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Is Real Joy Possible for Me?

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

 

This is the post I wrote just an hour before Greg’s dad suddenly passed away last Saturday. The next one I plan to write is about counting trials as joy, which I had also planned to write before the trial we are currently facing began. I’m so excited to share the wonderful blessing of the joy of the Lord with all of you. It is one of the most precious gifts of God. When we know the Lord, we get to experience and participate in His amazing joy and contentment, even during the most difficult circumstances. 

Joy is something we all long to experience continually. But so few people possess it today. Even in the church. Dear sisters, this need not be! Each of us have access to more joy than we could possibly imagine in Jesus Christ!

DEFINING “JOY”

John Piper’s definition of joy:

  • Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.

www.gotquestions.org’s definition of joy:

  • The Greek word for joy is chara. Joy is the natural reaction to the work of God, whether promised or fulfilled.
  • Joy manifests in different ways:
    • the joy of deliverance
    • the joy of salvation
    • the joy of spiritual maturity
    • the joy of God’s presence
  • The Greek chara is closely related to charis, which means “grace” or “a gift.” Chara is the normal response to charis—we have joy because of God’s grace.
  • Possessing joy is a choice. We choose whether to value God’s presence, promises, and work in our lives. When we yield to the Spirit, He opens our eyes to God’s grace around us and fills us with joy (Romans 15:13).
  • Joy is not to be found in a fallen world; it is only fellowship with God that can make our joy complete (1 John 1:4).

Definition of joy – Bible dictionary

WHAT CAN DESTROY MY JOY?

For a believer in Christ, no one can take away our joy. The gifts and promises of God are secure for us in Jesus. The only way to lose my joy is to take my eyes off of Jesus, to slip from fellowship with Him (because of sin or neglect), to believe lies, and/or to look to other things/people for my joy, security, contentment, peace, and purpose.

Satan wants to steal my joy, and he will if I allow him to. He would love to get me to think I have to live in misery, defeat, sin, discouragement, worry, and fear. But reality is…

No one can steal the promises of God for me – unless I allow them to!

This joy is always available to me in my relationship with the Living God and Creator of the universe. It is not dependent on my circumstances or on other people.

  • The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
  • So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. John 16:22

ATTAINING JOY

Joy comes only when I turn away from everything that is spiritually toxic and my heart is fully yielded to the Lordship of Jesus. Then I have fellowship with God – emotional and spiritual connection, oneness, and intimacy.

Joy is intrinsic to the character and presence of God. He is the source of all true joy. Joy, in and of itself, is not to be my primary goal. It is an inevitable result when I am in close fellowship with the Lord. Joy is a byproduct, like all of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  Interestingly, joy is also a command for us as believers.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Phil. 4:4

God’s joy is always available to me – as much as He is always available to me. Many of us live in despair, hopelessness, and spiritual oppression today. But that is not God’s provision for us! We often live like we are beggars, searching desperately for crumbs. But if we belong to Christ, we are children of the Most High God and joint heirs with Jesus. All that He possesses belongs to us. We are already seated with Him in the heavenlies! And we will reign with Him for eternity.

WHAT REASONS DO I HAVE FOR JOY RIGHT NOW?

Here are just a few reasons I can have joy in any circumstances:

  • Jesus’ death conquered and paid for my sin debt in full! I have the ability to be in right-standing with God! (1 Cor. 15:55-57)
  • There is no longer any condemnation for me, if I am in Jesus! (Rom. 8:1)
  • His resurrection is mine – with the power to live today in holiness and the power to rise from death and experience eternal life! (John 11:25, Rom. 8:11)
  • I have God’s Word – and it is Life and Light. (Matt. 4:4, Ps. 119:105)
  • I have access to the very Holy of holies in heaven through Jesus! (Heb. 10:19)
  • His promises are all mine to claim, to stand on, and to delight in. (Phil. 4:19, 2 Cor. 1:20)
  • His Spirit is mine. (1 Cor. 6:19)
  • His fellowship is mine. (1 John 1:3)
  • His love is mine. Nothing can separate me from the Love of God in Christ Jesus if I belong to Him! (Rom. 8:38-39)
  • God will never leave me or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • God uses everything that happens in our lives for our ultimate good (if we are believers) and His ultimate glory. (Rom. 8:28-29)
  • God is sovereign over my life, my family, and the nations. (Ps. 103:19)
  • He is love. (1 John 4:8)
  • His wisdom is infinitely higher than my own. (Isaiah 40:28)
  • God is good. (Ps. 34:8)
  • My identity is in Christ Jesus alone. (Gal. 2:20)
  • My security is in Christ Jesus alone. (Eph. 1:13-14)
  • In Christ, all my fears melt away. He does not give me a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. (1 Tim. 1:7)
  • He has given me so many reasons to sing praises to Him. (Ps. 100:1-2)
  • He gives me victory over sinful thoughts, words, and actions as I let His Spirit work powerfully in me. (Rom. 8:13)
  • He has done great things for me and I am extremely thankful to Him! (1 Thess. 5:18)
  • If I am on God’s side, He will fight for me and the enemy will not be able to have victory over me. (1 John 4:4, Ex. 14:14)
  • I don’t have to be afraid of all of the chaos going on in the world, God has given us information about what must take place before the rapture and Great Tribulation. I can stand on His Word. (1 Thess. 4:17, Rev. 13)
  • Heaven is guaranteed for me if I belong to Jesus. I don’t have to face death with fear. (John 3:16, 1 Cor. 2:9)

God has blessed me with countless blessings throughout my life: Jesus, salvation, the Bible, prayer, the Holy Spirit, my birth family, my husband, my children, air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, a job, a roof over my head, a country where I am free, a church family, friends, health, electricity, the internet, talents, abilities, etc…

If these reasons for joy don’t get you excited, it’s time to check your spiritual pulse!

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh. 8:10

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What has God shown you about joy? We’d love to hear about it!

RESOURCES

Verses about joy

Verses about the promises of God

Is There a Difference between Joy and Happiness? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Joy? by www.gotquestions.org

How Do You Define Joy? by John Piper

How to Have a Relationship with Christ 

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

 

God’s Healing for Suicidal Thoughts

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

I am so thankful for this dear sister’s story and for the victory she has experienced in Christ! We have all felt the darkness of despair. May we all experience the Light and hope of Jesus like this wife and mom did. (Shared with permission.)

————

Dear April,

I am writing to you after spending three delightful days with my grandson. The miracle in this is that I am a mother and grandmother at all.

You see, I have struggled with depression off and on my whole life. I seriously contemplated ending my life around 32 years ago, and then again 9 years ago.
Thirty-two years ago I felt so betrayed by a boyfriend, that I felt worthless and that life was too hard. With his unfaithfulness and my sensitive nature, I felt destroyed.

He was my idol, my false god. I placed my own personal value upon how he treated me. He treated me like trash, and I absorbed that identity.

What saved me from taking my life? Three things:

  1. Personal guilt I would feel toward my parents and siblings.
  2. I knew this was against my church’s teaching.
  3. I believed God did not like suicide.

Even though I felt no personal desire to live, I reasoned that if God wouldn’t give a free pass for people to just “quit” life when someone wanted to, then He must have another way out of the mess. In my core, I believed in a good God. Life could be cruel, but surely not the Creator of life?

I remember feeling numb and just praying, “Help me, God.” I went through the motions of living. I held on. I met my future husband one year later. We will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this year.

So why in 2009, while on an island vacation with our four children did I feel suicidal again?

This time I felt unneeded, unappreciated, and unimportant.

My husband was extremely successful, admired, and appreciated at work. I stayed home with our children, working very hard to cook, clean, drive, keep up with laundry and dishes, help with homework, etc., and earned no money. I wanted to home school, but my husband wouldn’t let me. I watched our children’s spiritual lives drying up. I was frequently undermined in front of our children by my husband. I was rarely respected and the children saw that.

Needless to say, I became depressed. I remember crying a lot behind my sunglasses on that vacation in 2009, sitting in a bathroom stall trying to decide if I should overdose in that bathroom or go somewhere else. I spent many hours by myself. My husband and the children were having a great time in all the pools, in the ocean, and at the bar…no one knew what I was going through. They still don’t know and would be shocked to read this. My husband still refers to that vacation as a favorite family trip.

Again, making an idol had brought me to the point of ending my life.

What was my idol? My feeling of being a relevant member of my family. This time I didn’t feel like trash. I just felt irrelevant. They could find anyone to cook, clean, etc…

So, what stopped me this time? Two things:

  1. They would have to ship my body back to the U.S., and what a pain that would be…and it would be embarrassing to them.
  2. I still thought God would highly disapprove. I would have to face Him, with my final act being one of disobedience.

My whole life I’ve based my decisions on other people’s opinions; I have idolized their opinions, or what I have perceived their opinions to be. And my feelings have ruled my reason.

  • It is amazing to me that in my depression, I could only hear the voice of death. No other ideas or solutions for making my life better came to mind. I was in a dark cloud.

In 2010 I went back to work and loved my job. In 2012 I wanted out of the marriage. In 2013 my husband’s job changed where he had to travel a lot. He asked me to quit work. I cried. But I quit for our children. I had time to google things I wondered about like “how to be a peaceful wife.” Literally, I googled that. I just wanted to be peaceful – forget happy.

Well, I gobbled up your blog, April. And for Lent in 2014, I did Nina Roesner’s Respect Dare. I begged God for help. My husband started to treat me kindly, as I started to respect the memory of all those good qualities he had when we got married and all his good qualities he still had but I had ignored because of my hurt feelings. I’m not perfect and neither is he.

Shockingly, to me, each family member has come to me for advice on different things within the past two years. Sometimes they follow what I say and sometimes they just listen. It’s free will at this point. I ask God to help me help Him with His kingdom. I hope I have helped my Beloved King in some ways. I pray His forgiveness for my failures and near disasters.

Why did I want to share this? Mental illness and depression are very real. Putting other gods before the One true God twice nearly ended my life. These are my darkest secrets. Could anyone be helped by my story?


From The Peaceful Wife:

If you need help because you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, discouragement, or depression, please know that those thoughts are not from the Lord. If you are experiencing a spirit of death, you can be set free from that in Jesus! He is all about a Spirit of LIFE!

Don’t listen to the awful lies of Satan. He is the one who wants to steal, kill, and destroy you and your family. He is the one who speaks despair, hopelessness, and darkness into your life. Choose to turn to Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd who goes after the one lost sheep who has gone astray. He knows where you are. You are not too far away for Him to save you. Turn to the Bible. Turn to Light and Life in Him. He can heal you. You can have a saving relationship with Him.

The enemy wants you to believe horrible lies like:

The truth of God is:

  • You have value because you were created by God and everything He makes is precious and valuable.
  • You have hope because of what Jesus has done for you on the cross if you will turn to Him and yield your life to Him as Savior and Lord.
  • You are dearly loved – more than you could possibly imagine – by the God who created you. Not because you are so good, but because He is so good and He IS love.
  • You can’t be good enough on your own, but – what good news! You don’t have to be good enough. Jesus was good enough! God will allow His life to count for your own, and His death to count for your death. And He will give you His power so that you can walk in holiness and you can please and know the Lord. All you have to do is turn away from your old ways, your sin and your old toxic thinking and turn to His truth and His life.
  • Jesus offers you a brand new heart, a new Spirit, and a new life in Himself if you will come to Him in faith and trust.
  • The greatest and most lasting peace, joy, hope, and fulfillment only exist in knowing Jesus. When we are close to Him, He shares with us all of His spiritual riches and treasures.

PRAYER:

Thankfully, we can pray anytime! God is always ready to hear from us when we call out to Him for help.

Lord,

The mind set on the flesh is death. But how we thank You that the mind that is set on You is LIFE and PEACE! (Rom. 8:6) You have the power to transform our thinking, our minds, our hearts, and even our circumstances. Help us to acknowledge that we need You desperately. We all do. On our best days and at our lowest points. None of us are good. None of us are perfect – not even remotely. Only You are Good, Lord. The only goodness we can have comes directly from You. We need Jesus. We need Your cross. We need Your salvation. We need Your healing. We need our old selves to be crucified with you and buried with You, Jesus. We need new life in You that comes through Your resurrection power. We need Your transformation. We need the power of Your Word and Your Spirit.

Breathe Your LIFE into every hurting heart today. Heal wounded, broken souls. Conquer the enemy. Conquer the lies. Let all who are in darkness see Your great light. Let all who are chained and shackled in the prison of sin and the prison of Satan see their chains falling off by Your power and walk out into Your glorious light and hope. Let today be the day of salvation and healing for all who are thirsty, defeated, and weary. Let them come to You and find true rest for their souls.

Amen!

SOME LIFE-GIVING BIBLE VERSES (ESV):

  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
  • 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
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11
  • Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. … Rom. 5:2-8
  • For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38-39
  • For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Rom. 10:13
  • Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:16-17 (For believers in Christ, we are God’s temple)
  • For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:20
  • But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12:9

More encouraging verses.

IF YOU NEED IMMEDIATE HELP FOR A SERIOUS ISSUE:

Please contact a trusted pastor, or go to the free one-time counseling services available at www.focusonthefamily.com or check out the counselors available at www.biblicalcounseling.com

If you feel you are an immediate danger to yourself, please call 911, or ask someone to take you to the emergency room. If someone you know is threatening suicide, please call 911 and get help right away. There are a lot of reasons for suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it is because of our own sinful thoughts or a spiritual battle. Sometimes suicidal thoughts can be a side effect of certain medications or a side effect of stopping certain prescriptions too quickly. There are other possibilities, too. But if you feel like you want/need to harm yourself, you are not thinking clearly and you need help right away. Please reach out for help. You will be so glad you did.

SHARE:

How has God given you hope when things were hopeless? Has there been a time when God encouraged you and pulled you up out of a dark pit in your life? We’d love to hear about it.

Do you need prayer and hope today? I’d be glad to point you to Jesus and the healing that is available to you in Him. But, please, if you are in immediate danger, please don’t wait for me to be able to respond, but get local, experienced help right now.

My Commenting Policy – Let’s seek to use this place to honor the Lord, our spouses, our families, and others. Let’s seek not to share lots of details about other people’s sin here or to tear anyone else down, but let’s seek to build up one another in our faith. Thank you so much! <3

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Relationship with Christ – this is the first and greatest step toward REAL peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When He is seated firmly on the throne of your life, He gives genuine, lasting peace.

Why Should I Not Commit Suicide? by www.gotquestions.org – also provides suicide hotlines and resources

Lacey Sturm’s story – she was an atheist teenager who was planning suicide, but God intervened! Now she is a Christian who sings “The Mercy Tree.”

Articles about suicide at www.gotquestions.org

Articles about suicide at www.desiringgod.org

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced (about God, others, and ourselves – lies lead to bondage and thoughts of harming ourselves or others)

The Idol of Happiness

8 Powerful Keys to Peace

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

Praying Life into Your Marriage and Family – changing the spiritual atmosphere in your home

Are You Giving the Enemy Authority in Your Life?

Roots of Insecurity, Low Self-Esteem, Sinful Jealousy, and a Desire to Control

Real Security – in my identity in Christ!

What Does God Say about Me?

Triggers for Sinful Thoughts – sinful thinking leads to fear, depression, isolation, discouragement, and hopelessness

 

 

 

“My Husband Thinks We Should Move!!!?!?”

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

I love to take real-life situations and seek to approach them biblically. God has given us a LOT of instruction, help, and wisdom to use in times of conflict in our marriages and in almost any situation. As we learn to look to Him and His Word for biblical principles, and as we learn to depend on Him in faith and prayer – we can then learn to notice His promptings and leading in the details of our unique situations, as well.

Today, let’s picture a scenario where a husband* announces to his wife something like:

  • “My job is being relocated in two months to the office 2 hours away.”
  • “I found a better job opportunity out of state.”
  • “I think a move would be best for our family.”

A wife may be tempted to have a  knee-jerk reaction – like, “NO WAY!!!!!!”

Most of us don’t like change too much. It’s easy to immediately hate the idea and blast a husband with all the reasons this can’t possibly sane.

  • “Well, then, you need to get a job here. There is no way we are moving.”
  • “You can move and the kids and I will stay put. I’m not going to uproot them.”
  • “The kids are settled in their school and they have friends here.”
  • “I love this neighborhood and this house. I’m not giving it up!”
  • “I hate that idea.”
  • “I don’t care what you say, I’m not going!”
  • “Absolutely not! End of discussion!”

Sometimes it’s easy to freak out in a situation like this and be contentious, defensive, and argumentative. But what if, instead of freaking out and immediately rejecting our man’s idea, we take a deep breath and listen? He may be hearing from the Lord. He may not even know it, himself. But what if God is leading in this idea? What if I am fighting God? How could I possibly know for sure – yet?

SOME BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES TO KEEP IN MIND IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS

  • “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42
  • Let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:33
  • Train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:4-5

God does work through things like circumstances, job transfers, a husband’s ideas (as the God-given leader of the family), job offers, and other situations to lead us into His will. Of course I am not saying that every job transfer announcement means, “It is definitely God’s will for the family to move.” Or that every idea a husband has is God’s will. We do need to pray and seek the Lord in times of decisions. So do our men.

But we have a sovereign Lord! If only we could grasp this precious truth! He is even able to take awful things like natural disasters, wars, and persecution – things Satan intends to use to destroy us – to lead His children. And He can certainly use good things to benefit us, too (Rom. 8:28-29). He will never leave us and never forsake us!

It could be that God wants to lead us into a new place where we will be greatly blessed. He may have just the right church family waiting for us, just the specific neighbors He wants us to have as our friends. He may have mentors for us in the new place or an amazing new ministry. Or, it may be that our children’s best friends and future spouses might be there. That is what happened when my Daddy’s job was relocated in 1987 from Pittsburgh, PA, to Columbia, SC! I sure hated the move at the time, but now, I am grateful beyond words!

Our cooperative spirit with our husbands, and – even more importantly – with the Lord, makes a huge difference! It also helps us to shine for the gospel and to draw others to Christ.

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

Maybe I could consider approaching a big, potentially scary decision, in new ways:

  • Listen to his ideas.
  • See the merit and good points he has, as well as the reality of the situation.
  • Ask for some time to pray to:
    • Seek the Lord.
    • Be open to Him.
    • Die to myself.
    • Really determine to trust Him no matter how He may lead.
    • Yield everything in my life to His will and hold things loosely in my hands.
    • Desire God’s will and His greatest glory for my husband, my children, and myself, even if I don’t know exactly what may happen.
  • Then after I have prayed and am calm, I can share my heart respectfully. I can share my concerns politely, in a friendly, cooperative way.
  • Maybe, in time, I might even be able to get excited about the idea. It could be a grand adventure the Lord has prepared for us all!

God is the One who is outside of time and space. Not me. He is omniscient – He knows everything. I definitely do not. He knows absolutely everything about the past, the present, and the future. His wisdom far exceeds my own. I want to be cooperative when He is opening a new door He has for my family.

*NOTE – If your husband is suffering from uncontrolled mental health issues, uncontrolled drug/alcohol addiction, if he is abusive, or not in his right mind, please seek appropriate, trustworthy, godly counsel and help from your local church, medical professionals, and even the police if necessary.

SHARE

Have you experienced a time when your husband believed that your family needed to move and now you can see God’s hand at work? Or maybe you had a move where you went kicking and screaming, only to realize later that God was in it. We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Your story may be just the inspiration another wife needs to see.

NEW INFO

My new commenting policy.

My new vision for ministry.

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Taking Our Thoughts Captive – VIDEO

 

13 Keys to Peace for Moms with Kids in Public School Today

I believe God can and will give each family the wisdom they need for each of their children at every stage about what kind of schooling works best for them. And I know that things can change for different children and families depending on many factors. So I am not going to advocate that all Christian parents must homeschool, must send their kids to private school, or must use public school. That is a matter of personal conviction and prayer for each family. God lovingly instructs us, in Romans 14, to extend grace and understanding to one another in the area of personal convictions.

This post is for moms who have children in the public school system right now and who are grappling with fear for their children’s safety.

We have two children in the public school system. In our area, we have been quite blessed because most of our children’s teachers have been Christians. We have had many very positive experiences with our school district, the teachers, the students, and the administration. Of course, there have been a few bumps along the way, too.

But I do have to admit, the shooting in Parkland, FL was tough. It definitely threatened my peace as a mom.

Every shooting is awful. Every single one tears my heart to shreds. This one hit me harder for some reason than all of the ones in the past. I didn’t even want to drive our son to his high school the next day. It was so tempting to react in fear. As a Mama, my first gut reaction was just to want to yank both of our kids out of public school.

Reality is – there are no ironclad guarantees our children will be safe at school – or anywhere else today.

How can I be peaceful when it feels like my children are potentially in danger?

It takes some spiritual wrestling to get to that place of perfect peace, but it IS possible in Christ!

  1. I have to get alone with God and feel my feelings first. I pour out my fears, my concerns, and my desires to the Lord.
    • It’s best if I do this first with God rather than unloading all of my fear on my husband, I have found. If I unload it on him first, he feels attacked. That makes things a lot worse.
  2. I seek to reject a spirit of fear because that is not from God.
    • I know I must take my thoughts captive for Christ. 
    • I have to be careful how much news I read/watch and how much Facebook I read. There are certain news outlets I don’t read/watch at all.
    • If I react out of fear, I will make destructive, horrible choices many times. I will play right into the hands of the enemy of my soul. I want to walk in God’s victory over my fear. I want to act in godly wisdom and faith.
    • I remember and declare out loud that God has not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:7
  3. I pray and ask for God’s wisdom for my husband and for myself, for our children, for the administration at the school, for the teachers, and for our government officials.
  4. I invite God’s Spirit to pour His love, life, power, and healing into our schools. I invite the gospel, the Bible, and prayer back into our schools.
    • We have been teaching our children that there is no God, human life is an accident, there is no purpose for them. We kicked out God and the Bible and the gospel, but we did not kick out the darkness. Darkness has been running rampant. That is not God’s fault – it is the result of people’s choices corporately and individually.
    • The only way to dispel the darkness is to allow God’s Light to return. I beg God for a 3rd Great Awakening in our country including in our schools, churches, businesses, government, families, and communities, that our schools might become places of light, hope, truth, and the gospel.
    • I pray for the shooter – and many potential future shooters – to receive healing from Christ and to come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
    • I pray for God to redeem the situation and use this tragedy to bring the gospel to many people and to open people’s hearts to His love and salvation.
    • I can find others to pray with me or join www.momsinprayer.org.
  5. I remind myself who God is.
    • God is sovereign. He doesn’t cause evil. But He promises to use all things, good and bad, for the good of those who love Him. He is love. He is just. He is holy. He reigns over the universe.
    • He is with me. He will never leave or forsake me – or my children. I focus on His Word and His character.
  6. I remember that my trust must ultimately be in God. Not anything else. My hope and faith has to be 100% in Him.
    • I might read through some of the Psalms where David was being attacked by King Saul and his enemies and how his trust was completely in the Lord.
    • Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Ps. 20:7
  7. I thank God for this trial and rejoice at what He wants to teach me and how He wants to help me grow spiritually through it.
    • Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
    • I focus on thanksgiving and praise for the Lord.
  8. I do some research, if I think it may be time to change our children’s schooling situation. Maybe there is another school that might be a better fit for my child? Maybe I look into home schooling, a private school, or a charter school if I believe there might be a better alternative. I bring those options to the Lord first.
  9. I share my concerns and ideas with my husband respectfully. I share any alternative solutions I believe might work for our children if I truly believe they are not safe where they are. And I patiently wait for him to consider them. I don’t force my way or rush him. I give him all the time he needs.
  10. I hold the outcome loosely in my hands remembering that I don’t know all things like God does, trusting God to lead our children and myself through my husband. God has designated him as the leader – and He often nudges him in specific ways. I don’t know what is best. No human does. I have opinions – but God is already in the future and He sees and knows so many things I can’t know yet. His wisdom is infinitely higher than my own.
  11. I cooperate with my husband’s leading, unless he is asking me to sin or go against God, and seek to honor God’s order for our family because if I try to strike out on my own and do things my way without respecting God’s order in the government, at work, at church, or in my marriage, I may find myself fighting against God.
    • If we move our children to another type of schooling, I will trust God.
    • If we keep our children in public school, I will trust God.
  12. Then I continue to pray for everyone involved in my family, my children’s schools, the students and staff, our leaders, and our country. I trust God to lead our family through my husband. I invite God’s miracles and power and Spirit into the situation. I seek His glory more than anything else.
  13. I ask how God might want to use me to bless my kids’ schools and other schools.

My heart grieves so much over where we are as a culture. It is so obvious that we need God! We need His healing in our land! It is completely heartbreaking that we have so many people who are so broken, hurting, who feel so unloved, and who are so far from God that killing other people seems like the solution to them. If only they had the love of Christ! If only they knew the truth about their value to the Lord and the value of other people – that we are all made in the image of God. That we are all dearly loved by Him. If only they know that life – all human life – is precious and sacred. That we are all created with a high purpose. If only they knew what Jesus did for them and the Life and Love He offers them!

With the passing of Billy Graham this week, the gospel is being presented all over the world on secular news stations and social media. Perhaps God will even use the timing of his death at a time when many people are searching for answers from the shooting to soften people’s hearts to His message. There is also a major prayer movement with many believers in Christ pleading with the Lord for an awakening in Washington DC this week, as well. I believe there is about to be a MASSIVE movement of His Spirit – a tidal wave across our nation!

May God empower us all to grow like crazy in our faith in the midst of these trials and may His Spirit move mightily among us to draw us all closer to Himself than ever! And may He even use these tragedies to spur His people on to pray in the greatest Awakening the world has ever seen. Let’s come together in prayer, my precious sisters (and brothers)!

Verses about peace.

7 Keys to Finding Real Peace

 

The wicked band together against the righteous

and condemn the innocent to death.

But the Lord has become my fortress,

and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.

Ps. 94:21-22

The Cure for My Compulsion to Control – Part 1

Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

Last week I shared about how we can develop a compulsion to control other people, situations, and the Lord in this post. I thought I “had to try to control” other people and situations. I truly believed it was my responsibility and that everything would be a disaster if I didn’t make sure it all worked out right.

When I try to be in charge of things that are out of my control, I am trying to carry a very heavy weight that I was not designed by God to carry. This leads to extreme stress, frustration, depression, discouragement, anxiety, and a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. It is not the path to peace.

THE CURE FOR MY COMPULSION TO CONTROL IS VERY SIMPLE

meinchargeI need to have proper thinking about God, events, other people, and myself. I need truth.

In my old way of looking at things – subconsciously – I saw myself as very big and God and other people as rather small and mostly within my sphere of control. I would never have articulated it like that – because it sounds audacious. But this is how I lived. You could see it in the fruit of my life.

I am not saying it is painless or necessarily “easy” to give up control – but it IS simple when I see the differences between:

  • God’s responsibilities
  • Other people’s responsibilities
  • My responsibilities

Here is reality:

Goddiagram

 

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Ps. 8:3-4

When I understand who God is and the place of people in the universe, then I can begin to properly relate to God, people, and myself.

THE TRUTH

  • God alone is God, I am definitely not God. Not even close.
  • God sent Jesus, His Son, to be the only Savior people need. I am not a savior.
  • God’s Spirit is the only one who can open blind eyes and convict people of sin. Not me.
  • God sits on the throne in the highest heavens. Every knee will bow to Him alone.
  • God has put all authority under Jesus’ feet.
  • Angels bow down to God, even the demons believe and tremble.
  • God alone is worthy of worship. I am not.
  • God reigns over the universe. I do not.
  • God has all power and all wisdom. I do not.
  • God loves me, and all people, very dearly because He IS love.
  • I have value because God loves me and I am created in His image.
  • My purpose is to love and obey God and bring Him glory – and to love others with God’s love pouring through me.

I can influence God, people, and circumstances to a degree, for bad, or for good (if I allow God to work through me). But I can only control myself – my attitude, my motives, my sin, my responses to others, my words, and my actions. And even then, I can only control myself in a healthy way with the power of the Spirit.

Just to recap, my actual responsibilities are to:

  • Control myself with God’s power.
  • Love, obey, and worship God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength – which brings glory to Him.
  • Love others with God’s love.

God3

 

I can be set free from my illusion of control. And that is definitely all it was – an illusion.

God’s truth truly does set me free! I can repent from my pride – my huge pride – thinking I was so big and important. And humbly receive God’s truth. What freedom!!!! I seek only to control the things that are truly mine and I trust God with circumstances and other people.

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND WILL

Within God’s sovereignty is His permissive will and His perfect will. God’s permissive will is larger and accounts for people’s free will, their sin, the effects/consequences of sin, and Satan and his influence. But all of these things operate in the confines of God’s sovereignty and only what He allows can happen. And He uses all that does happen ultimately for His glory and for the ultimate good of those who love Him – to help conform us to the image of Christ.

He doesn’t make choices for us or violate our free-will. That is a good reminder for me that it is not my place to violate other people’s free-will either. God wants us, more than anything, to have the choice to voluntarily love Him or to reject Him. People need that choice in their relationships with me, too. The price of our free-will is very high. For us and for God. We experience earthly and eternal consequences of our choices. But we can never fall outside of His sovereignty and even Satan can never do anything without God’s permission. 

freewill3Godsperfectwill

This is how, in Christ, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He does the heavy lifting. He takes responsibility for the big stuff.

THE FIRST STEP ON THE PATH TOWARD PEACE

I can step down off of the throne of my life and invite Jesus to reign as Lord over every part of my life.

This means total, humble, absolute surrender to Him, His will, and His control. I hold nothing back from Him.

This feels pretty terrifying at first because I have only really trusted myself before. But as I taste and see that God is good, I begin to realize He is much better at being deity than I ever could be and He is trustworthy. Infinitely more trustworthy than I am! He is the only one who is truly worthy of all of my faith, obedience, and submission. I also begin to realize that trusting Him is wise and safe and trusting myself is the most dangerous place to be.

NOTE – Don’t just take my word for anything. Dig into the Bible yourself. Find out what God’s Word has to say about these important issues and choose to build your life on Christ and the Solid Rock of His Word!

RELATED

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

The Spiritual Healing That Is Available to Each of Us in Christ – by Radiant

7 Keys to Finding Real Peace

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

The Pain That Pushes Us to Control

Surrendering the Burden of Controlling My Husband – by Shannon Popkin

 

RESOURCES ABOUT GOD, HIS CHARACTER, PEOPLE, AND FREE WILL

The Attributes of God – by www.gotquestions.org

“Who Is God?” – Secret Church series by David Platt

In the Image of God – by John Piper

A Beginner’s Guide to Free-Will – by John Piper

 

RELATING PROPERLY TO GOD

Humility – by Andrew Murray

Absolute Surrender – by Andrew Murray (free download or audio version)

 

The Pain That Pushes Us to Try to Control

Photo by Civalias Kune on Unsplash

In my experience with women who feel they have to be in control of situations and other people, there is usually some level of trauma or hurt in her past. The level of trauma can vary. But usually something happened that caused her, as a young girl, to develop the following kind of thinking:

  • The people who are supposed to be in charge are weak. (Maybe they are incapable, absent, traumatized, or addicts.)
    • My parents can’t even take proper care of themselves. I have to be the adult and take care of them.
      • I have to be the savior for my parents.
    • My parents can’t/won’t take care of the household. I have to take care of it.
    • They are not able or willing to take proper care of me. So I have to take care of myself or no one else will meet my legitimate needs.
      • I have to be the savior for myself.
    • I have to protect my  younger siblings or something awful will happen (maybe something awful did happen, and I felt I should have been able to prevent it but I failed).
      • Our parents have failed my siblings.
      • My brothers and sisters need me.
      • I am the only one who can help them.
      • I am responsible for their lives, safety, and wellbeing. I am the parent now.
      • I have to be the savior for my siblings.
  • I am responsible for other people.
    • I am responsible for my parents.
    • I am responsible for my siblings.
    • I am responsible for other people in the world.
  • I have to take some of God’s sovereignty on my shoulders because if I don’t, everything will fall apart.
    • People who are in positions of authority in my life have failed me.
    • They seem wimpy and weak.
    • Everything is up to me.
    • It is my duty and responsibility to be sure things go right.
    • It would be irresponsible of me not to take care of other people because I am the only one who can.
    • I can’t be irresponsible and cause other people to suffer like I suffered.
    • I can’t be irresponsible and cause myself to suffer again.
    • Yes, this weight of responsibility for everything and everyone is way too much, but if I set it down, it will result in catastrophe like I have experienced before.
    • Stress, worry, anxiety, and bitterness are just the price I have to pay for having to be in charge. There is no way around those things. This is what love is.
    • I can’t trust anyone else. They will fail me.
    • People in positions of authority represent God to me, and so I have to conclude that God must also be weak, incapable, or absent.
    • I can’t really trust God.
    • I can only trust myself.
    • I have the wisdom that people need. Only I can help everyone.
    • I have to be the savior for everyone.
  • I am not secure financially, emotionally, relationally, or physically. 

Some Things That May Have Been Triggers:

  • Someone got hurt and she took full responsibility and believes it was completely her fault (even if it really wasn’t). She can’t forgive herself. She feels compelled to prevent something like that from ever happening again. She feels overly responsible for other people because of this.
  • Perhaps her dad was very passive or absent and her mom was completely in charge and had a controlling personality and being a controlling woman/wife/mom just seems “normal.”
  • She may have been the oldest child and was given, or felt she had to take, extra responsibility for her siblings and felt she had to act like a parent more than a sibling.
  • Her pastor or parents may have taught, or she may have misunderstood, that people’s free will is huge and God’s sovereignty is very small.
  • She may have heard that she is responsible for making sure people go to heaven or it will be her fault they end up in hell.
  • She may have witnessed some horrific tragedy or accident at school or somewhere else and blamed herself for not being able to stop it or for not being able to save everyone.
  • She may have been taught that God does not exist and she can only depend on herself.
  • She may have personality traits tend to lean toward being a fixer, doer, and in charge.
  • Her sinful nature is happy to help promote control and pride.
  • She may have bought some of the messages of radical feminism, even if she didn’t study it, just by absorbing it from our culture.
    • Women should be in charge.
    • Men are evil.
    • Women are goddesses and are always good.
    • Men are idiots.
    • Women are very wise.
    • God either doesn’t exist or He is a woman.
    • You can’t depend on the God of the Bible.
    • The Bible has no authority over our lives as women.
    • The Bible is not true.
    • The church has no authority over our lives.
    • No God-given authority in scripture has any right to guide, lead, or direct women.
    • Everything rests on your shoulders as a woman to take care of yourself.

The bottom line is this:

  • She believes she must make sure everything turns out okay and that it is her responsibility to do so.
  • She has a small, wimpy, or non-existent picture of God and a picture of herself as big, strong, and powerful.
  • Self is on the throne of her life, not God.
  • She is ensnared by pride and unbelief.

She develops some skewed thinking about God, others, relationships, and herself. That skewed thinking becomes the foundation of her understanding for how to relate in marriage and family later.

When someone’s core beliefs about God, other people, relationships, and themselves get skewed (and all of us experience this to some degree) – the only way to heal is for that person to be willing to examine these core beliefs against real truth. We must learn to take our thoughts captive for Christ. That is a scary thing. A painful thing – at first. But it is a necessary pain that leads to healing. Kind of like the pain of having a wound full of gangrene debrided. It is necessary to get rid of the toxins and the lethal infection. As we tear out the faulty foundations in our thinking, we can invite God to help us build all of our fixed beliefs about important topics on His Word and truth alone.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matt. 7:24-27

 

We all tend to develop wrong thinking as children. Then we build our lives on those messed up beliefs. But when we build on anything other than the truth of God’s Word, we are building on sinking sand. Things begin to collapse the farther we go along in life because the foundation of our belief system is faulty.

It takes great courage to be willing to examine our fixed beliefs and to question them. And to allow the Lord to show us His infinitely higher way of thinking. We have to tear out the old foundation and rebuild a new foundation for our belief system on Jesus and His Word. It is hard. But it is worth it.

As we do this, we have the incredible blessing and gift from the Lord of finding spiritual, emotional, and relational healing in Christ.

Next week we will dig further into the cure for a compulsion to control.

SHARE:

If you struggle with control, is there a specific event or situation in your past that you can link to this struggle? You are welcome to share with us.

Much love!

RELATED:

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced (My new book, The Peaceful Mom, will have a whole chapter on this issue with a chart of lies we tend to believe vs. the truth of God’s Word – the book releases March 27th, 2018).

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

The Spiritual Healing That Is Available to Each of Us in Christ – by Radiant

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ – VIDEO

Facing Our Deepest Fears

Experiencing God’s Victory over Fear

But I’m Right! I’m the Better Leader. I Should Be in Charge.

Why Won’t My Husband Lead?

My Husband Is Not a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Often Don’t Notice

My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

The book, “The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman (which has sold over 11 million copies)  can be a wonderful tool to help us better understand our husbands and ourselves. It has been a blessing to countless marriages and he has written a number of books in the same vein that have helped many people, as well.

The five love languages Chapman writes about are:

  • Words of affirmation.
  • Quality time.
  • Receiving gifts.
  • Acts of service.
  • Physical touch.

From my perspective, it is ideal if both spouses seek to show all of these kinds of love to each other. There are always ways we can grow in showing love.

The book is most helpful, in my view, if we approach the issue like this:

  • X is my husband’s love language, so I am going to learn to start speaking love to him in ways that are more meaningful to him.
  • I also can begin to receive the love language my husband speaks and learn to receive love from him the way he tries to show love.

I have no problem with a wife respectfully asking for what she would like at appropriate times (without making demands or pressuring her husband):

  • Honey, it would mean so much to me if we could spend 30 minutes together tonight talking about our day. I feel so emotionally connected to you when we do that.
  • When you share words of affirmation with me, when you tell me when you see me doing something well, or you share verbal appreciation, that really makes me feel loved.
  • I am so excited that you got me a new coffee table! It is beautiful! I feel SO loved when you pick out a sweet gift for me.
  • Babe, I appreciate it so much when you take the trash out when it starts to get full.
  • I love when we get a chance to cuddle at night and when you play with my hair and show me a lot of physical affection.

However, a pitfall I have seen for some wives (with this or almost any book that talks about marriage) is that it can be tempting to start thinking things like:

  • X is my love language, and my husband isn’t speaking my love language.
  • My husband needs to start doing what I want him to do or he isn’t loving me enough and he isn’t being a good husband.
  • It is my husband’s job to make me happy. He is responsible for my emotions and for me feeling loved enough.
  • If my husband won’t speak my love language when and how I want him to, I’m justified in feeling resentful and bitter.
  • I may even feel justified to sin against my husband if he doesn’t show me love exactly the way I would like for him to.

The enemy would love to use anything, even a great book with many biblical truths, as a springboard to sinful thoughts in our lives. How we must guard our hearts!

CHERISHING RESENTMENT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION

It is very easy to focus on what we want our husbands to do to change. But when we do that, we begin to set up a bunch of expectations – some of which may not be very realistic. Unrealistic expectations invariably lead to resentment. And once we are cherishing resentment and bitterness, we tend to believe we can justify practically any sin against our men. This sin, when it is unchecked, snowballs and gets worse and worse. We may engage in things like:

Once we get into this mode, we are operating in the fruit of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. It is a recipe for pain and misery. For our husbands. For our marriages. For our children. And for ourselves.

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN CHRIST LEADS TO ABUNDANT SPIRITUAL LIFE

I know this is not a popular thing in our culture. But when I try to make my husband, my children, or anyone else responsible for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing – I am living in a dysfunctional relationship – or sin. This goes by several names:

As a believer in Christ, my spiritual wellbeing is dependent on my relationship with Jesus alone. I am responsible for abiding in Him and being filled up with Him. I am personally responsible for confessing any sin and for finding my contentment in Jesus alone. I know that if I am experiencing the fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:18-21) – it is about my character and my walk with the Lord. And I know that if I want to live in the power of His Spirit and have His fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)- that I am responsible to the Lord for turning away from every sinful thing and for yielding myself to the Lordship of Christ.

The way I act, the way I treat my husband (and other people), is about whether my sinful old flesh is in control or whether God’s Spirit is in control of my life at this moment.

In Jesus, I can be content in all circumstances – whether I am receiving love in exactly the way I would prefer or not – through Him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:12-13).

ASKING GOD TO CHANGE ME, MY PERSPECTIVE, AND MY HEART

It’s easy to pray, “God, change my husband!” And there are times when it is right to pray for our husbands to change – to have God’s victory over sin, to have more of His Spirit, to have His wisdom, etc…

But there is such a need for us to first pray most fervently, “Lord, change me!”

If my husband can’t or won’t change or won’t do what I would like for him to do, I can still live in the power of the Spirit. I can still live in God’s peace, joy, patience, and self-control. I can focus on the things God calls me to change – myself. And trust God to work on the things I can’t change – my husband.

I can invite the Spirit to work powerfully in me, my my marriage, and in my husband’s life for His glory, not for my own will. Here are some examples of how a wife might approach this issue in prayer:

  • Lord, help me learn to appreciate and receive the ways my husband does show love to our children and me.
    • He fixed the sump pump last week. THAT was real love right there. I can receive that act of service as a massive gift of love for me and our family.
    • He went with me somewhere even though it wasn’t his favorite place. That was a gift to me.
    • He asked my son to send a picture of my grocery list when he stopped by Walmart and he picked up everything on the list. Wow! He is my hero!
    • He took all of us to the movies over break. He is so generous. What a thoughtful gift.
    • He helped me take my car to the shop today.
    • He replaced my dead car battery last month.
    • He takes the kids to church on Wednesday nights when I am at work.
    • He sits on the outside of the pew at church on Sunday mornings so that he can try to protect us from harm if something were to happen.
  • Lord, help me not get so fixated on “my love language” and what I want that I miss the beautiful ways my husband expresses his love to me and to our children.
  • Lord, my husband isn’t as verbal as I would like. He only gives me a compliment once every year or two. I really love words of affirmation. But maybe You have things for me to learn in this situation. Help me to be open to receiving the lessons and spiritual growth that I can receive from You as I have a husband who is not super verbal. Help me realize that even though words of affirmation are beautiful and powerful, the way my husband shows love to me and our children is just as beautiful and powerful – maybe even more so.
    • Would words of affirmation have been as helpful when the sump pump was messed up and the toilets wouldn’t flush? No, not really. I do like having toilets that flush!
    • Maybe giving gifts is not my love language, but look at all of the thought and research my husband put into the gifts he gave our children, our extended family, and me. He is SO talented at that! It is not my gifting. But I can certainly appreciate that it is his gifting.
    • Maybe my husband doesn’t write me love letters or send loving/flirty texts or emails. I would like it if he did that. But he comes home every night and eats with our family. He is a good provider and a hard worker. He tries to protect us spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically when there is danger.
    • He doesn’t give me a lot of compliments, but he also doesn’t give me much criticism. That is sure a blessing!
  • Lord, help me to learn to give love (and respect – because feminine respect speaks love so powerfully to men) to my husband in the ways that matter most to him. And if something I do to show him love doesn’t really do much for him, help me to see how I can change my approach.
  • Lord, thank You for my husband. He is a gift to me from You. I’m going to write down all of the good things I can think about regarding his character and the things he has done for my children and for me in my quiet time this week.
  • Lord, help me to be a blessing to my husband simply out of a desire to please and honor You.

SHARE:

How has God spoken to you in this post or about these issues in the past? You are welcome to share insights you have learned or struggles you are having so that we might encourage and pray for you.

Much love!

 

 

 

 

How Can I Know God’s Will for Me?

Photo by Jurica Koletić on Unsplash

Sometimes, I think that we tend to assume that the most important things about God’s will are the external things. The decisions we make about who to marry, what job to take, what house to buy, what school the kids should attend, etc… But it is my belief that those things, though important, are quite secondary in God’s eyes to the condition of our heart, our motives, our thought lives, our obedience to His Word, our faith, our trust in Him, and our abiding in Him.

I believe that as we invite God to purge and purify us of all sin and unbiblical thinking, as we yield ourselves to the Lordship of Christ, as we feast on His Word, as we enter into praise, thanksgiving, confession of sin, and praying for our spiritual growth and for the needs of others and ourselves – He will lead us in all these other things.

If we want to know God’s will about the things that are not in Scripture, first, we must make it our goal to know – and obey – the things that God clearly declares to be His will for us in the Word.

If we will not obey His will in areas where He has clearly stated His will, we will not be able to discern His voice in the other areas. He only shares more of His secret will with those who honor His revealed will in Scripture. But the amazing thing is, as we are willing to allow His Spirit to empower us to obey the things we can clearly see in the Bible, He allows us to hear His voice more and more clearly about all of the other decisions we face.

 

GEORGE MUELLER’S APPROACH

George Mueller, arguably, had one of the most powerful prayer lives in Christian history. He founded an orphanage in England in the 1800s for the primary purpose of displaying to Christians how God is able to provide for those who trust Him and obey Him. Over his lifetime, without ever asking any person for money, God provided for him to care for thousands of orphans. Check out a bit of his story here.

1.—I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s Will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.

2.—Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

3.—I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

4.—Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.

5.—I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.

6.—Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

 

WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE SAY?

God gives us many clear commands to help us know His will. This link shares a list of the commands of the New Testament. It is a great chart and resource.

(NOTE – I have not read all the other pages on the rest of this site, so I am not claiming to endorse anything else there. Thanks for understanding.)

Here are some examples of things that are clearly God’s will for us all as believers in Christ:

  • Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:4
  • Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36-40
  • Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18
  • For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1 Pet. 2:15
  • For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality… 1 Thess. 4:3
  • Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:10
  • He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
  • But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt. 6:33

 

RELATED

How Can I Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit?

Submission (to Christ) Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

Why Should I Trust God? Why Should I Submit to His Lordship?

Finding God’s Will – posts by John Piper

 

Am I Too Quiet with My Husband?

The past two Mondays, we have examined the topics, “Am I Too Chatty with My Husband?” and “What Do I Do with My Desire for More Verbal/Emotional Connection?” For some of us, we struggle with talking too much. Others of us struggle with not wanting to talk to the point that our silence is deafening and not healthy for our marriages. Some of us try to correct one imbalance and overshoot  and end up on the other side of the pendulum for awhile and just keep swinging back and forth between the two. I have done that.

Today, let’s tackle the issue of times when we may be too quiet and examine the heart issues that may be going on behind the scenes. It’s helpful to do a motive-check with the help of the Light of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Prov. 8:21

WHY DO I WANT TO BE QUIET?

Some Not-So-Productive Reasons to Be Quiet

If these issues are going on, I may want to spend some time with the Lord to deal with my spiritual issues so that I am not hiding from God or from my husband. If things are severe, I may need to reach out to a trusted godly counselor or female mentor.

Some Reasons That Require Godly Discernment – talking may be wise, or being silent may be wise

Some Good Reasons to Be Quiet

  • Talking a lot is exhausting for me – it is just my personality.
  • I want to avoid talking too much out of humility and a desire to honor the Lord with using my words carefully to only speak Life.
  • My husband is not a believer (or is far from the Lord) so I want to focus on 1 Peter 3:1-6 to “win him without a word” and not preach, lecture, nag, or explain too much about spiritual things but set a godly example by my attitude and actions.
  • I am seeking to give him the gift of respectful space that I know he would appreciate.
  • He doesn’t want me to talk too much or he is in a bad place spiritually and unreceptive right now.
  • I am thinking carefully about what I want to say so that I say it wisely.
  • I want to pray over what I want to say first so that I respond in the Spirit and I don’t just blurt something out in my flesh.
  • I am focusing on thanksgiving and praise in my heart to the Lord.
  • I want to just be available to listen to him for awhile if he wants to talk.
  • I am silently praying in my heart.
  • We enjoy being together without talking sometimes.

RELATED VERSES:

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Prov. 17:28

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Ps. 62:5

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matt. 5:37

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matt 12:36-37

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Ps. 19:14

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Eph. 5:4

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Prov. 25:11

SHARE:

What are some reasons you find yourself being really quiet? When is talking and speaking up a struggle for you? Is there any wisdom you would like to share on this topic?

Much love!

April

RESOURCES:

If you have a very difficult marriage, please check out the healing you can find in Christ for yourself (and maybe your marriage) in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

25 Ways to Respect Myself – (or to think rightly about myself)

Isn’t Loving or Respecting Myself Wrong or Selfish? – by Radiant

The Spiritual Healing Available to Each of  Us in Christ – by Radiant

I Can’t As for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions – By Radiant

Cinderella and the Gospel – by Radiant (about how many of us reject the love of Christ instead of graciously receiving His amazing gift)

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

Handling Political Disagreements Respectfully

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

Overlooking Insults

“My Husband Wants Me to Be Home but I Want to Work.”

What is a godly wife to do when she is the one who wants to work more outside of the home, but her husband wants her to be home and not work?
(NOTE – If you have the opposite situation, I have a post for wives who have to work but want to be home here.)
GOD’S AUTHORITY STRUCTURE IN OUR LIVES
Definitions:
  • The world defines authority as – tyranny, abuse, selfishness, lording power over others.
  • God defines authority as – shepherding, bringing order to society, nurturing others, providing for them according to God’s will, loving them, taking good care of them in a humble, selfless, sacrificial Christlike way.
  • The world defines submission as – slavery, being a second class citizen, having less value as a person, being a doormat.
  • God defines submission as – a voluntary willingness to recognize God’s ways and His wisdom and to accomplish His will by cooperating with His directives.
  • Positional authority – a person in a position of authority, like king, president, manager, husband, parent, or pastor.
  • Influential authority – a person who may influence the person in the position of authority like an advisor to a king, a deacon board to a pastor, an assistant manager to a manager, or a wife to a husband.

The way God works out His will in our lives is that He uses people in positions of “delegated authority” to help accomplish His purposes. He is the “direct authority.” But He gives His authority to certain people to help accomplish His plan. There are people like this in leadership positions in every area of our lives – at work, in the government, at church, and in the family (husbands and parents).

By God’s design, He chooses to lead us through imperfect people in positions of leadership.
 
If we are seeking the Lord’s will and yielded to His Lordship, part of what we will do is submit to human delegated authorities in our lives (unless they are clearly trying to lead us to violate God’s Word and principles).
 
God’s design for marriage is that the husband is in the position of “leader.” He is in the driver’s seat. Not because he is more important, more talented, smarter, or more valuable. Just because this is God’s design and His appointment to accomplish the picture He wants to accomplish in marriage.
  • The husband is supposed to represent Christ and His selfless, unconditional love, sacrifice, humility, wisdom, and servant hearted leadership.
  • The wife is supposed to represent the church in its relationship to Jesus in the way the wife honors, respects, and follows the leadership of her husband.
  • This portrays the gospel to the world  – and to our children. (Eph. 5:22-33)
If we usurp our husband or rebel against his leadership (unless he is asking us to rebel against the Lord), we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5) This is a weighty matter – of infinitely more significance than whether I work outside of the home or not right now.
Also, our children learn how to submit to authorities in their lives, including ourselves and our husbands, by watching our example of how we honor their dad’s authority.
WHAT CAN A GODLY WIFE DO?
Here are my suggestions for a wife who wants to work but her husband desires her to be home (these principles apply whenever we don’t agree with our husband on an important decision):
 
1. Submit first to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
Be completely yielded to Him, His will, His purposes, and His glory being accomplished in your life. Trust Him fully to lead you. Be willing to lay down your greatest dreams, desires, and fears before Him. Trust Him with them all and allow Him to do what He believes is best in your life. Seek His will far above your own will. This is “dying to self” or “taking up your cross.” Be willing to be content in Christ whether you work outside the home or not.
 
Give all of yourself – your body, your gifts, your abilities, your talents, your intelligence, your health, your time, your money, your resources completely to the Lord. Consecrate yourself and your life to Him. Commit to doing whatever He desires you to do with all your heart in service to Him alone. When you have such an attitude, He will open doors that you can’t begin to imagine. Doors to opportunities and plans that are infinitely better than your personal plans and dreams.
 
2. Submit second to the God-given leadership of your husband.
Your trust is ultimately in the Lord to lead you through this man, even though your husband is not perfect and he may not even be close to the Lord at this time. (If you are not yet married, please only marry a man who is truly seeking to live for Christ as Lord. That is a command God gives to believers, that we only marry someone who is “in the Lord.”) God is able to lead us in His will for us as we honor the leadership of those He has placed in our lives.
 
You cannot accomplish God’s will for your life if you rebel against your husband – or any other God-given leader in your life.
 
God chooses to work through the leaders in our lives and to lead us through them. He chose to lead Israel in the wilderness through Moses. The people could not get to the Promised Land any other way than to follow and honor Moses’ leadership. It is the same with us. God chooses to lead us through our husbands and other leaders. So – seek to honor your husband’s request for you not to work in order to honor the Lord. You can share your heart on the matter and say something like:
 
  • “Honey, I would really love to work. It means a lot to me that I can have this job. But I know that you are the head of our home by God’s design and I will honor your desire for me not to work if you believe that is best for us.”

You can also respectfully ask for things you believe you need. You may also respectfully suggest that your husband consider the idea of you having a part-time job that may be a better balance for your family.

 
3. Pray.
Invite the Lord to work. Ask for His will. Ask for Him to open doors and change your husband’s heart if it is His will for you to work at a certain job. Invite Him to change the circumstances. Invite Him to change your heart and perspective. Ask Him to help you see and appreciate your husband’s concerns and perspective.
 
4. Embrace the opportunity to be home.
Thank God for having a husband who wants to provide for your family and who wants to give you this gift of being a homemaker and maybe you have children and can be home with them. That is a priceless treasure. If this is the Lord’s will and He is leading you through your husband to be here – own it. Decide that you are going to make the absolute most of this opportunity. Invite God into your home. Invite Him to help you make this a place of sanctuary, peace, welcome, hospitality, warmth, joy, and blessing.
 
Allow the Lord to lead you in opportunities to use your gifts and talents. Perhaps there are ministries you can do – with your husband’s blessing. Or maybe there are friends you can encourage. Or possibly there is time for you to read and study more about God’s Word or other topics, maybe even related to your education – with your husband’s blessing.
 
Determine to use this time to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and to develop a much stronger walk with Him. Invite Him to show you what He wants to do in your life in this time and what He wants to teach you. Listen to sermons, podcasts, and praise music while you work around the house. Take the time you need to exercise. Enjoy having balance in your life and living at a slower, more healthy pace. Focus on relationships. Practice ministering to your husband and children by keeping the house neat and organized. Run your home like you would an office – and let your motives be love, honor, respect, and grace.
 
Teach your children God’s ways. Mentor younger wives. Maybe you would enjoy cooking more meals from scratch to bless your family. Use this time to really seek God’s will and His glory for yourself and your family. Be available to be an instrument in God’s hand to bless your family richly.
 
5. Avoid harboring jealousy, bitterness, or a critical spirit.
It is easy to focus on women who “get to” work outside of the home. Or to focus on feeling resentful and bitter at your husband or God that you don’t have the situation you wanted. That is unproductive and toxic. Focus on being thankful for the situation the Lord has given you and on what He is calling you to do at this time.
And, as a reader mentioned, let’s also avoid judging other women who make different decisions. All of us get criticized no matter what choices we make in this area. That is hurtful. Let’s love, encourage, and seek to bless one another. Being a wife and mom is hard. Let’s not assume we know every mom’s motives or what is best for each family’s situation. We each answer to the Lord for these decisions, not to each other.
6. Remember that the dream of working outside of the home can easily become an idol.
Any dream or desire can become more important to us than our love for the Lord if we are not careful. Be sure to seek Christ first. Let Jesus lead you. Be content in whatever place He decides is best. Working outside of the home can be fulfilling. If it is God’s will. But being home can also be fulfilling. Whether we are fulfilled or not is not really about our circumstances. It is mostly a matter of our attitude, our faith in God, our willingness to develop a heart of thanksgiving, and whether we are walking in God’s will for us or not. (Phil. 4:4-8, 12-13)
 
Sometimes life is hard and there aren’t any easy answers.
It is in those moments that God often tests and grows our faith the most. We don’t know all that the Lord knows. We don’t know what He may be sparing us and our families from when He leads us in a particular way. We don’t know all of the blessings He has in store as we yield to His will. Our job is not to understand it all ahead of time but to trust Him completely to do what is ultimately best for our families, ourselves, and God’s kingdom in light of eternity.
 
Much love!
SHARE
What has God shown you that may be a blessing to other wives struggling in this area? Or if you are struggling, you are welcome to share and we can hash through the tough issues together here.
RELATED

Spiritual Authority – by a minister at my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by a minister at my church

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn helps women focus on the things that God desires most for us and how to align our priorities with Him.
Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley is an explanation of how much feminism has saturated our culture and how it has affected our understanding of femininity and masculinity. If your husband wants you to stay home, this book may open your eyes to a lot of great reasons why this may be a blessing.
 
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