Letters from Mentors: Will the Light in My Eyes Go Out from Not ‘Achieving All I Could Be?’

A few months ago, I had a discussion with RichardP at another blog about going back to school to get a simple training degree (2 years or shorter!) eventually when the kids were older.

RP said:

“I’d hate to see the light go out of your eyes because you one day conclude that you never got the chance to be all that you could be.”

I really don’t think he meant ill-will toward me at all, but something about his comment sounded odd to me, as if the only way the light in my eyes wouldn’t go out, would be pursuing more education and getting back into the working world (which realistically, this may not happen now that we’re homeschooling).  When something bothers me, I tend to ask women I consider friends and mentors what they think.  So I asked a few women who were older (decades older) to see what they thought of his comment, especially in light of our family situation of me needing to be home with our kids right now.

Stingray gave me just an incredible reply with lots of wisdom and encouragement; it gave me much to think about.

The whole point of having these “Letters from Mentors,” is to help other women out there who may feel the way I do, have the same questions or are looking for answers that aren’t readily available anymore in our sinful culture.  I hope her words blesses any women out there who come across this same sentiment like her words blessed me.

***

From Stingray:

Hey Stephanie,

I’ve  been thinking about your email a lot over the past months and I can tell you, this man’s statement is incredibly irritating to me, as well.  I have to say, you need to go with your gut on this one.  The light in your eyes is there because of the joy in your life.  You get to decide what brings you joy.  Not some random man who only knows you from the internet.  It sounds to me like your family brings you joy.
What kind of light would you really have in your eyes if you went back to school, presumably went into a good amount of debt, and missed all of that time with your family?  And while much of the world these days tends to equate the piece of paper you would get for your degree as an education, is that really what it constitutes?
Many would say that since I’m a homeschooling stay at home mom I am wasting my life, but I can certainly tell you that I am FAR more educated now than I was when I got my degree (which was useful in finding me a husband and that was the very best thing that came from it).
Education is not a piece of paper.  It is a compilation of what you have learned.  What better age to live in than the internet age to get a true education. If it is knowledge you desire, you have it nearly free at your finger tips.  If it is status you desire, which is what most women want when the speak of career, then yes, school is the way to go.  But as you said, at what price and will it bring you joy?
You asked if I have run into this.  Not personally, no.  I mean, I’ve seen people who really resent stay at home mom’s and whatnot, but it’s never been said to my face.  (Well, when I was pregnant with my first a woman asked me what I was going to do after the baby came and I told her I was going to be a SAHM and homeschool.  The look she gave me suggested I had a foul stench, but I just thought that was funny).
But being a SAHM has always been my dream since I was a little girl.  I never had any career aspirations. I did go to college, because that is what you did at 18 those days.  I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t enjoy working for the 5 years I did. 
I get that some women are happy working, but I do not believe that it is true of most of the women who make that claim.  I think they say it because they think they have to.  They believe it, because the alternative is unthinkable.

I’m here to tell you that it’s not unthinkable.

The alternative can really be what maintains that light.

Yeah,  I know that in the midst of diapers and sleepless nights that it might not seem like it, but really envision that dream you mentioned.

Having those Godly children and watching their effect on the world.  In 50 years, in 100 years, what do you think will have a bigger impact in this world?

This is all to say, that man doesn’t know what he is talking about.  He’s mimicking back to you the standard knowledge so many of us were taught growing up.  But were most of us ever taught an alternative choice to this?  Were we ever taught that something else that might bring us great happiness is out there?  Why were we never given a choice to make on our own?  The very fact that you believe you do have a choice says a whole lot.  Don’t let him doubt yourself.  This is your choice to make and you have given it way more thought and have more experience to make the decision than vast numbers of people out there.  It is yours to make.  You know what brings you joy.
Block the rest of the world out and listen only to that still small voice and your husband in this matter.  You will figure it out that way.  The world is not in your home.  Your home is where this decision needs to come from.
All my best to you, Stephanie.  Make this choice in a place of confidence.  Follow your gut.  You know far more about this than most.  Trust that.
Stingray
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For the Love of Blue

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For a few years now, my husband’s former Lieutenant has invited us to his church every January for a special service where ALL the members honor and thank the law enforcement officers who go, and pray over them and their families and just surround them with support.  It. Is. Powerful.

This time, like every other time, the Pastor gave such a clear-minded sermon and hit a plethora of topics (not really police related, but speaking on cultural and religion decline) where churches are now failing in addressing; it blew our minds again to finally hear such sound, wonderfully True, preaching. He even several times, mentioned the word “defiled,” talking about men and women (yes, he made it a point to call out women) who are defiling people, and how much the churches have declined over the years.  ❤  This is a mostly all black church, the services last 3 hours long, and the love and presence of the Holy Spirit you feel when you’re there makes people cry.

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I remember the first time we came, it was shortly after we had lost one of the sweetest detectives that worked with my husband (pictured above).  He had just been sitting in his patrol car on a fill-in shift, when he was shot in the head for no reason by a black man.  The funeral was so devastating, and even though I was serving at it, for awhile I just couldn’t stop crying.  Hearing his family speak… it broke something inside me.  Feeling this kind of welcome and love and honesty about police deaths coming from black men and women was so needed for me at that time.  Back then our officers were 18% more likely to be murdered by a black male, now the percentage is higher I believe.  2016 was the deadliest year for police officers, but each year over 100 die on duty from a variety of job-related incidents.  I watch my husband put a black mourning band over his badge when these deaths happen, and sometimes in the past, the deaths kept coming to where he couldn’t take it off for days and days.  It was so difficult to keep hearing who the perpetrators were, the life-threatening messages they were sending to our officers and their spouses (and kids!).  Hearing how they were attacking them even in their homes, sometimes threatening their wives and children.  The Pastor spoke about all these things, and remarked on how amazing it is that no other churches talk about this (and yes, this has bothered me before in the past how even our own church would never touch the subject).

The Pastor spoke directly to us law enforcement families.  Reminded us of how they are God’s ministers, God’s Avengers who bring wrath on those who do wrong (Romans 13).  He reminded us spouses of what our calling in this marriage is as well.  He spoke of the burden we carry in being this support system, and I had a glimpse into how I’m not really letting God give me the strength I need for this particular burden as much as I thought I was.  I love being an officer’s wife, but many elements of it are hard, even when one deliberately separates themselves from the deaths and funerals.

But we are so blessed to know my husband’s former (now retired) Lieutenant ❤ and we SO blessed to know this congregation of strong, faith-filled believers.  My husband even suggested we start tentatively going to this new church (<3 !!).

Hope everyone is doing well, posting has been slow as child-raising has fully taken over 😀 ❤ !!  We are also making it a point to go to the gym most days, and I love this season of getting back in shape (we do on and off seasons to fluctuate with life and the holidays).

Stephanie

Books for Young Minds

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One of the gifts we thought to give our oldest (8) this year for Christmas, was the gift of some really good classic books.  We both have an intense love of books and reading, one of our favorite pastimes before we had children was to take turns reading to each other at night after the work day from our favorite books.

We want our children to hopefully share this love of books, and we think the best way to help them achieve that, is to read to them, and to read to them often.

Starting our homeschooling journey recently, I’d been trying to figure out what kinds of books to read that were fitting for him.  The coursework I’d chosen was great in all other categories, except the literature suggestions unfortunately.  I mean… this boy has been reading Harry Potter since age 5 in kindergarten.  He went through all the books of Narnia with my husband two years ago – so suggestions like Winnie the Pooh or Pippi Longstocking, although we read through them and laughed… they’re more in line with what I’m reading to our 4 year old.  I could tell he really needed more.

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The first one he was super excited to dive into was The Pilgrim’s Progress.  I told him about this book as it was one I remember reading when I was about his age at the Christian school I went to.  This book was so good, and so helpful in one’s Christian journey, that even 20-something years later, I still think about it and remember parts that reflect what I’m going through in my journey as a Christian.  Even now as we’ve started reading it together (he was so excited he couldn’t wait for the break to be over 😀 ), I’m given the chance to find new treasures and meanings in it that I of course missed at such a young age.  I told him this, too, that this would be a book he’d probably love to reread over the course of his life, just to understand the journey better as he gains more life experience.  I still think it’s good for children this young to read it.  I remember reading it and of course realizing I didn’t have those kinds of life experiences yet, but still understanding the wisdom it imparted and instruction on how to navigate different things like despair and discouragement, the hills of difficulty, etc.  And I can see that even though he’s only 8, he already comprehends those things, too.

Plus it is wonderful to read it with him, stop and then explain things about life and faith.  The characters in Pilgrim’s Progess are just so necessary for children to understand!  People who are “Obstinate,” or “Pliable,” or the “Wordly Wiseman,” or the man named, “Legality.”  Each one proposes an amazing discussion we then have about who these people are, why they are the way they are, and how they derail one’s life or miss what Christianity is about.

Rereading this book also prompted us to look into the life of the author, John Bunyan, who was such an admirable man in his own right.  Learning together about his own life journey, and that he wrote this book while in prison (!) was a huge lesson in and of itself for us to talk about.  We even read through Bunyan’s “Apology,” for his book, or rather struggled through it LOL…  Because of his use of old English and speaking in riddles, every line I had to stop and explain what he was talking about.  It provided new ideas our son has never thought about deeply enough, but also great humor as every sentence rhymed and sounded so strange!  Overall it was a great lesson in not only the history behind him being imprisoned for just preaching and living out his faith, but also his steadfastness in the face of persecution (writing a book he knew would probably not be accepted – hence the lonnng apology and defense of it).  It was also interesting to learn that some of Bunyan’s harshest critics and naysayers, were of course the fellow Christians themselves.  It’s always been that way, from the Prophets of old, to the Wesley’s, to Spurgeon, etc. and that itself is another great lesson.

*

The other books we got him are as in the first picture, Gulliver’s Travels, The Swiss Family Robinson, and Treasure Island.  He already knows of The Swiss Family Robinson, as it’s one of the my husband’s favorite stories, and it has A LOT of strong Christian lessons in it, more than what the popular movies would make it seem like.  We love it because it portrays the almost insurmountable trials of a very traditional Christian family, and shows them constantly looking to their faith and the Bible, and guidance from God to understand how to overcome their barrage of struggles.  Just a wonderful book for growing and influencing a young person’s faith, in our opinion.

And of course Gulliver’s Travels and Treasure Island are more just for pure boyish fun!  Not that girls can’t enjoy these books, too, although I admit I was never interested in reading these two.  Apparently, when men read these as boys they tend to stay with them long into adulthood, which to me is a mark of a very good book worth reading!

 

More books I can’t wait to read with him:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Oliver Twist

 

If any readers have suggestions for what else would be good for children his age, please let know!  I don’t think you can ever have too many good books 😀

Stephanie

Spiritual Darkness & Sacrificing Our Children Part III

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At the Michelle Obama Library – Thanks Obama!

Give us access to your children

or We’ll Accuse You of Being Homophobic!

 

 

Or un-loving.  

Or judgmental.

Or unChristian.

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You know… just pick your choice of which they’ll try to shame you of for holding to Christian morals and values, especially if you’re “trying to protect children.”

How dare you try to protect children from the gay/trans/abcd-of-the-week agenda!  Slutty outfits worn by men pretending to be women are what our babies and children should be exposed to early in life, so that they’re not “judgmental,” like you Christians. /s

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Remember… this is all about desensitization to perversion and satanic influences (as the first photo is a self-ascribed, “satanic goddess,” and “demon,”).

It’s painful to see these little faces being exposed to this kind of societal degradation, and literally preyed upon during story time, while their parents believe it’s “good” for them.  And you know these parents probably believe it is “good,” for their children.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.”

Isaiah 5:20

It’s interesting the link between feeling “good,” or even “virtuous,” in being seen as “non-judgmental,” toward certain sins.  “No, I’m not like that Pharisee,” or “no, I would never judge a pedophile… I judge the Christians who judge pedophiles!”  It’s a strange kind of self-righteousness or pride that blinds Christians (or secular people) to what they’re instead accepting.

When there is no line drawn, when “good,” is really evil, are they still too prideful to see it?

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Children are not considered “sacred,” anymore, which is also a major reason why we are seeing parents who willingly take their children to events like these.  To me this is probably more devastating, than merely Christians refusing to judge good as good, and evil as evil.  When Children lose their sacred status in a society, they become the prey of everything evil 😥 .

It’s important to remember that nearly every biblical civilization that became evil enough to warrant massive destruction (self-induced or one could argue by the wrath of God), had to deal in the end with evil pursuing children because ultimately, that is as “far as they can go.”

Babies… toddlers… children in general, have an innocence about them that is designed by God to be protected by loving and wise parents.  They are Christians’ most valuable asset as they insure the future of the Church, and must be protected.

So therefore, evil pursues children.

Through forcing them to see what their little eyes shouldn’t see, and wouldn’t have seen several decades ago, due to morals and standards in society protecting them.

Through having them interact with adults with psychological perversions or satanic preferences and “play-acting,” all the while believing this is of course, “good,” for the children.

Desensitization.  It’s a subtle process of defilement that first happens to the mind, but can also affect the body, however it’s first battle is over the mind in what should be accepted (or judged), or normalized.

When you look at these pictures carefully, this is evidence of a battle for our children’s minds.  It is evidence of evil pursuing children so that they become slowly defiled in their thinking.

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Why else would they be insisting trans-men have access to your children and babies for story-time read alouds?

Let us be bold in showing this for what it is (or are our sense that desensitized already?), and uncover the real motivations in the aggressive targeting babies, toddlers and young children by the gay/trans/abcd-of-the-week movement.

 

Related Reading –

 

Spiritual Darkness & Sacrificing Our Children Part II

A reader sent me an email about a recent post Dalrock wrote on various people in the Christian world of influence, seemingly making the case for homosexual apologetics (for lack of a better word).  Especially, and diabolically, with a focus on sacrificing the safety of Christian children.

I wrote back in August of this year about this same topic:

I remember back when this was the motto *many* Christians were encouraging each other in order to accept homosexuals and in effort to make that particular sin not seem “so bad.”  Instead of promoting a healthy culture of giving each other grace, however, this attitude that homosexuals weren’t to be judged because we’re sinners, too, quickly devolved into accepting their behavior in the church as “just another type of sin we all commit.”  And then accepting ministry members who were openly gay, and then worship leaders, and eventually homosexual Pastors and Priests who were openly gay.  I remember seeing it all happen and thinking it very surreal that any Christian would fall for this kind of satanic deception that we were never supposed to judge homosexual behavior and separate ourselves from it.

Now it’s been happening again with pedophilia, the ironic part is that, like in this woman’s post, the exact same wording is being used as it was back in the 80’s and 90’s, in order to make Christians feel like they’re “self-righteous” if they judge these sins for what they are.  This is the systematic way Satan was able to infiltrate the church with accepting homosexuality, by telling Christians it was “just another sin,” that they “were no better” and “shouldn’t judge it or them because of their own sins.”  It is Satan using Christian forgiveness, humility and grace and twisting it to render the church unable to defend itself against diabolical evils seeking to infiltrate it.  In other words, it’s meant to “normalize” or “desensitize” Christians into accepting homosexuality, and now, like we’ve seen, pedophilia as well. 

From here

It was disturbing to see someone chastising Christians in this way, but especially when coming from a fellow believer.  It was as though she was calling us to a “higher standard” (in an iron sharpens iron kind of way), telling us that you fellow Christians shouldn’t judge pedophiles.

Here are her actual quotes:

So we put ourselves firmly in the seat of Judge, and we mete out what we would consider Justice. I have to laugh at the incongruity here, given one of the maxims of our day is “don’t judge”…

Don’t judge” – unless the person you’re judging is a paedophile.

Don’t judge” – unless it’s someone who is clearly way worse than you.

Don’t judge” – unless it’s publicly acceptable to do so.

 

Do you think you’re better than a paedophile?

That’s not a trick question.

Are you a better person than a paedophile?

What I was stuck on was that she “laughs” at the incongruity of normal people daring to judge a child molester when calling for justice to be done.  Why would a Christian laugh at a situation dealing with something so clearly evil, and something we are supposed to view with soberness (and are called to judge and expose(Eph 5)?

In the comments, when responding to a victim of child molestation, who obviously was very offended by her suggestions in her post that he was “no better,” than his molester, she defended herself and took this analogy even further to include other evil acts some humans engage in: killing a police officer – which earns people the death penalty in some states.  “Don’t judge them,” she said.  “You’re no better as a person, than a cop killer.”

Her entire blog has since then been deleted, but her post in particular can be found here from the Way Back Machine.

***

What is this we’re seeing (and have been seeing/feeling for a long time now)?

It’s a classic case of Shaming and Chastisement.

The longterm goal for homosexuality was trying to get Christians to tacitly accept those sins as “normal” sins within the church body… normal sins that belong to people who are true Christ followers, people who should be accepted with open arms into the Christian community – and as Dalrock pointed out, given access to our children.

If you can breakdown a Christian’s understanding of different kinds of sins and what they do to the Body of the Church, then you can get them to eventually accept anything.

In both instances, we saw/are seeing the acceptance happen very slowly by introducing ideas that “those sins aren’t worse than your own,” and “you have no right to judge homosexuals/pedophiles because you’re a sinner, too.”  This coupled with a heavy helping of, “Christian love means accepting homosexuals/pedophiles,” shames and fools Christians into actually believing these falsehoods.

In other words, what we’re seeing is the longterm goal of shaming Christians into “not judging pedophiles,” coming from not viewing certain sins as “worse,” or “more evil,” than others.  However the effect longterm is to desensitize Christians to (incredibly) the idea of child molestation, as far fetched as it sounds.  Believe me, it sounded far fetched back in the 80’s and 90’s when the exact same language was used in regard to homosexuality.  But when you’re telling someone, shaming them even, for feeling repulsed by the sins of homosexulaity, or laughing at them for being angry at the sins of raping children as this blogger was doing, getting them to accept in their hearts that, “maybe it isn’t as bad as I thought it was,” is definitely the end goal.

Getting them to no longer feel repulsed by these sins, or getting them to feel ashamed of their natural anger at child molesters, is how it starts, though.

***

Why does it work?

In general, shame works to achieve it’s end, but only to a point.  Like a scale that is tipped by one grain of rice too many, people eventually “wake up” to lies they’ve been sold, especially in regard to feeling shame where shame is not supposed to be felt.  Usually that happens long after the “point of no return,” however, because once sins like these are accepted, it takes drastic efforts to re-draw the boundary lines.

But in a broader explanation, these tactics work because the Christians using them are exploiting the Christian concepts of, “love,” and, “grace,” and, “forgiveness.”  It works in a particularly insidious way due to twisting (or torturing) of the Scriptures to claim that we are “no better” morally than these people, therefore we shouldn’t “judge” them or their sins, because that would be unChristian.

What is terrifying (but shouldn’t be because it is Satan’s goal), is that it is directed toward sacrificing our children on this altar – be it to homosexuals, or in dismissing pedophilia as an evil worth judging.

From Dalrock (emphasis mine in bold red):

Where Allberry commands that families lower the drawbridge so gay men like him can put our children to bed at night, Butterfield commands us to give gays the keys to our front doors.  From Butterfield’s ERLC article Why the gospel comes with a house key:

Take, for example, our Christian brothers and sisters who struggle with unchosen homosexual desires and longings, sensibilities and affections, temptations and capacities. Our brothers and sisters need the church to function as the Lord has called it to—as a family. Because Christian conversion always comes in exchange for the life you once loved, not in addition to it, people have much to lose in coming to Christ—and some people have more to lose than others. Some people have one cross, and others have ten to carry. People who live daily with unchosen homosexual desires also live with a host of unanswered questions and unfulfilled life dreams. What is your responsibility to those brothers and sisters who are in this position in life?

Our Christian responsibility includes a house key

One answer is this: the gospel comes with a house key.  Mark 10:28–31 reads:

Peter began to say to [Jesus], “See, we have left everything and followed you.”

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Please note what Jesus says about how to love anyone who responds to the gospel in faith and obedience and who must lose everything in order to gain the kingdom’s promises. Jesus says that he expects we will lose partners and children and houses in the process of conversion, that conversion calls everyone to lose everything. God’s people need to wake up to something. If you want to share the gospel with the LGBTQ community or anyone who will lose family and homes, the gospel must come with a house key. This hundredfold blessing promised here in these verses is not going to fall from the sky. It is going to come from the church. It is going to come from the people of God acting like the family of God. God intends this blessing to come from you.

If you watch the Allberry video embedded in my previous post, you will see that this is the same exact argument Allberry gives for Christian families to provide gay Christians with access to their children.  I encourage you to read the Butterfield quote above and then watch the beginning of the Allberry video to see what I mean.

Lest you think this isn’t a major theme of Butterfield, at the bottom of her ERLC post it says that the content is taken from her new book The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World

Butterfield writes on the same subject at Piper’s Desiring God in an article titled The Best Weapon Is an Open DoorNotice how she echoes Allberry in chastising Christian parents for seeing our homes as a fortress to protect our children, using the very same language:

If you believe that these are dangerous times, then you are right...

How tempting it is to withdraw. How easy it is to let fear rule our hearts as we shelter ourselves and our children from evil…

…Christians must be intentional about seeking the stranger. We must think of our homes as hospitals, embassies, and incubators, not castles, fortresses, or museums…

Here is what this looks like. Singles from the church and neighborhood come over after work and help get dinner going. We have fun doing this. Sometimes there is laundry on my table that needs to be folded and put away (or stuffed back in the dryer). Sometimes there is a child still struggling with a math lesson. And we all behave better when it is not just us dealing with the messiness of unfolded laundry and unfinished math sheets.

Other neighbors start to show up. People with secret lives — people with secret drug addictions or dangerous relationships — cannot make plans easily. Christians need to be sensitive to this. They don’t know if they will be sober or safe three Tuesdays from yesterday. But if the invitation is open and regular, they can make it to your table on the fly. All people — believers and unbelievers — need to see transparent, Christian lives lived out in the real-time of tears and mess.”

Eventually I believe we will see this extend to pedophiles, because they are quickly becoming the new “taboo,” that homosexuality was in regard to shaming Christians into not judging them.  I could be wrong, but I never thought I’d read what I read back in 2017 from that one Christian blogger.

The enemy within

So… we’re living in an age where Christians are expected by other Christians, to “tolerate,” even the most vile sins of others because we are “no better,” and therefore should not be allowed to have standards for our congregation or civilization we are living in.

But how do you keep a church clean and healthy when pastors, priests, and religious leadership in general has given way to what the culture demands they accept?  And how do we cope with leadership who now demands we accept and not judge this immorality?

I believe this battle would have been a lot easier to have won, if church leadership across the board would have held firm in their stance a decade or two ago.  The fact that us Christians are grappling with the theology of those who should be leading us, shows again how far down the modern church has plunged.

Our enemy is within our own fortress, it is behind our own lines in the battle against the world.  But it got there through shaming, and systematically breaking down Christians’ reactions to certain evils that should never have been accepted.

What happens when Christians don’t do what Scriptures command, which is to separate themselves from sins like these, is that corruption leads to dead churches, and more defilement of the members.

 

They’re going to win

What’s interesting to me is that the pedophilia post got little to no push-back.  In general, the Christians who saw it either agreed publicly with it in the comments section, or stayed silent.  A few Christian women I’m familiar with in the blogosphere agreed with it though, and that is saying something.

And how interesting that both the pedophile acceptance telling us not to judge them, and the various links listed above, both deal with (at least indirectly) the potentiality of defiling Christian children.

It’s a critical point that if they make gains in these diabolical plans, gaining access and ability to defile our children, then they’ve succeeded in defiling the future generation of Christians and Christianity in general.

 

Related Posts –

Sigma Frame’s Series on Biblical terms: Unclean, Defile, Consecrate, Sanctify

Letting Children Have a Vision of Marriage

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“The parent who loves his children and takes pleasure in training them in right conduct gives the best possible testimonial to marriage.

On the other hand, the parent who constantly complains about his physical, financial or emotional burdens breaks down his youngster’s vision of marriage as a worthy state in life.”

– Rev. George A. Kelly 

~ ❤ ~

I stumbled upon this passage above a month ago when reading, and it felt like getting hit with a two-by-four upside the head!  LOL  While I do strive to be the best mom I can be to our kids, enjoying teaching them and doing life with them, the overall quote felt convicting!  The worst thing I think in my journey as a mother would be to rob my children of the hope and joy they should have at this age – by making them fear growing up and feeling like they won’t be able to handle whatever burdens or trials they’re supposed to carry later on.

But I never linked breaking a youngster’s vision of marriage as a worthy state in life, with complaining – it makes so much sense!

And of course it’s true, a complaining mother is a drain on everyone in the family, she  sucks the joy and happiness out of life.  Sure, life may be hard, but I can see how crucial it is to choose our attitudesomething my husband taught me I think in our 2nd year of marriage from a book he had read in college.

Ironically, it was a book about work-ethic mentality, meant for people in the corporate world!  But it was a great book for how to live one’s life in general, echoing sound biblical advice of doing one’s work with a cheerful attitude, putting other’s above yourself in “making their day” (making them elated!), and finding fulfillment in enjoying your work.  It was interesting… to think one can change their whole experience of even their dire circumstances, by simply changing their attitude.

***

How Does a Mom Exhibit a Worthy Vision of Marriage?

Make it a point to have fun, and have fun with your children and husband often!!!

This is something that should be a given, however, I think our natural default as humans is to fall into complaining.  Therefore we have to choose our attitude, no matter what is going on.  And to tell you the truth, even if everything is going well, our sin nature masked in the temptation to complain can come out even then unfortunately.

With how busy life gets, or bogged down with various day-to-day tasks, hardships or even trials families go through, I am seeing how setting aside time for making joyous and happy memories together is a necessary engagement.

This means even if we’ve had a long week, and we had something fun scheduled at the end of it, we make sure to still do it, in lieu of staying at home and calling it an early night.  We’ve found it’s so much more fun to go out together and experience our “fun” things, rather than just giving in the passivity of tiredness or even the kids’ moods.

Love your husband well… and openly… and at every opportunity!!!

It is sad to me that this still needs to be said, but nothing makes children happier and more at peace than seeing and knowing how in love their parents are, and how much fun they have together and with them.  

I think it is the secret recipe for a blissful family life overall.  Not that hard things don’t come, or heartbreaking tragedies, but even in the midst of these in our life together, we’ve found that the love and joy between us, carries us through those times much easier than it would be if we didn’t have that in our marriage.

Complaining or bad attitudes in general just makes everything harder, less fun, and definitely less loving.  This is true whether at work, school, in friendships, but probably especially within a marriage and around one’s children, who see them as they are all the time.

One of my favorite books of the Bible is Philippians, because it is the book on how to have joy in one’s life.  This passage comes to mind whenever I find myself tempted to complain:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world as you hold forth the word of life, in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” 

Philippians 2:14-16

I want my children to have a good vision of what a worthy marriage looks like, however human we may be.

Stephanie

Blessings in the Interruptions

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My husband snapped this picture in the morning before he left for a special assignment… said it was too cute to miss.  Recently, our beautiful girl has decided waking up VERY early is just the thing to do 😉 and I’ve been letting her stay up with me so I can continue with some time to read the Bible and pray.

What I would have considered an interruption has become such a beautiful blessing of extra time to cuddle with her and enjoy alone time with her.  I usually get her some chocolate milk, and coffee for myself, and sit back down where she stays quietly reading one of her books or her little Christmas story Bible (sooo cute!!!) and gives me another 30 minutes to an hour to read and pray.  Our boys were a little too rough and rowdy to have done this (and I tried LOL) so having a sweet, gentle girl is a nice change 😀 !  I love how different they are.

In the book, The Mission of Motherhood, this quote recently stood out,

“How do we make the commitment to give the area of motherhood over to God as a sacrifice of worship to him?

We yield our personal rights into his hands.  We give up our time and expectations to him – and also our fears and worries about how we will manage.  We trust him to take care of us and our family.  We let him redirect our thinking and expectations and adjust our dreams.  And we wait in faith to see the fruit of our hard labor in the lives of our children, knowing that he will be faithful to honor our commitment to him.”

I consider that early morning time – a time of peace and a rare stillness that falls over the house when everyone else is asleep – my time to replenish and really focus on God and His Word.  I can see how it could be called my “Me-Time,” or be something a friend would say I have a “right” to.  And I get it – having that time not go as I planned due to a fussy baby means mentally or emotionally giving up this “right.”

We’re all about “rights” as women in this day and age.  Whether it’s the “right” to some alone time, the “right” to some pampering, or even the “right” to complain (yes, I’ve heard this!), it seems we live a chronic state of feeling we deserve certain circumstances or treatment.  Since mothers usually do spend a lot of time serving, I think we have this expectation that we should receive a form of “payment” in return for all our efforts.  But that’s just it – a real sacrificial love doesn’t demand (or even expect) payment or retribution for things lost like time and energy.  Is alone time or being pampered inherently bad?  Of course not 🙂 but it can be if we view them as though they’re owed to us because we “sacrifice so much.”

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Loving our children in such a way that we try to re-frame these interruptions, or messes… or accidents… into opportunities for blessings or “divine appointments,” as Clarkson calls them, is such a dramatic difference in perspective.  I admit this is something I have to routinely call myself back to in keeping in focus.

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“Greater love has no one than this,

that one lay down his life for his friends.”

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Clarkson goes on to describe God’s design for motherhood as comparable to what Jesus described in John 15:13.  Mother’s in many ways, are called to figuratively “lay down their lives” for their children.

This means that even when we don’t feel like it, we choose to “serve” them by getting up with them or helping them get back to sleep. ❤

It means that even when it’s the millionth time that week that we’re cleaning the kitchen floors because babies and toddlers eat so messy, that we choose to do it anyway.  ❤

It may mean SO many different changes and sacrifices made toward goals, careers, dreams, or life plans in ensuring they’re getting what they all need from us.

Something I’ve been thinking about, and something that has been brought to the forefront as we’ve had more children, is the “cost” of motherhood.  How deep is that cost I don’t know.  I’m sure it differs for each family, and certainly when considering how many children a mother has, but it is a topic very interesting to me when thinking about how much a woman gives up (yet also gains) when living out the role of a mother?

If anyone has any ideas on this topic I’d love to hear them!

Stephanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Darkness & Sacrificing Children?

Last year, I read a fellow female blogger write that we shouldn’t dare judge pedophiles.  I had just had our baby at the time and trying to avoid reading too much online, but even just glancing at her article made me disturbed a Christian was promoting this.  I put it out of my mind and didn’t come back to it until well after our baby girl was born.  This author not only called for Christians to not judge pedophiles, she even went so far as to express herself finding humor in other Christians being outraged by it when they try to promote a Christian character of grace (calling their attitude of showing grace ironic in their outrage against pedophiles).  She asked her readers if they really thought they were a “better person” than a child molester.  It’s a question made to make Christians feel guilty for having moral standards when it comes to the treatment of our children.

In light of the recent news of yet again, the Catholic Church using it’s parishes as harbors of safety for pedophiles, I’m wondering if this same attitude of “Oh we shouldn’t judge them – they’re just normal sinners like we are.  Who are we to say that pedophiles are bad?” is somehow complicit in this?  When even Christ followers are encouraging their fellow Christians to view harming children as the same as a lesser sin, are we creating a Christian culture that promotes pedophilia because we’re too afraid of being called “judgmental” or “self-righteous” for judging them and removing them from the church?

I remember back when this was the motto *many* Christians were encouraging each other in order to accept homosexuals and in effort to make that particular sin not seem “so bad.”  Instead of promoting a healthy culture of giving each other grace, however, this attitude that homosexuals weren’t to be judged because we’re sinners, too, quickly devolved into accepting their behavior in the church as “just another type of sin we all commit.”  And then accepting ministry members who were openly gay, and then worship leaders, and eventually homosexual Pastors and Priests who were openly gay.  I remember seeing it all happen and thinking it very surreal that any Christian would fall for this kind of satanic deception that we were never supposed to judge homosexual behavior and separate ourselves from it.

Now it’s been happening again with pedophilia, the ironic part is that, like in this woman’s post, the exact same wording is being used as it was back in the 80’s and 90’s, in order to make Christians feel like they’re “self-righteous” if they judge these sins for what they are.  This is the systematic way Satan was able to infiltrate the church with accepting homosexuality, by telling Christians it was “just another sin,” that they “were no better” and “shouldn’t judge it, or them, because of their own sins.”  It is Satan using Christian forgiveness, humility and grace and twisting it to render the church unable to defend itself against diabolical evils seeking to infiltrate it.  In other words, it’s meant to “noramlize” or “desensitize” Christians into accepting homosexuality, and now, like we’ve seen, pedophilia as well.

The woman telling us not to judge pedophiles has since deleted all her blog posts including the one mentioned here, but the internet is forever, and her post is still available online.  The trusty Way Back Machine will forever and always archive this woman’s blog post found here, if you scroll down to April 6, 2017.

Children are God’s treasures, and the Bible tells us that anyone who corrupts an innocent will have a fate worse than having a millstone hung around their neck and drowned (Matthew 18:6, Luke 17:2, Mark 9:42).  Clearly, Christians should not be encouraging each other to view pedophilia as “just another sin to be accepted into the folds of Christianity.

Anyway, where does this come from, this idea that pedophiles should not be judged, but viewed with constant grace and (basically) allowed to continue their raping of children?  Where does it come from in the church where of anyone, our leaders should be protecting it’s own children?

Are we sacrificing our children on the alter of political correctness, in order not to offend homosexuals and pedophiles?

RELATED ARTICLES

*Edited from “all” to “many,” obviously not “all” Christians were promoting the acceptance of gays into the Church, but back in the 80’s and 90’s when I was a child going to a strict Christian school who was openly against that sin, it felt as though the entire church on the outside was generally accepting it as “just another sin.”

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Living By Faith Is Probably the Most Important Thing We’ll Ever Show You

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Not that we do it perfectly, but we are striving to set an example of what it looks like to live your life based upon total faith in God so that you and your brothers see our faith lived out as a witness to how great and faithful God, Himself, is.

Ever since the beginning of our marriage, before we even had kids, we knew we wanted to leave a legacy of faith within the hearts of our children – one that would hopefully extend far beyond our reach to the generations to come.  In the Proverbs 31 series, we looked at specific people from history – particularly the mothers since I am a mother – who by living out their faith in front of their children, were able to have faithful descendants that multiplied enormously in just 100 years time.  We looked at how dramatically this affected our nation by producing so many productive, Christian, members of society.  We connected the family that was tracked with the Parable of the Sower:

“Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”  Matthew 13:8

The Goal of a Christian’s Life Should Be to Be Used By God

We also want you to understand that the goal of a Christian’s life, should be to be used by God.  And when one lives by faith, God uses them more than the average Christian.  This is a topic that would seem controversial, because it sounds so unfair.  But like we learned in my book detailing the virtuous wife of Proverbs 31, women respond differently to God depending on the soil of their hearts.  The good thing is that we control the kind of soil we keep, which represents the way we respond to God asking us to obey Him.

The way you’re currently obey God affects your entire outlook on life, but especially your motivation to develop a strong, courageous kind of faith.

Image result for parable of the sower

We also learned that God gives out spiritual gifts and abilities unequally, when we looked at the Parable of the Talents in the Proverbs 31 woman series.  We may be given spiritual gifts unequally, but it is fair in that God doesn’t expect from someone with only the capacity of 1 talent, to give Him a return of 10 when He inspects their efforts.  He expects we do our part with what we are given, but He is not a cruel master or unfair in expecting more from someone who doesn’t have that ability.

That said, there’s something God wishes for all of us to have equally, that will develop a heart of good soil and help us to do incredible things for Him in seen or unseen ways!  It doesn’t take having 10 talents, or even being a Type A Super Go-Getter kind of woman, this is something He desires for all people, and it is the single determining factor that explains how much God will use you in your life to do His work.

I heard a sermon maybe a month ago, which brought all this into a much more concise and understandable reason as to why God does use some people more than others, and how this greatly blesses them, and makes their life far more fulfilling.  This chapter is entirely based upon the thoughts of Chip Ingram, in understanding why God has more favor on, or tends to use some people, more than others.

We want to help you develop into the kind of woman whom God will use much more than just the average woman!  Not only were you prophesied over as an infant, but you come from a long legacy of faith from both your sides of your family.  You’ve come from people who have helped birth Christianity not only in their own families, but even in their communities by becoming Pastors and teachers of God’s Word.

You are related to a man who was even martyred for his faith in God.  Withstanding persecution is in your blood.

And we’re not talking about something grand, although it is possible that God would call you to something like that, it’s much more likely that you will impact His kingdom for good in extremely powerful, but almost unnoticeable ways.

The Most Important Thing to Be Used By God

All it takes to do more than the average Christian, to be used by God, and have more favor and blessings on your life, is faith.

That’s all it is, but it is SO PROFOUND.  This one thing – your faith in God – will determine the entire course of your life.  And I’m not talking about “faith” in that you prescribe to a certain religion (faith) and believe it’s the right one like Catholicism or Orthodox Christians.  But actually having a strong relationship with God where you read His Word every morning, spend lots of time praying to Him and knowing Him through His Word.

We want you to have the kind of faith that is real – believing what God said and ACTING on it in your real life.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  2 Cor. 5:7

We want you to see us having the kind of faith where we act on it when we feel like it, and we act on it especially when we don’t feel like it.  You will have this kind of faith, as well.

We act on it when it makes sense, and we act on it when it sounds like the dumbest thing in the world.

Faith is believing God – He commends it, He rewards it, He justifies you by faith.  It is probably the most important thing in your life, Little One, learning how to fully have faith in God and allow that to direct all the rest of your life.  It is probably the single determining factor for how well you will do in your Christian life.

For we walk by faith, not by sight!!

 

He uses people who don’t shrink back when facing insult, persecution, etc.

It’s not enough to just be religious and attend church.  You need to stand your ground for the hard stuff, and take whatever Satan brings on.  Christians who are used by God because they live by faith, will often have to face suffering and public exposure to ridicule, slander, criticism and even if it comes to it – confiscation of their property, imprisonment, and death.

Yes, even though this may not be a popular message (although ironically it is so needed at this time), we’re called to have a strong faith to persevere and endure ALL things for His sake.  Many Christians honestly just don’t have that kind of faith to not shrink back when even just the slightest beginnings of persecution start to affect their lives.

More than that though, God actually expresses displeasure when a believer shrinks back from persecution.  It proves they don’t have faith in Him or pure motivations in how they were serving Him.

And not only are we called to stand strong in the face of persecution (and not shrink back), we’re supposed to endure all these things without complaining.  It’s not wholesome for a Christian to be whining and complaining about their perceived persecutions, and no, asking for prayers during a time of persecution is not whining or complaining (typically).

We’re called to endure persecution, slander, judgment, public ridicule, imprisonment, torture or death, joyfully and confidently, so that we come out in victory through God and bring glory to Him for allowing us to stand and not cringe or shrink back from our persecutors.  In other words, yes, it’s better to die for Christ than to shrink back or complain about being persecuted.  From what I’ve seen, it’s sadly normal to find that Christian women shrink back VERY readily and fast – much to their shame and dishonor of their God.

Hebrews 10:32

Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings.

Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companionsof those who were treated that way.  For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession.

So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.

“For in yet a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.  But My     righteous one will live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (The author is quoting from Habbakuk)

Did you see that?

“But My righteous one will live by faith;

and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

He’s quoting from Habakkuk here (it’s always been like this – that the righteous live by faith even during times of light or severe persecution).  This is our history, Christian women, God’s Word (both the Old and the New Testament) is timeless.

So now that you have a fuller understanding of the kind of faith that pleases God, you know it’s not for the faint-hearted.  Its not for people who give up or shrink back to just doing the minimum of Christianity so that they’re not persecuted anymore – that is, and has always been, the temptation.  Shrinking back from persecution, as we saw in Scripture, displeases God and brings shame upon the woman who does it.

 

It’s HARD to live by faith

We are slowly facing increasing opposition and the beginnings of actual persecution that will probably get much worse in our lifetime.  Just recently in California, banners and posters were approved to be hung at a popular mall for a normal, run-of-the-mill Christian speaking event for Pastor Greg Laurie.  Enough people complained, and even made threats because the posters showed a Bible, that the mall went back on it’s initial approval and ordered the Christian ads torn down.  Many Christians in California who were in shock over this decision to not allow normal Christian advertisement (which until now, has been allowed for decades), are now calling themselves the “underground church of California.”  

This is a big deal, sweet girl, and we believe it will slowly start spreading to other states.  Opposition to Christian speaking events, or even to Bible studies in your neighborhood, is going to become the norm, and you have to be strong enough to have faith anyway.  You’ll have the burden of teaching your own children to have strong enough faith in their time.  But it’s not enough to just have faith (or rather to say you have faith but hide it or be silent), like we saw in Hebrews 10, you will need to be bold enough to stand firm for your faith, even in the face of harsh punishments.  The good thing about times like what is coming is that persecution often re-ignites the church’s fire.  Many Christians (who don’t have a strong faith to withstand persecution) will simply fall away or “shrink back,” like Hebrews 10 talks about (displeasing God), and the Christians bold enough to keep standing, will end up shaping the backbone of the re-birthed church.  Throughout many times in the Bible we can see this happen with God’s people.  There is always a Remnant, and we can always depend on God, the One who brought us out of Egypt, to be faithful.

Faith can be developed, but it takes having an attitude of humility

The great thing is that even if one has failed in this area, it’s never too late to turn around and start living your life by faith – but it must be now.  That decision to walk boldly following God, needs to be firmly decided in your heart and mind, and then lived out everyday.

The main way to grow a strong faith like this, is to begin every morning with reading God’s Word – giving Him your first fruits.  There is no other way to live by faith if you’re not spending time knowing Him, understanding His commands, and loving that time with Him.  I know it sounds legalistic, but it’s just a logical thing that one cannot live by faith and not be spending regular time reading God’s Word and talking to Him about their life.  If you want a vibrant faith, if you want more favor on your life, to be used more than just your average Christian who merely attends church, but shrinks back at the slightest signs of persecution, then you need to be in His Word daily in order to strengthen you for what you will face.

Hebrews 10:38

“But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not those who shrink back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.”

So right after we see that shrinking back from persecution makes God Himself have “no pleasure” in us, we also see that the writer of Hebrews is commending them that they are not people who shrink back and are destroyed – but instead are those who have faith (in persecution) and obtain life!

How dramatic that if one “shrinks back” from their persecution, that God says they are “destroyed.”  I don’t think that always has to mean in a physical manner or literal death.  I think being “destroyed” because they’ve shrunk back from persecution is probably a more figurative thing – a total losing of their motivation or purpose in following God (a Christian’s only true purpose).  Shrinking back from persecution and being “destroyed,” could also mean a shipwreck of their faith in a way.  Once they know they’ve utterly failed in pleasing God, what is there to go on for?

Without FAITH it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God

And we must note that these last verses of Hebrews 10, talking about the importance of enduring and not shrinking back, come right before the famous chapter of Hebrews 11, where all the heroes of faith from the Old testament are remembered and honored.  So this was an encouragement leading up to the Hebrews 11 passage, an encouragement to live by faith – because honestly, it is the only thing that will matter in this life.

“But we are NOT those who shrink back and are destroyed, but those who have FAITH and obtain LIFE!”

 

Female Behavior & Social Media

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The Harpy

Social media behavior fascinates me, and fortunately it’s been around just long enough that we’re starting to see the beginning of what I expect to be a long list of research opportunities on how people behave while on it.  If you’ve been a long-time reader, you’ll know I’ve been interested in why women feel the emotion envy, for awhile.  It’s probably because I’ve never really understood it.  If someone is doing a great job, or having good things happen in their life, why would another person not be happy for them?

I’ve cataloged how odd this plays out online in a few articles, like when women look down on married couples who are actually happy in their relationship and show only each other’s best sides, or when just viewing your News Feed puts you in a negative and depressed mood due to other’s happiness.    Whether you’re a wife choosing not to air your dirty laundry for the public to see, or are criticized as being “fake,” because you don’t want to embarrass your husband, or are simply perplexed to find that other people’s happiness should make you feel depressed, you’re in the right place!

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“You happily married couples can’t really be that happy (we realistic ones know you’re lying to us),

plus you make me feel bad because my marriage isn’t like that.

You’re faking it in your photos and not being “real,”

let me show you what IS real by posting negative sh-t about my husband and I publicly.”

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When I’ve researched into who is saying things like this quote above, the women who say they secretly hate their positive facebook friends, it’s almost always women who are (self-reporting as) deeply unhappy in their own lives; many are in fact, divorced and trying to survive single-motherhood.  Of course seeing beautiful, happy families makes them feel pain and sadness… and of course seeing a good husband show his wife how much he loves her, leaves them feeling sick.  Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12), and feeling the pain of that loss, or maybe the pain of never having it at all, is normal.  It’s ok to grieve when appropriate, but it’s crucial to learn how to redirect those feelings and emotions into something positive and graceful.  Otherwise, the intense feeling of pain can quickly turn into self-pity, which then often crosses into bitterness and anger, things that leave you vulnerable to demonic strongholds.

Here is a quote from one such divorced, single mom becoming bitter over her happily married friends –

“I’m also a Michigander but moved to Connecticut in 2001 when my now ex-husband went to school here! I am like you–brutally honest. I think it’s part of our culture. And that’s why I sometimes hate Facebook! Being divorced makes me feel like a loser when I see all these “happy” couples’ pictures posted for SEVEN days in a row! It feels self-serving–like it’s validating to them. But the people are truly good and close friends, so I can’t be (but want to) be honest like you! I have a 9 year old with autism and felt like such a fake liar when I posted the Motherhood Challenge with pictures of a happy, cooperative child. Reality is that he hits me, swears, spits, and has massive meltdowns sometimes. You are right reality is not as pretty. It certainly never gets a “like” or even a “dislike” because reality is a bummer.

No one wants reality from a single mom with special needs who now lives 800 miles from her family and has to face this life on their own. So, to keep my image, I guess I play the pretty picture game too and hope that one day my true feelings won’t come out! Thanks for being honest!”

Her story is hard, and I’m sure having an autistic child IS extremely difficult and involves lots of suffering on her part.  The key is though, choosing what you focus on DOES improve even a situation as bad as that.  Look at people all throughout history who had severe mental and emotional or physical handicaps, who when their caregiver had a better mindset, they achieved much more than what doctors thought would ever be capable.  Miracles have happened with children like this, but mostly it’s only when they had a caregiver who self-sacrificed over and over and over again, giving them the gift of unconditional love and humanity.  I know it’s hard for women to hear this, but accepting the difficulties of one’s life (carrying your cross), as well as choosing not to complain about how hard you have it, IS worth trying to obtain as part of spiritual and personal growth.  Like I said above, self-pity is not good.  The bitterness it can bring from dwelling on how unfair life is opens the door to more spiritual attacks and demonic influence into your life.  Because of all this, trying to give women in positions like this, short-cut answers to their problems by saying those happy couples are “fake,” is enabling them – not helping them to deal correctly with their own problems (like having a special needs child).  The suffering they’re already going through is then compounded by their own bitterness and disappointment in life. 

Allowing themselves to become bitter over how unfair life is, or develop feelings of hostility toward their happily married friends, only makes their own lives that much harder!

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It’s Coming from Hatred & a Root of Bitterness

The argument for sharing your husband’s flaws publicly online (or flat out humiliating him) has seemed to come from a concocted desire to appear more “real” and to show all of the sides of marriage – and to show-up those wives who only post the positive things!  The problem with this rationale is that it should be socially understood that no one is perfect, that everyone may have some issues sometimes and that marriage, because it is so intricately relationship-based, obviously takes hard work.   Choosing not to show this side publicly when it could harm or humiliate your husband, but rather focus on the positive, beautiful things in life and your marriage (or about your mate), shows wisdom, self-control, and discretion.

And as far as one’s marriage goes, when you love your spouse, you don’t want to air their issues online on your social media platforms.  In a trustworthy marriage, your husband should be able to feel totally safe with what you choose to share online publicly – because he knows without a doubt, that you have his back and are making wise decisions on his behalf.   Like we learned in the Proverbs 31 series, the heart of her husband safely trusts in her, and because she is his wife, he lacks for nothing good.   When we post things that show him in a bad light, no matter how humorous or “well-intentioned,” we tell ourselves we’re being, the consequences could be damaging to his reputation, image, or even his career, which means we’re actually harming him in the long-run, and for social media “likes,” at that!

“His honor, respect and privacy must be sacrificed so she can compete with the other women by being “more real,” than the ones who post only happy and positive things about their spouses.” 

From here

But wanting to show what “real” marriages look like, as much as these women claim their goal is, is not what this is about.  I used to naively believe that was their actual intentions, but over the years it’s become more and more clear that this attitude is coming from a root of bitterness and even hatred.

“You just hit the nail on the head!

I was so irritated seeing everyone’s posts about love your marriage (from the Love Your Spouse Challenge).

Most of the time I’m irrated at my husband.

How about a hate your spouse challenge?”

-Carla Burke (from here)

Why some women act like this though, is VERY interesting to me.  Why do some feel like everyone should post negative stuff about their mate or marriage?

Because seeing others unhappy or having problems in their lives or marriages, makes these women feel better about their own selves, or about the state their marriage is currently in.  It all comes back to the emotion I’ve studied for years now, envy.

Envy is more than jealousy, it is a painful emotion of which the Bible says is like rottenness to the bones.  While jealousy may come from a valid place of wanting what rightfully should belong to you and you alone (ie: God being jealous for our love), envy is wanting what another has which you have no right to want (ie: coveting something that someone else has earned or is in possession of).  It seems to be capable of completely enveloping a person, and grows the more they focus on the object of their envy and hatred.  The cure is found first in repentance, and focusing on your own life, living in gratitude to God for the gifts He’s given to you, and then choosing to live a life that pleases Him, instead of become embittered by whatever you believe He’s withheld from you.

Beauty, Goodness, & Happiness Often Evoke Envy

All throughout time, there have been countless stories in literature (be it biblical, classical, or in nearly every fairy tale) of women who were either good/beautiful/happy and somewhat naive, and women who gave themselves over to envy over the one who was good/beautiful/happy.  There were women who displayed qualities that seemed almost irresistible to the heroic man in their life, and then the women who played the Evil Stepmother, or the Evil Queen, or the Harpy.  This is something that goes far beyond social media, because it is a heart issue… a feature, not a bug, built into humankind.

Sometimes we get glimpses into what “triggers” these women to act out of their envious behavior, like in this real life example below of a woman’s Instagram post, “making” another woman feel inferior.

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So what are reactions like this based on?

“You seem to represent an almost impossible-to-attain portrait of womanhood, and as a woman, I honestly find many of your photos unsettling.”

***

“Something about your photos makes feel strangely depressed/inadequate and I’m alarmed by my own reactions.”

It’s the beauty.  The artistic perfection… the woman’s elegance… her refinement.  It’s all the aforementioned put together that make her realize her reaction is not accounted for, or “alarming,” and worrying to her, as it should be.  It’s also this fact (that the pictures show beauty, perfection, elegance, and refinement) that makes her admit that the woman’s photos are amazing work:

“That being said, this is truly great work and I applaud your abilities.”

What a 180 right?  We just got an inside look at how emotionally tormented a woman feels when presented with someone who awakens feelings of envy.  When another woman is “outside her comfort-zone better than her” in some kind of way, it can be almost impossible for her to appreciate the beauty and goodness due to the painful or “alarming” feelings that may come up.

Even though she’s able to realize at the end of her comment that her observations are “alarming” and coming from a place of feeling depressed/inadequate, she still demands that this woman answer for why she’s “making” the commenter feel thing way, as though this artist can really control this stranger’s feelings.  It’s a normal thing for women (or men) who feel envy, to blame the object of their envy for “making” them feel that way, or “inciting” it with pictures of beauty in their life.  

“Ultimately, while people use social networks to keep in touch with friends and family, seeing those people happy often have negative effects on them.”

From research study here

But even if another woman’s pictures on social media aren’t “perfect,” just seeing other people be happy eventually may become a negative experience for women with this problem.  It doesn’t take artistic perfection, for some even seeing other moms out and happy with their kids or husband, evoke strong emotions of envy.

What is the real problem here?

Envy is literally as old as Cain, from one of the first Bible stories when he felt envy at his brother Abel’s approval by God.  Abel didn’t “make” Cain feel envious or bad about himself, Cain’s lack of self-improvement and desire to please God made his offering undesirable, and pale in comparison to Abel’s offering and disposition.

I used to feel sorry for women like this, because I know envy is a painful emotion to feel (and why not be happy for people who are happy?!?), but now I’m beginning to understand how women who don’t deal with their envy appropriately are not victims, they often know what they’re choosing and seek to place blame elsewhere to hide what they know they feel (the hatred or bitterness).  This behavior is not benign, as it tears apart the fabric of our society in a myriad of ways, harming the future of our children and grandchildren by working to dismantle social norms (think things like fat acceptance, obesity disability, welfare, hostility toward in-tact families, etc.).

If everyone engaged in envy whenever a someone does something praiseworthy or beautiful or inspiring or artistically stunning, our society would be utterly ruled by the ugliness and the decay of the miserable and self-centered.  If any attempt to be better personally – be it spiritually, mentally or physically, or create something beautiful, is squashed by miserable women who claim your attempts to better yourself makes them feel unhappy or ashamed of their own failures, then our civilization’s beauty, art, music, and literature will suffer… and it has.

When God dealt with Cain’s feelings of envy, before he murdered Abel (and there was still a chance for him to turn the situation around by making the right choices), God did not treat Cain like a victim of his own envy.  The Bible says Cain felt anger that Abel’s offering was accepted by God (and his was not), and looked dejected (he pouted).

Then the LORD said to Cain,

“Why are you furious?  And why are you dejected?  If you do right, won’t you be accepted?

But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door.  Its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Genesis 4:6-7

God warns Cain that he is on the brink of becoming “had” by sin, which is figuratively crouching at his door ready to overcome him.  God also commands Cain to “master it.”  This may explain why it can feel so hard for women who deal with this problem to eradicate their feelings of envy, because they have to learn how to “master it.”

***

Envy Greatly Affects Women in Real Life

This point, that giving in to envy and allowing it to control your interactions with others online or in real life, harms you and others, is the most important point we should know.  Because it’s a heart issue, and not computer or social media-related, it’s not something that’s just going to go away when you step offline.  It has to be recognized and dealt with in one’s real life as well.

The problem with envy though, is that women (and men) who give in to this emotion and sin, often do not feel any remorse whatsoever.  It is usually coupled with pride in that they feel right to feel embittered, and therefore it’s hard to get them to care or sympathize with how their actions may impact themselves or others.

In fact, studies have proven that people who feel envy (in real life as well as online), actually have been found to report feeling happy when something bad happens to the person they envy – something bad enough to “put them in their place,” so to speak.  It is also linked with efforts to try to harm that person in real life, due to schadenfreude (joy at other people’s misery).  And if that isn’t depressing enough, another study shows us that only 50% of our “friends” on social media actually like us, or feel the same reciprocal kind of friendship feelings we feel toward them.  This would probably account for why those people aren’t happy for their friends’ happiness.  If they don’t even “like” them, then of course they may not feel happy when seeing their social media “friends” happy.

It’s the whole crab-basket effect, which Ian Ironwood explains in detail.

So for over 30 years, more than an entire generation, we’ve seen women at work, women in management, women “competing in a man’s world” . . . even though the “man’s world” looks more feminine than ever.
So . . .how’s that working out for women?
Turns out . . . not so good.  
Dr. Peggy Drexler has published two pieces back-to-back discussing the complexities of women working with women.   The result isn’t pretty . . . and pretty much validates everything I’ve said about the Female Social Matrix.  Also known as the Crab Basket.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, it’s a metaphor for how women relate to other women— how they self-organize, socially.

Thankfully not all woman are like this I’ve found!  Social media does seem to create more opportunities for women who wouldn’t be like this in real life, to let themselves give in to this sin where the consequences aren’t as tangible.  But they do have consequences, women who act like this online still have an overall negative affect on society, because it pulls manners and morality down to a more primal (it’s you or me) level, instead of a more civilized view of if we all do our best to succeed, we’ll produce a more beautiful and loving society.

It happens in Real Life far more than you’d imagine

Recently I happened upon a 3-year-old article where a mother was describing how simply having a good, positive and happy play-date for her daughter and a friend turned into something she was made to feel shame over.

When the mom came back I invited her in for a few minutes. She smelled the aroma of fresh-baked cookies and saw the kids happily playing and said, “Wow, you go all out for playdates. I just usually throw some goldfish at them.”

I felt a little surprised at the disdain I heard in her voice, but when I snapped back into reality I instantly went into defense mode, which for me is self-deprecation in overdrive.

“Oh, Gak is just glue and detergent and I had promised my kids we would do it, and the cookie dough was leftover and my kitchen never looks like this normally but we have company coming over tonight and…” I rambled on like an idiot. Because apparently being a good mom is something I did to offend her.

I felt shamed for doing something fun for my kids—and hers. Shame for even trying to be a good mom. Trying to be good actually brought out the worst in both of us.

This happened to me a lot over the years.  I have heard comments about volunteering too much at my kids’ school,or hosting too nice of parties or making a Pinterest-inspired handmade soccer cookie (one time).

Most people are appreciative, but there are always others that say something along the lines of, “Way to make the rest of us look bad!”

Sadly, this behavior really isn’t just relegated to social media alone.  It seems there will always be women who punish other women who aspire to do good, to be happy, to make beautiful things themselves, or to even make playdates for children happy and pleasant.

The female mantra even all throughout literature, seems to be “do your best, but don’t you dare do too much better than me!”  Instead of women being genuinely happy for each other when another succeeds, if it’s “too much” for one in particular, she’ll deem it as “bad” somehow.

In the past few years of blogging, I’ve seen how this even applies to women in the Bible, particularly the Proverbs 31 woman since she is the idealistic representation of what us wives should look up to and feel inspired by.  Even a decade before I started writing my series, there were already books and articles out there online with Christian women sarcastically slamming the Proverbs 31 wife as an unrealistic “super mom.”  Yes, I’m being serious!  Christian women regularly would mock and put down an entire passage in the Bible, mostly because they said it made them feel “pressured” or “inferior!”  Whether we’re told we’re Pharisees for seeing beauty in this biblical passage, or when we’re told to “Stop Obsessing” over her, or to “Rethink” her character to be a “fictional” one in order to downplay what the Bible calls us as wives to try to emulate and grow into, it’s downright getting rarer and rarer to find someone promoting her as real and what God wants us to take seriously.

It always seemed so strange to me that Christian women would actively hate the Proverbs 31 passage, or seek to ridicule anyone who wrote on it thinking it was applicable to today.

But after reading this article, do you still wonder why?

 

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Stephanie