God’s Incredible Plan for You

an arrow pointing up a ramp

THE DREAM

Like me, I’m sure you long for the most amazing, fulfilling life. You want close relationships with those you love. You want unfailing love and security. You want a life of purpose. You even want to be part of the bigger picture in helping the world become a better place.

Your heart longs for happily ever after because you were originally designed to live in paradise.

THE UGLY REALITY

Unfortunately, relationships with imperfect people in this world are difficult. Even marriage can’t completely fulfill you.

Life can be a lot harder than we ever imagined it could be. Sometimes, it may feel like you are living on crumbs and just in survival mode. It can be frustrating when you are trying everything you know to do to make things better and to try to grasp your dreams, only to continue to be discouraged, lonely, and frustrated.

People, things, and ideals in this life often fail and disappoint you, leaving you unsatisfied and discontent.

There are stresses all around you and maybe you are exhausted. You are running out of hope. You wonder how much longer you can hold on? You need help and a power source much greater than yourself. But where can you turn?

GREAT NEWS

You don’t have to try to figure out this whole life thing on your own. Thankfully, there is someone who knows you deeply and loves you dearly who wants to help you!

God created you. He is the one true God of the universe who made all things. He knows how things are supposed to work in every area of our lives—even marriage. He has all wisdom, all knowledge, all power and He is good, loving, holy, sovereign, and just.

He is the only one who will never fail us and never disappoint us. He is the only one who can meet the deepest needs of our souls and lives.

He isn’t trying to hide His will and His purposes from you. He wants you to know what He has for you!

GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU

He wants to:

  1. Adopt you as His own child through salvation in Jesus Christ.
  2. Free you from your old sinful nature that keeps you in miserable bondage and separates you from Him.
  3. Give you a new Spirit, a new heart, and a new mind so that you can be in right relationship with Him and enjoy real Life.
  4. Empower you to become a hero to set other spiritual captives free and rescue them to bring them into His kingdom, too.

For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

After you begin to embrace God’s big-picture plan, He will begin to show you more of the details He has for you as you follow and trust Him.

HE CALLS YOU TO MAKE A DECISION TODAY

This very day, God is calling you to Himself. He wants you to commit your life to Christ as your Savior and Lord. He is a Gentleman, He will never force His way into your life. He will only come into your life if you ask Him to.

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

2 Cor. 6:2

THE ABCs OF SALVATION

  1. Admit you are a sinner and that you can’t meet God’s perfect standards of holiness. You need help. You can’t be good enough to earn heaven. Like every one of us, you stand condemned before God on your own because of the wrong things you have thought, said, and done in your lifetime.
  2. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God (God in the flesh) who came to live the perfect life you couldn’t live, who died on the cross in your place, and who was raised to life on the 3rd day victorious over sin, death, and the grave on your behalf!
  3. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Savior and Lord and live to serve and follow Him from this point forward.

(For related verses, please see below**)

Once you know Him, He wants you to commit to growing in Him and to seeking Him with all your heart daily. He wants to satisfy the deepest longings of your soul like only He can. He wants to lavish His unfathomable love on you every moment of every day.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'”

Matt. 22:37

SO THAT YOU CAN EXPERIENCE PARADISE WITH HIM NOW AND FOREVER

God’s narrow path leads to great things! HIMSELF!

He wants you to experience being in a one Spirit relationship with Him. He gives all of Himself and all that He has to you. In return, you will give Him all of yourself and all that you have—not to try to earn salvation or earn His love, but simply out of overwhelming gratitude for all He has done for you.

This means He wants you to:

  • Allow Him to crucify your old sinful nature with Jesus on the cross to set you free from slavery to sin.
  • He wants to get rid of any spiritual poison (wrong thinking, lies, sinful strongholds) or doors that are open to destructive things in your life.
  • He wants to heal your soul and completely fill you up with Himself, His Spirit, and His spiritual abundance as you are willing to totally trust Him.
  • Experience His leading, His presence, His provision, His glory, and His miracles.
  • Allow Him to radically transform your heart, mind, and life by His power.
  • Let Him completely change the way you relate to others and in your relationships as He teaches you His divine ways and gives you the power to live it in real life.
  • Live in His supernatural peace, contentment, joy, and hope even during trials.
  • Use even your mistakes and any suffering in your life to help you become more like Jesus.
  • Understand and know how to use your heavenly weapons, power, and the authority of Jesus to fight spiritual battles and bring about the victory of Jesus and demolish strongholds.
  • Continually grow in your capacity to receive His love, to love Him completely, and then to love others with His divine love.
  • Discover His beautiful design and calling for you as a woman (including as a wife and mom if you are married or have children).
  • Be seated with Him in heavenly places even now.
  • Live a holy life that pleases Him.
  • Be trained and equipped to be a hero to others. He wants you to be part of His rescue mission to save them from the bondage of sin and Satan’s snares that they might also become children of God and join you in heaven.
  • Allow Him to restore the “years the locusts have eaten” in your life and turn all the painful, awful things into beauty, glory, and miraculous blessings.
  • Be His hands and feet to love people all around you here on earth.
  • Have eternal life in heaven with Him—the greatest happily ever after.

No one should have to miss out on the most incredible love in all the universe in Jesus. Everyone deserves a chance to hear about God’s overwhelming offer of love and salvation.

HE WANTS TO SPARE YOU FROM MISERY

God knows that apart from your faith in Jesus’ provision for you on the cross, you will be separated from God forever when this life is over. God doesn’t want that to happen! He loves all of us and wants all of us to turn from our sin and turn to Him and go His way.

That is why He went to the greatest possible lengths to make a way to rescue you. There was no other way. Jesus asked if there could be another way the night before He was crucified. But God’s answer was that there was not.

Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6

He wants to spare you from:

  • All condemnation.
  • Being ensnared by the enemy with lies, addictions, and strongholds that hurt you and your relationships.
  • The pain and suffering that comes from living in slavery to sin.
  • The pain that comes from being far from Him and His love and goodness.
  • Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy in your life.

When you choose to live for Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, when God looks at you, He no longer sees our sin and failure, He sees Jesus’ perfection. Jesus pays your massive sin debt (that we all have) in full and gives us His overflowing account if you turn to Him in faith. You no longer have to live as a spiritual beggar or orphan.

Please don’t put off this decision. As we have seen in our family in the past year and a half, time can be a lot shorter than we may think.

You have a Good Father who will provide for and protect you if you belong to Christ.

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If you have prayed to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I would love to hear from you in the comments! I want to welcome you into the family of God and share some resources with you to help you grow and build a firm spiritual foundation for your faith.

If you want to share some insights God has given you or you just have questions or a comment relevant to this topic, we’d love to hear from you!

IF YOU KNOW JESUS

Let me encourage you to share this message of hope, good news, and blessing with others!

Much love!

VERSES ABOUT SALVATION**

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23
  • The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Rom. 6:23
  • If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Rom. 10:9-10
  • But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, John 1:12
  • For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. Gal. 3:26
  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:8-10
  • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

3 Secrets to Building Real-Life Romance in Your Marriage

man holding a bouquet of flowers

Real romance is all about selflessness, thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity.

Sadly, we sometimes miss out on appreciating things that actually could be extremely romantic, if only we decided to look at them that way.

We are conditioned by our culture (and advertisers) to recognize certain specific things as romantic:

  • Flowers
  • Dinner out at a fancy restaurant
  • Pricey cards
  • A trip out of town
  • Diamonds
  • Jewelry

These things definitely can be romantic and very special treats that we can enjoy from our husbands, at times.

But the truth is, anything your husband does for you to benefit you, or your children, is a gift. And anything he does out of love, thoughtfulness, and consideration for you is special. Even if it is free.

If it costs him time, effort, energy, and/or money, he is generously extending love to you.

Don’t let his love go unnoticed, my dear sister!

SECRET #1 – APPRECIATION

Here’s a secret to experiencing greater romantic connection in your marriage:

Anytime your husband does something sweet for you—big or small— decide to receive his loving act toward you as something very romantic.

Because it is!

So if he does something loving like he:

  • Gives you a compliment.
  • Tries to cheer you up.
  • Brings in an income to help provide for your needs.
  • Fixes your car.
  • Runs to the store to get tissues and medicine when you are sick.
  • Stays home with the kids so you can do something to recharge.
  • Helps you with a chore.
  • Tries to protect you from harm in some way spiritually, financially, emotionally, or physically.
  • Invites you to go for a walk, or is willing to go for a walk with you when you ask him to.
  • Comes home to spend the evening with you instead of hanging out with friends or working late.
  • Chooses a movie he knows you’ll like or avoids one he knows you’ll hate.
  • Makes a sacrifice so you can have or do something important to you.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Smile! Let your face light up with delight.
  • Use a friendly tone of voice as much as possible.
  • Thank him with words and maybe a hug or kiss.
  • Appreciate his loving gesture and cherish it in your heart and mind.
  • Maybe even think about ways you could do something special for him that he would appreciate, too.

There is something extremely lovely and feminine about a wife graciously and joyfully receiving a gift her husband gives her. Your delight over what he did for you is a precious gift to him!

Romance in real life is found in appreciating the little things.

For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.

1 Cor. 16:18

SECRET #2 – GRATITUDE

Attraction and real life romance need nurturing. They are much like a garden. You have to pull the weeds, water, provide sunlight, monitor the temperature, and fertilize at the right times.

If you focus on the good and on being thankful for the good things you notice in your husband, romance will naturally begin to grow.

Some proven ways to nurture real-life romance and attraction:

  • Focus on the things you respect and admire about your husband.
  • Keep an ongoing list of things for which you are grateful about your husband and about things he has done for you.
  • Speak positively about him to yourself, to others, and to him.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thess. 5:18

(There are times we need to address sin. But, in general, if there is not major unrepentant sin going on, we want to focus on the good things.)

SECRET #3 – SOFTNESS

One of the most attractive things about women, to our men, is our softness. Yes, we have soft, lovely curves, generally. But more than that, when we respond and act with feminine gentleness, softness, and openness, that is beautiful and magnetic to our men, too.

Another way to be soft is to be responsive. Be responsive and open to his words, his loving acts, his gifts, and even to his touch. Melt into him when he touches you.

We want to avoid a few things that kill our softness:

And we want to invite God to help us be empowered by the Spirit (Gal. 2:22-23) to be:

  • Peaceful.
  • Patient.
  • Joyful.
  • Kind.
  • Gentle.
  • Self-controlled.

These godly responses draw our men to us, make them feel more masculine and protective of us, and tend to increase the attraction and romance in our marriage over time.

When we seek romance and our own feelings first, we end up sabotaging real-life romance. But when we seek Christ first and seek to honor Him as we relate to our men, romance generally results as fruit from being properly cultivated.

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

1 Pet. 3:4

When you are spiritually healthy, then you are able to provide the most conducive atmosphere for your marriage to thrive.

There are more secrets to building real-life romance and attraction in marriage, but let’s start with these. Then we can build from there.

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What (rated G) secrets have you learned about how to increase romance and attraction in a real life marriage? We’d love to hear your insights.

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Much love! <3

RESOURCES

NOTE – If you are facing severe issues in your marriage like uncontrolled mental health issues, abuse, violence, major addictions, etc… please seek experienced, trustworthy, godly help from a counselor, the police, a doctor, or whoever is appropriate. My posts are not written specifically for wives in extreme situations like this.

Does God Really Have One Specific “Soul Mate” for You?

bride and groom holding hands

You know how the movies and books go, they often describe how a man and woman magically find each other out of all of the billions of people in the world, and they instantly know that they were destined for each other.

Sparks fly. Fireworks erupt. The world stands still.

They know that they are meant to be soul mates, and that they will complete each other and fulfill each other like no one else ever could. They just know they will be completely perfect for each other. Together, they will have unending bliss in this lifetime. They will feel totally in love every moment of every day. Infatuation will never end for them.

They won’t even have to work at nurturing the romance. It just magically happens without effort or problems.

A lot of us believe this idea.

But is this worldly idea of one perfect soulmate in all the world for each of us biblical?

There are four areas I want to address with this issue:

  1. Is there actually a person who can completely fulfill us, never disappoint us, give us total security, peace, joy, eternal happiness, and perfection?
  2. What kinds of fruit does the soul mate idea bear?
  3. What does the Bible say?
  4. What does the Bible not say?

The truth is, there is no perfect human

There is no completely flawless human soul mate who will never hurt us, always completely understand us like Hollywood portrays, and who can meet our deepest spiritual and emotional needs every second of every day forever.

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23

If we try to put a man on the throne of our hearts like this, we are making him into an idol. The problem with idolatry is, it always destroys us and it always destroys the relationship we have with the person we idolize. (Another way of describing this kind of relationship would be “codependent.”)

  • It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Ps. 118:8
  • Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord… Jer. 17:5-6

Once we marry a man, that person is to be our spouse for life. We are to work on that relationship and nurture it out of love and honor for God and for the marriage covenant and our husband.

Marriage is a good gift. It is a blessing. God intends for each marriage to portray a living picture of the gospel (Eph. 5:22-33).

But marriage is also hard. There are difficulties. This doesn’t mean we abandon our marriage covenant. Check out what the Bible says about divorce.

But there is a perfect God who can fulfill us

What we really need is Jesus. We need the perfect Creator of the universe, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of lords, the Great Physician, the Good Shepherd, the Heavenly Bride Groom. He is the only one who can meet our deepest spiritual needs all the time. He is the only one who will never fail us, disappoint us, or leave us.

If we have Him, we have the Greatest Treasure in all the universe!

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
  • Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jer. 17:7-8
  • For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jer. 2:13
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matt. 22:36-40

In Him, we truly can have absolute security, peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment, purpose, and our identity.

The problem with the world’s soul mate idea

When we have a mindset that a person can take the place of all that only Jesus can do for us, when we depend on a human man to be our soul mate, this is what happens:

  • We marry a man we idolize, with all these unrealistic expectations and then realize that he is not perfect. Even if he is a strong Christian, he sins and stumbles at times. And we are shocked and appalled. We begin to resent him and disrespect him.
  • We assume that we married the wrong person and we need to divorce this guy and find our real soul mate so we can be happy. We are angry at God for allowing us to marry a man who is not the soul mate we wanted more than anything.
  • With the soul mate mindset, our primary hope is in a flawed human being, not in Christ.
  • Our goal is our own momentary happiness (which is one of the greatest idols in our culture) rather than holiness or exalting Jesus above all and seeking His glory above everything else.
  • The marriage covenant and God’s commands for us as believers and as spouses become secondary to our feelings and desire for Hollywood style romance.

I believe this kind of soul mate concept is very dangerous to our marriages.

In reality, any Christian man we marry is not going to be perfect. And any Christian woman a man marries is flawed, as well. That includes us! We will have plenty of opportunities to give and receive grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love and respect. We all have a steep learning curve in marriage. And we all need the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit to build a strong, godly marriage.

What should happen when we realize our spouse is not perfect, is—it should remind us that only Jesus can truly meet our every spiritual need. And it should remind us of our own sin and how much we are completely dependent on Christ because on our own, none of us have any good in us. And it should also make us remember that the only one we can completely trust to be faithful all the time is Jesus.

What does the Bible say?

Is there only one man for you out there? One specific man that you have to find among the billions of others?

  • Well, for Adam and Eve, there was definitely only one potential spouse for them. It was pretty obvious who God’s will was for them to marry!
  • And for Eleazer, who was looking for a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac, he did pray for God to show him the wife He wanted for Isaac and God answered his prayer. (Although, Rebecca was certainly not perfect.) We can certainly pray for God to lead us to a godly spouse.

But for us as followers of Christ, what are the qualifications we need to have for choosing a spouse?

  • A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 1 Cor. 7:39
  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? I Cor. 6:14

So really, the main thing is, we are to choose someone who is committed to living for Jesus. The rest is pretty much up to us.

In biblical times, most marriages were arranged. Sometimes the spouses didn’t even meet before the wedding. Or they were betrothed from infancy. There was no dating like we know in our culture.

Of course, for those who are already married to an unbeliever, God’s will is for them to stay with that spouse if possible and seek to influence the other one for Christ.

What does the Bible not say?

There are no verses that say things like:

  • Seek the one true love that God has for you among all of the other people in the world. Don’t marry anyone but him. If you marry some other Christian man, you are doomed to misery forever.
  • There is only one man for you that is perfect for you. Pray for God to help you find him. If you can’t find him, God can’t do anything of value with your life.
  • If you realize you married someone who is not perfect for you, divorce him and search the world for your real God-given soul mate so that you can be happy.

God’s will is for us, as Christian women, is for us to remain single and completely devoted to Christ or for us to marry a believing husband and remain completely devoted to Christ and faithful to our marriage covenant.

Did you know that we will not be married to our human husbands in heaven? Marriage is temporary for this lifetime. In heaven, all of the members of the Body of Christ make up the Bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bride Groom. We will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb together and be one in Spirit eternally together with Jesus. Earthly marriage is just a temporary picture that foreshadows heaven.

Again, only Jesus can promise happily ever after in heaven. There is no 100% happily ever after on earth. In fact, Scripture promises that on earth, and in earthly marriage, there will be trials.

  • those who marry will face many troubles in this life, 1 Cor. 6:28

But here is our hope in Jesus:

  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

FOR A HEALTHIER WAY TO VIEW THE CONCEPT OF SOUL MATES, please check out this post by www.gotquestions.org.

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How has the soul mate concept impacted you? Has it been helpful or hurtful? What scriptural support do you find for your beliefs on this issue?

(If you can’t see the comment space below, click on the title at the top of the post and then scroll down to the bottom of the post.)

Much love! <3

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Oneness in Marriage (overcoming codependency)

Closeness in Marriage Is Not What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife (also about overcoming codependency)

Do You Want to be the Greatest in God’s Eyes?

Very dirty feet

Greatness in Jesus’ economy is totally the opposite of everything worldly wisdom holds dear.

The Secret to Greatness

Jesus had two disciples, brothers, who wanted to be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom. They wanted the right to get to sit at His right (the position of greatest honor) and His left (the second greatest position of honor).

Jesus shared this shocking news with them:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-28

The greatest in His kingdom is humble, not proud.

Pride says things like:

  • I know better than God or anyone.
  • My wisdom is unparalleled.
  • I am equal to or greater than God.
  • I am so important.
  • I deserve the best.
  • I deserve to be greatly exalted and praised.
  • People and God should do my will.

Humility says things like:

  • God knows better than I do. His wisdom is much higher than mine.
  • God alone is sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent, completely holy, perfect, good, loving, just, kind, and righteous. He alone is worthy of worship. I am not.
  • God, His will, His kingdom, and His glory are the most important things.
  • I don’t deserve good things because I don’t have any merit on my own, but I am so grateful for all of the good blessings I have in Jesus.
  • Treating others well is more important than me getting my way.
  • I yield my will to God’s will.
  • I choose to honor, praise, and exalt God, not myself.
  • I am God’s servant, ready to do anything He asks of me.
  • I am willing to serve others the way Jesus came to serve me.

THE FOOT-WASHING WAY

Jesus, who is God in the flesh, the Creator of the universe, humbled Himself and washed His disciples dirty, smelly, extremely dusty feet. He took on the job of the lowest slave to set an example of the kind of leadership and greatness He desires in His kingdom (John 13:3-17).

The one who is the greatest in Jesus’ eyes is the most servant-hearted. God exalts those who do not exalt themselves and do not seek honor, power, and glory for themselves.

“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” 

― Andrew Murray, Humility

God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.

James 4:6

This is true in ministry, it is true in business, it is true in church. And it is true in Christian marriage. For both husbands and wives.

Sometimes, women don’t like the role God assigns to wives in marriage. Some would have us believe that “women are slighted in God’s plan” because they believe leaders are “more important” and they want to be the most important.

However, if we truly understood the accountability, sacrifice, cost, and expectations God has for leaders, we may not be so quick to demand that position for ourselves. Especially if we understood all the ways in which all people are equally loved and valued by God and that value has nothing to do with position or authority levels in His kingdom.

If any of us (male or female) wants to have “the most power” in our human relationships for our own selfish purposes, we have missed the entire point of the example of Jesus.

To live the Christian life (for a man or woman) is to die to our sinful nature and self, it is to forsake our pride, and it is to yield humbly and absolutely to the Lordship of Jesus.

Living for Jesus is a clear call to joyful servanthood

The Gospel

As a sinner— if we want to talk about what I really deserve, it is hell. But Jesus had great mercy on me. He came to save me from hell and from my sin. He took away the condemnation I earned and deserved, if I have trusted Jesus as my Savior and Lord (please read here for how you can have a saving relationship with Jesus). And He has given me every spiritual treasure He possesses. It’s crazy!

  • He takes on my astronomical sin debt and pays it all in full.
  • Then He gives me total access to His overflowing spiritual bank account.

He has graciously given me all of His righteousness, goodness, and right standing with God. He has provided for my every spiritual need and for my every need now and in eternity. He gives me a new Spirit and nature. A new identity in Him. Greater love than I have ever known. He has already seated me in heavenly places with Him and even given me some of His authority to participate in the honor of bringing His will into reality on earth.

If only we could grasp even a fraction of these incredible truths!

Knowing Jesus Brings Contentment to My Heart

If I understand who I really am and who Jesus is and what He has done for me, I can be more than content serving any role He has for me in this world, as long as I get to be close to Him. I want to serve Him! Out of overflowing gratitude and love, not out of duty or drudgery.

What does it matter to me if I live in obscurity or in a position of worldly influence and power as long as I have Him?

All of my life is for His glory and His purposes now, not for myself!

If Jesus is my Lord, I will be willing and eager to serve in any capacity He has prepared for me. Whatever that may be. My only goal is to use the gifts and opportunities He has given me to exalt Him and bless and love others. I want to let Him bear much fruit in and through me. I long for His will, not mine.

If I am fully yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, no one can steal the blessings and spiritual treasures and miracles God has for me. If I choose to live by faith in Jesus, no weapon formed against me shall prosper and God will open the floodgates of heaven to accomplish all he wants to do in and through me.

The Lord Calls All Christians to Servanthood, Dying to Self, and Sacrifice

Ultimately, in marriage and in the Body of Christ, we are all called to humbly serve and love God and others. Leaders are simply called to go an “extra mile,” sacrificing themselves all the more and using their strength, position, and power for the good of those in their care.

That is why we are to respect them and cooperate with them, (but never follow anyone into sin), to make their job to honor the Lord easier, not harder. And that is why we are to use our influence authority for good, not to try to lead them astray or trip them up.

Honestly, all of us are called to be leaders of some type, as believers in God’s kingdom. Maybe we are moms, mentors, leaders at work, or maybe we have ministries for the Lord. All of us have positions of influence or authority somewhere, although the exact positions may be different. All of us have spiritual gifts to bless the Body of Christ.

Equal Value but Different Roles and Gifts

We don’t all have access to every possible leadership position or spiritual gift. But we all have total access to every good gift God has provided for us specifically and for believers in general.

Each of us is valued and loved equally. But we have different roles and gifts!

We cannot all be the eye. We are not all the foot. We are not all the right hand. God gives each of us certain gifts, according to His wisdom, for us to use to bless everyone else (1 Corinthians 12). He arranges all the parts as He desires them to be. We all need each other! And each of us have important roles to fulfill that will bring glory to Jesus and the kingdom, not to ourselves.

Greatness Is Available to Each of Us!

Servanthood doesn’t mean we become people pleasers, it means we become God pleasers.

All of us have the ability to seek greatness in Christ as we humble ourselves and empty ourselves of self, allowing God to fill us up to overflowing with Himself. There is no limit to what God is willing to do through a completely yielded vessel who is willing to take on a Spirit of servanthood just like Jesus did in Philippians 2:1-11!

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Does this concept surprise you? If so, how?

What has God shown you about the blessing and honor of servanthood and humility?

How has it impacted your marriage or other relationships for good?

NOTE – if you can’t access the comment box, please click on the blog title at the top of the post and you should be able to see the comment box at the bottom of the post, and the search bar, too.

RELATED

Bible verses about servanthood

What Was the Significance of Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is the Biblical Pattern of Church Leadership? by www.gotquestions.org

What Are the Qualifications of Elders and Deacons? by www.gotquestions.org

The Danvers Statement

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Rest. Wait. Follow. Me?

sheep in a meadow

It’s great to do things for God. But it MUST be according to His will, His Spirit, His leading, and His timing. I have learned that if I run ahead and do things on my own, I just make a big mess. A really big mess.

Not only do I not bless anyone, I can even cause harm when I try to do things in my strength, my effort, and my wisdom.

It’s hard for me to be still and wait. I don’t want to waste time. Life is short! Running ahead with my own plans is easy. My normal tendency is to want to just take off and go about 100 miles per hour feeling like I am DOING something important for God. Whether He has called me to that thing or not. Whether it is by His Spirit and assignment or not.

But God has been calling me to a MUCH slower pace. And a LOT of waiting, at times.

Because… He is good.

There’s nothing wrong with making plans in advance, necessarily. We need to make some plans. We do need to think about the future, at times, and pray about possible options. But sometimes I end up expending a lot of energy over potential decisions that may happen way down the road that we may not even need to ever make.

It’s critical that I remember that the Lord is in control, not me. I must be ready to set aside my plans every second for God’s plans.

Turns out, I don’t have to have everything figured out in advance.

A Pillar of Cloud and Fire

God has also been showing me recently that following Him is a lot like the picture of Israel following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels. Exodus 40:34-38

The Israelites had no idea when God would move them or how long they might stay. God didn’t tell them His plan in advance. Sometimes, they stayed in a place only one night and the cloud moved the next day so they broke camp and followed. Other times, the cloud stayed in one place for a month or longer.

They were a lot like sheep, following their Good Shepherd.

Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

It makes me think of how God leads me. I don’t know His plan any more than these adorable little lambs know their shepherd’s plan. I don’t know what He will do even 5 minutes from now. And yet, He is with me. He does lead me.

Through His Word. Through prayer. Through godly counsel. Through circumstances. Through His “still, small voice.” Through people in positions of leadership in my life.

He is great at leading me through my wonderful husband who thinks so very differently from me. And He leads in other ways, too.

I have learned that human plans can change very quickly. I don’t want to put much weight on them.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13-17

In one heartbeat, our entire reality can suddenly change.

Only God really knows what will happen. And only God can truly know what will be best in any given situation.

All I really need to do is seek God’s beautiful face. Meaning, all I need to do is worship, thank, praise, and trust Him. As I keep my spiritual eyes focused on Him, He will direct my steps and give us the prompting, the open doors, the provision, the opportunities, the desires, the calling, the vision, the assignments, the wisdom, and the direction that I need.

This takes a whole lot of strain off of me. I don’t need to know the plan. And you know what else? Huge light bulb moment…

My husband doesn’t even need to know God’s plan in advance, either!

I just need to love and trust that God has the plan and He will reveal it to both of us one step at a time – at just the right time. I have found that He absolutely will as I devote myself fully to following and trusting Him.

When I say,

Lord,

Do ALL that You want with me and in me and with my family. Lead my career and ministry in Your narrow path that leads to Life. I want to experience as much of You as possible. I want to yield to Your Lordship completely. I want to get to see everything You want to provide and know and experience all of Your Spirit that I can possibly receive.

I leave everything open. I give you total access to every door in my life. Every possibility in the future. Every talent and gift I have. Everyone in my family. Every trial. Every blessing. It’s all completely Yours.

Let Your will be done 100% in my life. I don’t want to miss out on one good thing You have for me. I want to experience every bit of Your unfathomable love. I want You do to whatever will bring You the greatest glory in my life. Amen…

It is amazing what He will do.

ISAIAH 30:1-3

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
    that they may add sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt,
    without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
    and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
    and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.

ISAIAH 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

ISAIAH 30:21 (God’s plan for His people with the New Covenant in Christ)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

I want to be more like that little lamb who just seeks to be close to her shepherd and is ready to follow wherever he may go in a moment’s notice. It’s not about me, my plans, my opinions, my wisdom, or my thoughts about what would be best. It is all about Him!

It is a lot more simple than I ever realized.

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Have you learned something about resting in Christ, waiting on God, and following Him that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear the godly wisdom you have gleaned in your walk with the Lord.

RELATED

What Did the Pillar of Cloud by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night Signify? by www.gotquestions.org

Waiting Becomes Sweet

Resting in Christ

Cultivate a Spirit of Gratitude in Your Marriage

Part of a mural Greg painted when I was pregnant with our son.

I invite you to think back to some of the sweetest things your husband has ever done for you. Big things and small things. Write them down somewhere special. Then think about your husband’s strengths and anything you can imagine to be thankful for about concerning him.

It’s easy to get hung up on the little annoying things. The enemy would love for us to take that wide path to discontentment. But we will have much more joy, peace, and contentment as we focus on the blessings we have. As the saying goes, “Whatever you focus on grows.”

Maybe you’d even like to start a list in your prayer journal or in your phone. And every time you think of another good thing, you may want to add it.

Everyone will have different things. That’s okay! We don’t need to compare husbands with each other. But let’s commit to focusing on the good things we see in our own men as we seek to develop grateful hearts.

  • Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8
  • Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18

We are at our best spiritually when we focus primarily on positive, good things about our husbands, our children, God, our homes, our bodies, ourselves, life, etc…

Much love, dear sisters!

 

Note – This doesn’t mean we ignore sin or don’t address it properly. We do need to address sin in godly, humble, respectful ways. We need others to lovingly, respectfully address sin in our lives, too. If there are very serious issues in your marriage, please reach out for experienced, godly, trustworthy help in your area, if at all possible.

Verses about Thankfulness

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How do you like to cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving in your life and marriage? <3

 

PICTURE:

When I was pregnant with our son, who is now a rising high school senior, my husband painted a beautiful mural of our town. We no longer live in that house. It was so hard to leave it! But I can still think back and appreciate the projects my husband did to show his love.
Image may contain: indoor

My Pro-Life and Pro-Love Story (by Nneka Simone)

Photo by Bethany Beck on Unsplash

A guest post by Nneka Simone. I appreciate her vulnerability and willingness to share her story on this incredibly important topic. May we all be reminded of the sanctity and value of every human life, no matter how small:

My Story

God designed the beautiful act of sex to unite husbands and wives and to bring forth children. Having been raised in my faith, I knew that sex before marriage was a sin and I was passionately determined to avoid it at all costs. I read loads of books about purity and chastity, distributed chastity material to teenagers in my church, and even gave chastity talks.

However, one night, my boyfriend and I fell down the slippery slope of temptation and I got pregnant that very first time.

As a well-known woman in my church community, I was ashamed of the pregnancy and knew that I looked like a liar and a hypocrite. Some people lost respect for me and stopped speaking to me. More importantly, I felt ashamed before God because I knew that I had grieved his heart. I humbly turned to my loving Saviour and genuinely repented of my sin and willingly received His compassion and forgiveness.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

From the moment I discovered that I was pregnant, I did everything I could do to protect, love, and care for my child. I never gave abortion a thought. I knew it was a violent act of murder to a helpless, vulnerable, and precious child of God.

A picture of the Nneka Simone’s sweet baby boy!

Motherhood Has Been a Blessing

My son is a wonderful, loving, and delightful child who enjoys every moment of his life. God has blessed me with a loving heart to nurture him and the financial means to provide for him. God also nurtured my relationship with my child’s father and we had a beautiful and simple wedding when our son was 6 months old.

Although motherhood is challenging and demanding in many ways, my son is a wonderful gift from God.  I’m sharing my story in this post as an act of thanksgiving to God for his generous mercy and for the life of my son. I pray that it will be instrumental in helping women to appreciate their fertility and value their children.

Satan’s Evil Agenda for Women

Satan has had an agenda to deceive, manipulate and mislead women from the beginning of time. Satan went after Eve in the garden because he knows the power and influence women have over men, children, families, and society.

Today, women are being encouraged to:

  • See our own babies as burdens and inconveniences, rather than blessings and gifts from God.
  • Seek satisfaction only in our academic and career accomplishments, rather than in raising children and caring for a family.
  • View duties related to marriage and family life as oppressive, rather than loving acts of sacrifice that bring glory to God.
  • See sexual activity as something that is solely for our personal pleasure (apart from marriage or childbearing), rather than a gift from God that fosters emotional bonds in marriage and brings forth children.
  • See our ability to conceive as a burden and a curse, rather than a gift and a blessing.
  • Render ourselves infertile through contraception, rather than appreciating and valuing our ability to nurture life.
  • See abortion as a right that gives women freedom and happiness, rather than an act of violence, cruelty, and murder.
  • See our bodies as our own, rather than as belonging to the Lord.
  • See a child in our womb as our property that we can dispose of if we wish, rather than as a precious child of God created in His image for incredible and eternal purposes.
  • Be proud of our past abortions, rather than acknowledge that abortion is a terrible sin from which we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness and healing.
  • Believe that God only wants to judge and condemn us for our sins rather than forgive us and show us His love.

Now that we are clear on Satan’s anti-life, anti-family, and anti-motherhood agenda, let’s explore God’s perspective on fertility, children, and motherhood.

God Loves and Cherishes Men, Women, and Children

  • God sees fertility as a blessing. In fact, his first command to Adam and Eve was that they multiply:
    • “And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fertile and multiply.’” Genesis 1:28
  • God sees motherhood as a blessing.
    • “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28
  • God compares His love for us to a mother’s love. This shows how highly He values women and motherhood.
    • “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Psalm 49:15
  • God creates each child in the womb.
    • “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139: 14-15
  • God sees children as a heritage, a reward, and a blessing.
    • “Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” Psalm 127:3-5 
  • God establishes an important plan for each child before he or she is born. (This includes children conceived in adultery and sexual assault.) God loves each of us and has a plan for us no matter how we were conceived.
    • “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace.” Galatians 1:15
    • “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
    • “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139: 16
  • God is the author of life and wants us to live fully.
    • “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
    • “I am the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6
  • Children belong to God from the womb.
    • “But you are He who took me out of the womb; you made me trust while on my mother’s breasts.” Psalm 22:9
    • “From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Psalm 22:10
  • God owns our bodies and our children’s bodies. We don’t.
    • “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. 2 Cor 6: 19-20

As we see the pro-death abortion laws gaining ground, it may be tempting to get disheartened and give in to despair about the direction our culture is heading, but there is no need to do so. As Christians, we are people of HOPE and God has given us a clear roadmap to heal our land.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

This verse tells us that Christians are responsible for the direction of their countries. As Christian women, we need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways. Then God will heal our land and conquer this satanic agenda.

Things You Can Do to Make a Difference

Here are some actions we can all employ to foster God-honouring lifestyle in which all children are valued.

Meditate on the Word of God day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

  • Wash your mind daily with the Word of God. (Ephesians 5:26)
  • Read the Bible to your children. (Deuteronomy 11:19)
  • Teach Sunday School at your church if you believe God is calling you to do so.
  • Pray about starting a women’s Bible study in your neighbourhood.
  • Pray the Word of God over yourself and your family.

Recognise that everyone is a precious child of God and treat everyone with love and respect.

  • Since all life is valuable, do good works to help vulnerable members of society: eg. the homeless, illiterate adults, underprivileged children, the elderly, and those with debilitating diseases. (Matt 25:31-46)
  • Tell your children every day that they, and all children in the world, are gifts and blessings from God. (Psalm 127:3-5 and Proverbs 17:6)
  • Treat single mothers and unmarried pregnant woman with kindness, compassion, and respect. Seek to humbly, gently help to restore them to fellowship with the Lord and the Body of Christ or share the gospel that they may come to know the salvation Jesus offers to them and their children. (Gal. 6:1)
  • Express godly kindness and compassion to women who have had abortions and encourage them to pray, repent, and seek forgiveness and salvation/restoration. (James 5:16)

Humbly and fully repent of any sin in your own life and invite God to empower you to live a holy life.

  • If you have had an abortion in the past, acknowledge it as a sin, repent before God and trust that he has forgiven you. Seek godly counselling to help you to heal emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. (1 John 1:9)
  • Ask God to cleanse you of inadvertent sin (Psalm 19:12) and allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to grow in your heart. We can only point people to Christ and His love of God for children if we are filled with the Holy Spirit and demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
  • When single, make every effort to save sex for marriage. Avoid being alone with your boyfriend so that you would not fall into temptation.
  • Avoid porn and even sexual/romantic books, movies, music, websites that create temptation for you.
  • When married, make every effort to protect your sexual purity. Avoid being alone with other men. Avoid private conversations and emotional/spiritual intimacy with other men.

Value and cherish motherhood and children.

  • Understand that motherhood is far more sacred and special than your education or your career. Submit all areas of your life to the Lordship of Christ including motherhood, your education, your career, and your ministry. Invite God to use them all for His glory!
  • If you do become pregnant out-of-wedlock, protect the precious life in your womb no matter how your family and your church community react. You are not alone. God has created many pro-life organizations that help women in your situation.
  • When married, prayerfully consider choosing Natural Family Planning methods (eg. Daysy, Lady-Comp, the Billings Ovulation Method) rather than contraception. Be open to life and believe that God will help you to provide for your children. Don’t let fear keep you from having another child. (Gen 1:28)
  • If you are a victim of sexual assault, understand that the child is still precious and loved by God. An abortion would not erase the trauma of the assault. Either commit to raising that child or give it up for adoption to a loving couple. Adoption is a beautiful option.

Prayerfully get involved.

  • Educate yourself on pro-life issues and get involved in the pro-life movement in your community. (Matthew 5:10).
  • Focus on becoming biblically-correct, not politically-correct, and full of God’s love for others regardless of what persecution you may face. (Matthew 5:10)
  • Pray about becoming a foster parent, an adoptive parent, or youth mentor so you can be instrumental in protecting children in vulnerable situations.

With God’s wisdom, love, and power, we can be like the Proverbs 31:25 woman who laughs at the days to come and daughters of Sarah who do what is right and do not give in to fear (1 Peter 3:6).

Books Recommended by Simone about a Christian missionary who adoped 14 children:

RESOURCES

Biblical articles about abortion and the sanctity of human life from www.gotquestions.org

Biblical articles about abortion and the sanctity of human life from www.desiringgod.org

Biblical articles about abortion  and the sanctity of human life from www.answersingenisis.org

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Jesus Christ

 

An Amazing 3 Year Update – by the Satisfied Wife!

The first 2 years of my journey were still a very big mix of ups and downs for my husband and me. Of course things got a lot worse before they got better, but over the first 2 years, it was a matter of my learning what it means to really be a wife, how to respect my husband, and how to trust God.

WHERE WORDS ARE MANY, SIN IS UNAVOIDABLE (Prov. 10:19)

The biggest thing that changed my marriage and the way we function together was me learning when to keep quiet, and to let my husband lead and make the major decisions (if we couldn’t agree). In the end, I truly learned that God is in control, and that He truly does lead us through our husbands if we let Him.
For a long time in the first 2 years, I didn’t talk much. If I did talk, it was something that had to do with our immediate life like what was for dinner, what was going on with my son, or stuff like that. I stopped talking and started mostly just listening to what he told me in terms of his own life struggles, etc…
I stopped giving him advice and telling him what was wrong with him and his life, basically.
If my husband asked me questions about myself or anything, I shared then, but usually only then. Sometimes, he would go a week without much verbal connection.
Sure enough, three years later, he does ask me what I think about certain things and situations that he is in or that we might be putting ourselves in. He does want to know my opinion sometimes about work stuff, about if we should move again, or what I think about certain things. So things have definitely improved in that way for sure.
I have become very close with a trusted girlfriend, so when I have tough emotions or just want to talk to someone supportive in life, I talk to her, not my husband. Not because he won’t support me, per se, but because I’ve learned to talk to a woman because ultimately, only a woman can understand how I feel sometimes!
A Note From Peaceful Wife
There are times when we may want to prayerfully consider cutting back a lot on our talking, especially we have a history of saying a lot of negative or hurtful things or if we have been trying to lead or control our men.
  • The goal is NOT for me to stop talking entirely or for me to become a passive doormat.
  • The goal is to let my hurting husband have some time and space to heal and to begin to feel safe again and to give him a break from me being overbearing, if I have been.
  • He may need some emotional and verbal space for awhile, if I have been verbally trying to control him for a long time. 
  • If you tend to be too quiet, you may need to move in the opposite direction. You may need to start speaking up more often. The key is that we seek to find God’s healthy balance. That we use our words to speak life and use our words for good, not to destroy our husbands.
I need to allow the Holy Spirit to control my tongue. I need God’s help so I seek to avoid sinning verbally against my husband. I want to stop criticizing, speaking negatively, bossing him around, giving unsolicited advice, insulting him, etc… This is not so that I will “have no power” in the relationship, but simply so that I honor the Lord and stop tearing my husband down.
This doesn’t mean I should never share my feelings. I DO need to share my feelings, thoughts, and concerns at appropriate times. Thankfully, I can learn to do this in respectful ways. I want to be thoughtful and prayerful about what is helpful to share and what would not be helpful. In time, as my husband heals and feels safer with me, most likely, he will begin to care a lot more about my feelings when he sees that I respect his feelings.
Greg and I experienced this same kind of healing in our relationship as I allowed God to help me stop hurtful words and learned to give him more space, too.

A NEW CHAPTER FOR US

Over the past year things changed completely and have been steadily getting better and better. The thing that helped me over the past year was again me realizing that my purpose is to be my husband’s helpmeet, not to try to lead him or our family.
This perspective launched our family into new territory and brought so many blessings. My husband had been wanting to move closer to where his work has been over the past 4 years, and I always objected to moving because I liked our house and town.
But last year, I saw that it was not my place to make that final decision, so I followed my husband’s lead and we moved to a new state, a new town, and a new house that is so much more spacious and better meets our needs. My husband also encouraged me to take a leap of faith and pull my son back out of public school, take him off his ADHD meds, and let him learn in a natural way and in our natural environment.
It has been the best year of our lives!

A SOURCE OF MUCH OF MY DIFFICULTY

After SO MANY years of struggling, heartbreak, and me feeling like things were hopeless, I discovered the most amazing thing to help me better cope with life and my emotions —- SLEEP!
For years I would set my alarm to wake up at 4:00am and stay continually sleep-deprived. Last year, I finally decided this was hurting me, so I let my body adjust into it’s natural sleep cycle and I wake up whenever my body wakes me up. (Now that my son is not in public school, we are free to do this.) I have never felt more alive and well balanced in my life! I had been putting so many unnecessary expectations on myself for so long, and finally, when I let nature have it’s way, I found out that I was missing out on so many things.
I now have full energy every day, and I have been able to re-engage with all of my interests that I put aside for lack of energy over those years. I got into a regular exercise routine and have even been getting back into touch with my creative side by doing art classes at the library and making scrap books. I regret wasting so much time focusing on minor issues and problems that seemed unsolvable, all while letting my life pass me by while I sat in a state of utter misery!

THINGS I HAVE BEEN LEARNING

My husband has had a porn addiction since he was a young teenager. I didn’t know how to deal with this, and it has been a major battle in our marriage. But almost a year ago, I came across a FREE and amazing program for wives** who are married to porn addicts, that helps women learn how to understand the addiction, how to support their husbands in recovery, and how to take care of themselves in the meantime.

I learned so many amazing things:

  • My worth doesn’t come from my husbands actions, but rather, I have worth simply because God made me and I am His child.
  • To separate my husband’s (and other people’s) actions from my self-worth and in turn have been so much happier. Things that used to send me off an emotional cliff now have little power over me.
  • To focus on my own well-being and my own actions instead of looking to my husband to make me feel any kind of way.
  • To “respect” myself and to gain control over my emotions and actions, something I have never been able to do before, EVER!
  • To focus my thoughts on what is good and right and true, and to keep worry and stress and fear to a minimum.

I studied the brain science behind all of that, and have found significant evidence that what we think about truly impacts how we feel, and it all stems back to the brain chemicals that our body releases when we think a thought.

  • When we have good thoughts, we feel good.
  • When we have bad ones, we feel bad.

It is simple, yet life changing when you apply the information.

So this is where I am! I am happy, thankful, blessed. I am healthy and living life to the fullest with my husband and son.

MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN CHANGING, TOO!

Many wives will wonder—has my husband changed at all over these three years?

ABSOLUTELY!
My husband has learned to get a grip on his own emotions and has learned to hear my point of view. He now gives me the freedom to be who I really am. We hardly argue anymore (and it’s been over a year so I know it’s not just for a short amount of time). My husband has been able to relax more in my presence, and open up about his own struggles and frustrations in life.
We have had many good memories over the past year. He is more willing to spend his free time with my son and me and has showered me with little gifts and things to show his love and appreciation for me.

But has his basic personality changed?

Not really. He is still very quiet, to himself, introverted, not needing much affection or even attention.
But I changed by learning to accept who he is, and finding my own ways to get my own needs met. I stay engaged in my own activities, and focus on my responsibilities, and do things that I enjoy in life. Then I feel fulfilled whether he is meeting my needs or not.
Once I let go of trying to make things be the way I thought they should be, and instead focused on the things I could change (my own habits, time management, choices, etc.), things have only been getting better.
I feel balanced emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I rest in the fact that Jesus died for me, and that He has been working in me all these years for good. I have nothing to worry about. I am blessed. I am thankful.
I pray this update blesses you, and maybe many others! 🙂 Sending love your way!
**Curethecraving.com has a page for wives. You sign up with your email and start receiving a weekly recorded call that you can listen to from your phone or computer, and it takes you through so many amazing steps to find healing and balance in your own life! I owe all these good changes to this program. The couple who do the program are Christians as well.
(From Peaceful Wife – Note, I have not personally completely examined this resource. Please use prayerful discernment with any teaching material and test to be sure it is biblically sound. Thank you!)
RESOURCES
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10 Tips to Be a Peaceful Wife on Vacation

Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

Vacations are supposed to be a fun time of relaxation with our families, a time when we make beautiful memories to cherish forever. Unfortunately, it’s easy for a vacation to become stressful and anything but peaceful.

How is it that a wonderful trip together can often bring out our worst?

Thankfully, as women who know Jesus, we have access to the Holy Spirit and the spiritual abundance of Christ all the time.

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus. Col. 3:17 NLT

Here are some tips I have learned about vacation issues to help you build up your marriage and family. (They may even come in handy at home, too!)

10 Peaceful Wife Vacation Tips

  1. Share what you would like to do with your husband in a friendly, polite, non-pressuring way.

    • Remember that your respectful approach is often more important than what you ask for.
    • Keep in mind that the way you approach your husband is your powerful example to your children of how you want them to approach you, your husband, and other people in positions of authority in their lives.
    • If you have to sin in order to get what you want, whatever you wanted is not going to be worth it in the end. (Gal. 5:16)
    • Avoid insulting or humiliating your husband, children, and others. Avoid arguing, complaining, freaking out, taking control (except for an emergency where it is truly necessary), and bitterness, etc…
    • Don’t let the vacation become more important to you than pleasing Christ or more important than your marriage or family relationships. Even a vacation can become an idol if we are not careful (something that we desire more than we desire Jesus).
    • Treat your husband with honor and respect because this honors the Lord. (Rom. 12:10, Eph. 5:33)
    • Treat yourself with respect, as well. (Think rightly about yourself according to God’s Word.)
  2. If you and your husband don’t agree on what to do (after you have both shared your preferences), seek to have a cooperative spirit.

    • Try to be open to the good aspects of his idea and think of his plans as a gift he wants to give you and your family. Don’t immediately assume his idea is awful.
    • Remember that you are both on the same team!
    • Don’t push to go beyond your budget or pressure him to go into debt. (Rom. 13:8)
    • He may be trying to do a good job leading, why not be supportive? (Col. 3:18-19, 1 Cor. 11:3)
    • This may end up being your favorite trip, ever! Who knows? If you have an adventurous spirit and are open to receiving the experience he wants to share, it could bless your marriage and family.
    • If he asks you to do something you are seriously unable to do or that completely terrifies you, it is important to respectfully share your fears and concerns. If he wants to go to an amusement park he thinks the kids will enjoy, but you get motion sickness, you don’t have to ride the rides. You could say something like, “I can’t ride anything, but I am happy to go with you and enjoy watching you and the kids have fun.”
      • (Note – if you or your children are not safe in your marriage, please get experienced, trusted help ASAP! And if your husband or children are not safe with you, please get help for yourself ASAP!)
  3. Keep things in perspective. 

    • Each person’s desires, ideas, and preferences about a trip are important. Both spouses want and need to feel heard and to know that they each have a voice.
    • But it’s critical to remember that the marriage covenant and how you treat each other is much more important in God’s eyes than where you go and what you do for a few days. (Matt. 22:46-40, 1 Cor. 13:4-6)
    • You have tons of influence and power as a wife/mom to make or break the entire trip because you are the precious heart of the family. You are like the thermostat and you generally get to set the emotional temperature for everyone.
    • The way we treat others, including our family members, is the litmus test God uses for our love for Him. We treat others with love because God loves us and we love Him. (Matt. 25:40, 1 John 4:19-21)
    • Take responsibility for yourself spiritually. Focus most on your character and the way you think, speak, and act as you invite the Holy Spirit to help you set a godly example for everyone around you. (Gal. 5:22-23)
  4. Pray for yourself, your family, and those around you.

    • Don’t take a vacation from a strong prayer life or from time with the Lord and His Word when you are on a trip. Write in your prayer journal. Set aside some time, even when you are waiting in lines to pray God’s blessing, favor, and promises over your husband, your children, those around you, the city (and state and country) where you are visiting, and yourself. (1 Thess. 5:17) Meditate on Scripture. Set your mind on praising and thanking God. Confess any sins right away to Him.
    • Invite God to do miracles and amazing things in your every day life and all around you – at home and away. He is always with you and always ready to accomplish His good purposes in your life. (Heb. 13:5, Rom. 8:28-29)
  5. Be flexible.

    • Things don’t always go as planned. That is just how this life is sometimes. Your response is often more important than the problems that come up. With Jesus, you can choose to respond with grace, understanding, love, kindness, joy, and peace.
    • If you can’t go on a trip this year, decide to make amazing memories at home. Great family memories don’t have to be expensive! And they don’t have to be out-of-town, even. A trip is a luxury, not a right or necessity.
    • Be ready to think of the detours and obstacles as an adventure to share together. God may have an amazing blessing to give you through something that seems bad, at first, no matter where you are.
    • If a really difficult trial arises, turn to the Lord in faith and trust and thank Him that He is with you. Ask Him to be glorified even in the midst of the trial. (James 1:2-4)
  6. Maintain a sense of humor and fun. 

    • If your flight gets delayed, a storm comes, plans change, or someone gets sick or injured (and it is not major), see if you can find some fun even in the problems. It may be that this situation becomes a treasured family story that you will all look back on and enjoy… eventually.
    • A great sense of humor, especilaly when it is shared together, can smooth over a lot of rough patches.
    • Going through trials and problems can be really bonding if you have the right attitude.
    • Ask God to empower you to be a blessing to your husband and kids.
    • Focus on the good. (Phil. 4:8)
    • Practice thanksgiving. (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
  7. Be willing to let go of control.

    • Accept that things will not be perfect and not all go exactly the way you want them to go. Choose to trust God rather than cling to an illusion of control.
    • When we try to control things, we only make everyone around us (including ourselves) miserable.
    • You can still relax and enjoy things, even if it wasn’t exactly what you had envisioned.
    • Be open to new things and changes in plans and allow the Lord to lead in your life in ways you don’t expect. (James 4:13-14)
    • Experience God’s freedom for you from worry and fear. (2 Tim. 1:7)
  8. Be aware of moments to share God’s love with your husband, children, and those around you.

    • As believers in Christ, we are always on mission wherever we go. (Matt. 28:19)
    • Invite God to show you opportunities to be to share the gospel, share part of your testimony, or to be the mouth, hands, and feet of Christ to strangers around you.
      • Yes, even in the airport, at a rest stop, in the theme park, or on the street of a major city.
      • Maybe you can take fresh to-go cups of ice-cold drinks out to some homeless people right outside of the restaurant where you eat lunch, if your husband is on board with it.
      • Who knows what a blessing you and your family could be?
    • Also be on the lookout for opportunities to demonstrate God’s love and grace to your husband and family.
    • Maybe you can use time in a long line to sing a praise song to the Lord, (in a way that is respectful of others around you). Or maybe you can use waiting time to read or listen to God’s Word alone or with your husband or children. Or you can ask everyone to name things they are thankful for or to share their favorite parts of the trip so far. Even the times of waiting can be a blessing if you have a wonderful attitude.
    • Maybe you and your husband would be excited to do a family mission trip for vacation? There are organizations that can help provide opportunities for this. Imagine the joy of sharing Christ with others together as a family!
  9. If everyone is getting tired or grumpy, invite God to give you and your husband His Spirit for strength, patience, wisdom, and discernment.

    • Your good attitude may just be contagious.
    • Try not to over schedule yourselves. Rushing and hurrying adds so much stress! It is impossible to enjoy things when you are in a huge hurry. The bigger the rush, the more tempting it will be to snap at each other and be irritated. No one needs that!
    • Recognize each family member’s limits and seek to accomodate them wisely.
    • Ultimately, remember that the people you love are more important than the plans and schedule.
    • Life is way too short to get upset over little things that ultimately won’t really matter.
  10. Carry a sense of wonder with you.

    • Notice the little beautiful moments.
      • The glorious sunset.
      • The butterfly on a flower nearby.
      • The laughter of children.
      • The lightning bugs blinking in synchronization in the apple orchard at night.
      • The grandeur of the mountains.
      • The vastness of the ocean and the rhythm of the waves.
      • The creativity of an architect, artist, or designer and what a gift God has given each of us to be able to be creative as a reflection of His ability to create.
      • A theme in a story or show that conveys biblical truth.
    • Think and talk about how amazing the Creator of the universe is. (Gen. 1:1)
    • Appreciate your senses, your husband, your family, and each experience.
    • Stay in the moment. Put the phone away sometimes. Savor this time together. Be fully present and with your husband and children.
    • Enjoy each moment to the fullest, even if it is not perfect.
    • Be open to the spiritual treasures the Lord may want to share with you each day wherever you may be.

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What tips do you have to help other wives and moms be peaceful on vacation? We’d love to hear the wisdom God has shown you!

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