This is the True Joy in Life…

This is the true joy in life,

the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.

The being thoroughly worn out before you’re thrown on the scrap heap,

The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community

and as I live it is my privilege – my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die,

for the harder I work the more I love.

I rejoice in life for its own sake.

Life is no brief candle to me;

it is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment

and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible

before handing it on to future generations.

-George Bernard Shaw

I watched another Freedomain video recently, and he ended it with this quote, along with the latter below from his own mind:

“Wear yourself out in the pursuit of virtue, and leave only the barest husk to be thrown in the grave.

Just be used up completely.

Be emptied of words, be emptied of power, be emptied of dedication, be emptied of challenge, be emptied of courage – SPEND IT ALL.

Let only your skeleton be what the worms get – nothing else.

Have everything else spent to the last penny, and let that last penny of spending be that which kills you, because you have nothing left to give.

And that I think is the satisfying life.”

Stefan Molyneux

***

When watching this video over the course of a few days, the ending quote hit home with why I started blogging in the first place almost 4 years ago.  It really was mostly a creative outlet, but every Wednesday, I’d try to post something on marriage.  We’ve seen and known so many horrible or even “just limping along” marriages, that I wanted to impart some basic knowledge to people who didn’t know these things, and yet were searching for it.  I think this is normal for people who find out great truths to want to impart that knowledge to someone else.  Why on earth would you hide something that can help people with building better marriages, which in turn, creates healthier, happier children, and less divorce, better societies and more productive, good people in this world?!?!

Seriously, if you have that information and are not sharing it somehow, you may want to really ask yourself why you are keeping that valuable help from other people?  This isn’t meant as some kind of condemning judgment, and obviously sharing it can be done in a million different ways, I’m not saying everyone has to go start a blog or youtube channel and try to make a difference in those venues – but it’s just pure fact that by not sharing that information (which is like a treasure really) with people in dire need of it, is morally wrong.

It’s easier to see this fact when you apply it to being wealthy and not generous in your giving.  If a wealthy person isn’t giving in some way to society – to purely good, helpful causes, not the kind that perpetuate problems in society – then it is just like the rich man in the Bible who stores up grain all for himself:

Luke 12:13-21

[13] Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

[14] Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” [15] Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

[16] And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. [17] He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

[18] “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. [19] And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

[20] “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

[21] “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.

Being “rich toward God,” is sharing the gospel and biblical truths about how life is meant to be lived.  Sharing that often comes in form of writing, books, blogs, but doesn’t have to only be in those ways.

“The lips of the wise broadcast knowledge, but not so the heart of fools.”

Proverbs 15:7

The best sharing is face-to-face with people in your real life, but writing and blogs is also extremely beneficial to many people – and is a better way to “broadcast” that knowledge and wisdom.  I know this personally because I’ve had the amazing opportunity of being told by those I’ve been blessed to touch!

Looking back, it’s been awe-inspiring to affect so many women’s and men’s lives through simply writing about marriage and sex or parenting.  Giving other people Truth so that they can better live their lives the way God would want them to, has been a privilege that I didn’t foresee when starting out writing as a mere creative outlet!

Our own marriage is in large part as good as it is because of other people who took their own time, energy and heart and passion to write great marriage books that I read during our first year when I worked at a Christian bookstore!  If they had thought what they had to say wasn’t important, didn’t need to be shared, or were neurotically worried that men reading their books would “compare their wives to the women writing these valuable books,” we would probably not have the marriage we have today.  The Truths we learned from these godly authors were SO valuable and important – their books were their ministry.  Many people who benefited from their writing would have missed out on those blessings if the authors had decided sharing these Truths were wrong – including the authors themselves!  Because sharing with others Truths that are life-giving is a blessing in and of itself!

While studying what these authors had to say on a wife’s role in a marriage during our first year, I was amazed it is so easy to get married when one has literally NO IDEA how to maintain that marriage or live together in a compatible way.  Even driving a car takes more time and effort in studying the laws of what is right and wrong to do while in it and out on the road.  I mean seriously, you get more instruction and valuable information when getting a driver’s license than you do before you get married – no wonder there are so many divorces or miserable marriages!

Most of it is likely due to lack of knowledge of how or what a good marriage actually looks like from day to day.

So make your life count!  Don’t live an “unlived life” full of complaining, slander, and wasting your time doing things that harm you!  You are meant for so much more than that ❤

Here is Stefan’s video, and again, it look me days to get through it little bits at a time.  And it’s not for children’s ears!!  He’s an atheist, so he cusses sometimes, but the overall messages he does are full of wisdom.

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Why Do Women Have Instinctual Strategies for Marriage?

This man is a red pill genius.  We love listening to Stefan’s videos because they’re not only entertaining and hilarious, they are so on point – especially regarding the sexual market place.

This video answers some basic questions of

Why would a woman in her late 20’s suddenly be interested in settling down or stopping her sexual promiscuity to land a ‘stable’ guy?”

“Why would this be a BAD DEAL for that poor guy who ends up marrying this woman who wasted her 20’s in promiscuity?”

Watch the video to find out ❤

Boyfriend Isn’t Ready to Get Engaged?

Sometimes I get awesome emails from young female readers about their relationship issues, and letting me know what they our younger generation is facing when it comes to dating problems.

This is not one of those emails. (Psyche!) 😛

This is a question posed from a site that I used to be an active commentator on in helping with marriage conflict and counseling, Enotalone.com.  It’s a great question, and hopefully it will help any of you out there reading this that are interested in what you should do, or if you’re ever in this position.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years. I’m in my late 20’s and he’s in his early 30’s. My boyfriend’s company recently offered him a position in one of their locations in India. The position comes with a rather large increase in salary and a new title. It’s a great opportunity for him but it’s in a different country and he doesn’t know how long they will want him there for. It will be at least a year but it could very well be longer.

He’s asked me to move there with him. I’m lucky that I can work remotely from anywhere so that isn’t a huge problem. It’ll be a hassle but it can work. But moving there will mean living in a place where I won’t know a single person, I don’t know the language or customs or anything. I don’t know what I will do with my house here or my car or anything. i feel like I would be giving up a lot. I’m ready to get married and start a family. At my age, I think this is perfectly reasonable.

However, I do want to be with him and I am considering it. But my problem is, I want us to at least be engaged before I make such a big change for him and for us. I don’t think that’s asking for too much. I feel like if I’m willing to change my entire life, then i want some kind of commitment from him. Being engaged doesn’t mean we get married immediately but it shows that he’s serious about us and I really want that commitment first.

but he isn’t ready to get engaged. He says that he doesn’t feel like we’re there yet in our relationship.

What should I do? Is this the end of our relationship?”

***

Ok, so this is actually a really great question, and if you’re a reader and feel like you have some advice to chip in, by all means PLEASE do so 🙂  The more the merrier I think, especially with issues like this.

The problem with relationships in this post-feminist age is that people go into them without being clear about their specific end goals.  Obviously, this young woman is wanting marriage and a family, and in my opinion, this is in her best interest and great for her.  It’s not clear if this woman is a Christian, if they’re cohabitating (living in sin), but even if she is/isn’t, getting married young and starting her family is God’s design for her.  Many women find their happiness and fulfillment in this godly role, even if it isn’t for everyone to pursue (those who have the gift of singleness).

However, for men, marriage has become something that’s risky to enter.  We are now seeing increasing numbers of men in the 20-35 age range who are turning their backs on marriage, due to the lack of assurance that their future wife will even desire to meet their needs (two of the main ones being respect and sex), as well as all the financial and emotional risk of divorce if their wife initiates one.  Men are caught in a strange predicament of having to commit their everything to one woman, only to then feel trapped in a sexless marriage, or be constantly disrespected by their wives and undermined as the godly leader of their home.  The risk of losing everything, all their financial success, their business success, their children and the rights to see them if she falsely accuses him so that she gains sole custody, are on him and him alone.  Most women (especially young ones) have no idea how to comprehend all this and see from a man’s point of view, how dangerous and unappealing marriage is starting to look.

Women (even Christian women) are initiating more divorces than men, and many times, for reasons that are unbiblical and merely based on their unhappiness or discontentment in their marriage.  There are many things that simply don’t warrant divorce,  but could be worked through, or (gasp) even suffered through together.  I know in our current times, it’s politically incorrect to even suggest that marriage should be expected to be at times hard or difficult.  And to be clear, I’m not speaking about cases of infidelity or abuse, where the wife needs to divorce in order to keep herself or any children safe.  It’s just honest to look at what our society has created now, though, and admit that it’s no longer in a single man’s best interest to get married, unless he’s certain he’s found the best woman out there for him who won’t destroy their family.

So now we come to her dilemma.  My answer would be that she needs to move on from this relationship.  She either isn’t the woman he truly wants to commit to, or he doesn’t truly want to commit to anyone at this time (or even possibly ever).  It may be that he just wants a lifetime partner to cohabitate with, and is not interested in the legal ramifications of marriage.  Since their end goals are so opposite, she needs to be spending her time elsewhere, looking for a partner who is ready and interested in marrying her.  She needs to count her past 3 years in this relationship as wasted time, and choose more wisely next time based on the man’s specific end goals.  It may sound offensive to call this “wasted time,” however time is each person’s most precious commodity that they have, and with her desire to get married and have children, it is of the most importance that she have a sober view of how critical it is that she not get herself into another disappointing relationship where she is less likely to achieve her end goals.

Another thing I would advise any woman in her position, is that she should also be making herself into the best woman that they can be, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mindfully.  Reading books to broaden her mind, the classics, getting into her best shape physically so that she’s at her most attractive, wearing clothes that accentuate her shape, wearing her hair and makeup in tasteful and feminine ways… all these things are important if she’s interested in finding a husband.  ❤

Good luck!

Dragonfly

Christians Aren’t Called to “Have Great Sex” – They’re Called to Have Bad Sex

A couple of years ago, Relevant Magazine did an article telling their Christian audience that they were not “called to have great sex in marriage.”

I read it because a friend that was in a serious relationship had recommended it, but I was very bothered by what I found.  The article presented some truths for sure, one being that sex is not what marriage is all about, and this is right of course, if you marry only for sex and don’t seek a partner that has good character then you are in for a difficult marriage (and the good sex will quickly disappear).  But in Relevant Magazine’s attempt to help marriages, they missed the point of sex being one of the most important things in a marriage, and often the glue that holds a marriage together.

Why was the article written to help marriages in such a way that it actually discourages Christian couples from having “amazing” sex?

It was a response to a very strange article by a millennial woman, Jessica Ciencin Henriquez, about how her virginity (her desire to remain abstinent until marriage), actually ruined the sex in her marriage.  Relevant Mag links to her article, and tries to say that:

While the movement is great at detailing— and exaggerating—the benefits of saving sex for marriage, it is dishonest about the challenges abstinence presents to couples who eventually tie the knot.
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/christians-are-not-called-have-amazing-sex#go0He8SXx5qZE8bh.99

In more careful reading of the linked article written by Jessica about how her virginity ruined her future marriage, it was fairly shocking for my husband and I to read the level of disdain she held toward her young husband, even on their honeymoon.  She had no interest in sex, no desire to learn about how to make it better, no desire for it with her husband (even though she did desire it while they were dating), and in my husband’s words, “she completely undermined the possibility of their marriage by checking out of their sex life.”  She admit it herself that she caused the problem, it was like she became an a-sexual being overnight, and wanted nothing to do with being sensual – to her marriage’s detriment!  But then she blames the abstinence movement for her lack of motivation to learn together with her husband, or to try new things.  As soon as she divorced her husband, she writes that she became sexual again.

This was not a case of the abstinence movement being “dishonest” about the challenges couples who marry without sexual experience will face, this is a case of a person in a marriage who is not putting forth the right attitude, desire, and effort to create a good sex life.

Her entire focus, however, is that her abstinence pledge that was supposed to create a “strong marraige,” only led to a “quick divorce.”

*

Relevant Mag needed to point out the real issues couples who wait until marriage to have sex may have, but also the attitude, willingness, and desire to fix her marriage sex life (or even participate in it) that was completely missing from Jessica as a Christian woman.

Instead of the message being: abstinence creates issues, and you’re not called to have great sex anyway; it could have more effectively been:

Abstinence may create issues, that happens when both partners don’t know much about a subject (sex), but in a good marriage, you will constantly face trials like this in many different areas (money, in-laws, job changes, deaths, miscarriages) and have to figure out how to overcome them.

It comes down to a willingness to learn and love each other.  Instead of checking out of your sex life just because it isn’t what you imagined, working to create a beautiful sex life, is the path to take.

 

Married Women, Flirting & Loyalty

About two years ago, I wrote a post called How to Turn a Guy Down that was mostly for single women not interested in the man who was asking, or for women already taken in a relationship (or marriage).  It told of my transformation from a 14 year old volleyball player who rejected an older athlete at a summer day camp and thought herself a man-eater, to a 27 yr old woman who realized men have feelings and should be treated with kindness and respect.

After the camp, our parents would pick us up, mine always worked till 5pm so I’d wait outside the immense Gymnasium watching for my mom’s car.  They had other sports camps there, and one day a basketball player that had been eyeing me came over and flirted.  I’m naturally kind so I was polite, but I had no intention of making him a boyfriend, or even a friend (I wasn’t nice to strangers).  He flirted harder, I tried to stay neutral to not lead him on, then my mom’s car pulled up, I was relieved.  He asked for my number and I gave him one, the number my mother always called for time and temperature!  I was bad, I didn’t care much about guy’s feelings then, or honesty in general, so of course I told my mom about it and laughed at him in the car thinking myself a real man-eater.

Fast forward 13 years, whenever I have a man flirt with me or outright come on to me now, I’m kinder & upfront.  It takes a lot of courage and guts for a man (or even boy) to come up to someone they think is beautiful, and actually ask her out.  To be rude to them, or worse, ridicule them for daring to go near you is cruel!  I’m reminded of why my mother always told me that young boys prefer real women… because they’re kinder than young girls.  But even men deserve honesty – and they appreciate you so much more because of it.

The difference between this encounter, and one that happened 13 years later:

We had passes to a water amusement park this past summer, so I would take my son fairly frequently, I suppose I look like a single-mother, a young handsome guy came up to us and started flirting with me.  At first I was so annoyed thinking, really?  Can’t you see I’m a mother?  But I could tell he was a genuinely good man, so I was kind to him and thanked him for his compliments and promptly told him I was married (showed him my ring) and put an end to it.  He was so sweet, he brushed aside his embarrassment and still complimented me, saying I was a very beautiful woman and an obviously good mother to my son, and that my husband must be a very lucky man.  I blushed and told him that I was lucky, that my husband is incredible.  I also went outside myself and became very forward in order to compliment him – and tell him that he seemed like a very good man, a lot like my husband, and assured him that he would find someone amazing to love him – and that he deserved it!

He thanked me, and actually blessed me (well… said God bless you with heart-felt meaning behind the words), and we went different ways.  No time & temperature numbers, no leading each other on,just honesty… it’s amazing how much difference it truly makes!  His dignity was preserved, I wasn’t guilty of being cruel, and we both truly blessed each other with very genuine compliments to each other’s souls.

 

I was reminded of this advice I gave to single women two years ago over the holidays last month.  I was out early in the morning without the boys so that I could do our Christmas shopping without them finding out what they’d get.  I thankfully rarely get hit on now days because I’m almost never without either my kids or husband when going out.  But that morning being alone, even dressed very down and almost shabby, barely any makeup on and hair a little wild looking, there was a man that was also shopping in the toy section and asked me where I thought he could find a certain kind of toy that didn’t appear to be carried there.  We went our separate ways, but then I saw him again in a different aisle awhile later, he looked a little nervous, but came up to me anyway, telling me that he’s been looking for a beautiful woman and wanted to know if I would go out on a date sometime with him.

No he wasn’t a homeless man… he was tall, white, clean-cut and looked military, aged anywhere from 30-45, very well built, and actually handsome.  Being a mom is the strangest thing, and I swear it makes me more empathetic to men of all ages – I instantly felt my heart swell for him in a weird motherly kind of way, I could tell it was so bold and brave of him to approach me like that, he didn’t have the suave of a pickup artist, and yet didn’t have quite the embarrassment level of an adolescent/early 20’s guy, yet it’s not easy to ask out a strange woman – men never know now how she’ll respond.  A man in his age-range and judging by his persona, he probably only cold approaches like that when he thinks he’s found someone that is truly worth his effort, and this made me sorry for him.  I frowned and told him that I was actually married (looked down at my ring), and told him that I understand how hard it is.  I told him my own brother was having a hard time finding a good woman, and that it just sucks in this current atmosphere to find someone.  I encouraged him that I hoped he did find someone, and hopefully that eased the embarrassment of the rejection.

You men have it hard.

Why not flirt a little?  Doesn’t this show a married woman she’s still “got it?”

I’ve read in magazines constantly that married women are encouraged to look at these occasions where they may be flirted with, asked out, or hit on as an opportunity to flirt back and “have a little extramarital fun.”  It’s validation that she’s still “beautiful,” or that she’s still got it enough to be asked out in the middle of a supermarket.

Let me make something very clear that I missed in that old post two years ago:

MEN RESPECT AND ADMIRE

MARRIED WOMEN

WHO ARE LOYAL.

No good man wants to really be flirting with someone else’s wife, and no good man will feel good about himself (or about her) if he does this successfully in the long run.  Men appreciate loyalty in women, because if they have any empathy for their sex, then they understand that they’d want their own wife to be loyal to them.

This is something our secular culture just glosses over as something that is unnecessary.  If she isn’t really cheating, a little flirting when the hubby isn’t there is harmless right?

But it isn’t.

Your husband wants you to adore and respect him so much that you don’t even think twice in situations like this.

Here are some tips for the married woman who is approached or flirted with:

  • Immediately bring it to attention that you are married, I always either look down at my ring, or pull up my hand to show them
  • Talk to them in a kind, respectful way, never in a harsh way
  • Don’t make them feel like they should have known you were married, apologize when you say you’re married, it lessens their embarrassment
  • If you feel comfortable enough, if you don’t think they’re actually dangerous, encourage them a little in their search – single men REALLY need this encouragement, and it helps to redirect the rejection

 

Here are some of my old tips for turning someone down if you’re single or not looking, or in a relationship:

  • Be honest but also kind – don’t say something that’s true but cruel, preserve their dignity, they are a human being
  • Don’t lead them on, tell them you aren’t looking for a relationship of any kind right now
  • Don’t feel like you have to explain why, a kind answer of honesty that you’re not interested is enough
  • Try to imagine that they are a friend or relative, and give them the same treatment
  • Acknowledge their courage & encourage them or compliment them on their gentility
  • If you feel like you might’ve led them on (if they were already a friend) apologize, even if you didn’t mean to

Watching Plants Grow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like in my spiritual life, I’m just watching plants grow.  I want so badly to do the right thing, to be what God wants me to be, but it amazes me how far off I feel I constantly wander off.

The exciting thing about a new year is all the possibilities to implement any new changes that need to be made.  Looking back on my failures and mishaps in 2015, a year I thought would be a relatively peaceful, quiet year, I’m so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, but also sad that it took me so long to learn them.

I’ve been reading several books and learning and growing so much!  It’s incredible to be so convicted, work to make changes, but then to feel constantly like one cannot attain that perfection of spirit.  Just as I think I’m making great progress, I find myself sliding back down again and acting in pride or getting irritated by things that are trivial and don’t matter!  It’d be comical if it wasn’t so annoying and sad.

I’m learning that I can’t do this on my own – it’s God who works in us, and in His own time, and that the more I submit myself to His will, the more He works in my spirit to make me into the creature He wants me to be.  In contrast, the more I spin my wheels trying to perfect my own spirit, the more frustrated I’ll grow and discouraged.

So I’ll stop watching plants grow, and trust that He’s doing His work and finishing what He’s started in me nearly 25 years ago.

A Screwtape Letter for the Unappreciated Mom

My Dear Wormwood,

I was thrilled to hear you have been making progress with the mother.  You have a good lead, from what I hear.  She’s feels over-worked, unappreciated, and discouraged?  I’m so glad to hear it.  If you tread carefully, this can be a great opportunity.  With the kids waking her up every hour last night, we already have an advantage.  A tired Mom makes for a more emotional Mom, and an emotional Mom is a vulnerable one.

I do have a few tips.  First, aim your best efforts at her marriage.

As you know, we cannot do much with a unified marriage.  Luckily for us, a cranky and exhausted wife can do wonders to change that.  We must convince her that her husband is no longer the friend and ally she first married.  Instead, we must reveal every sin and selfish habit, especially drawing attention to his thoughtless actions (mal-intended or not) against her.

Sometimes it’s the less obvious things, things the husband doesn’t even realize, that we can use to offend her the most.  When he comes home from work and dumps his things on the counter nearest the door (instead of hanging his coat or putting away his keys), let her think of it as a direct assault on her work as a homekeeper.  When he treks mud in with his shoes, let her think it is because he does not love her.  Such extremes of thought may seem ridiculous to you or I, but to the exhausted mortal woman, it can seem possible.  Your goal is to make her think the husband does not notice, or even better, that he does not care about her efforts at home.

Secondly, do what you can to keep her focused on her troubles and pains.  Remind her how much her back aches, how draining the children were all day, and how many undone tasks still beckon her.  Do not let her wonder what difficulties her husband faced that day or whether his back might also be aching.  Valuing others above oneself is one of those silly, though strangely effective, tactics of the Enemy.  If she stops to make him a cup of coffee, the next thing you know she’ll be rubbing his shoulders and flirting with him on the couch.  It can progress out of your control if you’re not careful.

Along those lines, be sure the Mother starts to value productivity above everything else.  Have her wake up early and work non-stop until bedtime.  If the husband relaxes in the evening with an hour of computer gaming, be sure the wife notices the pile of unfolded laundry or unswept floors.  Do not let her grab a book and relax alongside her husband.  Diligence, often one of the Enemy’s virtues, when overdone can be used to our advantage as well.  Convince her that as long as there is a shred of work to be done (and there always is), no one should be resting.  Then, as she folds and sweeps and he sits, you can introduce the sweet bitterness of resentment.

A word of caution here.  Remember, the love of a husband can be dangerous to our cause.  If he senses her unhappiness, he may begin to help or (even worse) show her affection.  This is where previously planted seeds of resentment can be guided into full bloom.  Make her think that his displays of affection are because he “only wants one thing”.  Do not let her view his help with the dishes (or kisses or cuddling) as having pure motives.  If he shows his desire for her, convince her that she is being used, not loved.  As we both know, the ultimate Act of Marriage can bond them together in a way that can undo much hard work on our part.  Because of this, do not allow her to prioritize that Act on her mental to-do-list.  It is in our best interest to keep the wife busy, busy, busy and be sure she’s far too exhausted to consider it by the end of the evening.

Now, onto the children.  Lovely little opportunities for us, the children, especially the little ones.  We all know that children are a favorite tool of the Enemy.  He calls them Blessings and Gifts and calls parents to lay down their lives for them, just as his Son did.  Insane, I know.  We must convince her that the obnoxious little people she has charge of are not really worth her sacrifice.  When the Mother first dreamed of having children, she probably imagined large, innocent eyes and chubby, happy grins taking up the majority of her days.  Do your best to shatter those expectations.

Instead, draw attention to how much they take from her.  Let them take and take and take…  And need and need and need, until the Mother feels totally spent.  Let them start crying at the same time for the most irrational of reasons.  Let the noise bother her.  Let their bad behavior surprise her.  Do your best to make the day-to-day monotony of diaper changes, meals, and baths seem simultaneously overwhelming and beneath her.  Let her think of all the better, more important things she could be doing with her life, if only she didn’t have the children.

Don’t let her think about the future responsible, faithful adults she is raising.  Society changers, friends, workers, husbands or wives…  Don’t let her think of them as life-long companions who will love her, converse with her, and care for her in her old age.  Oh, and definitely don’t let her think about the grandchildren she might be able to see in their little grubby faces if she looked hard enough now.  No, no, no…  Thinking ahead to when her work bears fruit, as the Enemy calls it, is always a bad idea.  Keep words like ‘heritage’ or ‘legacy’ far away from the runny noses and jelly stains of the day to day.

If there is any last piece of advice I have for you, Wormwood, it is to keep the Mother looking to her husband or family for her fulfillment and comfort.  We know that the Enemy is always watching and willing to take the burdens of his children, but if we divert the Mother’s attention well enough, this fact can be forgotten.  Make her look to her husband for worth and affirmation.  Then, when he lets her down (as he is sure to do), she will be ours to torment.  Yes, the worst thing that could happen would be for her to turn to Him with her needs and inadequacies.  Once she realizes that the Enemy offers a peace that transcends her situation, our work could be utterly compromised.

Your Malevolent Uncle,

Screwtape

 

By Kelsey Shade, the beautiful, young wife and mother of three boys that blogs at Organizing Life with Littles!

Just Do the Next Thing

housework

Something our main Bible study leader has repeatedly told us, and that originally came from the teachings of Elisabeth Elliot, is that no matter what happens, just do the next thing.

It’s such a beautiful lesson really.  It’s so easy to get distracted with worry over how we’ll get all our tasks done in the day, or what needs to happen this week, or caught up in feeling overwhelmed when our families are going through a particularly busy time.

I’ve even heard this advice applied to when we’re caught up in our own or our family’s crisis, when we wonder how we’re going to survive this heartache and feel as though we can’t go on.

Just do the next thing.

Don’t let yourself give in to worry, it doesn’t help anyway.

Just do the next thing.

When you’re exhausted and there’s still so much to do, and you feel like giving up because it seems impossible that you could manage to get everything done,

Just do the next thing.

Don’t worry about all the things you’ll have to do after you finish one task, just focus on the one thing you’ve decided is next and get it done.

If you’re overwhelmed with housework because you’ve had a busy couple of days, running errands that needed your attention, taking your children to their extra-curricular activities, and you step in your house and suddenly see the tornado-like disaster, stay calm and,

Just do the next thing.

It’s true that a lot of housework can just be managed by being proactive, but there are also times when we’ve just been busy.  Don’t be overly critical on yourself, if you need a quick nap to feel recharged for the day, by golly take a nap!  I have a scheduled nap time for our household everyday that is a wonderful time for me to either catch up reading online or curl up and nap along with the baby.  Our older son doesn’t usually like to nap anymore, but we still make him have this quiet time so that he can relax and learn how to have time to himself to re-charge.

It’s normal for wives and mothers to feel overwhelmed with all the things that depend on them to get accomplished, but the wise woman chooses not to stress out, and instead she will just do the next thing.

 

A great blog post from Lisa at Club31women.com that goes with this topic is 5 Steps to Follow When You’re Overwhelmed with Housework !

She Can Laugh at the Days to Come

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

Our Fall Bible study touched lightly on a word I’d not thought much about, mirth, which means happiness, especially laughter.  

What is the value of to us as women of God to be able to “laugh at the days to come?”  When we’re suffering through something difficult, when nothing seems to be going right, or when our mental or physical strength seems to run out, the last thing we usually want to do is laugh at the trials, the uncertain future – this ability to laugh and remain joyous means we’ve found a treasure for sure!

It’s possible to live happy and joyous,

even when life is painful and we experience suffering, trials, or rejection.

 

The Proverbs 31 woman is packed full with admirable qualities, but I want to zero in on this one little verse and unpack what is so special about phenomenon and what it means.

She can laugh at the days to come because…

She has fully accepted grace.  She’s a sinner and knows it, she knows her failures intimately, but instead of being devastated, unable to move on, or guilt-ridden, she receives grace from God who makes beauty from ashes, and she is able to press on in strength and dignity, with her head held high because she’s been forgiven.

She doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  She sees the trivial things for what they are: insignificant in the big picture.  Instead of getting distracted with unnecessary worrying or drama in her life, she just focuses on living a life that pleases Him.  She is not easily moved or affected by emotions or feelings that are not rooted in Truth.

She goes through trials and suffering, but they are never bigger or more powerful than her God is.  Her faith has reached a maturity where even heartaches and crises don’t shake it, but instead prompt her to cling to God even tighter – oh that we may also have this kind of confident faith!  She is able to “stand firm,” confident that God is for her, and is not moved.

She isn’t worried about what other people think of her, but seeks the approval of God.  When we are overly worried about what others are thinking of us, if they are approving and accepting us or not, it tempts us to do things so people will like us, instead of focus on the things that please God.  It also tempts us to try to control or protect an image that we perceive we have – we’re not able to “laugh at the days to come” because we take them (and ourselves) way too seriously.  When our image depends on us protecting it, instead of trusting in God to defend us against the Enemy’s accusations, we lose our valuable mirth and become controlling, demanding, and unhappy.

She doesn’t let the Enemy play mind games with her.  She doesn’t get stuck in self-hatred, pity, or discouragement, she doesn’t dwell on these negative emotions or feelings.  She goes to God freely with her weakness and brokenness, because she knows that in her weakness, she is never stronger!

She doesn’t just strive to get by begrudgingly through life, she thrives and flourishes in God’s love and acceptance for her.  She may know the pain of suffering rejection like Christ also suffered rejection, but her heart finds it’s JOY in flourishing in God’s love.  She is no longer a victim of others’ misuse, mistreatment or rejection, but is a victor, and because of that confident victory, is able to laugh and have JOY.

She is strong and courageous, and is not afraid of people or battles she’ll have to face because she knows the Lord goes with her, and will never leave her or forsake her (Deut. 31:6).

 

 

Teaching Our Children to Care for Others

One of the things we successfully did as a family in 2015, and that I’d like to see us do more of in 2016, is spend time showing our kids (really our oldest) how important it is to reach out to others.

It’s not enough for us to just live our lives in our relatively safe, convenient homes and neighborhoods, and think we’re good people because we love God and go to church on Sundays.  If we love God, we will obey His word and proclamations of what we are to do with our time here.

God’s word announces in several places the importance of giving and caring for others, we are called to live outside ourselves constantly in His word,

If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless.

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

***

I honestly haven’t been the best about this in the past couple of years.  Early in our marriage, and even when our oldest was very little, I would make it a point to take care of the material needs of those God put in our path.  We had SO little, sometimes barely even enough to afford food!  But somehow, even during those extremely hard financial times in our marriage, we still had surplus of material items we didn’t actually need, and God would mysteriously bring people into our lives that we could give them to… even though we were barely making it financially, we were STILL able to give out of the things we DID have.

God is mysterious, that is hands down obvious to all who know Him.  How we had the specific items that people needed when we met them during our financial poverty, I have no idea, but it was a blessing to me to be able to still give what I did have to give, and be able to meet REAL needs of the people God brought into our life.

The funny thing about being a good steward over what God’s given you, it doesn’t matter if you have very little, He can STILL use that little you DO have to bless others.  When we’re faithful with the little He’s given us, He often gives us more to take charge over – but with this, comes a greater responsibility, because He’s trusting us to use it wisely.

So in 2015, I made it a very conscious effort to do more, I wanted God to open my eyes so that I could see the people that might need help, and give our money, time, and material items to meet their needs.

We were able to help meet the physical needs of the officer I wrote about in Malicious Joy, the one who was hit by a drunk driver.  It’s one thing to hear about what happened to him, but it’s quite another to get my boys out the door, drive across town and physically meet his material needs.  Going to see him, taking him goodies and food items my son helped me pick out for him, almost every week, was such a blessing – particularly for my son!  The young man was alone, not married, and his family lived hours away… so offering to get things for him, helping by bringing him big meals, were things that he really needed.

It also took the form of visiting elderly people at a nursing home, talking to them, singing them Christmas carols, making them hot chocolate or tea, letting them enjoy my children – having the joy of holding our baby boy.  Many of them don’t get visitors, feel forgotten, and are some of the most interesting people with the most interesting things to say.  This may have blessed them, but I honestly think that me and our boys received an even greater blessing of getting to meet these people, listen to them, and even laugh with them.  We will do more of this visiting elderly people in 2016.

Giving from what we had also took the form of financially meeting people’s needs that God would place on our heart or in our path.  A young blind woman who had been abused in every way, was taken into the wing of an older woman at our church.  She had grown up in foster care homes, and many people that were supposed to have cared and looked out for her, had taken advantage of her and ultimately, left her alone in the world.  Her most pressing need was that she needed money to be able to obtain a seeing-eye dog, and my husband gave me the okay to give a significant amount for us, to meet her need.  Talking with her, showing her that people saw her and cared about her well-being and future, explaining to my oldest son the importance of what we were doing for her, was a huge blessing to get to participate in.  It was an honor for us… and she’s now gone on to decide to give back in her own way.  She decided to start a ministry in our church for people like her, so that she can give out of what she’s been blessed with!!

Giving this past year also took the form of lending our time and emotions to visit families who have lost their police officers, and bring them Christmas cheer… for me, this is something I wanted to run away from, the pain of these wives, the pain of their young children.  As a police family, we live in a kind of constant denial of the reality of what could happen, visiting these families, seeing them in pain, bursts that blissful bubble of denial.  This is NOT something I was particularly excited about, but it was SO needed, and blessing them, loving on them, hugging them, in return, gave us a sober blessing of treasuring our life together, and not taking any day, any moment for granted.

Come Thanksgiving time, we were going to serve a meal to young women and girls who live in a safe house in our city.  Police regularly deal with sex abuse, and reaching out to these young girls and young women, from the standpoint of being a police wife, is showing them that we care about them from a humanity standpoint.  These are girls usually around teen age, who are usually pregnant or with small children, and many times this is from sex slavery or by their own fathers.  Many of them came from Latin American countries.  Their children also live there with them, and so our team of wives decided to target loving on them this year.  Because of the nature of their circumstances, this was something I was not going to bring our children to so that I could serve more easily… but my childcare ended up falling through, and we missed this opportunity to serve.  I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to reaching out to these girls and women and their children!  But God showed me another way to bless them, I put small boxes together with little gifts and trinkets inside to drop off for them for Christmas.  This was maybe even better for us, because my oldest son was actually able to participate in helping me pack the boxes and drop them off for the girls!

So overall, we did pretty good, but 2015 care opportunities seemed to just happen for us, it wasn’t something that I deliberately thought about much or planned and acted on.

For 2016, I want it to be a deliberate thing.  I want to see the lost, the broken in the way that I used to when we had so little.

 

So excited about the New Year and the blessings to come, may this inspire you to think about how YOU and your family can bless others with what God’s given you!