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.

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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.

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

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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 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.

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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

Praise & Gratitude to the Lord Our God!

We’re celebrating our Easter party later today for all of the police families in our department.  As I sit and reflect on how joyous and grateful I am for God’s redemption and promises, I’m filled with utter gratitude at how He has so taken care of me, even though each of us are like an ant to Him.  I often think about the sweet sparrow family we have at the front of our house, how tiny they are, how insignificant they appear to be compared to the rest of the animals and goings-on in the world, and remember that the Bible says He notices even them!

Songs of Praise I’m singing this morning:

Happy is the man who fears the LORD, taking great delight in His commandments!

His descendants will be powerful in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed!

Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever!

Light shines in the darkness for the upright!!!

He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous.

Good will come to a man who lends generously and conducts his business fairly.

He will never be shaken!

The righteous will be remembered forever.  He will not fear bad news because his heart is confident, always trusting in the LORD!

His heart is assured; he will not fear!

In the end, he will look in triumph on his enemies.

He distributes freely to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.

His horn will be exalted in honor.

But the wicked man will see it, and be angry; he will gnash his teeth in despair.

The desire of the wicked will come to nothing.   (Psalm 112)

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I have sought Your favor will ALL my heart ❤ Lord, be gracious to me according to Your promise!  

I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees.  I hurried, not hesitating to keep Your commands.

Though the ropes of the wicked people who stalk me, were wrapped around me, I did not forget Your law.

I rise continuously at midnight to thank You for Your righteous judgments!!  

I am a friend to all who fear You, to those who keep Your precepts.

Teach me good judgment and discernment, for I rely on Your commands.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.

The arrogant have smeared me with lies, but I obey Your precepts will ALL my heart ❤ !

Their hearts are hard and insensitive, but I take delight in Your instruction ❤ !

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes.  Instruction from Your lips is better for me than thousands of pieces of gold and silver coins!

May Your faithful love comfort me always, as You promised Your servant.

May Your compassion come to me, so that I may live, for Your instruction is the delight of my life!

Let the arrogant be put to shame for slandering me with lies; as for me… I will meditate on Your precepts ❤ .

May my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes so that I will never be put to shame. (Psalm 119:58-80)

Stephanie

Bible Verses for Spring!

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This little guy – every Spring – he builds a little nest inside the edge of our house where it opens somewhat to the attic with his mate.  And then he sits in this tree, always in the same spot for years now, and chirps and chirps and chirps to his little hearts’ content!

I saw him again for the first time in months and ran back inside to grab my camera and take this shot.  I adore him, and I talk to him (and probably look like a crazy lady LOL) and he stops his incessant chirping to look down and cock his head at me (likely wondering why this crazy woman tries to talk to him) and we have a moment 😀 .

He’s just so handsome!  Look at his perfectly designed, defiant and proud little bird-face!  He may be small and fluffy, but he is stout at heart I assure you!

Anyway… we always seem to have the same birds each year, at least, I think they may be the same ones.  There’s the sparrow family who produce babies under the edge of our roof, always in the same spot, there’s the red bird (cardinal) and his mate, who two years ago I caught a shot of them “kissing” as they fed each other from our makeshift feeders.

However this year I discovered a new little one when I was out early gardening.  It’s a male mocking bird – and oh what a songbird he is!

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Springtime. ❤  Here are some verses I found that stood out to me recently when savoring this season:

“The heavens declare the GLORY of God, and the skies above proclaim the work of His hands!”

Psalm 19:1

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For behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.”

Song of Solomon 2:11-13

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“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.”

James 5:7

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It always fascinates me how the cycle of the new life occurs and grows so suddenly from what seems like deadness or barrenness around it.  Each year I remember the music from The Secret Garden (1993), when everything is coming alive again, and baby animals are being born.  It’s just so beautiful.

I grew up in the country, on land that was wild and breathtakingly beautiful to my childlike eyes.  I used to pretend I was inside my own secret garden 🙂 it was heavenly.

This is the song I hear in my head every Spring, though.  I’d love for you readers to listen to it.

It still gets me every year… the intricate beauty and joy of those notes!

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Stephanie

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: You Will Grow into Your Feminine Beauty

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I am a major book worm.  In case you haven’t noticed that I’ve NEVER changed the cover of this blog in nearly 5 years!  Because books are life!  There is so much knowledge and wisdom and beauty to be found in other people’s thoughts, that I can never get enough of reading it seems.  I had a few favorite books growing up – but Jane Eyre is hands-down one of the most memorable ones, and one that I STILL cannot get enough of!  I loved Jane Eyre because I was (what I thought of anyway) an ugly-duckingly, and she gave me hope LOL!  Growing into my femininity and beauty has been a long journey for me, and one that I hope I’ll be able to help my daughter navigate well in the future.

We were out yesterday selling some clothes for extra cash and I found a little historic novel based on a true story about a young nurse, only 16 years old (!), who tended injured men during the Civil War.  She became known and loved among the men she tended to for her gentleness and kindness to them ❤ .  Many other girls who volunteered to help had actually run away once the war came to their area, but this one girl stayed and became remembered for her character.

I had planned to buy some earrings I found for a good deal to build up our daughter’s stock, but I put them back and decided to get them next time in lieu of this awesome book!  I told my husband, “it’s for her future ❤ 😀 !!!”  I want our daughter to understand that character is what makes a woman truly beautiful.  Outward beauty shows self-respect or graciousness to those around you, but who you are as a person is what people will fall in love with and want to be around.

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She is such a little beauty already – almost strikingly so, and her happiness and joyful laughter are SO endearing!  But I want to raise her to love good books!  I want her to enjoy knowledge, and to know and understand that true beauty comes from very deep within – from the soul of a person, and that it takes time to grow and flourish… and that it can be lost if not safe-guarded against bitterness throughout life.

And I want her to know that it’s a process of becoming.

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It doesn’t usually happen all at once – being truly beautiful inside and out – for most women.  In fact, I’m not sure “most” women achieve both inner and outer beauty to their fullest personal extent, at all sadly.

Just like outer beauty takes A LOT of hard work and diligence over time to achieve and then to also maintain.  Inner beauty takes even more work, discipline, diligence, perseverance and even then if you manage to achieve it, it is MUCH harder to keep over the course of different circumstances one will face in life.  It’s a constant process of correcting your own character flaws, and that takes a TON of self-reflection, introspection, and acknowledgement of your own failings.

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Hence why I think a lot of women (and men if you’re thinking about men in that way) don’t even try to maintain inner beauty, or they may try but then give up or give in to their natural states of ugliness… since human beings all have sin natures… and our sin natures make us VERY very ugly.  That and we constantly fail.  Success in this regard requires a lot of perseverance and endurance.

So becoming a beautiful woman over time is very hard.  The inner beauty work is very difficult, and since I’m Christian, I do believe there’s a spiritual aspect to this where knowing God, having his help to get through life’s difficulties, really TRUSTING Him with EVERYTHING in your life (all those ugly emotions feelings and such), is the best or most proven way to maintain a beautiful character throughout life.

Avoiding all the vices that come so naturally to us, and working hard to develop the virtues that come from the Holy Spirit – that takes constant coming back to God to prune and develop you – to grow you and break you.  It’s painful work – which is probably why so many avoid it!  He’s molding you into a reflection of Christ, but again, that all takes a lifetime to achieve, and one has to be really working out their salvation with fear and trembling in order to achieve it at all!

But sweet, sweet, joyful little girl, you will grow into your beauty and femininity, and your daddy and I will be there every step of the way to guide you in the way you should go.

Stephanie

 

 

Labor of Love – Painting!

So… my oldest has officially inspired me to start painting again.  I think it’s been… over 10 years since I’ve actually sat down and painted anything serious on an actual canvas.  Finger painting with toddlers – yes!  But actually sit down, sketch out a portrait and landscape, do all the colors and shading and back-painting a real painting requires?  Nope.

That actually changed today, and I sat down and painted a rather large sized canvas of my oldest (because he’s the one who has inspired me to paint again 😀 ) when he was about 2 years old.

This is what happened today:

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It just took the afternoon, and it’s going to be a gift to my sweet Mom… I had to keep stopping to tend to the kids and then to make dinner 🙂  but wow was it fun to paint again.

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I used to draw portraits in high school for fun… and then my friends started actually paying me to draw them.  I could never draw (or paint) faces of people, even though I tried a lot growing up… until finally something “clicked” when I was 17, and suddenly, it made sense in my brain and I was able to draw them.

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Honestly, this felt so relaxing and was so easy tonight.  I think I’m going to make it a point to paint more LOL.  I forgot how enjoyable it was…. 🙂

All the tiny little details, the millions of leaf prints and different shades of green and blues… it does take some time, but it is so worth it to make all the little leaves.

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Stephanie

Godliness Requires Choice & Action

I know this probably sounds like common sense – but go there with me for a moment.  I’ve only recently really thought about how weird it sounds when Christians make bold statements that whatever good things have come about in there lives, that it was ONLY due to God and had zero effort from them.

I know that I could not have done anything good enough or helped create a beautiful marriage with my own actions – there’s just not enough goodness in me to be able to do that.  So to God be the glory, for all things HE has done!

I know on the surface this looks pretty good and spiritual.  Let’s be honest, the way it’s worded, it’s supposed to look spiritual… but is it actually true?  Can we really be or do nothing good to “help” create a beautiful marriage?   I wondered why it sounded so spiritually fake, until it became clear a few months ago that it is a form of false humility.  False humility is when a Christian tries to look really humble, but in reality they have ulterior motives of pride buried beneath the surface of their spiritual statements.  Let me break it down piece by piece.

Normally, giving all credit to God is a good attitude to have toward our lives and the gifts we’ve been given.  To realize that yes, ,everything good given to us IS from God… but when it comes to being realistic with other people on actually achieving godliness, which realistically, is becoming more like Christ in our marriage, or with our kids, or toward our enemieswe should be honest that the transformation happens through our own choices in responding to God and in allowing Him to do the work in us that changes us.  That’s a huge piece of the puzzle that’s missing from statements like the one previously mentioned – the admission that we have allowed God to have His way with us, and to affect the way we behave toward others.  It is always a choice to follow Him, and a choice to develop godliness by clinging to Him overtime.  So yes, we can have the power to do good in our marriages, with our children, and toward our enemies – that power is given to us from God, but only when we submit to Him and allow Him to.

When thinking about this topic of false humility, these beloved verses came up below.

12 So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. 13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] [c]God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:12-13 Amplified Bible

These verses have fascinated me since about 2009 when I really started to study them and ask Bible teachers and leaders what they meant.

It’s a two-fold process – we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (actively be pursuing God daily and growing in spiritual maturity… repenting when we’ve fallen or become discouraged).  AND God does His part by working IN us, making us want to please Him even more, and giving us real grace (power) to be able to do more than we could without the Holy Spirit in us, extending our abilities beyond what they would be.  

The latter verse would not be able to happen without the first.  That means God would not be working in us like that if we were not inviting Him in, pursuing Him and His ways, putting His will over our own as a daily thing, and constantly seeking to grow in spiritual maturity.

I think when it really hit me that the previous mentioned statement is a form of false humility meant to look super spiritual, was when I realized that if it solely depended on Jesus alone – if we had nothing to do with following Him and reaping those rewards – then everyone who was a Christian would look and act exactly like Jesus did by default. ALL Christians would have ALL the fruits of the Spirit down pat, and with perfection.  Obviously, spiritual growth doesn’t work that way LOL!

No… it’s just not true that we have no goodness in us or power to affect our spiritual growth, although it sounds true to give God all the credit for our good marriages, or relationships with our kids, or how we deal with enemies.  It looks good – very spiritual and “right.”  But unfortunately it’s deceiving to leave out the fact that a Christian who has developed godliness in their marriage… or with their children… they did so because they sought after Him.

Remember, the second verse (Phil 2:13) of God working in us, can’t happen without that first verse (Phil 2:12) where we decide to keep working out our salvation in fear and trembling.  We have to invite Him in so that He can have His way.

What a beautiful reminder that the grace God gives us – which is the power to go beyond what we’d normally be able to accomplish – is available to all of us if we only seek Him and live out Philippians 2:12.

Stephanie

Always Have Great Sex!!

Hi Dr. Laura!

My husband is easy. He’s pretty much in the mood all the time. Whenever, wherever… we have sex at least once a day, sometimes two or three (and we’re in our 40’s). But because women are different, I found that it’s good to always stay “prepared”…

One way is, I NEVER go to bed with clothes on. The second is that I have a few things I rotate inside of my head about my husband throughout the day. Things I love about him, things that attracted me to him in the first place. I focus fully on one or two things and before I know it, I’m ready to go. And yes, even with a headache.

My mother taught me to never say no to my husband, but I realize that there is a difference between just being a willing participant and being right there in the moment with him. It’s my very favorite part of the life we share, and I think it’s his, too.

Julie

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I’ve talked on the blog before a few times, about how I listened to Dr. Laura on the radio fairly often when I was a little girl.  My mom always had her on (when she was on air), and wow was it insightful LOL!  The female callers complaining about their husbands were always the worst and most annoying people to behold.  They’d complain about their husband’S normal male-habits, or negative things like having a porn addiction, or that he didn’t clean the house the way she wished he would, or that he had no motivation to move up in his career or make more money, and on and on the complaints were.

She’d speak very harshly to them, although I enjoyed hearing her tell them those things, I always thought to myself that being that harsh with the women was not something I’d want to do.  But perhaps I was wrong… ?  Maybe those types of women truly do need a smack to the head or to be treated as harshly as they’re more than likely treating their husbands.  A lot of the stuff I heard that the men were going through (when the men would call in) sounded like emotional and psychological torture or abuse!  So maybe I was wrong to think they didn’t need some very harsh “slamming” of their own behaviors, perhaps that’s the only way to help them gain humility – by giving them a mirror to see themselves the way other people see them.

And how many women that were like that, were Christian women going to church?  You would think Christian women would set the bar high for being kind and gentle and extremely respectful of their husband and his “flaws,” guarding him and protecting him from strangers’ misjudgment.  I could always tell, even as a young girl, that these women were very sure they were “right” and “good” even though it was pretty obvious they were gossiping and slandering their husbands to strangers on the radio.

The good callers were the ones who were humble, and who listened to Dr. Laura’s advice and allowed her to call them out if what they were doing was wrong.  Like the woman who penned this letter above ❤  She’s taken Dr. Laura’s advice to have LOTS of sex with her husband, and to not only do it because of duty, but to do it enthusiastically and with a good heart towards him!

It’s my very favorite part of the life we share, and I think it’s his, too.”

Yes!  I’ve told my man this many times 😀

Let’s look at her tips for having a better sex life:

  • NEVER go to bed with clothes on (lol… yea that does work!)
  • Focus on good things about your husband throughout the day – things you like about him as a man, and things that made you attracted to him in the first place
  • Don’t just have sex  more, have MORE FUN SEX.  Don’t just give him “duty sex” (bleh) but actually enjoy giving him sex

I actually think there are different “kinds” of sex (no I’m not talking about sex positions – Eek!).  I mean there can be different motivations for having sex.  One of my favorite motivations to give my husband sex is being thankful for him and for everything he does for us as a family.

I call it “Gratitude Sex!”

It’s when you’re so thankful that your husband provides for you, is such a good father to your kids, and is so good in a myriad of little ways, that you just want to knock his socks off with really good (grateful) sex!

I think husbands are often taken for granted.  They’re expected to work hard and expected to do the dirty jobs around the house… but do we as wives really thank them enough?

Is it so bad to thank them with our bodies?

In my experience, it’s more than good 😀

Stephanie

Parenting – Teaching Your Children to Use Their Gifts

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Our oldest is just amazing.  I know I’m his mom and so of course I’m biased… but oh my gosh, God has blessed him with many talents and gifts!  He’s kind… he’s gentle… he’s a strong leader and he’s only 7 years old!!!!!  Watching him is so inspiring to me to be a better mom – to be the mom he truly deserves in life (and yes, I feel like I fail constantly)!  We all deal with some amount of “Mom Guilt.”

Anyway… his school was having a city-wide art competition, and right away I was like, “You have to do this.”  He doesn’t believe in himself, just like I was growing up and still have issues with at times.  But his raw talent and gifts can’t just be shut up inside him and never used or developed!

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This is something I wish I had learned earlier in life myself – that my gifts, whatever they were, were supposed to be used and practiced and developed and strengthened!  It’s nice to have people loyally on your side, watching you with a gracious intent, gently encouraging you to use your gifts, but usually none of us really have people like that around, so we develop self-consciousnesses or neurotic beliefs that we’re always wrong or not very good.

And I see them reflected in my son.  His self-doubt, his belief that he’s actually NOT a good artist, or that he’s not funny, and not that smart (when he makes All A’s and B’s and excels in things like math!!).  It’s weird to me how we can have such a distorted view of ourselves when in reality, we are given so much more than we see.  This is what I imagine Paul was referring to when he was encouraging Timothy to not let anyone look down on him because he was young, but to set an example for other believers and to USE his gifts, and practice them and develop them.

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Practice.

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Develop

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It took him 3 days doing it a few hours at a time, and I had to keep reminding him that he probably wanted to work on it or it wouldn’t be finished in time for the contest, and he did want to finish it.  The more he painted, the more he enjoyed it, too!  As he and our other children grow older, I’m not going to be harping on them as much so that they can learn that if they don’t hustle and do their work on time – or be consistent in it – they will miss MANY opportunities in life and some that they won’t get a second chance at.

 

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But for now, I’m like the woman Jesus talked about who kept pestering a man to do what she wanted 😀  I will encourage him, remind him, love him, prod him, and “train him up in the way he should go,” according to his gifts I’ve seen God has given to him.

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His art teacher came up to me with excitement yesterday when I picked him up from school, and told me with wide eyes that he had placed in the competition… out of THOUSANDS of other kids who entered all over our city!  He won his school somewhere between $1,000-3,000 in art supplies!!!  Of course we were so proud of him!!!

And I asked him in the car when we were driving back home, if he was glad that I pushed him to enter… because he never would have known if he could win if he hadn’t even tried.

I explained to him again that when God gives us special gifts like that, He expects us to USE them for Him, and that others are BLESSED through our gifts – but only if we have enough confidence in ourselves to decide to step out in faith act.  We are also blessed when we bless others!  As he found out when he won that much money for his art teacher!  It’s a blessing to be able to bless other people!

He’s heard about the parable of the talents, but it will probably be a deeper lesson saved for when he is a little older – that if we don’t use our gifts, that God may decide to take them away.  I know it sounds harsh, but we are stewards of the things God has given us, and that includes our giftings and talents.

May we all learn to be more confident in the gifts God has given us, and to use them, practice them, develop and strengthen them for His glory.

Stephanie