% of your pay (the normal tithe), the firstborn of your children (an Old Testament Jewish custom), the first day of the week devoted to Him (the Sabbath), even the first of the people’s grain (their food) was to be given to the Lord – before they were allowed to harvest anything for themselves!  It makes total sense that a woman’s early morning time should probably be first devoted to God, no matter when she wakes up. 🙂

In fact, Jesus Himself spent time alone with His Father early in the morning.  There’s something just very mysterious about that early morning time that even I can’t put my finger on.

 “AND IN THE MORNING, RISING UP A GREAT WHILE BEFORE DAY, HE WENT OUT, AND DEPARTED INTO A SOLITARY PLACE, AND THERE PRAYED.” — MARK 1:35

It’s not that I’m trying to be a Pharisee.  It’s more that I find simple beauty in the verse, “she rises while it is still night to prepare food for her household….”  The beautiful sacrifice she gives, the caring for others first, the being a good steward of her time and of running a household.  It simply touches my soul.  And yes!  I do try to do this in my daily life!

Giving God the first of my day, everyday, it has given me immense blessings over the years.  It’s kept my faith strong, even when I felt weak.  It’s given me courage and fortitude, even when I felt afraid or exhausted.  He has been my Rock in some of the most trying times!  I really don’t think my faith would have persevered the way it’s done without prioritizing that time with Him in the morning to replenish my spirit.  There have been countless times that I woke up with a desire to read His Word, but with heavy emotions in my heart, and I came away with gladness, praise and joy!  I’ve found the meaning of “The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.”  This is part of why I believe that God leaves these choices up to us in deepening our faith and growing spiritually.

He fills my cup – He makes it overflow (Psalm 23)… it’s better than even coffee!

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From His Word, I draw my strength in the mornings, before I have to do anything else.

Stephanie

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Psalm 23

Related Reading:

Letters from Mentors

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I LOVE having a daughter – I never dreamed it would be this much fun and that she’d be this feminine from the get-go!

But, with all that said, it’s actually a lot scarier to me having a girl to raise.  I understand boys ❤ and although they need a lot from their mothers, a lot of the bulk of their gaining and understanding their masculine strength can only come from their fathers.  So while it’s been beautiful to see my husband fill that role pratically perfectly, this new baby girl has turned our world upside down in this respect.  Now I’m the one who needs to teach her what true femininity and godly womanhood looks like.

Lord have mercy on me!  LOL 😀 😛  Even with all my studying, it still feels like a job I’m not fully prepared for.  But that’s why I’m forever grateful to mentors, my own mother ❤ , older women at church, and blogs with that kind of guidance.

Proverbs says to get all the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that you can, and it’s wonderful that we have access to people we’d never know if it wasn’t for the internet!  I love how there’s so many women I’ve come across over the years who have been kind enough to give me tons of advice on raising children and being a godly wife!

In fact… I’m seriously considering starting another mini-series, complete with it’s own tab (maybe), called “Letters from Mentors,” where I’ll be featuring emails I’ve received from women usually in their mid-40’s or 50’s, who have given me AMAZING advice on different topics that would fit well here on my blog.

Women you’d see in this series would be people like Sunshine Mary (Sunshine Thiry), Liz (red pill commenter from years back), Stingray (from On The Rock), Lori Alexander (from The Transformed Wife), April (from The Peaceful Wife), Ame (from Blending Ame), RPG (from NotesFromaRedPillGirl), and a few other Christian women I’ve reached out to recently to see if they’d be interested.  Hopefully it will be an expanding thing, even with my real life mentors contributing from time to time.  I’m in debt to so many of these incredible women for the advice they’ve given me over the years and setting a positive example of seeing them interact online and in real life.  And the online ones love to write! LOL  So why not try to capture some of the letters I’ve received from them, that maybe would be helpful to other women out there as well who are in the middle of raising a family?

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In fact, my husband is helping me create a little booklet for our daughter of all the posts I’ve written under the tab for her.  I figured these “Letters from Mentors,” would go great in there as well!  I’m a big paper person… I love books you can physically hold.  This little booklet is only about 8-9 inches tall, in a mini-binder, and so cute!

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And it’s so sweet how quick these older, wiser women were to either reach out to me themselves, or to be open to my going to them to seek their wisdom.  They were so generous and kind-hearted toward me, and so humble!  And thankfully, I’ve only ever had one woman snub my request to email her and then humiliate me for asking, but then I realized… maybe she really didn’t have any wisdom to impart afterall... LOL 😀 .  Oh well 🙂 may the generous, humble ones be honored and praised for gladly giving advice to someone younger looking up to them.  It is definitely appreciated, and now I’m hopefully going to find time to capture their words in our homemade book (and here), so others can have access to their wisdom, too.

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Stingray is the first woman’s advice I’d like to write about here on this post.  For people who don’t know her, she used to run a very well-written blog on male-female, red pill concepts, with a heavy focus on married women’s responsibilities, called On the Rock.  I urge you to go check it out!  A woman in her mid-40’s, with a growing family and husband she adores, she is a faithful Catholic with admirably strong convictions.  I adore her.  When I was pregnant and we found out it would be a girl, she was one of the first women I thought of when thinking of people online to ask for advice on a variety of “raising a daughter” topics.  That says a lot about the impression she had on me.

Like I said before, it just seems so much harder raising a girl, than it has been raising boys.  Our culture is so dark, and where it used to be more based on virtue and morality, now it’s actually praised to sleep around for years, before finally deciding to get married and have children – if a woman decides to get married at all!!!  I don’t want her to be like that.  I don’t want her to choose a more painful, even disastrous path for herself.  And I don’t want her growing up believing that it is “ok” or desirable at all, even if our idiotic society deems it acceptable.

I’ve rambled on too much.  Here is just one of Stingray’s excellent letters, I sincerely hope you as a reader, enjoy it.

 

Good morning, Stephanie,

I’m sorry this has taken me so long to write.  
I do have 2 girls.  Things are different in raising them in that you will be more hands on and your husband will be less with them, but the dynamic of both is still really important.  But really, the biggest thing is that your girls will be watching you to see how to navigate the world.  They will watch how you treat your husband, how you dress, how you approach house work, how you approach the world around you, etc ad infinitum.  But, and this is hugely important in my opinion, they will turn to your husband to learn how to navigate men.  Not directly, but Dad is their first love.  Obviously not in an inappropriate manner, but they will still look to him to see how he reacts to their learning how to be feminine.  
They will look to him to see how he reacts to how they dress, “Do I look pretty, Daddy?” How he reacts when they bake him something, to something they accomplished, etc.  He will be a far more effective teacher of things like modesty because they will learn from him what men like.  Dad’s approval and disapproval in HUGE.  So it will be you who teaches them directly, but it will be Dad’s reaction that sends the lesson home.  
As far as tantrums, it depends.  Some “tantrums” are quite charming and cute.  Dad might not want to stop those outright, because a girl learning how to influence her father in a good way is an excellent skill for her to learn.  We used to jokingly have the girls go to their dad and flutter their eyelashes when they would ask him for something and it was great fun.  It’s also a good lesson.  He would say no when appropriate and yes when appropriate.  They learned that it wasn’t always going to work, but also that it was cute and was influential.  But then, he would always shut down hard any girly tantrums that were just tantrums.  
Does that make sense?  In essence, you want to teach them how to use their femininity for good.  Because for better or worse, they will learn how to influence men and that is a powerful thing.  A tempting thing.  Most especially if they are beautiful.  So learning early on what a strong man will allow, and more importantly, what he is capable of, is hugely important.  
So my best advice is to use your instinct.  You don’t want them to squash who they are, you want them to be the beset them they can be.  That includes all those feminine things that they can use to destroy or build up.  It ends up being that you will directly teach, but they will want to buck you.  Your husband will be the one who indirectly shows them that what you are teaching means everything.  
Let me know if any of this doesn’t make sense or if you have any more questions.  Also, thank you for the compliment.  Blogging just took a back seat to growing children and family.  It had to and it just kind of happened organically.  Plus, the manosphere lost it’s shine for me.  It lost it’s intellectual appeal with more and more people coming in.  I knew it would, it was just a matter of time.  
I hope you are all doing well!  
Best, 
Stingray

A Canopy of Green

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We had the most beautiful Easter weekend!  The garden area around my grandparents’ house (and where my GREAT-grandparents lived as well!), was lush with green and incredibly vibrant!  It’s hard to describe such a scene without using pictures… so I’ll use pictures 😉

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We at a BBQ sandwich-style lunch with all the trimmings of coleslaw, potato salad, creamed corn ❤ , Bush’s baked beans… then hunted for eggs, and then played until nighttime.

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It was simple and perfect.

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The little stone statue (above) was given to my grandma by my mom probably over 20 years ago.  It was supposed to represent my brother and I.

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The boys played with my mom with marshmallow shooters (like pea-shooters) 😀  It was fun!

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It’s hard to get the full effect though, even from pictures, because in the front, the air was filled with the scent of Jasmine!  It was literally like breathing in heavenly scented, perfumed air!!!

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Jasmine… jasmine everywhere!  In-between the roses, even!

I hope all you readers had an equally beautiful Easter Sunday!

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Blessings from Texas 😉

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Stephanie