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I am a Work in Progress

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God has taught me SO MUCH as I have been blogging for wives and also for single women on my other blog www.peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com these past 21 months.  I’m incredibly thankful for all of you, my readers.  You sharpen me.  God uses you to teach me how best to approach different topics and to understand how people might take things very differently from what I intended as I wrote.  When I get feedback from you – it is a blessing.  God uses you to shape me and hone me and teach me to love more and think more like Jesus does.

I am thankful when someone rebukes me in the love and truth of Christ.

This week, I was working a lot more than usual – and trying to fit in blogging, emails, my husband, God, our children, exercise, housework…  The balancing is much more difficult if I am at work for 9-10 hours/day!  I hardly had any time for emails and comments Tuesday.  But last night (Tuesday), I had a single man comment on one of my oldest posts on Peaceful Single Girl.  His comment was kind of harsh.  So – while I was awake last night until 3:30am not able to sleep – I used the opportunity to reread that blog post – and you know what?

I totally agreed with him.

There were huge things in that post that needed changing to properly represent Christ. I was thankful for the chance to get to rewrite that post.  It makes me think I need to re-read all of my old posts – or trash them if I don’t have time to read them!

I WAS A NOVICE BLOGGER

I wrote that post in March of 2012.  Back when I was getting about 15 hits/day on that blog.  I had been studying God’s design for marriage, for femininity, for masculinity and the Lordship of Christ very intensely the 3 years before that.  I had no mentor as I sought to become a godly wife.  I also had no mentor to teach me how to teach women or how to blog.  I was primarily used to counseling patients in the pharmacy and trying to give as much critical information as possible in the shortest amount of time.   I had so much I wanted to share with other women, desiring to bless them and share what God had taught me.  But reading that old post made me CRINGE.  Today, I would NEVER write the way I did back then.  Why is that?

Well… now I know a lot more about how people take things, how people come from a huge variety of different backgrounds, how very unique each woman is and I am seeking very much to learn to give grace and to be sure to love along with sharing God’s truth.   At first, my biggest focus was to just try to get the answers and information to women as quickly as I could.  I knew how much information I was lacking as I began my journey.  I thought,

If only my sisters could have ALL of the information up front instead of missing huge chunks like I was for so long – it would be better!

But here’s the thing.

I can’t squeeze 3 years (or now – 5 years) of all that God has taught me into one post.  And even if I could, no one could digest that much at one time!

Ugh.  I really need to go back through those old posts and rework many of them.  God has changed my approach dramatically since I first began blogging.  And I am sure I still have MUCH more to learn!  In another year or two, I’ll have to rework the posts I am writing now!

GIVING LOVE FIRST

Sometimes wives are hurting SO VERY MUCH, that – they just can’t hear the answers right now or talk about how to take the first step on this journey.

  • Sometimes they are bitter toward their husbands – understandably so.
  • Sometimes they are bitter toward God.
  • Sometimes they can’t take their eyes off of their circumstances long enough to even be able to glance up at God.
  • Sometimes they are not able to hear God’s voice yet
  • Sometimes God hasn’t opened their eyes yet

I do know this – I can explain and explain and explain for 6 months every single day – but until God opens a woman’s eyes – all my explanations are worth NOTHING.  God is the key here.  Not me!

I am still learning and striving to do this well.  I am learning even this week.  I will continue to learn every day for the rest of my life.  I LOVE my sisters in Christ or I sure would not spend the massive amount of time I do on these blogs and on emails and comments.  I want to give other women the life-giving information and peace, joy and blessing that God has shown me.   But, I do understand that …

  • Sometimes women aren’t ready for the information yet.
  • Sometimes they are not able to receive God’s Word or my best attempts at pointing them to Christ.
  • Sometimes women just need to be loved on first.
  • Sometimes things will click later.  That’s ok.

So – when I see a woman who is in great pain and does not seem able to hear yet – I am learning to just love her and wait for God to work in her heart.  I have to be so careful.  If left to my own wisdom, I often just want to give a wife a whole elephant of God’s beautiful design to eat all at one time.  But

None of us can eat an elephant in one bite.  Or one day.  Or one month.

I am learning that I need to slow down and be sensitive to go at the pace that my precious sisters need – even if it is very slow.  Even if it is a dead standstill.

Sometimes we all need to feel heard first – and to feel genuinely loved before we can receive anything into our hearts.

I want to do better at not rushing or pushing  but allowing God’s Spirit to work in their hearts.

I CAN’T CHANGE ANYONE!  I know that for sure!

So – if I have tried to feed you a whole elephant all at once, maybe even this week, please forgive me!  I am still learning and have a LOT to learn.

And if you have read one of my earlier posts recently – I am sure I have things to apologize for!

I am not at all perfect.

I am so thankful for the Body of Christ and how He uses all of us together to accomplish His purposes.  Thank you for ministering to me!  You each bless me greatly.  I always love to hear from you – the hard and painful stuff – and the good stuff.

MY HEART

I so long to share Christ and to always be accurate and loving and full of grace toward my sisters in the Lord.  I don’t want to write even one word that offends God or misrepresents Him.  I NEVER EVER want to cause a stumbling block for my sisters in Christ and I want to present God’s Word in a balanced way that honors Christ.  I pray daily that God would reveal to me anything I have written at any time that He is not pleased with.  I know that I will be accountable for EVERY WORD before God one day.  That is a heavy weight and responsibility.  I long to please Him and for Him to find me faithful in every single word.

When I do get criticisms, particularly from believers (but even from unbelievers at times), they are a wonderful opportunity for me to prayerfully consider my word choices and my approach and to refine my posts.  Actually – it is an answer to prayer if someone points out something that I have not explained clearly enough or that I made generalizations or that my approach was not helpful.  I know that God speaks to me through many of the people who lovingly share criticism with me.  I do always prayerfully contemplate any criticism I receive and I talk with Greg about it and pray about it.

THIS JOURNEY

This is a LONG, LONG journey of many thousands of miles.  It is a lifelong process of sanctification – becoming a godly woman and a godly wife.  I pray that God might give me more and more wisdom about just how to best share what He wants me to share.  I appreciate your willingness to ask questions and to tell me if something doesn’t seem to jive with scripture.  Please pray that God might empower me to write His message by His Spirit for His glory alone.  Please pray that I might always show lavish agape love and grace as I share.

And please pray for my readers – our sisters in Christ.  Many of them are hurting terribly.  Many are lonely.  Many are feeling discouraged, exhausted, depressed and defeated.

I long to see each of us walk in the power of God’s Spirit and to live in victory over sin and to be the women of God’s dreams.  I trust God to work in each of you in His timing.

Thank you for being with me on this road.  I walked it alone – just me and God – for a LONG time.  It’s wonderful to have you for company!

RELATED:

Nina Roesner’s description of the stages of this journey of learning to respect and give up control is a process

20 thoughts on “I am a Work in Progress

  1. Dear April,

    Thank you for loving us so much and taking on this enormous responsibility.
    May Jesus continue to shine through you.
    Stephanie

  2. What a humble and beautiful spirit you have!! I’m praying for you and for the wives who are reading your posts. May God’s grace and Holy Spirit continue to breathe the truth of His word and the joy and peace He has for us!!
    Sending you love and hugs!!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart, regarding your ultimate goal. I am sure it’s difficult to balance addressing issues alongside the emotions that go along with the issues from their side. Since you can’t feel their emotions in “black and white ink”, you may not know the level they are at when they are connecting with you regarding a situation in their lives. This is something that isn’t automatically considered.

    This can be a lesson to wives, concerning dealing with their husbands. Don’t just “speak the truth” when you need to address something with them. Meet them where they are at and address things in a way that values them.

    And don’t be afraid to step back and ask yourself if you may have handled the situation improperly, originally. If there is a “check” in your spirit, ask the Lord, and him, how you can better address things in the future in order to keep your relationship healthy and endearing.

  4. I am very thankful for your archives…. I still read them and what I see is that you have grown…. it is sweet to look and see the depth that you have now but there is something helpful in every article/post I have read! 🙂

    I think you just care so much and you want so much to help them and I am thankful for that. And you have SUCH a heart for wives which is why this is your ministry. God has to have given you that passion!

    Thank you for caring, leading, guiding and teaching all of us.

  5. April I pray for you often and thank God for the wisdom He has given you to share with us “un peaceful” wives and the accurate timeline of how WE will “get it” little by little, bite by bite, step by step. I feel sure that had I not happened to find your blog, I would not still be with my husband, waiting patiently on God to work in his heart. I was in that panic mode and feeling so alone and and unloved that I wanted to just run out the door and never come back to the pain. But instead, I began to pray, think about my own sin toward my husband (I really thought this was all him and I didn’t have a problem) reading my devotional book, “Jesus Calling” that a new co-worker I had recently hired gave me for Christmas that was amazingly accurate everyday; Little by little for 6 months I learned from you that how I was feeling was not new and that if I trusted God with this, I would be ok! I learned that I had put my husband up on a pedestal as my idol, my best friend who would never leave me and would always be there for me. I found out that no human being on this earth is my bestie.. just the Lord. He truly sticks closer than a brother and will never leave me nor forsake me. I believe He wanted me to really know and understand that, and today….8 months later, I do! As I am now being still and quiet and not writing letters to my husband and not trying to talk or explain or reason with him but praying for him instead, I’m seeing him starting to squirm under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and it is an amazing thing to see. He is not hearing my motor mouth anymore so he can hear God better. I’ve learned a new song by Kyla Rowland called “Sweet Things Out Of Dark Places” and one lines in it says “the darker the valley the more clearly I see.” How true this statement is in my life. Through my darkest valley, God has shown His love to me and taught me that He is really all I need.
    Much love to you April and may God continue to speak and love through you and may He allow me the blessing of being a help to hurting women some day too!

  6. I relate what I do here a lot to my job as a pharmacist. In the pharmacy, it is my job to give life-giving, life-saving information, to educate patients about their health conditions and how to treat their medical problems effectively with drug and lifestyle changes. I always desire to give patients as much information as possible because I care very much about each person having the best quality of life. That is what I desire to do here, too – but the topics are of eternal significance here!

    Yesterday in the pharmacy, a woman came to the drive through and was talking about her blood sugar never getting below 200. (Normal is 90-120, people get admitted to the hospital if it is over 170.) We talked a bit. She won’t exercise. She cut back on some things in the past 5 years. But then she held up a 30 ounce glass of sweet tea and said, “Oh, and I drink 5 of these a day.” WHAT!?!?!? I don’t know how much sugar she puts in her sweet tea. But I am guessing she is consuming a cup or two of sugar daily.

    Hmm…. That could be a big part of the problem!

    She didn’t have money for her medicine. She didn’t understand why her blood sugar wouldn’t come down.

    I told her, “Please cut out the sweet tea. You could use an artificial sweetener if you’d like.”
    She said, “Oh, I don’t like those.”

    So – I explained, “Every day that you allow your blood sugar to be that high, that is time in the future that you will not have your eyes, your kidneys and your feet (as well as a lot of other things). Just cutting out the sweet tea would allow you to lose weight much faster, would help your sugar begin to come down and you may not even have to be on medication anymore eventually. Especially if you also walk 5 times per week for 30 minutes a day.”

    She said (in a tone that suggested she was doing ME a favor), “Well, I may cut down to TWO glasses of sweet tea per day. But I’m NOT giving it all up!”

    I told her, “I am not the one who is going to suffer in the future if you drink sweet tea. This is your life and your body, not mine. You can choose to do what you want to do. But if you continue drinking that sweet tea and running that insanely high blood sugar, you will suffer some horrible consequences 10-20 years from now (maybe sooner). By the time you begin to lose your eyesight, your kidneys fail and your feet turn black – you can’t fix it then. But you can help to prevent (or at least greatly delay) some of those things from happening now by the choices you are making today.”

    Sometimes on my blog – I see that women are “drinking five 30 ounce glasses of sweet tea per day and that their blood sugar is through the roof” and that they are self-destructing. I have done that! That was me! I know what needs to happen for them to be spiritually healthy. So I try to share how to cut out the stuff that makes us sick (sin) and how to live as God desires us to.

    But each woman must make her choices for herself. I know that if they turn in great faith to God – they will see miracles. Not necessarily in their husbands – but in themselves. I also know that the only way they could see miracles in their husbands is to do things God’s way. I hate seeing women suffer spiritual agony when I know that God is able to heal them. It is HARD to watch a woman endure great pain in her spiritual prison – especially when I know that God has opened the door and that she doesn’t have to stay there anymore.

    So – I present God’s Word and His truth the best I can and seek to honor Him and I pray that He will do the convicting and help women to be able to have great faith in Him.

    Thanks for the love and support, ladies!

  7. Oh my April, may the blessings of the Lord continue to flow in your life as you seek to do his will. I too have been enriched by your blogs. I love to write and journal and indeed even at almost 60 I can see my growth along the way. Especially in God’s Grace that he has been teaching me more about this past year. And then to put me on the journey of learning submission and authority, well that is what brought me to your blog which ha been wonderful. Although my situation was not bleak like most, I do have a good marriage, it has not always been that way, but as I have grown with God and my husband has come to know God it has indeed been blessed beyond my imagination even and especially in the trials. I often now look to God and ask him to get his big old sifter (I love to cook and often use everyday things for examples) out when I am studying something written by mankind and ask him to sift out the chafe and leave me the good wheat to digest and use. He often feeds me in nuggets, he knows what I can handle at any one given moment. I was reading a book by Pastor Perry Noble and there are two major lessons that I have learned – God does give me more than “I” can handle, but he never gives us more than than “we” meaning he and I together to handle because he is where I am fully dependent on this journey. And the other is that no matter what happens in life – “God is still God and God is still Good”. The lesson in one mouth and two ears is also important, it has taught me to always stop and think before I speak, even with my fingers 🙂 and then ask WWJD. You are a blessing to so many and indeed you have helped this grandmother in many ways, many things may not apply to me, but the well and depth of love that I see and read in your posts is a God given gift for all of us. I do believe God has placed me in a mentoring position and therefore I look for wisdom and sharpening also in other believers, again, letting God be my sifter for the things that will work in my situations. Much love, many blessings, prayers always

    1. Wanda,

      I love that sifter concept! Yes. That is exactly what I pray we will all do – ask God to sift the chaff and leave the grain for us to digest.

      Thank you for sharing your story! 🙂 You are a blessing to me.

  8. And by the way, that is exactly what I call myself – “a work in progress” Jesus said follow me, that means he is always on the move and as his disciples we should be too, on the move growing with him in this journey and transformation of our hearts each and every day sharing the gospel and his love and grace.

  9. April- I view you as a dear friend, and pray for you often. You have been given a blessed task. One filled with beauty and purpose, and yes, inner struggle too. But never regret. God is faithful and true. He will guide you through each step. We can’t look back, only forward (Phil. 3:13). Thank you for your hard work. Your dedication to your sisters is a noble thing. Much love to you.

    1. Gleniece,

      Thank you so much! You are a dear friend to me, too. I am looking forward to sharing all that God has in store together. 🙂 Thank you for your prayers! I pray for God to richly bless your walk with Him. 🙂

  10. I believe that as long as people are using your blog as a tool and not as the Bible, all is well. You are on a journey just like we are and cannot be expected to provide all the perfect answers at the perfect moment. You don’t claim to be a councilor or a priest, and you shouldn’t be held to that type of responsibility.

    I like to start my studies for the day with your blog because it provides inspiration and direction. But it isn’t where my walk with God ends. It is good to know I am not alone in my journey. I think it is important for people to realize (as you are always referencing) that God is the one who we should be asking for answers.

    Don’t get discouraged by negative feedback. You’re doing yourself and many women a great service by sharing what you do. Thank you.

    1. Jessica,

      Thanks for the encouragement! I am thankful for negative feedback – it helps me to grow when it is spoken by a believer who is sincerely seeking to share the truth in love.

      I am so thankful that God is willing to use me to bless others. It is definitely Him that is the key, not me! 🙂

  11. Oh April! I think of you as such an incredible role model to me as I learn to become a peaceful wife and peaceful mother too! You are a light for all of us wives! The church needs more women like you to shepherd us younger wives of the ways of the Lord! You are humble and kind and always seeking the truth from the LORD and His word! Keep on truckin’ in the Lord!!

  12. PS> I totally understand your pharmacy example! I see that all the time in my pharmacy patients! People want everything in life easy and comfortable … but the Lord doesn’t call us to easy and comfortable!

    1. Allyson,
      Isn’t that how we as humans approach things?

      We want what we want but we don’t want the consequences. We aren’t willing to give up the things that could destroy us, and we cling to those things so very tightly, as we push away the things that could heal us.

      That is definitely human nature.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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