Why Can’t I Help My Husband Lead Us “Better?”

I recently wrote a post addressing the question of what to do when a wife wants more kids but her husband doesn’t.  Apparently, it’s a common thing for Christian women to look at their husbands’ faith or ability to trust in God, and decide it needs some work and that they’re the ones to “help him out here.”

I got an email after writing that post from a woman who disagreed with some of my answers, and agreed wholeheartedly with the other blogger’s advice, saying she reads her blog frequently.  I do like The Thinking Housewife’s blog 🙂 , it is possible for someone to give out very bad advice and yet still be a good person or have other good writings I think.  Her blog is a lot like mine in many ways in that we share many of the same stances against feminism.  One post she’s written recently, called Traditional Housewife – The New Hitler, is especially a great read about how the Leftists and feminists (but I repeat myself) view housewives.  It even focuses on our internet presence, which is very interesting.  But this reader’s issue with my post is she thought it’s right and even godly for a wife to point out her husband’s spiritual flaws, or to try to make him realize when he should be having more trust or faith in God.

I will admit that this topic can get very murky because in some respect a wife does have that privilege in her husband’s heart, to gently and humbly point out if she sees something is wrong or could be harmful in the future.  However, that is not the advice The Thinking Housewife gave out to women in that position.  The main point of her post (and the counterpoint of mine) was actually trying to get a husband to follow the wife’s lead for their marriage.  And in trying to get him on board with her decisions to lead them, The Thinking Housewife used a variety of unhealthy tactics.

Let’s look at what she suggested again:

If your husband is worried about money, that’s understandable but he should ask God for help and for the grace to handle whatever occurs. Why does he have so little confidence and trust? Insist with him that it is wrong for you to use contraception.

Continue to talk to your husband and don’t give up.

Let him know that your marital happiness is gravely threatened.  (from here)

Aside from the fact that she’s promoting using threats to get the husband to follow his wife’s convictions, this approach of “insisting with him,” and continuing to talk with him without giving up, are not productive with men.

When it comes to using the threat of a wife’s happiness (which is not the point of marriage at all, even if it is a wonderful byproduct), making it seem like she will be forever miserable if he doesn’t follow suit – and then her misery will of course affect everyone in the entire family, is not psychologically healthy for a woman.  If a mother decides that she’s not getting her way, so she’s going to be miserable (their marital happiness will be “gravely threatened”), then she’s basically trying to control her husband (Eve’s curse), and not seeking to live peacefully and by faith and trust in God.

It’s important that we realize that all of this advice is coming from a position of self-righteousness or a feeling of superiority in the heart of the wife toward her husband.  I’ve noticed that this is something Catholic women tend to have toward their husbands (and also toward non-Catholics), because their church has decided authority on issues like these, and therefore doesn’t allow husbands to make their own decisions regarding how many children he wants to have. **Instead of debating this point in the comments, we should probably just focus on how Catholic people can encourage their wives to submit to, and obey, their husbands like commanded in the Bible, while still following all the rules and restrictions of their faith.**

It’s also the most ironic thing to me, that while The Thinking Housewife is encouraging Christian women to view their husbands as not having enough faith in God, she’s actually endorsing these women’s own lack of faith in their husband’s decisions, promoting psychologically unhealthy manipulation tactics (using threats of her being miserable and affecting their family negatively!), and consequentially, encouraging a Christian woman’s lack of faith in her husband’s leadership – which is (especially if he’s Christian) ordained by God.

For the Catholic women out there, let’s look again at what God says about this in the Bible:

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Ephesians 5:22-23

It’s important for Catholic women or any woman in this position, to truly understand how much faith this takes for wives to submit to their husbands “in everything.”

I really do believe it’s crucial to start teaching Christian women that instead of always looking for where our husbands may be “wrong” on something – or doubting his intentions in his leadership of our family, or his faith, etc., that instead, she needs to learn to have faith in him, and to trust him enough to follow his imperfect leadership.  In doing this, it’s a beautiful chance to reveal how much faith she has in God herself.

See what I did there?  Instead of putting all the blame on the husband in cases like this – or worse, trying to make him feel like he’s a bad Christian and doesn’t have enough faith – instead of choosing that route (which is a very negative and unproductive route) she can instead focus on her own faith (something she has control over) in being able to trust God even though she may not agree with the direction her husband is leading them in.

No husband’s leadership is going to be perfect, just like no marriage is going to be perfectly perfect 🙂 .

But I’ve seen that the best marriages

are where the wife learns to trust her husband with her life,

and also to ultimately trust God that He can and will lead them

even when they may take paths she doesn’t feel are right.

That is where the real growth of marriage begins, when the wife can fully trust her husband (which is a reflection of her own trust and faith in God), even when they’re going through stormy waters or rough patches.

When she decides to stop doubting his leadership, and to follow him like Sarah followed and obeyed Abraham, she has the chance to grow a beautiful faith like we are told in the New Testament.

In case anyone wants to go back and read the post I did which details submission even in the hardest circumstances, here is a link to the Sarah post.

“Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.

For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands, like Sarah who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.

You become her children when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so.”

1 Peter 3:3-6

Watching couples where you can tell the wife truly trusts and follows her husband’s leadership makes women everywhere swoon, because not only is it beautiful, it’s actually romantic to be able to trust like that in your man!  And feminists hate that!  They hate that there are good men out there who cherish their wives so much, and wives who love them so much in return, that they’re actually willing to follow them and trust their leadership.  Because these feminists women don’t have that, they don’t want us women who know what it’s like to exist because it’s a reminder of how much they’ve failed.

No one else is telling you to have faith in your husband like this, but I am.  Husbands need their wives to believe in them and to trust their decisions for their family.

And I’m telling you to put your trust in God – that He can and will work things out for good for all those who are called according to Him (Romans 8:28).

________________________________________________________________________________

Aside from the faith or spiritual position, even from a practical perspective, there are clear reasons why a wife trying to get her husband to be “better” just doesn’t work.

Here is a quote from the author my mom had me reading as a young, pre-teen girl (and the main reason I am the woman I am today):

There are some Christian Women who have been taught “to provoke their husbands to righteousness.”  But the word provoke does not mean what is commonly implied.  The true meaning of the word is to incite, to inspire, or to arouse.  It does not mean to nettle or to push.

Women are Self Righteous

Why do women try to change men?  Because they have a self righteous attitude.  they feel that they put forth more effort into doing what is right, try more diligently to make marriage successful, are more active in church, and are better persons than are their husbands.  They look down on men, and therefore feel that the men, not themselves, need to improve.

The Sadduccees and the Pharisees in Biblical times had this same self-righteous attitude.  They were faithful to attend church, paid tithes, prayed, read the scriptures, fasted, observed any number of rituals, but the Savior called them “hypocrites”, not because of their faithfulness, but because of their self-righteousness.

The Christian Attitude

The very heart of Christian doctrine is: It is ourselves we must change.  We have been told to cast out the beam from our own eye first, and then we will more clearly see the mote which is in our brother’s.  Women who try to change their men trample on their freedom, and violate righteous principles.

From Fascinating Womanhood by Helen B. Andelin

This doesn’t mean that the things your husband decides to do will always work out.  Sometimes your husband’s leadership may result in some kind of failure.  If he got married young, chances are a few things worked themselves out through trial and error.  Or maybe your husband was a bachelor for a long time and wasn’t used to suddenly having to live with a woman in his house.  Maybe he had to adjust to the change through trial and error.  There’s nothing wrong with men having to take time to learn how to be a husband or how to lead in the way he feels comfortable in leading.  It’s the same with being a wife – it’s not something that just happens over night and POOF!!… you’re suddenly the perfectly trusting, adoring wife.

The first step is faith – having faith in your husband. 

And then the second mountain is usually figuring out how to deal with setbacks or failures, and still be able to keep your faith in him, as well as in God.

In other words, many things about your husband’s leadership will probably work themselves out through trial and error.  If a wife tries to keep that in mind, while also working on her ability to trust, and doesn’t nit-pick, or harp on his failures, or become a critical Christian toward her husband, then they’ll move beyond it.

I’ll probably post more about this at another time because it could be a rather longish post.  But knowing you both will fail each other at some point, and having a forgiving attitude puts a lot of failures in perspective, which again, allows for marriage growth and becoming more in love ❤ and closer.

Related Reading —

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When You Want More Kids But Your Husband Doesn’t

This is a topic I’ve thought about a lot 🙂  I could definitely see us having 5-8 children… but my husband, from the time of our engagement, was adamant that he wanted no more than 4 🙂  And I’ve accepted this, although it is a funny thing to tease each other about in good humor.

In reality, this is a very serious topic, and something that could completely destroy your marriage.

I recently was pointed via email to a post written by the blogger The Thinking Housewife, on her advice to a woman who wants more children, but her husband is against it.

Here is an excerpt, but it’s not a long post so I encourage readers to go read all of it if they want:

“If you want more children or fewer children, take it up with God, but don’t do anything that prevents conception. To use contraception is “to usurp the right of God, who alone has the power to say who should be born and who should not.” You say you want two more, but it’s not for you to place an order. Just accept all. To do otherwise is sinful.

I think you should 1) Work on your own spiritual life (see some good talks here) and pray more. 2) Explain to your husband again and again that if you both trust in God, He will take care of you. If your husband is worried about money, that’s understandable but he should ask God for help and for the grace to handle whatever occurs. Why does he have so little confidence and trust? Insist with him that it is wrong for you to use contraception. How does he know that things won’t actually be worse for you financially if you don’t have more children? Neither of you have any obligation to pay for college educations for your children. Remind him of that. 3) Bear in mind that both you and your husband (and all of us) have been formed by a culture that does not understand this issue. Contraception should be illegal, but it’s widely promoted. This should temper your resentment toward him. Continue to talk to your husband and don’t give up. Let him know that your marital happiness is gravely threatened.”

This is by far, the worst advice I’ve ever read on this topic.  Especially considering it’s coming from a Christian writer.

I’m in this position myself, so at least I can relate emotion-wise as to how hard this is to accept (that your husband doesn’t want more babies with you), but again, this is NOT the correct biblical advice women in my position should be receiving.

Here is the advice I would give, and have given to myself, concerning this topic:

  1. You need to trust God, which means trusting that your husband’s decisions for your family (and family size) are going to work out.  He is the person you chose, for better or worse, life is not going to be “perfect,” so accepting the things that aren’t “perfect” (like having 5-8 kids) is a big part of spiritual maturity for you.
  2. Really learning to trust God to let His will be done in your life, when you are submitting to your husband’s leadership as well, provides so much spiritual growth and maturity in finding peace and lasting contentment with His provision for you.
  3. NEVER… NEVER threaten your husband with the happiness of your marriage by making him feel like he **has** to do what you want him to do – especially regarding him having more children with you.  That is the ultimate worst advice for achieving a godly, happy marriage and children I’ve ever read in the orthosphere.  You cannot.. I repeat, you cannot, make a husband feel guilt-tripped into doing what you want, and still retain a loving, trust-filled marriage 😦 .
  4. Contraception issues should be worked out BEFORE marriage, never during marriage.  If a wife feels convicted over using contraceptives, she needs to pray for forgiveness, but still follow her husband’s lead on the subject, and NEVER hold it against him.  She needs to regularly pray for her to never build up resentment or bitterness toward her husband over this issue, and just accept that she should have worked it out before marriage.  This is just her cross she must bear, and she must bear it with grace, without complaining and with a good Philippians 2 attitude.
  5. The Bible clearly tells wives to win their husbands over without a word on issues regarding sin.  If she feels they are sinning by using contraceptives, she needs to take this up with God, but not in a self-righteous way of believing she is “better” than her husband.  She needs to pray regularly for acceptance of her marriage and the state it is in, not work to badger him with guilt and using God to get him to be “better.”

For myself… I really don’t let this issue bother me.  It comes sometimes, the feelings or longings of wanting more children after we have our next (and last) child, but I try never to let it consume me.  I would NEVER want that issue to come between me and the man God has given me to help and support in his mission in this life.

Women were created for Adam, and to be Adam’s helper.  To hook your husband into following your plans for your marriage, is to wreck his leadership and headship over your whole entire family.  And your children will definitely end up scarred by seeing their mother berate their husband over his own decisions in leadership (when she should be working to support him).

Set a good example for your children and be a true helpmate to your husband.  This means learning to accept the man you’re married to, his flaws or convictions are of course, part of him.

Stephanie

RELATED READING:

What Happens When You’re the Man She Settled For?

This is kind of a surprising, semi-recent, news-item I guess.  If you’ve already seen this, just know I seem to always be the last to know anything these days.  Very caught up in life and raising babies at this point!  Anyway… last week, the wife of a pro-golfer violently attacked him and his mom in a drunken tirade because he didn’t perform well in his sport that day.  Yea… talk about being a supportive, respectful wife!!

The arrest report says she called him names and threatened that he’d never see his kids again if he didn’t win in tournaments.

This is what happens (I believe) when a wife marries you for mercenary reasoning.  I don’t usually like the different definitions categorizing men into names like “alpha” or “beta” etc. because I think men are more complex than that and often have sometimes characteristics of both those definitions.  However, it does seem to have a lot of truth to women choosing men based on either/or traits that stem from them being an alpha or a beta male.  When a woman chooses a man primarily based on his provisioning, however, this is termed her “beta bucks.”

My husband is an “Alpha Provider,” meaning he has many alpha traits that I find extremely sexy and attractive, but he’s also a good provider for us.  Hence the term (that I did not come up with), “Alpha Provider.”

He also fits the description of a “Wolf Alpha,” which is described here:

post-war-babies-scan_pic1254

Wolf Alphas, unlike Bull Alphas, are more interested in finding an excellent wife and devoting themselves utterly to their family.  Wolves are highly social creatures, just like humans, and the social hierarchy of the pack is an important survival function for the species.  A Wolf Alpha is a man who has essentially made the survival and prosperity of his family, and the members thereof, his personal responsibility.

Bull Alphas make their personal vision or ego their personal responsibility, and see the fulfillment of that vision as proof of their success.  That success is validated by the mad poon they can pull as their confidence and success makes them irresistible to a lot of women.

Bear Alphas have made the ideals and vision of the non-familial group their personal responsibility, and see the continued prosperity and success of that group as a reflection of their personal success.  Their success is validated through social respect and the praise and acknowledgement of their professional peers.

Wolf Alphas have made their family their focus.  Their dedication and devotion is to their personal social and genetic clan, in which they assume a leadership role.  This often means gently dominating the family to ensure proper security, health, and guidance for everyone, as well as undertaking to provide as many resources as possible for the family.  A Wolf Alpha’s dedication to his family (including his wife) is not a betrayal of his Alpha status – it’s an expression of it. 

Bull Alphas make great lovers and poor husbands.  Bear Alphas make (often) mediocre and awkward lovers and distant if competent husbands.  Wolf Alphas make good lovers and great husbands, if they have done a proper job of wife selection (and most Wolf Alphas make a point of that).

It’s interesting that most beta-type men seem to marry women who have usually been with multiple men, or party-girls in their youth, and believe that suddenly they’re going to be good wife and mother material.  Not that alphas don’t also do that, but alphas are more likely to find either a virgin that is younger than them (and lock them down when they’re young), or they tend to marry someone much younger than them, increasing their power and sexual prowess in the relationship dynamic.  It also shows how an alpha man tends to pick a woman of higher value for himself in the longrun.  Instead of an older, used-up woman, possibly with a child in tow, an alpha values himself more than that and goes for someone who will pair-bond with him better (no or low prior sexual partners), and has a proven history of good choices which is the best predictor for later life choices once she’s a wife and mother.

But what happens when a woman sleeps with (hot alpha) men throughout her 20’s and then “settles” for a more beta-type male in her 30’s or 40’s?  She ends up mostly only valuing him for the status or money that he can bring to her – hence the term “beta bucks” to describe men like that.  It’s not a relationship built upon attraction and respect, which eventually causes problems.

“An arrest report also accuses Krista Glover of telling her husband when he plays golf tournaments that “he better win or her and the kids would leave him and he would never see their kids again.”

When a woman picks her man mostly for his status and money or provision, not because she was truly in love with him and attracted to him, when he fails (and it’s notable that all men experience failure at some point… obviously!), she’s strongly tempted to leave him or belittle or berate him over it.  Because to her, the only reason why she married him in the first place was because he was her Beta Bucks ticket to status or fame or money (and in this case, all three).  Or sometimes it’s just that he was “the only decent male” left around after she was done partying her way through lots of sex in her 20’s (this quote was mentioned in the new “mommy” movie Tully and explains why she and her husband live in a sexless marriage).

The men she slept with in her 20’s often end up marrying women younger and less jaded than her, while she’s left to either marry divorcees, or beta men who are less attractive overall.

I do actually think this happens a lot more than we care to acknowledge, partly because we usually don’t view women this way.  Women are supposed to be innocent and incapable of never treating their husbands as commodities.  And the mating strategy – this sleep with hot alpha men in your 20’s, but marry a “Steddy Eddie” just before or around age 30, phenomenon is still not really talked about, because it’s just so taboo.

***

And side note... since my husband has had experience with female violence on their male partners, yes, it does happen, and yes, they do get arrested (he’s been the officer arresting the female… more than once).  This kind of thing happens, even with poor couples on your city’s bad side of town.

Back to the story… this golfer’s wife, Krista, is 36… he’s 38, and they married only 6 years ago!  So she’s a classic case of a promiscuous woman in her 20’s who settled for someone with money, but likely not many alpha traits (or he slid back into beta traits after marriage, which seems to happen), and is now disappointed when he fails to meet her expectations.

What would you say their sex life is like?  I’m guessing it’s extremely dry… and probably has been a dead-bedroom for a couple of years now LOL.  Or maybe she lets him sex her only when he wins?  Yikes!!!

My advice to women?  Don’t marry someone you feel you are “settling” for just because you’re in your 30’s or may feel terrified you’ll never have children.  Marry for love and commitment and to someone you’re attracted to, and who you’ll be able to support even when they fail or have major setbacks in life.

Be a loyal wife, and a loving one that supports (and respects) your husband through thick and thin.

Stephanie

 

Update-

Looks like he took her back and says “everything will be ok” and that they’re “working on it.”  I do wish them well, but it’s notable to say that he’s showing another “beta” trait to allow this woman to do something like that to him, and not divorce her right away.  Most men with self-respect would not give her a second chance to abuse him again like that.

Pricing Mother’s Day

Image result for woman with flowers behind her back

Every year… it never fails 😉 … we on social media are bombarded with new posts or youtube videos, written by mothers (or their strangely apologetic husbands) moaning and groaning about how horrible being a mom is for them and that it “sucks” that they only get ONE day as a “break” and then proceed to complain that even that ONE day isn’t actually a “break.”  They usually use words like “shitty” of course, though, lol.

Apparently, if you’re a Mom/Grandma/Aunt/etc, Mother’s Day has turned into a week-long, self-indulgent, victimhood-mode of “poor me” attitude for you to indulge in without censorship.  In fact, even bringing up the point that all these posts of moms complaining about how much they hate Mother’s Day (and every other day of the year) because they have to spend it with their kids, isn’t good for them or their kids – if you dare bring this up on social media, you’re labeled judgmental and not Christian or loving like Christ did.

Motherhood is hard.

I totally get many of us moms that were raised in this culture, where we grew up given trophies for just being there (and awesome? LOL), that motherhood feels like too much to handle.  There’s no one else there to “save us” from the sick days, or when our husbands are away on business trips, or when they’re deployed, or working late… and my generation (Gen Y) in particular, aren’t very good at showing grit and the desire to push through difficulties like you’re running an excruciating marathon.

Most of us were just never taught how to have grit or persevere through things we’d really rather not be doing.  We live in a fairly easy, maybe too-accessible culture where everything is either fast and quick for us, or already available.  In my opinion, our culture has created a bunch of weak women.  We’re going to be remembered as the women who every year, took to social media to complain and whine about the very blessings (children!) we said we craved.  

It’s incredibly ironic that in this age of feminism where women are supposed to be stronger than ever, they complain and whine (showing extreme weakness) more than I believe they ever did under a patriarchal “oppressive” society.  Is that what it means to be a strong woman now?  Someone who thinks “Mother’s Day” is her enemy?

***

I think I’m lucky that my mother frequently reminded us that most of life was just doing the boring, hard things that needed to be done.  It wasn’t supposed to be easy.  Raising kids isn’t supposed to be easy.  But that’s not really the point.

The point is that even if you think motherhood really really stinks, you should realize that your kids don’t deserve a mom who always feels that way, or allows herself to fall into “victim-mode.” 

Because it’s going to affect them negatively, it just will. 

What are we teaching our kids when we show them that just being their mom really really sucks? 

Are we helping them to become better humans who suck it up and build a beautiful, and very necessarily difficult, but so needed, civilized structure for this country? 

Do we want a massive generation of more people who don’t believe in hard work, who love to complain as loudly as they can, and in any opportunity that they can, to claim their status of victimhood? 

If you’ve felt this way before about Mother’s Day, I do understand that it’s hard.  Dealing with toddlers who scream and throw things at you, hit you and are completely unreasonable… day in and day out… is VERY hard, and yes, sometimes it really really stinks!  But you have to push through those feelings, because they only last a moment when that toddler is being hard. 

And then 3 minutes later, they want a hug and are sweet and adorable again.

You don’t have to “give in” to feeling like the victim to your own life or like your children are “oppressive.”

Anything worthwhile in life is supposed to be difficult.

It’s supposed to be painful.  Because anytime you sacrifice anything in your life, it is going to be a bit painful.  Motherhood is full of those unmeasurable sacrifices – but you have to try to find the beauty in them, and throw off the feelings of resentment or that you’re being “oppressed” by your children.

Compare it to running and getting your body in shape.  If you listened to your feelings, you’d tell yourself constantly that you “hate exercising” and that “it sucks” and then you’d never feel properly motivated to do it.  It’s the same with parenting.  It’s supposed to be hard.  It’s supposed to have moments of painful sacrifice.  And no, you’re not supposed to just whine and complain on social media (to complete strangers) about how much you can’t stand God’s blessings in your life – because it’s not good for you.

Please… try… just one year 😀  TRY to enjoy this mother’s Day without making a whining post or reminding your husband that you “should” get paid $100,000+ for all your “sacrifices.”

Honestly… if you really understood what that word sacrifice means, then you’d understand WHY you don’t get paid money to be a mom.

Stephanie

 

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Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Men Don’t Like Tattoos on Beautiful Women

Image result for beautiful women ruined by tattoos

This should be a given, but unfortunately, with our culture especially, it’s “bad” to come out with truth like this.  First, I should admit that this is an “in general” post.  There ARE some men who like women with tattoos as visible and large as this lady’s.  But MOST men are turned off by it.

It’s just the way it is.

A woman’s body is like a beautiful piece of artwork – and she is, as God made and designed the female body to look feminine and wonderfully made.

Related image

Yes, she is like a beautiful piece of fine art – worth millions of dollars – and yet she’s been disfigured by markings all over one of her arms… leaving the artwork, that would have been worth millions, virtually worthless.  The picture above even has an artistically beautiful tattoo in my opinion (there are worse I’ve seen!), but men just do not usually see it that way.

They don’t see “beautifully artistic.”

They see disfigurement.

And this topic is a controversial double-standard – men tend to look great with tattoos, in fact, subconsciously it increases their sexual attractiveness to other women because it speaks danger or rebellion.  It may carry over from ancient days when warriors would use paint to intimidate their enemies.  Tattoos tend to masculinize a person, so while that’s great for a man to appear more masculine, it takes away from the femininity of a woman.  As “unfair” as it may seem, it’s just reality.

 

Here are some male comments from the article I found this topic being discussed at (yahoo.com):

“She is hot but I’m not a fan of a lot of ink on women.” 

Ink, from Classy to Trashy.” -Mark C

“Ladies tattoos are ugly.” -Rockon

“the tattoo ruins the picture…” -Steve

“Would you put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari?” – Brian

“Why does anyone (especially attractive people) desecrate their physical body with graffiti, people with nice cars don’t put any bumper stickers on them!” -Roger

“As pretty as she could be, the tattoos take it all away.” -I

“Naw, too much ink.” -MarkH

“Really unfortunate about all the tattoos.” -Richard

“The tattoos turn a sold 9 into maybe a 5.” – Jesse

 

***

And the comments went on and on and on.  Men just REALLY do not like tattoos that visible and big on women.  Even if a woman is extremely beautiful – the tattoos make her completely unattractive to most men.

That’s a very powerful tidbit of information for young women to realize, but while most won’t be paying attention to what men think (or care), hopefully you’ll listen to us and read these entries in your journal I’m making for you ❤  and you’ll resist any strange temptation to turn yourself into a coloring book! 😀

 

Related Reading –

Side Note: Yes, I know some readers may point out that I am the girl with a dragonfly tattoo (my website name).  It’s really small, and only my husband sees it.  He loves it but again… it’s really discreet.

Letters From Mentors: “The Legacy I Want to Leave” by Linda

This post is part of the series where I feature letters (emails) I’ve received over the years from women I consider to be mentors online and in real life.  I LOVE hearing other women’s perspectives on raising a daughter (or anything I’m wondering about!), and when I see someone I admire or feel inspired by watching their life, I want to know their secret to the success they’ve had 😉  It’s so encouraging to me, to see women who are wiser, already in their 40’s or 50’s, and have worked to build the life that I want to create and am working to create.

Like I said in the last post where Stingray’s first letter was featured, we’re commanded in the Bible to get all the wisdom and understanding that we can.  There’s wisdom in having many advisers, and so forth.  I believe that as a young mom, it’s so vital to have women you look up to and whose lives you admire to be able to ask questions of, and learn from and basically model your life after.

This series is just so exciting to me because of all the wonderful advice and wisdom it will bring here for not only me and my daughter, but also for anyone of you readers who are interested in these letters!  

And if I ask you your thoughts on this subject of raising daughters, be assured that it’s because I really look up to and admire you and see something extremely valuable and beautiful in your life that I want for my own!  I don’t believe women are “island” creatures… maybe men can live like that 😉 (thinking Paul and John the Baptist), but most people seem to really get a lot of value from having deep relationships and sharing ideas that are insightful and life-changing.

Here is Linda’s letter titled “The Legacy I Want to Leave:”

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Stephanie from All Things Bright and Beautiful recently asked me about writing a post for my daughters.  What an honor.  🙂  It has really had me thinking.

I’m working on one post in particular, but in the meantime, to be honest, you could consider this whole blog a gift for my children.  My oldest daughter is in a serious dating relationship with a wonderful Christian young man.  My heart is aware that the time she will remain at home with us is limited…. probably one more year of community college, and then she’ll launch out on her own.

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{Oldest and Youngest, 17 years apart}

When she does leave, I know one of her wishes is to take family recipes with her.  She’s asked in the past about that, and about taking a sourdough starter with her–things like that.  Putting recipes on this blog to share with you, and others who have expressed an interest in classes, disciplines me to take pictures and get my home made recipes cataloged in such a way that I will be ready to put her cook book together for her, and all the other children as I know that the next 3 will be following her like dominoes.

My children love looking through old pictures and hearing the stories.  One day, they will enjoy looking through the updates on this blog.

And I don’t want my children to someday look back when I’m gone and think that they never really knew my heart.  I remember thinking that when I helped my mother clean out my grandmother’s home, and the fact that my own mother hasn’t spoken to me in over 14 years—well, we missed something, somewhere along the line!  My children will trust my teaching more if I am real.  I want them to recognize my strengths and understand my weaknesses, but when it’s all said and done, I want them to know me as a woman who pursued God and loved them deeply.  I want them to be secure in our family and have no regrets, knowing that while we’re not perfect and we make plenty of mistakes, we’re growing in God’s grace… a little more every day.

Every devotional I have written is something that my heart longs for my children to understand.  I pray, as they leave home, that we will remain close and be able to share the things that God is teaching us.  Perhaps they’ll visit here to see what Mom is up to.  Even now though, as I take time to share with you, I take every opportunity to teach my children what I’m learning.  Different ages understand different things, but I hope that no matter what I say, my life will reflect the changes God makes in my heart as I pray for God’s wisdom and holiness.  I learned first hand when I was growing up, where “do as I say and not as I do” was often the mantra, that it’s easier to follow an examplethan it is a list of do’s and don’ts.

As time marches forward and my children are growing up, I am realizing that though I have different concerns for my boys versus my girls, I really want them all to catch the lessons here.  What I want my girls to learn about seeking God and becoming Godly women is what I want my sons to come to expect and pray for in a future wife.  What my sons need to learn about being strong, Godly leaders is what my girls need to expect and pray for in a future husband.  Learning to help their father in so many ways will prepare all of them to lead, but also to follow, respect and support the many leaders God will place in their lives.

So what have we been learning this last year?  What kind of legacy do I want to leave?  I want to train up children who understand that:

If you want your life to add up to something, Abide in Christ, and never lose awe over what He has done for you.

In order to lead people to Jesus, you need to love them first.

In order to walk into the good works God has planned in advance for you, you do not have to wait.  God has equipped you with a relationship with Him, a unique story, talents, resources and spiritual gifts… you need only trust Him and be faithful with what is in your hands.

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{Our 3 oldest daughters, on worship team at church.  The oldest 5 girls sing for 12-20 churches and special events every year.  God has given them beautiful harmony.}

But no matter what you have in your hands, you are still a sinner, saved by grace, and so He has filled you with His Spiritto make your character like His so your testimony will be believable.

Don’t ever lose faith in God when people fail you.  God isn’t subject to our standards and failures.  He sets the standard, and he redeems our failures.

Remember that God fights for you, and though you may travel through dark and difficult places, and it is He who will bring you out.

And when you do go through trying times, remember that God never makes a mistake.  Trust Him with all your heart.

It is a blessing, a privilege and duty of every Christian to be faithful in prayer.

If you want to have an effective prayer life, run to confess your sin, live life with open hands– forgive others, and always put God’s will above your own wants–pray for His will.  Pray unselfishly.

So many other lessons I have yet to write down.  It takes time. 🙂  But this is a good start.

Linda

Support Your Husband in His Mission

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

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

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

The movie takes you through the passion of his youth,

the fever to want to change the world,

the anger that so many kept silent,

the rejection,

the humiliation,

the isolation,

the dejection,

the depression,

the anxiety,

the recurring bouts of serious illness,

the feeling chosen for this task,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

***

 

When Women Come Between Man & His Mission-

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

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

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

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

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

To Lucasta, going to the Wars

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

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

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

Stephanie

 

Related Reading –

William Wilberforce

Peculiar Doctrines, Public Morals, and Political Welfare

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

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

She also would say,

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

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

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

How can her mind be so disconnected from reality?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Strength and honor are her clothing,

and she can laugh at the time to come.”

Proverbs 31:25

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

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

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

From Paul:

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

Proverbs 31:21

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

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

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

“She is clothed with strength and dignity,

she can laugh at the time to come.”

*

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

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

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

***

The Virtuous Woman has Mirth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I, the Lord, examine the mind, 

I test the heart 

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

Jeremiah 17:5-8,10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

or faint when you are reproved by Him;

for the Lord disciplines the one He loves,

and punishes every son whom He receives.’

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

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

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

Hebrews 12:1-7; 11-12

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

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

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

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

by great endurance,

by afflictions, by hardship,

by pressures,

by beatings, by imprisonments,

by riots, by labors,

by sleepless nights,

by times of hunger,

by purity, by knowledge,

by patience, by kindness,

by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,

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

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

through glory and dishonor,

through slander and good report;

labeled as “deceivers” yet we speak truth,

labeled as “unknown” yet we are recognized;

as dying and yet look – we still live;

as being chastened yet not killed;

as grieving yet always rejoicing;

as poor yet enriching many through our work;

as having nothing yet possessing everything.

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

2 Cor. 6:3-10;12

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

She sees her situation through open eyes:

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

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

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

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

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

2 Cor. 4:16-18

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

2 Kings 6:15-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Don’t Ruin Your Husband’s Love Toward You

Image result for old painting husband and wife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagen de León Tolstoi

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

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

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

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

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

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Sophiya Tolstoi (his wife & children)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephanie

 

Excerpt from Fascinating Womanhood