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20 Signs That God Is about to Do Something AMAZING in Someone’s Life

Photo by Robert Metz on Unsplash

I have walked beside hundreds and hundreds of women on this journey. There are several telltale signs that I have noticed that I want to share with you. When I see these indicators beginning to unfold in someone’s life, it means that God is at work, opening her eyes and preparing her heart. It also means that things are about to get beautiful!

This is often a progression that happens in steps over time.

The woman (or man):

  1. Stops blaming other people, making excuses for, or justifying her sin and takes full responsibility for things she has done wrong. She admits that she is a sinner. A wretched sinner. Completely unable to be “good enough” to pass God’s standard of perfect holiness on her own. She acknowledges that she deserves to be separated from God because of her sin.
    • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23 
    • For the wages of sin is death… Rom. 6:23a
    • Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Rom. 7:24
  2. Genuinely grieves over her sins, seeing just how great a debt she owes to Jesus and just how unimaginably holy God is and how He can’t tolerate any sin in His presence at all.
    • Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:8-10
  3. Wants God’s cleansing, healing, His new life, and a close relationship with the Lord.
    • On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
    • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Rom. 6:23
  4. Begins to grasp the overwhelming magnitude of the unconditional, divine love of Christ specifically for her and His goodness toward her, in spite of her wretched condition. Jesus left heaven and all of His glory in order to come rescue her, while she was still in rebellion against Him. He loved her with a love that is beyond human ability to fathom. She sees that there is no greater love in all the universe than the love of Jesus for His people. All other love begins to look faded and tarnished in comparison. 
    • But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8
    • But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Eph. 2:4-5
    • That you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19
  5. Humbles herself greatly before the Lord, realizing her total dependence on God’s provision. 
    • And you were dead in the trespasses and sins. Eph. 2:1
    • For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8-9
  6. Understands that only the perfect, finished work of Jesus on the cross can make her right with God in God’s sight. She begins to see that He lived the perfect life she could never live in her place. He died the death she deserved for her sin. He conquered sin, death, and hell on her behalf. He offers her eternal life after this life is over and abundant spiritual life in this world! God allows her to make a great exchange. Her sinfulness for Jesus’ holiness and righteousness. Her utter spiritual bankruptcy for Jesus’ overflowing spiritual abundance. Jesus’ death for her life. So God counts all that Jesus did as if she did those things when she receives the gift of Christ and His salvation. When God looks at her, He sees Jesus’ perfection. 
    • Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Rom. 5:9-10
  7. Realizes that Jesus is the Greatest Treasure in the universe – and nothing else comes anywhere close to His worth. She is willing to give up everything to have Him. No sacrifice seems too great.
    • The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matt. 13:44
  8. Desires to die to her old self – to her sinful nature, to her sinful desires, to her old human way of thinking, and to this world.
    • And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
    • We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Rom. 6:6
  9. Receives her new identity in Christ and God’s truth about her new status.
    • We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:4
    • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
    • But God… raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:6
    • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:17
  10. Hungers for God, His Word, and the kingdom of God. Has a healthy spiritual appetite for confession of sin, prayer, reading the Bible, praising and thanking God, and fellowship with the Body of Christ.
    • O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Ps. 63:1
    • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matt. 5:6
  11. Becomes teachable and ready to absorb and receive God’s truth, spiritual healing, and provision.
    • 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
    • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
  12. Wants to do whatever it takes to be as close as possible to God, not to earn salvation or to get other things she wants, but just out of gratitude and love for the Lord – no matter the personal sacrifice involved. She wants to obey God – even if it means giving up previous priorities, time, money, sins, and completely changing her lifestyle to please the Lord. 
    • Jesus answered him, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
  13. Accepts God’s Word as truth rather than her feelings, past experiences, past teaching in her life, the culture, and personal perception/wisdom.
    • Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
    • All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Tim. 3:16
  14. Seeks the Lord wholeheartedly even if no one else does, even if it is lonely. Even if her husband, her family, her children, or her friends don’t understand and don’t want to change like she does.
    • Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt. 10:37
  15. Desires God’s will far above her own knowing there is no other place she would rather be.
    • Not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
  16. Trusts God – or determines that she wants to learn to trust God – and has new-found faith that God’s way will be best. Her fears begin to melt away.
    • For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7
    • There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
  17. Knows that God is good and understands God’s character as He reveals Himself in the Bible.
    • No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18
  18. Is willing to give up lies about God, others, and self and rebuild her life on the Solid Rock of God’s Word alone.
    • Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matt. 7:24-25
  19. Invites the Holy Spirit to have full control in her life. She fully yields to the Lordship of Jesus. She no longer wants her sinful nature to be in control, although she can still choose to act in the sinful nature. But now, she has the ability to choose to live in the Spirit! She begins to see the Fruit of the Spirit in her life.
    • For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6
    • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23
  20. Begins to experience the very divine love, grace, mercy of God for others in her life. She sees them with new eyes, with heavenly eyes. She can start to see their wounds and need for Jesus. And she can begin to extend the love, grace, and mercy of God that she received to others in every day life. She becomes a fruitful instrument for God’s Kingdom.
    • For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal. 5:14
    • I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

When I see these things happening, I know that God is transforming someone by the power of His Spirit. And I know that He is going to do something glorious that will bring much honor to Himself and much good to the person and the kingdom of Christ. It brings me such joy to watch God miraculously changing and healing people!

PRAYER

Lord, 

We can’t open anyone else’s eyes spiritually. We can’t even open our own eyes. We are totally dependent on Your Spirit to resurrect people’s souls from death to new life in Jesus. We invite You into this place and into each of our hearts. We invite You to breathe Your eternal and abundant Life into our souls. We invite Your Spirit to work in mighty ways and to bring salvation to many who didn’t know You before. And we invite You to continue Your good work, as You have promised You would, in those who know You already. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship! We long only for more and more of You – Your goodness, Your presence, Your love, Your healing, Your transformation for each of us to make us more like Jesus.

Thank You for the incredible gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Thank You for loving us so much more than we could ever comprehend! Give us eyes to see and ears to hear Your Words and Your love for us. Empower us to choose the narrow way that leads to Life.

Amen!

 

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What are some signs you have seen in your own life, or in other people’s lives, that help you know that God is very much at work?

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Tired of Being Groped by Your Husband?

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

The usual scenario goes like this:

  1. A husband playfully gropes his wife with a grin.**
  2. She instantly gets angry and upset. Maybe she says something (in an irritated tone of voice) like:
    • “Get away from me!”
    • “You are so immature!!”
    • “What is wrong with you?”
    • “Why would you do that in front of the kids?”
    • “Don’t touch me!”
    • “What are you, some kind of pig or something?”
    • “You haven’t even talked to me yet today. What do you think you’re doing!?”
    • “Can’t you see I am trying to make supper!?!”
    • Or maybe she just slaps his hands away and scowls at him.
  3. He is confused and surprised by her negative reaction and the insults.
  4. She feels offended, unloved, annoyed, and irritated.
  5. He feels angry, unloved, lonely, and rejected.

Both spouses end up feeling misunderstood and resentful, thinking the other spouse was inconsiderate and unloving.

  • She thinks he is uncivilized and barbaric. She feels like a piece of meat instead of like a treasured wife. She decides to stay as far away from him as possible so he doesn’t get any more ideas. She may even feel like she needs to punish him so that he will learn not to do that again.
  • He truly didn’t intend any harm. He just wanted to be playful. Now, he may believe that his wife rejected him and his love, not just his rather unrefined approach. Now the only woman in the world he longs to be close to is angry and distant and he isn’t sure how to fix it. He tends to base his sense of how good of a job he is doing as a husband by his wife’s happiness, even though she may not know that, and now he feels like a failure. The whole day seems ruined.

The good news is, once we understand how our husband thinks and what his needs are, we can learn to translate his masculine approach in a positive way through our feminine filters.

Instead of getting offended…

You could choose to be playful in return, and welcome his advances. Who knows? It could actually turn out to be fun!
  • Tickle him.
  • Pull him toward you and give him a huge hug.
  • Smile and grab his hands and try to hold them behind his back and ask, “Now, where are my handcuffs when I need them?”
  • Stop what you are doing and give him all of your attention. Be playful, too.
  • Smile and say, “I knew I should have ordered that suit of armor from Amazon when it was on sale last month.”
You may feel better just to realize that he is trying to be playful, fun, and flirting with you in his own masculine way. That he isn’t purposely trying to irritate you. That may completely end the problem for you and you may be able to respond back in a fun way.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Prov. 19:11
However, if the groping thing still really bothers you, you can redirect him and gently let him know what you would prefer. Let’s talk about some possible ways to do that!

What Can a Wife Do If She Hates to Be Groped?

We want our husbands to change their approach, so this may require our being willing to change our approach first.

  • Recognize that, unless you are facing some rather extreme issues**, he likely truly has good will toward you and probably didn’t intend to upset you.
  • He probably does care about your happiness quite a bit.
  • Appreciate his good desire to love, connect, and be playful with you.
  • Realize that he is wired differently from you. Some things about his approach to you are not necessarily wrong, it’s just different from what you may prefer.
  • Remember that he doesn’t have a Hollywood female script writer or a crystal ball to tell him what you would like. He’s just a regular guy who is doing his best to be romantic with you in his own way in real life. He may not be great with words, so he may be trying to connect physically.
  • Focus on the good things about him and all the sweet, kind, thoughtful things he does for you.
  • Keep in mind that reacting in a really negative way could crush his soul and make him feel rejected sexually and rejected as a man. Men do have feelings, even though they look so big and tough. If he gets angry or shuts down – that is probably because he feels hurt.
  • Consider being thankful to have a husband who loves you and wants to connect sexually and who wants to flirt in some way. This is actually a huge gift! Not every wife is so blessed.

(For more on these topics, check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s book full of amazingly helpful information about men, “For Women Only.”)

Changing the Dynamics

What can you do in the moment to encourage him to stop groping? A few suggestions to prayerfully consider (but ultimately, seek to do what you believe would honor the Lord most in your situation):

  • Smile at him, and then sweetly put his hands where you would rather they go. And say in a friendly voice, “That’s more my speed. I like this approach.”
  • Smile and say in a flirty, fun way, “Oh, no! It doesn’t work like that, Honey. You don’t just go up to your amazing wife and grab her like that. Let me show you how this is properly done…” And let him be the “wife” and then you model for him how you would like for him to approach you.
  • Smile and say, “I know I am super irresistible! But a beautiful woman like me is delicate and tender. Maybe instead of grabbing me, I’d love it if you…”
  • Smile and say, “Groping is not really my thing, but I do love that you desire me. Would you like to know what is my thing that you could do?…”
  • Smile and say, “If you really want to help me get ready to enjoy being with you later, I’d love for you to try this…”
  • Smile and say, “You know what? I’d love it if you come up behind me at the sink and put your arms around my waist and lean all up against my back. That would feel amazing. I think I may start to melt if you did that. Could be dangerous.” 😉
  • Share in a whisper, “I don’t really care for being grabbed like that. But you know what you could do that would really be a huge turn on for me, Baby?” And then tell him – in a friendly, positive way – what would help get you in the mood.
  • Say, “Grabbing me makes me tense up because it hurts. If you really want to sweep me off my feet when you come home and get me to melt for you, here are some sure-fire ways to do it…”
  • Approach in a warm way with a sense of humor – but don’t insult him.
  • Or take some time to have a sweet, fun talk about each of your preferences for flirting and being playful with each other where you both seek to understand each other.

Key points:

  • Smile. Your smile is one of his favorite things in the entire world. It is one of your greatest gifts to him!
  • Be respectful – it honors God, your husband, and yourself when you treat your husband well. (Eph. 5:22-33, 1 Cor. 7:3-5)
  • Be friendly with your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language.
  • Avoid insulting him, shaming him, or disrespecting him.
  • Be positive about what you do want and your good feelings for him. Focus more on inspiring him to do what you would like than talking about what you don’t like.
  • Let him know that you are NOT rejecting him or sexual connection with him, that you love and accept him and his desire for you.
  • Be sure to share a few things you truly would enjoy that he could do.
  • Don’t expect him to read your mind or get subtle hints.
  • Share what you would like briefly, directly, and vulnerably.
  • Ask for what you want respectfully.
  • Be a safe place for him emotionally.

It’s also helpful to remember that as husband and wife, we are one flesh. Our bodies do belong to each other (1 Cor. 7:3-5). So we want to try to be as inviting and welcoming as we can. But we can also ask to be treated with respect.

The following verse applies to all believers, and it can certainly be a blessing in marriage, too.

Outdo one another in showing honor. Rom. 12:10

THEN

When he approaches you in a way you really like – and he doesn’t grope you – REWARD him!

Thank him. Tell him – and even better – show him how much you love that approach by being responsive to the approach you like.

If It Continues

If he still continues to grope you after you have tried this new way several times – and it is something you feel you can’t overlook:

  • Pray and invite God to show you just the right way and right time for you to talk to your husband about this issue. God’s Spirit is full of wisdom and He loves to give His children discernment and help with our marriage issues. He wants our marriages to flourish.
  • Be a bit more firm, but still respectful, and say something like, “I love you. I love for you to touch me. But I truly do not like to be pinched and groped. Especially in front of other people. It feels disrespectful to me.”
  • Gently say, “You know how you really hate it if I do X to you and I try to respect you by avoiding that? Groping is something that I just do not like. I would greatly appreciate it if you would respect my preference on this, please. I want us both to feel respected and loved.”
  • You may consider gently taking his face in your hands and looking into his eyes with a serious expression and whispering something like, “I feel disrespected when you approach me like this. It doesn’t feel good to me. I want you to enjoy touching me. And I also want to enjoy it, too.'”
  • Say simply, “I really don’t like the grabbing thing, Honey.” Then maybe move his arms to give you a sweet hug that you would enjoy.
  • Invite him to read Intended for Pleasure that is listed below – with you.

The goal is for both husband and wife to feel loved, respected, desired, and appreciated.

We, as wives, have tons of powerful influence to direct things so that we can reach a win/win for everyone, especially as we invite the Lord into the situation to give us wisdom!

A prayer you may want to pray with me…

Lord,

In marriage, things sure can get complicated sometimes. We all need grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love for each other and from each other. Help me see this issue with new eyes. Help me appreciate my husband’s very different perspective on life and help me see that maybe his intentions aren’t as evil as I had previously assumed. Help me understand that a lot of times, he is just different from me, not necessarily “wrong.” He is not my enemy. We are teammates.

Help me to let go of a spirit of offense or bitterness. I don’t want any resentment, malice, or contempt in my heart for my husband. That stuff is toxic to me spiritually and it is toxic to our marriage. I repent of it. Empower me to pour Your love, Life, and healing into our marriage. Even with this little issue.

Help us both understand how we can build each other up and create more unity and oneness that will honor You. Help me learn to approach my husband in ways that honor You, even when he is doing something I don’t like. I am not justified in sinning against him just because I don’t like his approach.

Thank You that You are working in both of us and that You will finish the good work You have started. Thank You that You have so much wisdom for us in Your Word and that You give us the ability to pray about issues. Thank You that You have the ability to change our hearts and to grow our marriage. I praise and thank You that You are going to help us both move forward with understanding, patience, and grace for one another. I don’t want to let the enemy divide and destroy us over this little thing. Be greatly glorified in our marriage and in my life.

Amen!

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If you have something encouraging to share on this topic, we’d love to hear about it!

For this post, comments will be ladies only, please.

My Commenting Policy

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Let’s Talk about Sex – This post has every link to every post I have written about sex. Including topics like – boundaries with sex in marriage, dealing with jealousy, desiring greater emotional connection, sexual dysfunction, one spouse having a higher libido than the other, ED, attraction, body image issues, and much more.

How and When Should We Look Over an Offense? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Attractive/Unattractive to Our Husbands?

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Isn’t It Demeaning to Me If I Respect My Husband?

What Really Speaks Respect to My Husband

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage through Your Thought Life

Why Do I Have to Change First?

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

RESOURCES

1. Intended for Pleasure by Dr. Ed Wheat MD may be very helpful (for you both, actually – and most husbands love this book, too) to help you just begin to have a solid foundational understanding of each other biologically and emotionally and for God’s beautiful design for sex in marriage.
2. Unlock Your Libido, an ebook by Bonny Logsdon Burns may be helpful especially if you tend to have a low libido, or you want some practical tips and suggestions to help you with increasing your sexual desire for your husband.
3.  For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn opened up a much greater understanding for me, and thousands of other women, about how to better understand our men and the biggest differences between us.

 

** Note, if your husband has a severe porn addiction, please seek help at www.xxxchurch.com or another Christian resource for porn addictions. If your husband is involved in unrepentant infidelity, please seek experienced, godly one-on-one counsel with someone you trust locally. If your husband is abusive and you – or your children – are not safe please try to get somewhere safe and get all the help you need from your church, from the police, from experienced counselors, etc… If your husband is mentally unwell or has severe addictions, please reach out for help, as well.

Also, if you realize that you hate for your husband to touch you at all, or that you hate sex in general, check to see if you have any wounds in your own heart and life related to sex that may need to be healed – from any sexual abuse in the past, or from hurtful messages that sex is “dirty” even in marriage. If you do, you may need some help from a trusted, experienced, godly counselor.

www.biblicalcounseling.com

www.focusonthefamily.com

 

11 Reasons We Can’t Afford to Skimp on Thanksgiving and Praise to God

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

 

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Ps. 69:30

The more I know the Lord and the more I see of His goodness, character, and love, the more I spontaneously desire to praise and thank Him. It is a natural outpouring that results from understanding who God is and acknowledging all of the innumerable blessings He has given me. Truly, it is the only appropriate response for me as a believer in Christ to my kind, loving, generous, gracious Creator, Savior, and Lord.

Of course, some days praise and thanksgiving comes more easily than others. But whether I feel like giving praise and thanking God or not, there are many good reasons that I want to live a continual lifestyle of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Thankfully, this is a choice of the will that I can make no matter how I may feel in the moment.

11 reasons I want to enthusiastically embrace praise and thanksgiving every single day:

  1. God alone is worthy of all of my praise and thanksgiving.
  2. God calls me, and all believers in Christ, to praise as a vocation – here on earth and in heaven.
    • God created people to praise and worship Him. (Isa. 43:21, Eph. 5:19, Heb. 13:15)
    • I am most joyous, fulfilled, and satisfied when I choose to live out my divine calling and purpose from God.
  3. It is God’s will for me to live in continual thanksgiving and praise. 
    • An attitude like this puts God and my problems in proper perspective and grows my faith.
    • God commands me, as a believer in Christ, to live in thanksgiving and praise because it greatly blesses me, it is an appropriate response to Him, and it honors Him. (Ps. 50:14, Ps. 99:5, Isa. 42:10, 1 Thess. 5:18)
  4. My praise for and thanksgiving to God align me with His good purposes and His will for my life and His kingdom.
    • I agree with God about His goodness and His wisdom when I praise and thank Him. (Col. 3:17)
    • This attitude paves the way for me to walk in joyful obedience to the Lord.
    • My praise and thanksgiving allow God to shift my desires to match His own and to soften my heart to His will.
  5. My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord help to transform wrong, sinful thinking.
    • It is part of allowing God to renew my mind. (Rom. 12:2)
    • When I am boasting in God, I am not boasting in myself. God opposes my human pride but gives grace to me when I am humble. (James 4:6)
    • I acknowledge that He is God and He has all the rights of being Lord and I do not. I learn to lean on His wisdom rather than my own human wisdom. (Prov. 3:5-6)
    • I learn to develop an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one – to see how God will use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory. (Rom. 8:28-29)
    • Praise and thanksgiving are a huge part of how we take our thoughts captive for Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)
  6. God inhabits the praises of His people. 
    • My praise attracts God, makes Him feel welcome, and draws me closer to Him and Him closer to me. (Ps. 22:3, 1 Pet. 2:9)
  7. My praise and gratitude to God create a spirit of faith and trust in me. (Prov. 3:5-6, Heb. 11:6)
    • As I see God for who He really is and all that He has done, I realize I have no reason to fear, unbelief, doubt. My fears melt away as I grasp His greatness and as I taste His goodness. (1 John 4:18)
    • When I remind myself of God’s faithfulness in the past, I see that He will also be faithful in my current and future circumstances. (Ps. 42:6)
  8. Thanksgiving is how God instructs us to approach Him in prayer. 
    • God hates my grumbling/complaining/arguing because it is a clear sign of unbelief and lack of faith.  (Num. 14:27)
    • God responds graciously to my gratitude, trust, and faith. (Phil. 4:6)
  9. Demons feel very unwelcome when there is praise and thanksgiving to God going on. 
    • My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord is a spiritual weapon. As I sing praises to the Lord, evil spirits flee. (1 Sam. 16:23)
    • Sometimes trials come from the enemy to test my faith – just like with Job – to prove that I will turn against the Lord and stop praising Him if I suffer temporarily in this life. (Job 1:9-12)
    • May I never give the enemy of my soul any occasion to mock the Lord! But may I continue to praise God and trust Him no matter what may happen here on earth, knowing He is with me and He is for me and that no weapon formed against me shall prosper! (Isa. 54:17)
    • When I stand on God’s Word and proclaim His truth and praise out loud in faith in Jesus, demonic opposition cannot stand against me. I don’t have power against demons/Satan in my own strength, but in the Name and power of Jesus, I can resist the enemy with the truth about God and the truth of God’s Word. (James 4:7)
  10. Praise and thanksgiving are powerful spiritual prescriptions for depression, discouragement, anxiety, and fear.
    • When David wrote the Psalms, he poured out his heart, burdens, trials, and heavy emotions. Then he always reminded himself to praise God, even when he faced humanly impossible circumstances and his very life was in jeopardy. (Ps. 42:5)
    • It is impossible to continue to feel depressed, defeated, lonely, or discouraged when I set my eyes firmly on the Lord in all His glory and I see His goodness, love, and provision for me! God is infinitely greater than my circumstances and other people.
  11. My sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord open the floodgates of heaven to countless blessings:

NOTE – Trials are a signal to me that I need to greatly increase my praise and thanksgiving to the Lord to allow much more of His Spirit, wisdom, and power to flow into my life and circumstances. My response when under any kind of spiritual attack or warfare must include much praise and thanksgiving to the Lord!

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

 

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How has God revealed these truths to you in your own walk with Him?

RELATED

Bible Study Tools definition of Praise

Why Is Praising God Important? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does It Mean to Praise God? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Thankfulness/Gratitude? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Ingratitude/Unthankfulness? by www.gotquestions.org

 

Dealing with a Difficult Mother-in-Law

Photo by Ghost Presenter on Unsplash

Let’s talk about this important subject together, my precious sisters. God has wisdom, healing, and direction for us even as we deal with very tough relationships.

God’s design for families:

  • Children are under the parents’ authority when they are young, but then they are no longer under their authority when they are grown adults.
  • Children are always to honor their parents, but the relationship is supposed to change once they are adults. They don’t have to obey and submit to their parents anymore.
  • Children are supposed to leave their parents and cleave to their new spouse.
  • Parents are supposed to honor the child’s new marriage covenant and should support their children leaving them and focusing on the new marriage.
  • Marriage is a life-long covenant. It is to be the first priority among all human relationships. It represents the gospel to the world.

Many people, unfortunately, don’t understand God’s order for family. Maybe they aren’t believers in Christ or maybe they are but they haven’t been properly taught. This creates many unbiblical expectations, dysfunctional relationships, and tension. We also all have our own sinful natures with which we must contend. Sometimes there is competition, jealousy, and rivalry for the attention of the man both women love. Sometimes the mother still wants control and highest allegiance from her son, expecting him to put her above his wife. Sometimes a daughter-in-law gets jealous if her son still loves his mom and gives her any attention, expecting her husband to cut his mom out of his life.

These can be tricky waters to navigate.

(How Do You Balance Leave and Cleave with Honoring Your Parents? by www.gotquestions.org – also has the scriptural references for the concepts I shared above about God’s design for families.)

 

What is a godly daughter-in-law to do?

You can’t control her – but you can control yourself. Here are a few steps that may be helpful.

Ask your husband what he believes you should do. God often leads us through our husbands in this area.

In fact, he may have been giving wise advice all along, you may just not have realized it. It may not make sense to you, because it is not how you relate to your parents. But try listening to his counsel. He is the expert on his family. If he is not asking you to clearly sin, seek to honor his way. This is honoring to the Lord.

Sometimes, if a husband has a really controlling mom, he may be rather emotionally and spiritually wounded, himself. If he has always been passive toward her and he has never stood up for himself to her, he may not know how, yet, to stand up against her for you. Even if he really should. The husband should, ideally, be the one to protect his wife from his family and to help navigate any contention between his wife and family. (Here’s a post about how you can help him with protecting you.) If he does not help you, there are times a wife may have to respectfully and prayerfully seek to handle things herself, or seek appropriate outside counsel.

Some general suggestions:

God’s wisdom is what we need! This is a spiritual battle and we need to know His battle plans. Ultimately, let’s seek the Lord’s wisdom from His Word, the leadership of our own husbands, and the discernment of His Spirit to help us navigate these difficult waters.
It definitely requires a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to do the kinds of things I am about to share. And it takes a lot of wrestling in prayer, seeking the Lord, sometimes fasting, and often, a lot of practice, too. (Most of these things would also apply to other people who are difficult to love, as well.)
Prayerfully desire to:
LOVE HER
  • Show your love for God by loving her – and all people – in a healthy way. (Mark 12:31, 1 Cor. 13:4-8)
  • Don’t love in a people pleasing kind of way, but a way that puts God’s approval first. (Gal. 1:10)
  • Do good things for her. God has put this woman in your life on purpose for you to share the love of Jesus with her. (Eph. 2:10)

FOCUS ON THE GOOD

  • Give thanks to the Lord for the woman who raised the man you love. (1 Thess. 5:18)
  • Focus on good things about her. (Phil. 4:8)

PRAY

  • Pray for her. (Matt. 5:43-48)
  • Remember that people are not the real enemy. (Eph. 6:12)
  • This is a spiritual battle and God has provided spiritual armor and weapons which you MUST use if you want to walk in the victory of Christ in tough relationships. (Eph. 6:10-20)
  • Invite God into the situation to do miracles and to pour out His provision, His glory, and His will! (James 5:16)
  • Pray God’s blessings and the truths of scripture over her. (1 Tim. 2:1)
  • Invite God to use this to help you grow spiritually and to train you in godliness. (James 1:2-4, Heb. 12:7-11)
  • Stay as close to the Lord as possible, spending time with Him in prayer, praise, thanksgiving, confession, and intercession. Rejoice in Him. (1 Thess. 5:15-17)

SET A GODLY EXAMPLE

  • Seek to do no harm to her. (Rom. 13:10)
  • Be patient with her and quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Respond with the self-control of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-23, James 1:19-20)
  • Treat her as you would like to be treated. (Matt. 7:12)
  • Respond gently, not harshly. (Prov. 15:1)
  • Smile at her, be friendly, and purposely choose to be kind. Expect nothing in return from her – knowing you will have an eternal reward in heaven. (Luke 6:35)
  • Don’t speak (or even think) hurtful words, or insults but let your thoughts and words be life-giving and edifying. (Prov. 18:21Eph. 4:31-32)
  • Don’t complain or argue so that you can shine for Christ in the family. (Phil. 2:14-16)
  • Extend grace. (Matt. 5:7, Col. 4:6)
  • Don’t try to control her – or your husband. Honor people’s free will like Jesus does. He doesn’t force his way on anyone. (Rev. 3:20)
  • Don’t play the martyr and try to manipulate her or your husband. (Gal. 5:16-25)
  • Don’t vent to her or about her. (Prov. 29:11)
  • Don’t criticize her to your husband or anyone else. When we speak evil of someone, it is a big deal to the Lord. (James 4:11)
  • Bless her, even if she curses you. (Rom. 12:14)
  • Don’t take her hurtful words personally or react in the flesh. (Gal. 5:16-25, Eccl. 7:21-22)
  • Examine what she says and reject anything that is not in line with God’s Word. Don’t absorb messages from the enemy that may be trying to reach you through her mouth. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
  • Do what is right in God’s eyes so that she have nothing bad to say about you and so that she will glorify God for your good example in the end. (Matt. 5:16)

DEAL WITH SIN RIGHTLY

  • Carefully tear out any bitterness, hatred, contempt, self-righteousness, critical spirit, gossip, selfishness, and malice in your own heart. (Eph. 4:31, James 4:1-3)
  • Allow God to completely change and transform your heart and mind to make you more like Jesus. (Rom. 12:1-2)
  • Pour out your pain to the Lord for Him to help you hash through it rightly. (Ps. 109:2-5)
  • If she is really sinning and needs to be confronted, it can be best for your husband to do the talking, if at all possible. He has the closer relationship with her. And he is the God-ordained leader in your family. (1 Cor. 11:3)
  • If your husband can’t or won’t help and you need to approach her about sin, approach her sin God’s way – respectfully, gently, and humbly – after dealing with your own sin, first. Then you will be able to see what God desires you to do clearly about her sin. (Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17)
  • Know the difference between a critical spirit and a godly rebuke.
  • Forgive her because this is a command of Jesus and it is life-giving and a powerful witness for Him. Let God take care of any vengeance that may be necessary. We can’t forgive in our power, but He can give us His power to do this as we yield to Him and let Him have control. (Matt. 6:14-15, Luke 17:3)
  • Remember that forgiveness is NOT the same thing as trust. The only One we can trust unconditionally is the Lord. Trust of other people is conditional. We are not required to trust people who want to hurt us. (Jer. 17:5)

OUTDO ONE ANOTHER IN SHOWING HONOR – to our husbands and our in-laws

  • Seek the wisdom and leadership of your husband.  (Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:18)
  • Always try to treat your MIL with the utmost respect – in your body language, tone of voice, word choices, actions, and even in your heart. (Rom. 12:10)
  • Honor your husband’s parents as an extension of God’s command for your husband to honor his parents. (Exodus 20:12, 1 Pet. 5:5)
  • Honor your in-laws because they are your elders. This honors the Lord. You don’t have to respect or honor sin, but you can respect and honor people because they are created in the image of God and dearly loved by Jesus. (1 Pet. 5:5)
  • Show respect for the Lord, your husband, your in-laws, and yourself.

SEEK TO UNDERSTAND

  • Try to understand your MIL’s different perspective, history, filters, paradigm, and concerns. She has a different way of looking at things, but that doesn’t automatically make her “wrong” or “evil.” There are probably reasons why she thinks and feels the way she does that make sense to her. (James 1:19)
  • Give her the benefit of the doubt when possible, rather than assuming the worst. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
  • Try to get to know her personality, her strengths, and her talents and appreciate them.
  • Bear with her weaknesses. She may be older than you are, but she may not be as spiritually mature as expect her to be yet. (You may not be as spiritually mature as you would like to be yet, either.) She may have emotional and spiritual baggage, wounds, and scars that need God’s healing. She may be going through peri-menopause. She may have medical issues that are making things much worse that you don’t know about. You may not know how deep her pain is or what lies the enemy has used to ensnare and hurt her. (Rom. 15:1-2)
  • Try to receive love the way she shows it to you, rather than being offended that it may be different from what you are used to.  (Prov. 19:11)

SET APPROPRIATE BOUNDARIES IF NECESSARY

  • It’s fine to respectfully verbalize when you feel hurt and to ask for what you need,
    • “Those words really hurt me.”
    • “Ouch.”
    • “I feel sad when you say things like…”
  • If she is being controlling, you can say things like:
    • “Thank you for caring about us and wanting to give us good advice. We will prayerfully consider what you suggested.” She can give advice. It would be ideal if the advice was asked for. But your decisions in your marriage are not her decisions to make.
    • “You have raised your son very well. He has a lot of wisdom. We will try to make the best decision we can together. And we will be praying about this. I know it is hard when we make decisions that you may not agree with. Thanks for respecting our ability as adults to make our own decisions, even when we don’t always do what you would prefer.”
    • “Thanks for loving us and caring about us. Thanks for praying for us.” But you don’t have to give her control that is not hers.
  • If your MIL is often very hurtful to you verbally, and she won’t stop when you ask her to, it may be best to only visit her with your husband, not by yourself. You may need to have him there to be a witness and to be a buffer. (Eccl. 4:12)
  • If things are extremely toxic, you may have to break contact to some degree or another, at least for a time. This should not be done from a spirit of malice, but with a heart of divine love, desiring to see repentance, eventual healing, and reconciliation. Ideally, this would be done with your husband’s help and leading. But there are times when a wife may have to set boundaries on her own if things are severe and her husband isn’t intervening. (Matt. 18:15-17, Gal. 6:1-2)
  • If she is mentally ill or very spiritually oppressed, she may need medical help or counseling.
  • There are times it can be necessary to call the police, sadly. Again, it would be ideal if your husband handles that. But if you or your children are not safe, you may have to call, depending on the situation. God puts various authorities in our lives to protect us from harm when we need it and to maintain order and safety.
  • With a very emotionally toxic MIL situation, Leslie Vernick’s resources may be helpful about how to interact with destructive people.

KEEP AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE

  • Remember that you will face many difficulties and even tragedies as a family. You may all need each other in the future. Seek to build unity and real peace as much as it depends on you. (1 Pet. 3:8)
  • Some of the things that may upset you now really won’t matter much in light of eternity. Maybe you can let some things go. Not every conflict is necessary or beneficial. “Choose your battles wisely.” (Prov. 19:11)
  • Remember that life is very short. Your MIL may not always be with you. Try to live without regrets and make the most of the time you have. (Ps. 90:12)
Your witness and godly example may be the instruments the Lord uses to win your MIL to Jesus or to help her find healing in Him!

Prayer

Lord,
We are in awe over the incredible love You have shown to us. You sent Jesus to live the perfect life none of us could live in our place. You crushed Him and allowed Him, Your beloved Son, to die a horrific death in our place. If we could just see the depth of our sin and the infinitely greater depth of Your love for us – and for all people! Our thinking would be so very different. We would see that all people are on level ground at the foot of the cross. We would be humble toward others and toward You.
Many women here are hurting in difficult family relationships. You are the Master at healing broken individuals and broken relationships. We joyfully invite Your truth, Your Spirit, and Your power into our families to work miracles, blessing, genuine reconciliation, and healing where there is pain. Heal MILs. Heal FILs. Heal husbands and wives. Heal grandchildren. Destroy the plans of the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy our families. Bring us together in the power of Christ!  
We are daughters of the Most High King! We are seated in the heavenlies with Jesus! We have access to the Holy of Holies 24/7!?!? We can pray the promises and truths of God over our MILs and over our families and extended families. We seek nothing but Your will, Your kingdom, and Your greatest glory, Lord!
In the Name and Power of Jesus,
Amen!
NOTE – Twenty days after I wrote this post, my own mother-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at the age of 75. I’m so thankful that we hadn’t had tension in many years and that we were on the best terms ever when she died. There is no greater peace when someone dies than knowing that we have no regrets! That is how I long for us all to be able to live, as God empowers us to.

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If you would like to ask for prayer, you are welcome to. (But let’s not share details about other people’s sin in a public place like a blog, out of respect for the Lord and for the privacy of others. Thanks!)
If God has helped you a lot in this area and you feel led to share some of the wisdom you have learned, we’d love to hear it!

RESOURCES

Righteous Jealousy and Anger – Godly anger hates sin and loves people. It wants to see wrongs made right. It leaves vengeance to God.

Which Comes First – Feelings or Obedience?

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We sometimes have a tendency to want to let our feelings lead the way in our obedience to the Lord.

– I’ll forgive when my feelings change.
– I’ll pray when I feel close to God.
– I’ll be kind, loving, and respectful when I start to really feel it.

But that is not how love for God, spiritual growth, or abiding in Christ work.

Our feelings do not always lead us in what is best for us.

But when God gives us directions, He has our ultimate good in mind. We can trust Him.

Jesus is now our Lord, if we are in Christ. Not our feelings. When He calls us to do anything, we say, “Yes, Lord!” This is SO freeing! We don’t have to be slaves to our emotions any longer! PRAISE GOD!

Feelings are important. They are kind of like an indicator light on a car dashboard. We can pour them out before the Lord like David did in the Psalms. They can be a flag we need to deal with something. But they are no longer the most important thing. They do not dictate our behavior. And they are not our source of absolute truth. God’s Word is our source of absolute truth.

In reality, our obedience to God must lead the way and feelings tend to follow along later.

Jesus equates our love for Him with our obedience to Him. Love is a choice – not a feeling. And real love involves action.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” John 14:23-24

We obey God, because He is Lord and He is worthy. We don’t obey to earn salvation. Jesus earned our salvation on the cross and did all the work to make us right with the Lord. We receive His work on our behalf as a gift. We obey because we love Him and are so thankful for His incredible love and sacrifice for us.

As we take that step into obedience in faith, He provides us the very power we need to obey and He produces the fruit of His Spirit – His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us. It is all about us allowing Him to do the work in us and through us as we trust and follow Him, seeking His will far above our own.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Prov. 3:5-6

QUOTE BY CORRIE TEN BOOM

She was a believer in Christ whose family hid Jews in their home from Nazis in World War 2. She later was imprisoned, herself.

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, he gives along with the command, the love itself.”

NOTE

If you are in an abusive relationship, please note that forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. We are not commanded to trust untrustworthy people. We may need to reach out for help in situations like this.

 

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How has God been working in your heart on this issue? <3

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How to Have a Relationship with Christ

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Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ

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8 Powerful Keys to Peace 

Do I Wish Harm on My Husband?

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If I cannot sincerely pray for good things for my husband and I genuinely wish him (or anyone else) harm, I should be very alarmed.
 
Malice is the desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another. (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
 
This spirit is not of God, my precious sisters. It is of the flesh and of the enemy. It’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. It speaks death, not the abundant life of Christ. It is a snare designed to keep us shackled and imprisoned. It causes us to aid the cause of hell.
 
The cure for malice is to humble myself before God and to repent to Him. I resist Satan’s lies that I am the exception to God’s Word and that it’s okay in my situation for me to hate someone and wish him harm. I resist the lie that I am an exception to God’s command for all believers to forgive others who sin against us. I yield myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I seek His will, not my own. I seek His wisdom and invite Him to transform my thinking to make me more and more like Jesus. I take my thoughts captive for Christ. I die to myself and live for Him.
 
Lord,
Please forgive us for every speck of hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, rage, violence, and malice. It is abhorrent to You. Help us to see just how poisonous they are. Forgive us for our sin, Lord! We have no excuses that will stand in Your presence. There is no good in us apart from You. Cleanse us. Wash us with the blood of Jesus and make us a Spirit-filled, holy, loving people, fit for Your kingdom and Your service.
Amen!
 
Helpful Verses:
 
  • Love does no harm to its neighbor. Rom. 13:10
  • Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32
  • We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 1 John 3:14-15
 
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Has God helped you overcome malice? We’d love to hear about it. (Let’s seek to avoid sharing details of other people’s sin in what we share in a public forum. Thanks!)
Note – If you are facing really serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced counseling with someone you know you can trust. We aren’t to have malice in our hearts toward anyone, but this doesn’t mean we can trust people who are abusing us or severely sinning against us or who are not in their right minds. Sometimes, we do have to set appropriate boundaries if someone else is not willing or able to stop hurting us.
COUNSELING RESOURCES

Killing Bitterness

Photo by Wang Xi on Unsplash

I have quite a few posts on bitterness – but it has been awhile since I talked about this critical topic. So let’s do a refresher together! We can’t possibly have God’s supernatural peace if we cling to bitterness. It is God’s will that all of His children be completely free from this snare.

Bitterness is one of the most toxic of all spiritual poisons.

Definition of Bitterness – from www.gotquestions.org:

Bitterness is resentful cynicism that results in an intense antagonism or hostility toward others… Bitterness refers to a mental or emotional state that corrodes or “eats away at.” Bitterness can affect one experiencing profound grief or anything that acts on the mind in the way poison acts on the body. Bitterness is that state of mind that willfully holds on to angry feelings, ready to take offense, able to break out in anger at any moment.

Bitterness can be held against anyone – other people, God, or ourselves. All of it is toxic.

What Does Bitterness Do?

Bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and hatred open the door of our hearts to the enemy. They give him a “foothold.” Once I leave the door cracked for him long enough, he can eventually get into my heart and mind and set up a spiritual base camp. Then he can attack me and those around me through my thoughts, my words, and my actions as I succumb to the temptation of hatred.

One person’s bitterness can end up becoming contagious and may “defile many.” Bitterness spreads like gangrene in a family, a church, a community, or even across an entire nation.

Bitterness leads to greater and greater sin. When it goes unchecked, it eventually leads to hatred, malice, threats, violence, and even suicide/murder.

Bitterness destroys our fellowship with God, our fellowship with other people, and our witness for Christ. Our bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit and repels other people. It is prickly and unpleasant to be around.

Our bitterness teaches our children to be bitter, as well. Our children learn from our example and our own root of bitterness begins to grow in their hearts. They learn very unhealthy and dysfunctional ways of relating to people and will learn our destructive approach.

  • “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Eph. 4:26-27
  • See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; Heb. 12:15
  • For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20

Killing Bitterness:

Let’s talk about how to tear out every “root of bitterness” in our hearts so that it does not destroy us.

  1. We must identify every bitter thought we have in our minds and hearts. I suggest writing them all down whenever you notice you are feeling resentful. Try to take a block of time and come up with every single angry, bitter, resentful, unforgiving thought you can find in your thinking. We can’t tear things out until we know what all of the bitter roots are. I would love to try to get through this part of the process fairly quickly. Dwelling on bitter thoughts for very long is not going to be healthy.
  2. We must test our thoughts. I can’t just accept every thought I have. Sometimes my anger has a correct basis and other times the basis of my anger is faulty.
    • Has there simply been a misunderstanding?
    • Could my thinking be skewed, sinful, and/or unbiblical?
      • Is it possible that the reason for my bitterness and resentment stems from unbiblical thinking on my part? Am I upset with someone because I feel they expect something of me that they shouldn’t, but it actually is a biblical expectation they have of me?
        • Am I idolizing this person? Is it possible that I am expecting him/her to meet needs in my life that truly only Jesus can meet?
        • Do I expect my husband to be responsible for my happiness?
        • Am I idolizing my happiness?
        • Am I justifying sin in my own heart because I am in pain?
        • Have I been deceived by ungodly thinking from my culture?
          • Maybe I feel really angry with my husband simply because he is a man and many women hate all men today. Is that a reasonable cause for me to be bitter?
          • Maybe I believe subconsciously that women are superior to men and that is why I feel resentful toward my husband?
          • Maybe I have been wrongly taught that the Bible teaches that women are inferior to men and that is why I feel bitter toward God or toward my husband.
          • Maybe I don’t think God’s promises are for me or I don’t feel like God is close to me, and I feel bitter because I don’t know who God really is and what is true, sound doctrine?
        • Am I taking responsibility for my own emotions and my own spiritual wellbeing?
        • Am I in right standing with the Lord, myself? Have I allowed God to help me examine my own spiritual eyes to see if there is a beam there (Matt. 7:1-5)?
      • If something like this is the real issue, then I need to take the time to correct my skewed thinking or address my own sinful thoughts (There is an entire chapter on this subject in “The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation on Christ As Lord” that is available on Amazon, Christian Book, and Barnes and Noble online. The whole first half of the book would be helpful for any believing woman in Christ, even those who are not moms.)
    • Do I have righteous or unrighteous anger?
      • Was I genuinely sinned against by someone?
      • Where are my motives now? Are they righteous or unrighteous?
      • If my anger is righteous, what does God desire me to do with it? How can I honor Him?
      • If my anger is unrighteous, am I willing to repent to the Lord, and possibly to the other person if appropriate?
      • I can remember that I don’t have to trust someone if they are not trustworthy. Forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. Forgiveness is an unconditional command the Lord gives all believers but trust of another person is conditional and broken trust must be rebuilt.
  3. Wherever we have sinned, we repent to the Lord and to others.
  4. If we have been sinned against, we decide to give the situation to the Lord and seek to honor His wisdom and His way of handling things.
    • If someone has truly sinned against me, I can acknowledge that what the person did was wrong and was not okay. I can acknowledge my pain and God’s pain. I can agree with God that what that person did was sin and that it needs to be paid for. I can understand that there will be justice in the end – either Jesus’ blood will adequately cover that sin when that person repents or that person will pay for that sin forever in hell, according to God’s Word. And I can desire to see that person repent and be in right relationship with God and with me.
    • God says that vengeance belongs to Him. He will repay. I can acknowledge that ultimately, all sin is against God. And I can accept that it is God’s place to take vengeance and to exact justice on other people.  (Rom. 12:19)
    • If someone has committed a crime against me, I need to report it to the proper authorities. We have God-given authorities in the government, the police, at church, at work, etc… to help protect people from being mistreated and abused. I can let go of bitterness and forgive someone for rape, murder, stealing, etc… in the power of the Holy Spirit, but the police still need to know about it and that person needs to face appropriate earthly consequences.
    • God gives us a specific framework for handling conflict within the Body of Christ. We should approach someone else’s sin/hurtful actions against us in the way that God prescribes.
    • I ask the Holy Spirit to empower me to forgive this person who hurt me. Not because they deserve forgiveness. None of us deserve forgiveness. But I forgive because I want to obey God and continue to be in right relationship with Him.
    • I can respectfully ask for what I need and for the person to stop sinning against me. I can respect myself properly in God’s eyes – but I can do this without sinning against the person who hurt me.
    • I may have to put up appropriate boundaries if a person refuses to stop sinning against me, in accordance with God’s Word and as I follow the leading of the Spirit. But I can be free from any grudges, bitterness, or resentment as I choose to live in the Spirit.
  5. We replace the bitter thoughts with God’s love, God’s perspective, kindness, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and God’s wisdom.
    • I can ask God to cleanse me of every sin in my own life and then invite His Spirit to fill me completely and to empower me to approach this difficult person and situation in His ability not in my sinful flesh.
    • I can pray and invite God to do something amazing in that person’s life for God’s glory.
    • I can pray for God’s healing in me and for God to use this painful trial to help me grow spiritually and to bring honor to the Lord in my life.
    • I can take my thoughts captive for Christ and refuse to think bitter, evil thoughts.
    • I can focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of good things in my life.
    • I can count my trial as joy.
    • I can seek to have God’s eternal perspective.
    • I can write down kind thoughts and prayers of blessing over the person who sinned against me and plead for God to reach their souls and to rescue them from the enemy and to heal them. (Isa. 61:1Luke 6:28, Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can ask God what good things He may desire me to do in response to the evil so that I can overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)
    • I can remember that people are not my real enemies. My real enemies are spiritual enemies and this is ultimately a spiritual battle for which I must use the spiritual weapons God gives me.(Eph. 6:10-17)
    • Dealing with a Broken Relationship (YouTube video about how to think and pray for someone who has broken fellowship with you and you want to see reconciliation.)

NOTE – If you are dealing with an abusive relationship and you or your children are not safe, please seek appropriate, experienced, godly help in person ASAP.

Lord,

We need Your help to get rid of our bitterness. It is Your will that we be completely free from all sin, including this one. Shine Your Light on our hearts, help us to open up the darkest parts to You. Help us to identify and tear out every thought that is lifting itself up against the knowledge of Christ in our hearts! Help us to use the spiritual weapons and truth You give us to be set free from all bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness so that we can grow like crazy in our faith and love for You. Fill us with Your Spirit. Help us to allow Jesus to live in and through us and to be glorified in our thinking, our motives, our words, and our actions.

Amen!

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How has God helped you to get rid of bitterness? You are welcome to send me a response on my Contact Page if you have something you think might be helpful in a post for our sisters.

 

Verses about Getting Rid of Bitterness

  • Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Prov. 10:12
  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom. 12:2
  • Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32
  • But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Col. 3:8
  • Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Col. 3:13
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
  • Verses about bitterness
  • Verses about anger
  • Verses about forgiveness

What Does the Bible Say about Bitterness? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Revenge? by www.gotquestions.org

Righteous VS Unrighteous Anger

Posts about Forgiveness  from my blog

Respect, Submission, Forgiveness, and Trust – a Peaceful Wife Youtube video to clarify each of these concepts and to clarify confusion

To Trust or Not to Trust – a Peaceful Wife Youtube video

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage through Your Thought Life

Posts about Dealing with Conflict – from my blog

Do You Struggle with Vanity? Take the Quiz!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Vanity is an issue we all must address as followers of Christ, especially in our culture today. But before we can really assess properly whether we have an issue with vanity, we need to have a good definition of what vanity is. Here is the biblical definition according to www.biblestudytools.com:

Vanity is defined as excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements. The biblical usage describes vanity as having no ultimate meaning… Vanity is recognizing only the accomplishments or appearance of oneself without the humility to appreciate the merit of others, including God. If faith is allowed to focus on God, rather, true meaning and joy are to be found. Learn more from our list of Bible verses about vanity!

The world constantly bombards us, as women, with messages about our external appearance being of greatest importance – so that is going to be my primary focus in this post. We see commercials for cosmetics, hair dye, clothing, jewelry, toiletries, surgical procedures, gym memberships, exercise equipment, shape wear, and lingerie that all communicate the message that our physical attractiveness is a measure of our worth as women.

It can get a bit confusing, because we obviously do have to wear clothes, fix our hair, and try to look like respectable members of society. We don’t want to be sloppy, or careless with our appearance for work. We want to look lovely for our husbands. We want to be clean, well-groomed, and properly dressed. We need to take good care of our bodies and our health. But the problem is that we can take things too far – to the point that we are actually sinning and may not even realize it.

Clothes, makeup, jewelry, and hairstyles aren’t the real issue. The issue God is most concerned with is our hearts and our attitudes. He wants to help us examine our priorities and set us free from any toxic thinking that would be harmful to us.

How can we tell if we struggle with vanity?

VANITY QUIZ:

  1. Do I feel I must wear the most fashionable clothing or I am somehow “less than”?
  2. Do I feel ashamed, afraid, “naked,” or insecure to leave the house without makeup/nails done?
  3. Do I hate myself if I am not a specific dress size?
  4. Do I depend on people’s compliments and approval of my looks for a sense of wellbeing?
  5. Do I tend to spend inordinate amounts of time on grooming and getting ready in the morning?
  6. Do I choose clothing that will cause people (other than my husband) to pay attention to my figure and to notice my curves and beauty?
  7. Am I willing to sacrifice significant amounts of time/money/energy to have a specific figure, face, hair, or beauty – even if my husband thinks it is unnecessary?
  8. Do I feel pressured by my husband to look a certain way and do I fear that if I am not beautiful enough, he might leave?
  9. Do I compare myself a lot to how other women look and rate myself and them against some subconscious “perfect worldly standard”?
  10. Do I feel better about myself if I think I am the most beautiful woman at a gathering?
  11. Do I feel jealous and resentful if I think another woman in the room is more beautiful than I am?
  12. Do I try to get the attention of men by my appearance, my figure, or flirting, in order to be sure “I still have ”it'”?
  13. Am I willing to do anything to try to keep my husband’s attention and attraction? Even if it involves a lot of money, dishonesty, addictions, or sin?
  14. Do I have a food/exercise addiction (or anorexia/bulimia)?
  15. Is it impossible for me to feel confident in myself, my identity, and my femininity if I don’t look a certain way?
  16. Do I think I am unloveable or worthless if I don’t meet some specific measure of physical beauty?
  17. Do I overspend and break our family’s budget in order to look as good as possible, even if it means the family suffers or my husband is disappointed in our financial situation?
  18. Do I become irrationally jealous if I think my husband notices that there are women in the world who could be more beautiful than I am?

If we can answer yes to any of these questions above, we probably have an issue with vanity.  Vanity or beauty can become our idols. This means that we try to find our worth, value, content, identity, purpose, and security in our looks, our appearance, and in externals rather than in Jesus. The problem is, these things are empty and fleeting. They are not eternal sources of worth. They are deceptive.

What is the difference between vanity and simply being a good steward of our bodies?

It’s not a sin to doll ourselves up for our husbands sometimes. It’s not wrong to dress nicely, although Scripture encourages us not to dress too extravagantly. It’s not wrong to brush our hair and make it look pretty. The real question is our motive. What is on the throne of our hearts? Is it Jesus alone, or is some other desire competing with being the most important thing to us?

Is my greatest goal to bring glory to myself or glory to the Lord?

What is the opposite of vanity?

The opposite of vanity is modesty. My favorite definition of modesty is:

Modesty is humility in clothing.

What does the Bible say about modesty?

  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  • Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 1 Tim. 2:9-10
  • Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 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. 3:3-4
  • For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16

The goal of modesty is to exalt the Lord in every area of my life.

If I choose to live modestly:

  1. I choose to take the spotlight off of myself – my face, my hair, my body, my clothes, and my jewelry.
  2. I no longer depend on expensive, extravagant attempts at outward beauty to feel like a beautiful woman. I don’t want anything to distract people from Christ.
  3. I don’t want to be a stumbling block to my brothers in Christ – or to my sisters – by the way I dress and present myself.
  4. I seek to look respectable and feminine in a way that causes people to focus on the Spirit of God radiating from my life.
  5. I don’t seek to be the most beautiful woman in the room or on the planet.
  6. I treat my body with respect and honor because I reverence my Lord, Jesus Christ and I want to honor and glorify Him more than anything.
  7. My goal is to be a godly steward of my body rather than flaunting my body or finding security in my looks.
  8. I want to point the attention toward Him and away from me.
  9. I find my worth, identity, purpose, value, and security in His love for me and what He did for me on the cross.
  10. I can be secure in my identity and value as a woman even if I don’t have on makeup, I am not in fancy clothes, and even if my hair is not fixed in a glamorous way.
  11. I am free from the snare of people pleasing.
  12. I don’t try to grab everyone’s attention for myself.
  13. I focus on Jesus and on sharing His love and truth with others and I want to see others find the abundant life of Christ.
  14. I don’t compare myself to other women.
  15. I seek to be beautiful in God’s eyes in my inner self more than seeking outer beauty.
  16. I seek to honor my husband if there are certain things he appreciates me doing – like having a certain hair length (if possible), or dressing up sometimes, or taking good care of my body with healthy diet/exercise. But this is simply just to be a blessing to him, it is not because I look to his approval for my worth and identity.
  17. I know who I am in Christ and I cling to what He says about me.
  18. My eyes are fixed on the eternal rather than the temporary.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Prov. 31:30

As I live in modesty and yield my heart completely to the Lordship of Christ, I find my security, identity, purpose, and lovability in Jesus alone.

NOTE – Exactly how we choose to dress, how we do our hair, and whether we decide to wear makeup or not are issues that I believe fall under “personal convictions.” Those things are personal between each believer and the Lord. Romans 14 admonishes believers to keep matters of personal conviction private so that we do not create stumbling blocks for our brothers and sisters. My concern is our hearts and that we would seek to honor the Lord above all else just because we love Him and want to please Him more than anything.

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Has God given you a breakthrough in this area concerning motives that you would like to share? Or are you struggling and need more resources or prayer support? Please leave us a comment. <3

 

My Commenting Policy

RELATED ARTICLES

When Your Husband Is Not Physically Attracted to You – Guest post

Being a Trophy Wife Is Not the Goal, Dear Sisters  – by Radiant

I Don’t Have to Be the Most Beautiful Woman in the Room

How Do I Dress Modestly?

I Want to Be Desired by Other Men, Too  – Guest post

When another Guy Wants an Inappropriate Relationship

My Journey Into Modesty and Femininity

My Journey into Modesty by A Fellow Wife

Body Image Issue Posts

Overcoming Feelings of Insecurity

Becoming Fearless

Godly Femininity Is Beautiful to God and to Our Husbands

SPIRITUAL HEALING IN CHRIST

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Jesus Christ

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

 

22 Ways to Destroy Intimacy and Trust in Your Marriage

There are many things we can do, sinful things, that will hurt our husbands and erode the intimacy we all long for in our marriages. This is not a complete list, but it may be a blessing to just ponder these things prayerfully.

1. Insult your husband out loud or even just in your own heart.
2. View him as your enemy. See him as evil and yourself as good.
3. Ignore all of his positive qualities.
4. Habitually assume the absolute worst about him.
5. Throw around nuclear words like “divorce” and “separation” just because you are unhappy, to hurt him, or to try to force him to do what you want him to do. (Without biblical justification.)
6. Encourage your kids not to respect your husband as their father.
7. Assume your negative emotions are infallible.
8. Use words to tear him down.
9. Treat him like a child.
10. Don’t appreciate the things he does for you and your family.
11. Cherish bitterness in your heart against him.
12. Flirt with other men.
13. Use sex as a weapon to hurt him.
14. Threaten violence or attempt to physically injure him.
15. Bond with girlfriends by having husband-bashing sessions.
16. Be too busy to have time for your man.
17. Give up using good manners.
18. Be emotionally unsafe.
19. Compare him unfavorably to other men.
20. Be contentious and argumentative.
21. Complain and be negative.
22. Assume you are always right and he must be wrong if he has a different perspective.

Some of these things are blatant and some are more subtle, but they are all harmful – for either a husband or a wife .

The virtuous wife has a different approach to her husband:

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Prov. 31:12

 
 
Lord,
Open our eyes to any things we may be doing that are destructive. Help us to repent to You and to receive Your healing and the power of Your Spirit to pour Your
LIFE, goodness, blessing, and kindness into our marriages. Help us to rebuild trust on our end and to build up our marriages and our husbands and not tear them down.
Amen!
Much love!
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If God has shown you some general things to stop doing that were destructive in your marriage, you are welcome to share in order to be a blessing to others. I would simply ask that you seek to honor the Lord and your husband in what you share.
RELATED

When You Want Your Husband to Initiate Sex

Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

It’s beneficial for wives to know that this is a pretty common issue. They are not alone. In my research, my understanding is that for 40% of couples, the wife has the higher sex drive. Of course, this dynamic changes even in an individual marriage over time. Men tend to reach their sexual peak in their early twenties. Women tend to reach their sexual peak in their later thirties or forties. And everyone has his/her own unique issues going on, as well. So most couples will rarely have identical sexual appetites. And, in my experience, if a wife tends to have a stronger personality and a husband tends to have a more passive personality, this issue may crop up even more often. So this topic is something we all can seek to learn to handle with grace.

Today, I am primarily talking to wives whose husbands are physically fairly healthy and who do not have medical issues causing low testosterone, ED, or low sex drive. I am also not talking about situations involving active infidelity or severe alcohol, drug, or porn addictions. I’m also assuming that your husband is home fairly often and not out of town for extended periods of time. Obviously, he can’t initiate sex if he isn’t there.

If you are feeling frustrated and hurt, I do understand that this is very painful. It hurts deeply to feel rejected sexually by your own spouse – whether he knows how much you are hurting or not, and whether he intends for you to hurt or not. There are so many emotions attached to this issue. It can be an extremely sensitive subject – for both spouses. If things are extremely painful, it may be helpful to meet with a godly, biblical counselor or trusted godly wife mentor.

Today I am talking about situations where the husband is willing to have sex, but maybe the wife usually tends to initiate intimacy most and the wife tends to desire sex more often than her husband seems to.

Just a head’s-up: What I am going to share is going to feel very counter-intuitive. It is going to seem like the opposite of what your feelings are clamoring for you to do. But I think this approach is going to be very much worth a try. <3

Things that won’t work:

  • Verbal pressure (Prov. 21:9):
    • Directives or demands.
      • You have to…
      • You should…
      • You better…
    • Insults:
      • If you were a real man you would…
      • You must be gay if you don’t want sex with me.
      • Something has to be wrong with you.
    • Threats:
      • If you don’t do this, I’ll…
    • Interrogation (questions with an angry, irritated, resentful tone):
      • You don’t love me anymore, do you?
      • How could you possibly not be attracted to me now?
    • Violence
      • Throwing things.
      • Hitting him, trying to physically hurt him.
  • Flirt with other men to try to make him jealous.
  • Complain to him or to others. (Phil. 2:14-16)
  • Argue with him. (Phil. 2:14-16)
  • Be needy and clingy. (1 Cor. 13:4-6)
  • Express lots of negative emotions/crying.(Prov. 25:28)
  • Give him icy silence, the “cold shoulder,” bitterness, and resentment. (Heb. 12:15)

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Rom. 13:10

Things that tend to help:

  • Refrain from talking about sex at all temporarily (at least for a month or two, possibly longer, as God leads).
  • Pray and invite God to bring healing into your sexual union with your husband for His glory.
  • Rest in God’s love for you, be content in Christ, focus on growing in your faith and finding your security in Christ.
  • Give your husband some time and space to feel his desire for you. If you initiate every day or every other day, he may feel like he doesn’t get the opportunity to initiate, himself.
  • Take your thoughts captive for Christ, don’t allow the enemy to direct your thoughts.
  • Face this trial with joy, allowing God to use it to help you grow spiritually.
  • Get rid of any negative approach, words, resentment, bitterness, or unforgiveness.
  • Focus on the good things (Phil. 4:8) about your husband/ marriage and on being thankful for the things he does.
  • Be friendly, positive, soft, warm, inviting, and welcoming.
  • Respond in the power of the fruit of the Holy Spirit with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Enjoy cuddling with your husband if he is open to that.
  • Be loyal, trustworthy, and completely dependable – only doing good to him, never harm. (Prov. 31:10-31)
  • Extend patience, understanding, and compassion to him when he is exhausted, sick, injured, grieving over a loss in his life, or overworked.
  • Respond with dignity, poise, self-respect, respect for your husband, and self-control when things don’t work out the way you had hoped. (Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Be available but waiting for him to initiate (this may take a few weeks, even a month or more, depending on the situation.)
  • Don’t measure his love for you or your security in the marriage by how many times per week you have sex or how many times per month he initiates. It is not an accurate measure, necessarily, and it probably makes you feel like you need to pressure him too much.
  • Enjoy whatever time, attention, and affection he gives you.
  • Respond positively when he flirts or is affectionate.
  • Let him know how much you love his attention and desire for you when he does shower you with these things.
  • Use the time you have for yourself to focus on spiritual oneness with the Lord and on growing in your faith.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor. 13:4-7

NOTE:

Yes, the Lord calls us as spouses to be voluntarily willing and cooperative when our spouse desires sex. (1 Cor. 7:3-5) Each spouse is responsible for himself/herself to seek to be generous and available to his/her spouse. We are not given a command that we can force ourselves or take what we want from our spouse. (I have 2 video on this. Video 1, Video 2)

RELATED

Let’s Talk about Sex – This post has links to every post I have written on the subject of sex. There are many posts related to wives who desire sex more than their husbands, wives who don’t want sex as much as their husbands do, as well as numerous other issues.

When You Want a Baby but Your Husband Doesn’t

A Big Lightbulb about Contentment

What Do I Do with My Desire for Emotional/Verbal Connection?

Being Married to a Man Who Is Emotionally/Spiritually Shut Down

What If My Husband Doesn’t Care about My Happiness?

Laying Down Expectations

Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority! – by A Fellow Wife

A Fellow Wife Thinks about Giving Space

What Is Attractive/Unattractive to Husbands?

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If God has shown you things about how to approach your husband wisely and in productive ways regarding this issue and you would like to share anonymously in a future (rated G) post, please send me a message on my Contact page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I actually have a post with links to every article I have written related to sex here if you need some additional resources about a wide variety of issues.

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