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Eight Powerful Keys to Peace

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

There is no doubt about it, being a woman, wife, and/or mom is tough today. With so many crazy things happening in our own families, relationships, jobs, and schedules – not to mention the complete insanity going on in the world – a peaceful heart may seem like an impossibility.

Yet, each of us has a built-in longing to live in perfect peace for ourselves. And we desperately desire peace in our families and for our precious children, too.

Eight Keys

Here are some critical keys that I have found on my own journey of discovery to become a peaceful wife and mom:

  1. Choose to allow Jesus alone, the Prince of Peace, to sit firmly on the throne of your heart. If anything/anyone else competes for His place there, you will not experience His peace. Peace is part of Jesus and His character. It is something we have because we have Him and we are close to Him. It can’t be separated from Him.
    • You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isa. 26:3 ESV
    • “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV
  2. Carve out the time you need with God to praise Him, to thank Him, and to fellowship with Him. As you spend time soaking in His love, His Word, and in prayer -He radically transforms your mind and heart. He restores your soul. Receive the tender love of your Good Shepherd. This leads to great peace because you allow yourself to sit at His feet, to be with Him, to know Him, to be still before Him. You allow Him to care for you, protect you, love you, and provide for you in spiritual abundance. He is so very generous to those who come to Him in faith and trust.
    • He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isa. 40:11 ESV
    • Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 ESV
  3. Invite God to help you examine your fixed beliefs and thinking about Him, relationships, and yourself. As you allow Him to help you eliminate lies (big and small) and embrace His truth, He heals you spiritually in amazing ways. His truth truly sets you free. This leads to the ability to have peace with God, with your children, with others, and yourself.
    • “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 ESV
    • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV
  4. Develop the discipline of taking your thoughts captive for Christ so that you can walk in the victory of Christ over negative emotions, tempting thoughts, and even crazy hormones. Then you can often avoid even starting down the mental and spiritual pathways that lead away from peace.
    • We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Cor. 10:5 ESV
    • No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13 ESV
  5. Get rid of anything God labels as sin. Whether it is sexual impurity, porn use, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, lust, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, gossip, pride, self-righteousness, dishonesty, stealing, false teaching, idolatry (putting anything above Christ in your heart – even marriage, a relationships, a boyfriend, beauty, money, children,  happiness, or a career), a cult, or an addiction – it all has to go. You can’t have peace and sin at the same time. It is impossible!
    • Now He commands all people everywhere to repent, Acts 17:30ESV
    • Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.Matt. 3:8 ESV
  6. Seek to treat others with respect and honor on your end, responding with the power of the Spirit rather than in destructive ways. When you set a godly example, you open the gates of heaven to pour the Lord’s Life, healing, and peace into your family and relationships
    • Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 Pet. 2:17 ESV
    • Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Rom. 12:10 ESV
  7. Give up attempts to be responsible for/trying to control other people’s decisions. The ability to accept other people and their own God-given free will is such a gift! When I try to control things over which I don’t actually have control, it creates anxiety. A lot of anxiety. But if I focus on what God has given me control over – myself – and trust God with other people, this is a huge key to peace.
    • But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2 Tim. 3:1-5  ESV
    • Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV
  8. Forgive other people – wholeheartedly. Forgiveness may seem impossible in some situations, and it certainly is difficult. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. But unforgiveness, resentment, and bitterness are toxic. They lead to anxiety, hatred, contempt, and, eventually, even to violence, suicide, or murder if left unchecked long enough. Forgiveness releases you from poison. It allows you to have full fellowship with Jesus and sets you free to live in peace with others as far as it depends on you. (Forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. Trust has to be rebuilt when it was broken. Trust is conditional.)
    • Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32 ESV
    • But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt. 6:15 ESV

CORRECTION ON A COMMENT LAST WEEK:

I had a comment on my post briefly last week where I inadvertently said, “Jesus gave up His deity.” YIKES! That is NOT what I intended to say! I meant to say, “Jesus gave up His rights to claim equality with God – even though He was God – and put on the heart of a servant.” (Phil. 2) Jesus was fully God and fully man.

My deepest apologies to anyone who saw that, and to the Lord. I long to handle His Word rightly with every word I speak or type.

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What are some keys to peace you have found on this journey?

REMINDERS

My Mission and Vision 

My Commenting Policy

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

7 Keys to Finding Real Peace  – different keys from the ones in this post. 🙂

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Respecting My Children?

Fear Fuels My Need to Control

The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord is a book for moms of any age. It’s an easy-to-read, step-by-step guide to help you discover the abundant spiritual life and divine peace that is available to you in Jesus. It gets into the meat behind these 8 keys, and much more. Honestly, it would be a blessing to any woman, even those who are not married and who don’t have children. But it is especially designed with moms in mind. The best part is, as you become a Peaceful Mom, you also learn to give the same tools to your children so that they can learn to live in God’s supernatural peace, too. There is no greater gift than that for our children!

 

Don’t Worry, I Am Not Perfect! Some Encouragement

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(In case any of you are feeling discouraged after the posts about being an ungodly woman, and godly femininity part 1 and part 2)

I don’t want any of you to think that I am perfect or to put me, my husband, our marriage (or any sinful human) on a pedestal.

I am nothing and can do nothing apart from Christ.

I am a long way from where I was 6 years ago. PRAISE GOD!!!!!  I have thousands of miles to go on this journey myself. I will always be learning and God will continue to refine my faith and to work in me to make me more and more mature in Him. God continues to work in Greg and in our marriage. I’m so thankful. We won’t be perfect until heaven – BUT – God can empower us to live holy lives where sin becomes more and more out of character and becomes more and more rare. Isn’t that the best news!?!? God will always be the expert. I will always be the student.

My goal is not to be perfect, but to love Jesus with all my heart, mind soul and strength and to seek to please Him because I love Him so much. It is all about RELATIONSHIP with Him.

Also, please keep in mind, there are some things about my marriage and my thoughts that I keep very private – things that I don’t even share with Greg or my prayer team, much less with y’all. Certain prayer requests, desires and some of the wrestling I do in my heart, mind and soul are just between me and God. Only God has the full picture of what is going on with each of us. If you try to compare yourself to me – you won’t have all of the information. Plus, you weren’t there to see how difficult the struggle was for those first 2.5 years. You are seeing me almost 6 years into this journey. I am in a very different place now than I was those first few years. And in a few more years, I will be in a very different place from where I am now.

I try very hard to be as transparent as I possibly can. But I only share my own sins here. Greg doesn’t sin a lot against me. But we are both human, of course. You are not going to see me talk much about his sins or weaknesses and any wrestling I do about that specifically. I try to be very careful about what I share and how I share it to guard my marriage and respect Greg and God. I seek to even careful how I speak about Greg to God and in my own mind and heart.

  • I don’t ever want to discourage any wife who is beginning this journey. I don’t want women to condemn themselves or feel like failures or beat themselves up. That is not productive, and it is not of God.

If the blood of Christ is effective to cleanse me from every sin in God’s sight, then I must accept that His blood is sufficient for me to forgive myself, too. Otherwise, I am pridefully putting myself above God and saying that Jesus’ blood is not enough to cleanse me of my sin. That is sin!  There is no need to flog myself anymore. When I belong to Christ, His payment for my sin was more than adequate. I don’t have to try to punish myself. Praise God for godly sorrow – that we can see our sin, turn from it and receive full forgiveness in Christ and we can be made right with God!!!!!! All because of Jesus!

(You may read more about what I was like before God opened my eyes and how He opened my eyes in the “about” section at the top of my home page.)

THE FIRST 2.5 YEARS OF MY JOURNEY

I struggled and wrestled with God and His Word for literally HOURS almost every day. I journaled. I examined all of my thoughts and motives under the blazing light of God’s Word. I cried. I prayed. I read around 30 books about being a godly wife and about godly femininity.  I begged Him to change me to make me more and more like Jesus and to make me into the woman and wife HE wanted me to be.

During those first 2.5 years, learning to respect, to give up control and to submit to Christ often felt like extreme spiritual contortion or like learning Chinese without a teacher. I had no mentor except for the the books I read. It was SLOW progress. I hope I can explain this better this time.

As God changed me and His Spirit filled me more and more, temptations began to be more obvious – eventually.

  • Before, when I was walking in darkness, I didn’t even notice the snares of temptations or realize why I was so miserable. I was blind to my sin.
  • As God’s Light shone in my heart, I began to see temptations more quickly. In the Light of God’s Word, I was able (at first) to see temptation right after I stepped into it. Then I would repent right away.
  • Over time, as He continued to transform me, God helped me to began to see temptations right before I stepped into them many times. And God gave me the power to stop before I stepped into the snare – sometimes, stopping my words mid-sentence!
  • Then, in more time, God helped me see the temptations from farther away so I could avoid them completely many times.
  • Sometimes I mess up.  I want to repent to the people I offended and to God as soon as possible then get back up and move on. I want to keep short accounts.

THE PAST FEW YEARS

I have spent the last 3+ years writing (for 20-40 hours/week) about godly femininity and being a godly wife. I have the things of God on my mind and heart constantly. When I am not writing, reading God’s Word, singing praise songs or hearing sermons, I am talking with God or thinking about things God may desire me to write. That is a GOOD THING.

It helps me continue to grow, learn and mature as I write about these things, keep them in the forefront of my mind, meditate on them continually and teach them.  God, His Word, Greg, believers and unbelievers continue to sharpen me. It has been a very good thing to know I am accountable to God, to Greg, to my children and also to my readers for what I think, say and do in my marriage. Knowing that I have hundreds or thousands of people watching my every move and motive helps increase my awareness of the importance of my decisions and how significant the consequences of sin could be. Do I really want to have to explain falling into a sin to thousands of people? YIKES! I also know that plenty of people will rebuke me if they see sin in me – and that is a good thing, too! I try to share when I get myself into sin – often on my Peacefulwife Blog FB page, but also sometimes in posts here (like the one about Triggers for Sinful Thoughts), so that I am transparent.

  • I constantly monitor my thoughts as I seek to abide in Christ. I examine every thought, holding it up to the Light of the Bible and God’s Spirit to check it for sinful motives or sinful desires.

Often now, after just a sentence or two – God’s Spirit puts His finger on a potentially sinful motive or thought. When I see a potential sin or temptation, I stop. Here is an example: “Ooh. That thought sounds prideful. Lord, I repent of all my pride about this issue! I humble myself before You! I do not know best. You do!” I go to my prayer journal if I need to and write out my prayers and any confessions, temptations or struggles. I also share temptations I am wrestling with either with Greg, my prayer team or on my blog. I make myself accountable.

Repenting  is WAY easier when sin is just a few sentences or a few minutes of thoughts rather than months or years of  sinful thoughts, sinful words and sinful actions.

Of course, if  I stop receiving nourishment from Christ, His Word and God’s Spirit, or if I simply allow my sinful nature to take over – I am perfectly capable of sinning. I can quickly take my sinful nature out of the tomb where it was buried with Christ, rip it off the cross, if I choose to – and it can go crazy. But when God’s power is flooding my soul, I hate sin. It repulses me. It doesn’t look very tempting at all. I long to please my Lord and to obey Him no matter what it costs me.

WHAT TEMPTATION LOOKS LIKE WHEN GOD’S SPIRIT IS IN CONTROL

  • Now, a temptation looks like a bear trap that has a piece of juicy meat on it. The meat may look and smell good, but I can see the metal jaws of the trap. I can picture exactly what will happen if I try to take the meat off of the trap or step in the trap. I rehearse all of the consequences of that particular sin in my heart. Then God can give me the power to turn away from the temptation and to choose to obey Him.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Does that mean that I will never fall to temptation or sin? Nope! If I react in my flesh, I can sin. We all can. Is it possible for some temptation to blindside me and for me to fall? YES! I am very aware of exactly how capable I am of sin, how deceitful my sinful heart can be, and I seek to be vigilant to guard my heart and thoughts. Is it possible for God to empower me to walk in victory over sin? Praise God, YES!

I believe we will all always have wrestling to do. And that we will all need to evaluate ourselves spiritually on an ongoing basis – really, a daily basis – but then periods of even deeper self-examination. And we will all have temptations for the rest of our lives. Of course, temptation doesn’t = sin. The sin only comes if we choose the wrong response to the temptation.

Normally, the wrestling process happens more quickly these days than it did at the beginning of my journey, although a major trial may necessitate a lot more wrestling. My faith is much greater now  – and that is a God thing, too.

MY GREATEST STRUGGLES AND TEMPTATIONS NOW:

  • wanting to rush ahead of God and Greg and DO MORE STUFF for God. Sometimes it is a challenge for me to be still and wait. But then I remind myself that God can bring these things about in His time, and I don’t have to try to pressure Greg about them. God may have reasons why I need to wait. I rest in His sovereignty.
  • handling those who oppose me in a godly way
  • making sure I don’t put ministry above God, Greg or our children
  • watching for idols in my heart
  • whenever I find myself feeling disappointed or upset – I go write down what I am thinking and feeling to clarify my thoughts and examine my motives and pray before acting on things whenever possible
  • watching for prideful, self-righteous motives
  • monitoring against allowing any little root of bitterness – in fact a month ago, I struggled with some bitterness for days. That was unusual. But it inspired me to write about triggers for sinful thoughts.
  • there are times when I speak a few sentences to Greg – then realize – OH NO! Wait, that might have been disrespectful!  I apologize right away and try to have some time in prayer before addressing that topic again. I know I need to check my motives.
  • when someone sins against me – depending on the severity of the sin – I may have to wrestle quite a bit with this, but I go through the scriptures and the process I need to go through to work through my emotions and thoughts and to extend grace, mercy and forgiveness
  • when I focus on my needs and desires too much, I can easily get ensnared into sinful thoughts of entitlement, pride, bitterness and self-righteousness,
  • thoughts sometimes pop into my head, “I wonder what it would be like to be married to so-and-so…?” And then I quickly think, “Ack!!! What am I doing!?!? I can’t go there!” And seek to quickly focus on being thankful for the blessing my husband is to me and for all that Christ is to me.
  • responding to people in real life in a godly way who attack me with criticism and contempt is a much bigger challenge for me than responding online because I don’t have hours to pray before I respond.
  • knowing that thousands of people are going to read the posts I write keeps me extremely humble. I am in awe of this opportunity. But the weight of responsibility and accountability is very heavy. I allow God to carry that weight. I know I can’t do this on my own. I am totally dependent on Him to speak through me. I don’t want to mess this up. I don’t want to hurt or discourage anyone. I don’t want to misspeak or mislead people. I want so much to point people only to Christ and His Word.
  • when I am rushing and hurrying, I am much more prone to sinful thoughts, words and attitudes
  • I do feel the temptation to want to control or pressure Greg at times (not constantly like I used to, just occasionally) – but usually God quickly helps me realize how counterproductive that would be before I say something – what a praise!
  • responding with the right balance of God’s truth and love to those who are hurting – I agonize over this at times
  • honoring Greg’s request of me when he asks me to stop being in contact with someone who may be consuming too much of my time. I hate to “give up” on anyone. This is hard for me!
  • making sure I don’t allow myself to become overly emotionally/spiritually attached to other men – guarding my heart. One way I do this is to copy Greg on any emails to men. But, I also try to keep other men at arms’ length. I love my brothers in Christ deeply. I want very much to bless them. But I don’t want to foolishly fall into temptation
  • balancing my time wisely
  • not getting upset when we are running late (Usually, I stay totally calm, but there are exceptions! I know I need to be extra careful about my tone of voice and facial expressions in these moments.)
  • figuring out how to begin to transition into treating our almost 13 year old son with more respect and less directives
  • wanting to try to open someone’s spiritual eyes myself. It is frustrating at times. I have to consciously redirect my focus to God’s sovereignty and trust the person to Him, allowing Him to carry the weight of that situation and to determine how and when He opens each person’s eyes.
  • being patient when the kids are whining/arguing a lot – finding the right balance of love, nurturing, discipline and firmness.
  • men trying to flirt with me occasionally, I don’t want to entertain any ungodly ideas
  • I think I do a lot better with tone of voice, attitude and body language these days – but Greg and our children would probably be better judges of that than I am!
  • when I am exhausted, in pain, sick, or very sleep deprived, I know that sin will be a lot easier to fall into – the flesh is certainly weak!
  • when someone is disrespectful to Greg, I want to jump in and defend him and have to wrestle at times with holding my tongue and allowing him to handle the situation himself
  • sometimes, I struggle to come up with exactly how to express my feelings or needs in a respectful way to Greg on very sensitive topics – I have to pray a lot about this
  • responding with grace when someone is screaming/cussing at me (at work or on the blog)
  • figuring out how to avoid listening to gossip that someone is intent on sharing  when I cannot leave
  • when someone falsely accuses me of sin or wrong motives in the blogosphere or accuses my husband falsely, that is hard! I want to defend myself, but that just tends to make things worse – so I have to learn to leave it alone

And please keep in mind, if I was being abused or severely sinned against by someone – I would be wrestling over that a lot right now! Or if I was facing a tragedy or great trial, I would be wrestling for weeks, months, or years depending on the issue. Also, if I had been abused as a child or had a lot of baggage from my childhood or teenage years or an abusive marriage, I would have a lot more wrestling to do. Also, our children are not teenagers – yet. That is coming very soon at our house, though!  And I haven’t entered peri-menopause yet. With each new phase and stage in life, there will be new obstacles, challenges and temptations. I want to put my trust squarely in Christ, not in myself!

Please pray with me that God might cause me to be faithful to Him and that I would be a good steward of all that He has entrusted to me. I appreciate and need your prayers! And I will continue to pray the same for you. 🙂

Am I Trapped by Material Things?

photo credit - www.luxuryhomes.com
photo credit – www.luxuryhomes.com

Materialism is something we have ALL been marinating in all of our lives. We may not even notice it, that is how “normal” it is in our culture – that drive and push to have more, to have the best, to indulge in a luxurious lifestyle and to find contentment in wealth, stuff and luxury. I know that I, for one, had no idea how much materialism affected my walk with Christ, my priorities, my loyalty, my marriage and my family. I don’t have all the answers. I am not perfect. I am still learning and am excited about all that God has to show me. I am really glad we can walk this road together, love one another and support and encourage each other as we learn to become the godly women and wives Jesus calls us to be.

A BUSY OR OVER FILLED SCHEDULE SQUEEZES OUT THE TIME WE HAVE FOR RELATIONSHIPS

One of the reasons we as wives don’t have as much time to lavish on God, our husbands and our children can be that we feel a lot of pressure to work to provide financially for our families. It can seem practically impossible to live on one income these days. And there may be cases where both spouses must work. There may not be an option. I certainly understand that. This is an issue that is between each husband, wife and God. In my own situation, Greg has asked me to continue working part time as a pharmacist. I trust God to lead me through my husband on this.

I would like to give us some things to think about. Sometimes, we feel so financially strapped because of our own choices. Sometimes it is because of our husbands’ choices. In that case, we can choose to be as frugal as we possibly can, and we can pray for God’s wisdom for our husbands. Sometimes, there are situations beyond our control – emergencies, disasters, job loss, health problems, injuries, etc… That can be completely unavoidable.

 

DO WE HAVE PRIORITIES WE CAN LET GO OF THAT ARE NOT HEALTHY? ARE THERE THINGS WE DON’T NEED THAT WE CAN CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE SO THAT WE CAN HAVE MORE TIME FOR RELATIONSHIPS WITH GOD, OUR HUSBANDS, OUR CHILDREN AND OTHERS?

Today, I want to focus on our financial priorities and how we might bring joy and less burden to our husbands financially. There may be priorities we have that we could drop in order to give our families more of our time and in order to decrease the financial pressure on our husbands and ourselves. Here are some areas to prayerfully consider. Please keep in mind, no one answers to me for any of these things. I am not saying that any of these things below are “wrong” or “sinful.” It is just wise sometimes, in my view, to hold every single thing before God and to allow Him to show us anything that He might want to change.

Maybe we could consider cutting back on things like:

  • $3000-10,000+ per year on vacations
  • thousands of dollars per year on restaurants/take out
  • thousands of dollars per year on hair color, haircuts/styling, nails, jewelry and make-up (for us and/or our daughters)
  • having the nicest, newest most luxurious car (maybe we could be content with an older car without having a payment?)
  • tanning beds
  • gym membership (maybe we can walk/run outside or at a county or church fitness center?)
  • the top of the line products if we need to renovate  (maybe something much less expensive would be just fine and we could be content with it – i.e.: laminate counters instead of granite/marble, for instance or a vinyl floor instead of stone)
  • thousands of dollars per year on professional portraits of our children
  • $1000-2000 dollars per year eating out for lunch
  • name brand clothing for ourselves and our children (maybe Wal-Mart, Target, Kohls, consignment stores, yard sales, flea markets, Good Will or hand-me-downs could work)
  • the number of pieces of clothing we and our children have
  • having to be in the absolute wealthiest school district or neighborhood in the city
  • debt – let’s not spend money if we don’t have money! Debt is such a trap! God commands His people over and over not to be in financial debt to others and not to charge interest to the poor. Debt can quickly become our master if we are not careful. Dave Ramsey has some amazing resources for learning to be godly stewards of our finances and to get out of debt.
  • thousands of dollars on Christmas and birthday gifts/parties for ourselves and our children each year
  • hundreds or thousands of dollars per year on home decorations
  • $4000/child per year on daycare (if we are not spending on all of these other luxury items, we may not even need to put our children in daycare because we may be able to live on one income in some circumstances)
  • $1000-4000 per year per child on baseball/karate/dancing/cheerleading/music lessons/etc…

Here are some very sobering thoughts from God’s Word – God’s parameters for us to be content each day are:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. I Timothy 6:6-11

Being content with what we have is a great way to show respect for our husbands as providers and it is a great way to show respect and thankfulness to God!

PARING DOWN OUR MATERIAL APPETITES

Think about if we cut back on just some of these things in the list above. Not all of them are bad. Some of these things are wonderful. It’s fine to enjoy these kinds of things at times. But, they are not essentials. These things are not a roof over our heads, our electric bill, food or medicine. These are extras. There are some women who make $20-35,000 per year whose entire incomes go to these things above. We have all been marinating in “the American Dream” all of our lives. It is SO EASY to make that into an idol that we cherish more than Christ.

  • Why do we want the things we want? Are we looking for fulfillment in things of this world that truly can never satisfy our souls?
  • What are our motives?
  • What are our ultimate goals in this very short life?
  • Could we be content with less? Or, can we be content with what we have?
  • What does God call us to do with our time and our stuff as disciples of Christ?

If we were willing to cut out some of these luxuries, maybe we wouldn’t even have to work full time or maybe we could even stay home if our husbands are on board with that. Maybe we would have the time we really need to more fully invest in our walk with Christ, in our husbands’ lives, in our marriages, in our children’s lives and in our homes? Or, maybe there are ways we could arrange our work schedule that would allow us to have more time with God, our husbands and our children. Maybe there are activities that need to go that really eat up a lot of time but don’t have much eternal value.

The thing is – relationships take TIME. A relationship with God takes real time. A close relationship with my husband takes time. A close relationship with my children takes time. Time is limited. I only have so many hours in a day. What will my priorities be and how can I best use the time God has given me?

I don’t have the exact answers for every wife. Your decisions are not really my business at all.  No one answers to me. This is totally between each of us, our husbands, our children and the Lord. God has different callings and priorities for each of us and they change at different times in our lives. We will each have to take inventories about these issues every so often and reevaluate and pray over how we are spending our time, resources, abilities and money and seek to change anything God would want us to change.

God has dealt with me about many of these issues – particularly when my hours were drastically cut as a pharmacist from 24 hours/week to 8 hours per week about 3 years ago, and then last year when my 12 hours/week became 3 hours/week. I understand the importance of spending frugally and trying to use our income and time as wisely as possible. Greg and I have always sought not to have debt, but to pay off our credit cards each month and to not spend what we don’t have. Our only debt at this time is our mortgage.

  • What does your husband desire you to do about working and about saving or spending? Are you open to allowing him to guide you in these areas and allowing God to lead you through your husband – even if you don’t agree with him right now?

(If your husband is actively addicted to alcohol/drugs/gambling, is involved in unrepentant infidelity or is mentally unstable, please seek godly, experienced, biblical counsel in person at your church or with a Christian counselor/pastor you can trust.)

I would like us to consider a few more questions:

  • Are there things God is calling me to give up so that I can pursue Him more diligently and/or so that I can devote myself more wholeheartedly to Titus 2:3-5 kinds of things? (This may even include social media, hobbies, tv, a volunteer position, even a ministry)
  • Am I pressuring my husband to earn a lot more money, to work more and to give me lots of nice things? Is that why he is working overtime so much and not home as much? To try to make me happy by providing more money for me to have the stuff I tell him I want all the time?
  • Could my love of material things and luxuries be causing us to miss the things that are most important in life?
  • Do I need to stop looking at HGTV, social media, magazines, commercials and DIY shows that promote materialism? Do these things promote a spirit of discontentment in me that does not honor God? (Many women may be able to read these things and not have a an issue. But, if you see them and notice that you are depressed and feeling discontent about your own life after watching them, then, that may be a problem.)
  • Am I willing to be content with what I have now, or with even less? What might God want to change in my life?
  • Am I allowing myself to deeply desire things that I really don’t need to the point that I am jealous or covetous?
  • Am I focused on comparing my life to the lives of others and I feel like the things I have aren’t “good enough?”
  • Do I allow myself to become bitter over the things I do not have?
  • Do I focus on “using things and loving people, or loving things and using people?”
  • Have I made an idol of a beautiful home, luxuries, nice stuff, expensive vacations, fancy clothes, beauty, stuff for our children or material things? (Do I believe I MUST have these things to be happy?)
  • How does God desire me to honor Him and be a godly steward of all of my time, resources and abilities in the area of spending, finances and stewardship?
  • Is it possible God may want me to scale back my consumption level and my spending? Might He want me to be willing to downsize our lives materially and in our spending?
  • Is there anything material or any activity that God may want me to sell or be willing to give up?
  • Is there something my husband wants us to give more money to (church, a charity, a struggling family member or neighbor) that may be something God may have laid on his heart to do for someone in need? Am I willing to prayerfully consider getting on board and be willing to be generous to those in need as God leads me through my husband?
  • If I want to give more to those in need, but my husband isn’t ready to do that, am I willing to wait on God to work in my husband’s heart and not pressure my husband into something that he is not ready to do, following my husband’s lead?
  • Am I willing to allow God total access to our finances and our possession in the present and in the future? If not, what am I holding back and why? What will it take for me to trust God with this thing?

Keep in mind, it is also possible to make minimalism an idol – where we try to have as few possessions as possible and pride ourselves in that. If your husband doesn’t want to pare down your lifestyle, but you do, be sure to honor him and follow his leadership. Don’t give away his things without his consent. And if he doesn’t want to give up the TV or eating out or vacations (or something else you believe would be best to give up) – that is ok!  You can share what you would like to do, respectfully, but then enjoy those things with him and trust God to work in your husband’s heart and to lead you through your man.

SHARE:

You are welcome to share your answers to any of these questions. Of course, the most important thing is that you spend some time with God and ask yourself these hard questions, allowing God to probe deeply into your soul so that He can do whatever He knows is best in your situation at this point in time.

For a word of caution about not going into legalism with the idea of paring down materially, please check out the comments!

RESOURCES:

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn

Radical by David Platt

overcoming idolatry

Am I Materialistic? A Peacefulwife VIDEO

Submitting to Our Husbands in the “Small” Things

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FROM A HUSBAND (his response to a question for husbands earlier last week):

As to respecting me in “small things”, I have to assume you mean things that aren’t all that important.

My first thought is, that if it isn’t all that important, why not?

I don’t always know why I prefer one thing, over another. In asking me to justify my choice, it does show lack of trust, but more importantly, it makes me feel defensive.

Can’t I just have a preference? Do I really need a reason?

As to choosing where we sit anytime we’re out, my wife always asks, where I would like to sit, and I always take into consideration her needs, that particular day, convenience, in some situations I suppose security, does come into play, but this is something we are both extremely flexible on.

Something that is an extremely big deal to me, that seems to be a small thing to my wife, is our sex life.

This is an issue we still struggle with. It’s not so much a matter of frequency, or quality, but the fact that it IS a small thing to her.

Her desire for intimacy, to me at least, is a barometer of her level of respect for me.

(From Peacefulwife – I don’t know that all husbands feel this way. For those wives whose husbands are less interested in sex than their wives, this may be different. It would be interesting to know how husbands with lower drive feel about this issue.)

When my wife argues with me about small things, it makes it much harder for me to be loving towards her. It’s true that I ought to be considerate of her, and I’m commanded to love her. That does not mean I should cater to her every whim. In fact, it may be more loving, to not allow her to have her way (at times.) When a wife insists on her own way in things that aren’t that big of a deal, she is, in fact, being childish.

Not cooperating in “small things” is the equivalent of the dripping water talked about in Proverbs. It just wears you down over time, and feels like that is why they do it. To wear you down, to the point where, you don’t want to make a decision about anything, big or small. So then, they HAVE to take control.

Hope my answers were helpful.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think that there are some really important points to talk about here.

1. What may seem like a small thing to a wife may be a big thing to her husband.

This is one reason why I believe God commands us as wives to respect our husbands and submit to them in everything as unto the Lord.

(If they are asking us to clearly sin or they are seriously trying to harm us, then we should not cooperate, we will have to respectfully refuse. If there are very serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP! I am not ever condoning that a wife stay and be hurt physically or stay when there is real danger. I am not writing for those with serious issues like active addictions, infidelity, uncontrolled mental health issues or actual abuse.)

Sometimes it is easy to assume that my husband’s priorities must be the same as mine. But  reality is that his priorities are probably not the same as mine! We are different people. We are also different genders. We will have different ways of thinking and approaching things. That is a good thing! What I may think is something small may actually be huge to my husband, and vice versa. I would appreciate it if he desired me to be happy in things that are important to me. He would also appreciate the same courtesy.

If it is within my power to bless my husband, why would I not choose to bless him, even in “little” things?

2. What if honoring our husbands in small things isn’t oppression for us?

What if it is a way to greatly increase unity, intimacy and oneness with our husbands? What if it is a way to show we are on their team and that they are important to us, more important than anyone else in the world?

We are sending critical messages to our husbands by how cooperative or antagonistic we are. I don’t mean we have to agree or never share our opinions. Our ideas, desires, feelings, opinions and perspectives are invaluable sources of information to our husbands. We can be wise advisors and compassionate friends to our husbands. God never asks us to lay our brains, abilities, talents, personalities, ideas, needs, desires, emotions and wisdom at the door of marriage. That is not biblical submission!

We bring ALL of ourselves to marriage and we put all of our strengths, abilities and resources behind our husband in support.

My husband doesn’t “make me” do anything. I don’t “have” to do what he wants all the time.

I GET to honor him.

I GET to bless him.

I GET to do things he enjoys just because I can.

It is a blessing and a joy to me to serve this man God has given to me. It is my greatest delight to do things that make his job as the leader, provider and protector easier and more enjoyable. What if I am free to share my heart and desires with my husband – and he is also free to share his heart and desires? Then the Spirit of God in me gives me a desire to be selfless, generous, giving, kind, thoughtful, loving and respectful. If I know Greg likes a certain soft drink or a certain snack or has a favorite meal – what an incredibly wonderful opportunity for me to do something to bless my him by keeping those things on hand for him or making him his favorite meal fairly often!

Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. His Spirit is in me if I belong to Him. I am free to serve, not out of duty or drudgery, but out of the power, love, joy, peace and abundant life of God flowing mightily through my soul. I am not talking about pretending to be happy but inwardly seething with resentment or bitterness. I am talking about allowing God to radically change me and give me a new heart with new desires. I can receive that. God has a new heart and new Spirit and new life for all who trust fully in Christ.

I can say what I want, what I would like, what I believe would be best for us to do, what I don’t want, what my concerns are – but I don’t have to get hung up on the outcome of things. I can trust God in His great sovereignty to lead me through my husband, even when I don’t agree with him, even in the little things. I can hold everything loosely in my life except for Jesus.  I can be sure that I don’t let a little issue (which most things really are) to become more important in my mind and heart than my obedience to Christ and the unity and intimacy of my marriage. I can ask myself, “Is this issue worth fracturing the unity in our marriage about?” before I launch into a lecture or argument with my husband.

I can remember the command of God for all believers:

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:12-15

I can remember that arguing or complaining is not befitting of me as a child of God. If I am tempted to argue or complain, I know it is time to check my motives.

  • Why do I want what I want?
  • Am I being selfish?
  • Am I putting something above Christ in my heart?
  • Is this issue truly important in light of eternity?
  • Am I right with God?
  • Am I being materialistic or greedy?
  • Am I being prideful or self-righteous? Is there any sin in my heart?
  • Am I considering my husband’s needs and preferences and being thoughtful toward him?
  • Am I doing this because of my love for Christ and for my husband? Will they be blessed by what I want to do here?
  • Am I walking in the flesh or in the Spirit of God?
  • Am I being motivated by the love of God or by fear?
  • Am I concerned most with pleasing God and having His approval, or having other people’s approval?
  • Am I walking in obedience to God’s Word?

I have died to this world and the things of this world according to Romans 6. That is historical fact. God put me in Christ and I died with Him on the cross in God’s sight. I am now dead to sin and this world and I am alive to God in Christ. This world means nothing to me now. What do I care what color something is or what restaurant we go to? This life is no longer mine to live. My old sinful self is dead in Christ. Dead people don’t care about earthly matters much. Now what matters are only the things that matter to Jesus. I am no longer friends with this world. I no longer care about the carnal things of this world and the material details of life. I am fully submitted to Christ and all I care about is pleasing and honoring Him, abiding in Him, being filled with His Spirit, doing the work of His kingdom… my eyes are on eternal things.

 

 

Godlywifetobe – Step 2 – Facing Her Fears

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This is some more of my correspondence with Godlywifetobe. I have also taken on another wife to mentor whose story I hope to share in the coming week. GraceAlone is doing well. There are definitely some days that are very hard, but there are also new blessings.  She is 3 months into her journey – which is still quite early. I hope to share another update from her in a week or two. She is making some definite strides in her understanding of God and her trust in Him and she is learning to refine her motives and to continue to seek to bless her husband regardless of his response. She has had a LOT of tests in the past few months that have really forced her to depend on God and to face some of her deepest fears. I love being on this journey with these wives and with all of you! I wish I could email every single wife, but I pray that these wives’ stories might bless you. If you are interested in being a wife that I mentor, I may be able to take another wife in about 2 months. So you can be thinking about that. 🙂 The requirements I have for wives that I take on to mentor are in Godlywifetobe’s first post. 

(Background – Godlywifetobe is a believer in Christ. Her husband is not. Things are often difficult right now.)

Ladies, you are all welcome to write out your answers to the assignments I give Godlywifetobe. You can send them in as comments, or you can keep them for yourself in a journal or a private file. The actual writing/typing out of these deep heart issues is so important as we allow God to shine His light into the deepest corners of our souls. We cannot heal and move forward in God’s power if we are clinging to lies or unknown sin.)

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE

I guess my fears are…

  • Being alone
  • Nobody wanting me
  • Being unloved
  • People not liking me
  • Not knowing what’s going to happen/future
  • Wanting romance. Which comes down to wanting to feel loved/cherished/important.

Growing up I always had to be the adult and the responsible one with my mother and father. I also watched my mum go through around 30 sexual partners growing up and mopping up the mess when they cheated on her or dumped her. I grew up having to be in control and take the lead. By being in control of things I also kept safe from the various abuses I had experienced as a child (sexual, mental, physical, emotional).

So giving up control is something very scary for me. I want things the way they should be done and I feel unsafe and scared when it’s not and that’s some of the anxiety I feel, I guess.

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

What I would like you to do is to look at each of these fears and come up with scriptural truth to counter your fears. What does God say about you, about your worth, about if you are alone, about you not being wanted, about you being unloved, about His feelings for you, about pleasing people, about fears and worry for the future and about your desire to feel loved?

And, can you please tell me, what do you believe will happen if you do not “feel like you are in control”?

What are the worst case scenarios that run through your mind?

What are the tapes you play in your head and the things you tell yourself about you, God and your husband?

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE

Scriptural truths for my fears is a great idea…

  • Being alone-

Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

  • Nobody wanting me-

Isaiah 54:5

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

  • Being unloved-

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  • People not liking me-

Galatians 1:10

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

  • Knowing the future-

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

  • Romance/Feeling cherished and important

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

What do I feel will happen if I’m not in control? Well my head says nothing major will happen, that God will work it all out. I want things done the way I think they are to be done. I guess that’s pride and control isn’t? Ugh. I don’t want to be like that!!! I guess I feel anxious and worried when I’m not in control.

Worst case scenarios would be:

  • my husband cheating on me
  • my husband leaving
  • my husband getting more distant and mean
  • my children copying our behaviour in their relationships
  • my husband not coming to Christ

I guess the tapes that play in my head are that:

  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m a failure
  • I made the wrong choice marrying my husband (that one makes me sad…but it’s the truth)
  • my husband will never change and only get worse
  • my husband has issues he needs to deal with but is putting his head in the sand or using hobbies/smoking etc to drown it out
  • I guess with God I feel that I’ve done something to deserve this, that I’m not good enough
  • I feel He’s ignoring me

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Are these things you are telling yourself true?  If so, what will you do about it? If they are lies, what is the real truth?

What if God is able to even turn “mistakes” into something beautiful and glorious?

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE:

The things I tell myself aren’t true. No. It’s a false perception I’m believing. Satan is the father of lies and I’m sure he enjoys me believing these lies so he has me being less than I am…of who God made me to be.

Those lies stop me from doing things, they cause me to act of fear or control, they produce self pity and bitterness it me. I didn’t realise how powerful those lies were until typing this just now. It’s bondage. Chains. But Christ came to break every chain. He came to free me from the bondage of sin!!! I need to walk in this daily!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

You are so right. Those lies are absolutely creating bondage and they are very powerful. You end up believing those lies that you repeat to yourself over and over again.

Jesus DID set you free from the bondage of sin. You died with Him on the cross. Your old sinful self is dead and buried with Christ. Now He gives you a new self, a new heart, a new Spirit so that you can live in the power of His resurrection and in His truth. You can choose to stay bound by those old lies. But you don’t have to stay there. Jesus set you free already. All you have to do is thank Him and praise Him for it and begin to live in Him. 🙂

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Some things to wrestle with on a very deep heart level:

Are you willing to lay down all of these fears and the lies that you are believing?

Is God sovereign even if your worst case scenarios were to happen?

Are you willing to replace those tapes with the truth of God?

Are you willing to give up all resentment and bitterness towards your husband and God?

What are you afraid to trust God with?

What would happen if you fully surrendered to Christ and trusted His sovereignty?

Is God who He says He is?

Is His Word true?

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE:

I definitely want to. I feel like Paul when he’s talking about doing the things he doesn’t want to do…

I guess it’s all renewing my mind isn’t it? Feeding it on the Word of God and replacing those lies and thoughts with Gods Word.

I’m going to watch through your video on idols and read all the posts again on them. (From Peacefulwife – you can search “idol” “idolatry” “insecurity” “security” “control” “fear” on my home page)

Do you know of any sermons that cover this? I might google my favourite preachers and see if they have anything to say on it. (From Peacefulwife – I would suggest checking at www.desiringgod.org – John Piper’s site and www.radical.net  – David Platt’s site.)

You know I saw something on fb that said the more you are in the Word the more you believe His promises. That’s been true for me. Since you challenged me to read every day and not just go on my old knowledge of what I’ve read I’ve been able to take control of thoughts. I’m reading the Watchman Nee book you suggested, too, (The Normal Christian Life) and have nearly everything in it highlighted. Lol.

So I’m building my faith up, building my thought life up and now the next step is to start putting it into practice. So when hubby snaps at me for no apparent reason instead of me thinking he hates me or “poor me” I can think “I wonder what’s making him so mad and stressed? How can I help him share what’s bothering him? How can I show him that we love and need him around”.

Thank you for being submitted to God to allow Him to speak through you. I’ve come to see that I have lots of sin in my life and instead of looking at what my husband may or may not be doing, I need to look at me!!!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I love this!  What God is already doing in your heart is SO BEAUTIFUL! His Word is powerful. We need to feed our souls with it often. We have no power when we are starving ourselves spiritually. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you and your husband!

 

RELATED:

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Facing Our Deepest Fears

Laying Down All of Our Expectations

Expectations – Part 1

How to Stop Idolatry and Truly Live for Christ

PEACEFULWIFE YOUTUBE VIDEOS:

What Causes a Woman to Become Controlling?  – 11 minutes

Overcoming Fear – Part 1  – 14 minutes(different content from the blog posts)

Overcoming Fear – Part 2 – 12 minutes

 

Waiting Becomes Sweet – from the Archives

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April 04-2014

If you have read many of my previous posts – you will know that I was the dominant twin in a set of identical twins (I still am a twin!  But – not so domineering anymore. I seek to give my wonderful sister room and space to make all of their own decisions without my “help” now).  I am a pharmacist (working 1/2-1 day/week now).  I usually made all As in school and college and I had to have HIGH As.  I tended to be a perfectionist – to the point I would make myself sick over my grades.  And I am probably a bit OCD – not that you’d be able to tell if you saw my house right now.  But I like ZERO clutter.  I love not seeing a lot of junk around the house and get a real high from getting rid of stuff and having glorious free space.  I am a type A, go-getter.  I know what I want and I know it immediately.  I know how to get what I want (or at least I think I do!).  I don’t wait around – I do it and get it done!

 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:15

 

LEARNING TO WAIT

Two months before Greg and I really hit our stride with me figuring out respect and stepping down out of the way for him to lead – I had an important conversation with God.  Not a fun one, but a necessary one.

I like to MOVE.  I like to GO.  I like to feel like I am making progress.  I like to travel at 100 mph and feel like I am doing something “useful for God.”  I used to try to drag my husband along.  Turns out that doesn’t work!  At all.  So I finally just stopped in July of 2010 (after I had been studying respect and submission for about a year and a half) and said:

Ok, God.  I can see that I have been running way ahead of You.  Again.  Like usual.  I want SO much to do great things for You!  I want to serve You in BIG ways!  I want to give all of myself to You and do important things in Your kingdom!  But right now, my husband doesn’t seem interested in that stuff.  I can’t make him want to give to orphans or adopt children or move to Africa to be missionaries.  And maybe it’s not my job to try to lead him like I have been trying to do.  I’ve been going about this all wrong.  He’s supposed to be in charge spiritually, not me.  I’m afraid if he’s in charge, we will never go anywhere.  But You are clearly showing me that You want him in charge, not me.  Maybe there are worse things than us going nowhere.

Ok, God.  I am going to stop running ahead.  I am going to stop trying to force things to happen the way I think they should.  I am going to (gasp! – cringe!!!) WAIT.  I am going to wait right here geographically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually until You direct me to move.  I want to do things Your way now.  I am going to listen to my husband.  I am going to trust that You will lead me through him.  So I will take his direction as if it was coming from Your very lips.  And if he is leading and  doesn’t direct me to go anywhere – I am going to sit right here, waiting on You and waiting on him until I am 80 years old if I have to.  That will be ok.  I want what You want.  I want it in Your time and Your way.  I will wait on You. 

I trust You to lead me through my husband.  And if we don’t go anywhere, and that is Your will for me – then I will accept that.”

A NEW BEGINNING

This was not an easy conversation for me to have with God.  But I knew I had to do it His way.

So I was still.

I waited on God.

I quit running way ahead.

Within 2 months, Greg and I had a HUGE breakthrough in our marriage that tore down the remaining walls of disrespect and misunderstanding and we have not had another significant disagreement or misunderstanding since then to date!?!?  We’ve had a few tiny bumps, but they last for about an hour or less and we are able to resolve things right away and everything is right again.

Things began to change RAPIDLY.  But the funny thing was – I was still.  I was at peace.  I was patient….  Maybe you don’t know me very well so that doesn’t really have the impact that it should so I just have to reiterate… I was patient!  ME!?!?  It was a supernatural God kind of patience and a supernatural God kind of peace I had never known before just swept over my soul, took up residence and has been camping here with me all day every day since then. And I LOVE it!

I sat still.  I waited.  Nothing horrible happened.  The world did not collapse or spin off of its axis.

I saw God change our marriage.  I saw God change my husband.  My passive, unplugged husband who seemed miles away emotionally and spiritually for so long began to revive, plug in and draw close to me – and to God.  He began to be the man I fell in love with again.  He started looking at me and smiling at me again.  He started to care about my feelings again.  He began to want to do something to help me if I was sad (which wasn’t nearly as often anymore!).  And he loves to see me happy more than anything.  I watched God transform him and make him blossom into a godly leader, a man of initiative, a man of conviction, courage, integrity, selflessness and a man who would lay down his life for me and our children.  Sometimes it was little steps, and sometimes it was BIG leaps and bounds that would take my breath completely away. Each day held its own new surprises.

A NEW WAY OF LIFE

Instead of me deciding how things would go and steamrolling my husband with how things would be,  I began to tell God and my husband what I wanted and how I felt and then leaving things in their hands.  And I was at peace!??!!?  It was CRAZY!  And WONDERFUL!  Who knew this was possible!?!?!  I sure didn’t before. The more I understood God’s sovereignty, the more I could just sit back, praise God, praise my husband, rest in God’s love, rest in my husband’s love and wait with excitement and anticipation to see what they worked out between the two of them.  Even when things looked scary, I had faith and trust in them and depended on them to make the decisions that were in our family’s best interests.  And they did.

WHILE I WAIT

I do a lot of praying, reading scripture, studying about God’s design for marriage, godly femininity and family.  I have my ears open for God’s voice all through each day, looking for opportunities He gives me to share His love and truth with others.  Each day just brims over with opportunities.  I sing praises to God out loud while I clean – instead of worrying obsessively like I used to.  I sing praises to God in my heart while I drive or work.  I think of things to write on my blog instead of constantly trying to figure out how to lead the family like I used to. I think of things to thank God for about Himself and about my husband and my life.  I dwell on the good things.  I am full of hope, joy, peace and faith.  I pray for others continually.  But I am not carrying the weight of the outcome like I used to try to do.

It is a busy life, an active life, but a peaceful and still one at the same time.  And I truly have a gentle, peaceful, quiet spirit that does not give way to fear every day – because God has given it to me!  What a precious gift!  He gives good gifts to His children!!

THE DESTINATION ISN’T THE BIGGEST THING

The waiting is about enjoying and savoring the journey.  It reminds me of when Greg took me to Colorado for our 10th anniversary in 2004.  I LOVE travelling with my husband and exploring new places.  We would drive and explore different mountain ranges all day and find a hotel on the GPS each night around supper time and stay somewhere spontaneously.  I didn’t know exactly where he would take me.  Everything was a surprise and an adventure.  We enjoyed each moment. We talked and laughed and looked at God’s beautiful creation with wide-eyed wonder.  We savored our relationship and the lazy time together.  When our flight was delayed and we ended up staying an extra day – we revelled in the chance to be together alone a little bit longer before heading back to see our sweet baby boy.  We used the time of waiting to focus on our intimacy, our relationship, our love for each other.  What a great way to use waiting time!  Then you are not just wasting time, you are LIVING!

That is how I view waiting with my husband and God now.

  • I am relishing being in their presence.
  • I am savoring the relationship.
  • I want to know both of them more.
  • I want to be one with them.
  • They are in charge of the destination.
  • I am just enjoying the ride and soaking up all the attention, love, adoration and unity.

It is romantic, exciting, and every day is an adventure because I am no longer in control!  God and my husband love to surprise and delight me.  And I adore all that they do for me and thank them for what they do. What freedom!  What weight has been lifted from my shoulders!  I LOVE NOT TRYING TO BE IN CONTROL!!!!!!!!  I LOVE GOD AND MY HUSBAND BEING IN CONTROL!   It is the most wonderful experience I have ever had.  I never want to go back to the old way.

I have to share this with other wives!  It is TOO WONDERFUL to keep to myself!

Lord,

I pray You will help each of us to wait on You and enjoy serving, praising and trusting You while we wait!  Let us have a deeply intimate relationship with You and our husbands.  Let us be women of great peace, with gentle and still spirits that do not give way to fear.  Let us trust completely in You and let our husbands see our faith in them.  Inspire us to be the women You long for us to be and let our husbands be the men You long for them to be.  Let us raise our children to know and love You and to be faithful servants of Christ!

Amen!!

 

FINDING REST FOR OUR SOULS IN CHRIST – David Platt

– We give all of our sin to Him.

– He gives us FULL pardon.

– We give Him all of our inability to obey God.

– He gives us all of His ability to obey God.

Replacing the “Tapes” in My Head

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Greg and April in June of 2012

Before God radically changed my mind, heart and soul over the past 5 years, I would constantly have “tapes” playing in my head where I was always talking to myself about things – a running narrative of worry, fear, trying to figure out every possible “what if” scenario and basically, trying to figure out how to MAKE everything work out “right” myself (trusting SELF instead of God – which is idolatry).

Here is an example of a tape I used to play often – thousands and thousands of times over and over again:

  • Greg doesn’t love me.
  • If he loved me, he would do X, Y and Z for me.
  • I would never treat him like this.
  • I obviously love him way more than he loves me.
  • He doesn’t care about me at all.
  • He didn’t even answer my question!  How rude was that!?!?!
  • That is more proof that he hates me.
  • He wouldn’t hug me when I was upset.  He’s the most unloving man ever.
  • He ignored me!  WHEN I WAS UPSET!!!!!!!  (insert tears)
  • God, You saw him!  You need to change him!  NOW!  He is supposed to love me like Christ loves the church!  But all he does is ignore me and refuse to talk to me.  He won’t pray with me.  You need to make him pray with me and talk with me and love me today.  I know that’s Your will.

REPLACING THE OLD “TAPES” WITH NEW ONES:

I have to dissect them, look for the possible lies, assumptions and misunderstandings and replace that with truth about how men think, who Greg is, actual facts instead of opinions and what God’s Word says.  This is how I take my thoughts captive for Christ and how, eventually, I don’t even think the disrespectful things anymore because I can distinguish the lies and sin behind my disrespectful thoughts and God helps me to repent of them and to remove them from my mind…

  • Greg doesn’t love me.

I am making an evil assumption about Greg here.

What is it that I know is true?  He married me.  He lives with me.  He comes home after work every night.  He sleeps in the same bed with me.  He has never said he doesn’t love me.   He may not show love the way that I want him to, but maybe he is a man and maybe there are things about him that I don’t understand.  Maybe he doesn’t verbalize his love as much as I do or as much as I want him to.  But verbalizing love is not the same thing as actually loving someone.

What things has he done to show me he loves me lately?

Well, he put gas in my car, he helped me carry in the groceries, he said he thought I should take a nap because I haven’t been sleeping well, he goes to work every day to help provide financially for me and our children, he has been remodeling the house to try to make a beautiful place for us to live.  Those are all ways that he tries to show me he loves me.  Maybe for him, he shows love with what he DOES for me much more than with words.  Maybe words don’t mean a lot to him.

  • If he loved me, he would do X, Y and Z for me.

Have I respectfully asked Greg for those things?  Do I expect him to read my mind?  Maybe he would do things I would like him to do if I asked him politely, with a friendly tone of voice and didn’t pressure him, but gave him time to decide on his own when and if he would want to do something.

Maybe it is unfair to assume that if he loved me he would show it in certain ways that I think he should show it.

  • I would never treat him like this.

When I start to accuse him of evil motives, based on how I would treat him, maybe I need to learn to understand him better.  He probably has good motives toward me.  He is a decent man.  Maybe if I don’t understand why he is behaving in a certain way, maybe I just don’t understand the way he looks at the world and sees life?  Maybe I can’t see his heart clearly? Maybe I could have done something that hurt him?  Maybe he felt disrespected?  Maybe what seems loving to me would feel smothering to him?

Maybe he is treating me with respect the way he would want me to treat him if the situation were reversed?

Maybe what he thinks of as being respectful, I take as being unloving?  Maybe what I take as me being loving to him feels disrespectful to him?

Maybe I have a LOT to learn and discover about masculinity and about my husband and his world?

  • I obviously love him way more than he loves me.

This is an unfair statement.  I am accusing him of evil motives again and assuming that I can accurately judge Greg’s heart and thoughts.  I am not God.  I am not able to judge someone’s motives accurately. I am measuring his love by my expectations.  Maybe my expectations are wrong.  Maybe my expectations are unrealistic?  Maybe I have made my expectations into idols – things I MUST HAVE to be happy.  Maybe I am expecting Greg to fill needs that only Jesus can meet in me.  Maybe I am acting insatiable?   Maybe my expectations are that he would think and act like me, or like a woman.  Maybe that would actually be a bad thing.

Maybe I need to learn to recognize all the ways Greg tries to communicate his love to me instead of demanding that he show love to me in specific ways.

Maybe I need to take my deepest spiritual and emotional needs to Christ and be responsible for my own peace and joy in Him no matter what Greg does or doesn’t do.

Maybe Greg feels like I don’t love him after the hateful tone of voice I just used with him and how exasperated, impatient and mean I must have just sounded.  I am not justified in sinning against Greg just because he doesn’t do what I want him to do.  Even if Greg was sinning against me, God commands me to repay evil with good, not to respond in sin.  Romans 12:9-21

  • He doesn’t care about me at all.

This is also an unfair accusation.  The enemy is the accuser.  Who am I listening to?  Love believes the best and assumes the best about the one it loves, not the worst (I Corinthians 13:4-8).  Am I cooperating with the enemy?  Why am I accusing Greg of evil?  Am I listening to the voice of God?  That doesn’t sound like the kind of thing God would say about Greg.

  • He didn’t even answer my question!  How rude was that!?!?!

Maybe Greg is not a woman.  Maybe he needs time and space to process and think.  That is not wrong.  Maybe he wasn’t trying to be rude.  He might be different from me.  Maybe he doesn’t come up with answers in 2 seconds like I do.  That doesn’t mean he was being rude.  Or maybe I was pressuring him too much.  Maybe if I had asked politely and waited, he would have been glad to answer.  Maybe he didn’t want to make a rash decision.  Maybe he is attempting to make a thoughtful, careful, wise choice because he loves me and because he wants to be a responsible man.  Accusing him of being rude is not a loving or respectful thing to do – especially since I don’t really know his motives.

Or, maybe Greg is afraid to answer my question because he is afraid I will attack him if he doesn’t answer “the right way.”  Maybe he doesn’t feel safe talking with me because of how I have treated him.

  • That is more proof that he hates me.

Maybe this is more proof that he is different from me, or that he has shut down to protect himself from me.  But it is not actually proof that he hates me and does not love me.

I need to think about the good things about Greg like Philippians 4:4-8 commands me to do:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!   Hmmm…  I have not been rejoicing in the Lord, I have been focusing on Greg’s flaws. Not good.

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – I was not gentle to Greg, and I did not act like I knew I was in God’s presence.  If I could see Jesus standing behind Greg’s shoulder, would I have just spoken to my husband like I did?  NO!  Definitely not!  But Jesus IS right here and He DOES see how I treat Greg, and even every thought I have about him.  I am accountable to Him for each thought and careless word.  Jesus counts how I treat Greg as if I am doing these things to Him.  YIKES!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  – I was just trusting myself to try to make things work out “right” – I wasn’t trusting God.  I wasn’t taking it to Him in prayer.  I was worrying and trying to control.  Lord, I repent!  I need Your power and Your Spirit and Your peace!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  – The things I was just thinking and playing over and over in my head don’t fit any of these descriptions.  Those thoughts have to go!

  • He wouldn’t hug me when I was upset.  He’s the most unloving man ever.

How was I talking to him?  I had raised my voice and was trying to force my way.  Hmm…  I probably came across very disrespectfully just now.  That might be why he didn’t hug me.  Maybe he felt attacked by me.  Maybe I owe him an apology.

Am I being loving and respectful to him?

Let me compare myself to God’s love in I Corinthians 13:4-8:

April is patient and kind – OOPS!  I was not patient and I was not kind just now.  That was sin.

April does not envy or boast – OOPS!  I was just boasting to myself about how I love Greg so much more than he loves me.  That was sin, pride and self-righteousness.

April is not arrogant or rude – Well – I probably was rude to him just now when I think about my facial expression and my awful tone of voice.  That was disrespectful, and arrogant.  And thinking I am always right and he is always wrong is really arrogant of me.  I’m not doing very well on loving like God does so far.  UGH!  FORGIVE ME, LORD!

April does not insist on her own way – YIKES!!!!!!!!  That is exactly what I was just doing.  YUCK.  Lord, I repent of this sin, too.

April does not rejoice at wrongdoing – YAY!  I don’t think I did that!!!

April rejoices with the truth – Uh Oh!  I was holding on to a lot of untrue thinking just now.  More sin.

April bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. April’s love never ends. – Hmmm…  I have a lot of work to do.  I am not living in the power of God’s Spirit.  I have a lot of sin to repent of.

  • He ignored me!  WHEN I WAS UPSET!!!!!!!  (insert tears)

Maybe I hurt Greg deeply just now, and then had the gall to expect him to turn and comfort ME.  UGH.

  • God, You saw him!  You need to change him!  NOW!  He is supposed to love me like Christ loves the church!  But all he does is ignore me and refuse to talk to me.  He won’t pray with me.  You need to make him pray with me and talk with me and love me today.  I know that’s Your will.

God, CHANGE ME!!!!!!!  I am such a sinner!

Please forgive my pride!  Forgive my arrogance.  Please forgive me for listening to the enemy and for focusing on my assumptions instead of focusing on facts and on Greg’s usual good will toward me.  Please help me to understand his masculine viewpoint and the differences between how we think and feel and process decisions.  Help me to extend grace and mercy instead of bitterness and resentment.  Help me to see my sin and focus on his strengths.  Thank you for my husband’s strengths and gifts and talents.  You have given him so many strengths ….  help me to be thankful for those instead of focusing on that he wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted exactly when I wanted him to do it.  Forgive me for being controlling and disrespectful.  Cleanse me of all of my selfishness.  Let me find my acceptance, purpose, identity, strength, joy and peace in You alone.  Help me to take my hands off of Greg’s throat and allow You to speak to him instead of me trying to be his Holy Spirit.  Help me to be quiet about spiritual things so that I get out of your way and he can hear Your voice.

How can I bless Greg today?  What can I do to apologize?  How can I meet his need for respect and honor in a genuine way today?  Fill me with Your Spirit and let me have a sound mind.  Help me to be still and rest in Your love and in Greg’s love.  Thank you for Greg.  He is a precious gift.  Show me how I can make things up to him today.  Help me to LISTEN to him and understand him.  Help me to embrace the waiting and allow You to lead me and Greg to lead me.

I accept that Greg may not be as affectionate and verbal as I want him to be.  Help me to love, honor and respect him as he is right now.  Forgive me for wanting to change him.  I am the one who needs changing the most, Lord.  I don’t have wisdom.  YOU have wisdom.  I trust You to lead me through my husband and to make me into the godly wife and woman You desire me to be.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

RELATED:

My Demon

The Voice in His Head

Tone of Voice

Stopping Arguing and Complaining

I Feel Alone, Discouraged and Like I Can’t Say Anything Right to My Husband

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We are talking about some FAQs that I get from a lot of wives who are just beginning this journey toward becoming godly, respectful, biblically submissive wives with peaceful and gentle spirits who do what is right and do not give way to fear and are very beautiful in God’s sight.

  • This seems like more than I can handle (part 1)
  • When do I get to the “peaceful” part? (part 1)
  • I don’t want to lose my voice in my marriage. (part 2)
  • I feel like I am losing myself. (part 2)
  • I feel so lonely.
  • I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not saying anything at all.
  • My husband isn’t changing at all.  Respect doesn’t work on my husband. (Part 4)
  • My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage. (Part 4)
  • But I’m right! (Part 5)
  • I’m so scared to give up control!  Everything will fall apart if I don’t take charge!  I’m the better leader! (Part 5)
  • He doesn’t deserve my respect! (Part 6)
  • Why can’t HE change first?  Why do I have to change when he’s the one who is so far from God and so unloving? (Part 7)

5. I feel so alone on this journey.

There are a number of reasons why some wives will feel this way as we seek to become the godly wives Jesus desires us to be.

  • Being a godly woman goes completely against the world’s wisdom, our culture’s wisdom, our friends’ and family’s wisdom.  There will not be a lot of support for wives who make this journey, even among most people who claim to be Christians.  Unfortunately, many people who claim Christ today do not live in obedience to His Word and do not live with Him as Lord.  Finding godly mentoring wives who actually do respect their husbands and honor their husbands’ leadership can be almost impossible even in many churches.  If you start talking about respecting your husband, some people will get upset – particularly other women.  And if you actually talk about biblical submission or honoring your husband’s God-given leadership, there are women, even in the church, who will insult you, become very angry, verbally attack you, ridicule you, say that you have joined a “cult” and will pile contempt on you.  We aren’t used to being persecuted as disciples of Christ in the West today.  Part of the reason we aren’t persecuted much is because our “Christianity” has been watered down by so many ungodly influences and ideas that many of us don’t live much like Jesus did and don’t obey much of what He has instructed us to do.  But when you begin to submit to Christ in everything, including how you treat your husband and how you honor your husband’s authority in your marriage – you will be DIFFERENT.  You will be very noticeable.  And you may well be a target of verbal persecution.  That’s ok.  Jesus said we would be persecuted in this world.  He sure was!  If we think we are living for Christ and no one ever attacks us for the way we live – something is probably wrong.  The world does not understand God’s design for marriage – but the world is drawn to Christ when we live out God’s design for marriage! (Titus 2:5)  The gospel of Jesus is glorified when we cooperate with our husbands’ leadership and respect them.
  • If you are like me – I took several big steps back from almost everyone in my life when I began this journey.  I realized that there was so much sin in my heart and it was spewing out of my mouth constantly.  I didn’t want to say something sinful.  So during my “Frustrating Quiet Phase” I became quiet not just with my husband, but with everyone.  I needed to learn God’s wisdom and discretion.  I didn’t trust myself to talk because I knew something disrespectful of my husband would come out if I tried to talk at all with my family and friends.  Ideally, you will have a godly mentoring wife you can meet with, pray with and learn from.  If you don’t – that is why I write this blog.  I didn’t have a mentor either.  It was just me, Jesus, God’s Word, prayer and 30 books about godly femininity and marriage in 2 years.
  • This journey is also lonely at first because you have to give up your desire to “feel loved” by your husband if that has become an idol for you.  Your marriage is probably a bit rocky in the beginning of this journey, anyway.  That is why you were looking for help.  And suddenly, you aren’t sharing every thought you have with your husband.  You aren’t sure what to share and what not to share.  If your husband is far from God – it is generally wise NOT to share much verbally about what you are learning spiritually (I Peter 3:1-6).  He can hear your actions, attitude and behavior much more clearly than a long explanation of what you are learning spiritually at that point.  If your husband is close to God, you may be able to share  some of what you are learning – but in the early stages, it is very easy for what we are learning to come across disrespectfully to our husbands, so we have to be SUPER CAREFUL!

Whatever you do, PLEASE do NOT say things like,

– “So, I am learning that I have to respect you even when I think your ideas are really stupid.”

– “I am going to try to trust you now even though you have given me so many reasons why trusting you is a ridiculous and foolish thing for me to do.”

– “The Bible says I have to respect you even though you totally don’t deserve my respect at all.”

– “I guess I have to let you be the leader now – but I know you’ll just mess everything up.”

It is better – MUCH BETTER – if we are not sure what is respectful and disrespectful at first – that we not say anything than to say something even more damaging like these statements above.

  • At first, you haven’t learned yet how to find all of your contentment in Christ – so there is a time of figuring out how to do that, and before you get to that point, it can feel lonely.
  • You begin to see the disrespect in other marriages and in your friends’ conversations.  You start to see how almost all other women bash their husbands, put them down, criticize them constantly, disrespect them blatantly, make jokes at their expense, treat their men like they are stupid idiots – and you realize – “I can’t be as close to these friends/coworkers/Bible study members as I have been.  They are an ungodly influence on me.”  Husband bashing and having a judgmental, critical spirit is very contagious.  We cannot afford to closely associate with women who encourage us to disrespect our husbands.

In time, you have incredible fellowship with God – which more than makes up for the loneliness with others, in my view.  And, in time, most likely you will also have much closer fellowship with your husband – which is way better than having a lot of women friends, anyway, in my book.  And then, in more time – God may give you a ministry to other wives or He may give you godly friends you can enjoy.

6. I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not going to say anything at all.

There may be a brief time when this is necessary during the Frustrating Quiet Phase.

I have tons of posts and resources to help you learn to say things respectfully (please scroll back through my Blog Timeline at the top of my home page or search for topics on the search bar on my home page).  And, if there is something specific you want to say to your husband, but you aren’t sure how to word it, please leave me a comment and I will be happy to give you some suggestions. 🙂  You may leave comments on this post or any post – and we will hash through the issues together. 🙂

I also have a lot of video posts on my Youtube channel “April Cassidy” where I demonstrate how to have a respectful tone of voice that is friendly and pleasant – not angry and condemning.  I also talk about nonverbal disrespect and how important it is for our facial expressions and body language to convey genuine respect.  I have a video about how to ask for things so that your husband wants to say yes.  I am not saying he WILL say yes.  I am saying he will want to say yes if he can if you approach him in a feminine, friendly, respectful way.

Here’s the thing.  You can’t fake respect for your husband any more than he can fake love for you.  MEN CAN TELL!  If you are not sincere, if you are just using flattery, if you actually don’t respect him but are trying to be respectFUL, it won’t work.  Your husband needs to see that you can find REAL things about him to respect, appreciate and admire.

Your feelings, desires, opinions and perspective are important!  Your husband needs your input and needs you to be plugged into the marriage.  He doesn’t want a woman who has no thoughts, no opinions and no personality.  He loves YOU.  It is possible to learn to speak your mind and heart in respectful ways that your husband can best hear.  This will involve things like:

  • saying “I want”  or “I don’t want” things (Laura Doyle The Surrendered Wife – not from a Christian perspective, so weigh each statement carefully against scripture!)
  • saying “I feel ____”  “I feel sad.”  “I feel lonely.”  “I feel happy.”  “I feel nervous.” (The Surrendered Wife)
  • giving requests and suggestions instead of demands  and directives.
  • saying what you want to do but then saying, “Whatever you think is best for us.  I trust you, Honey.”

It is important that you keep your primary motive as being “I want God’s will above everything else.  I trust God to lead me through my husband, even if I don’t agree at the time.”  If your husband is not asking you to clearly sin or condone sin, share your heart and what you want, but then if he still feels strongly that he should decide another way – graciously trust his leadership and allow God to work in his heart.  This means that I am ok if I get “my way” or not.  Because I trust that God is able to bring about His will in ways that I can’t begin to understand as He leads me through Greg.

RELATED:

A Real Life Example of Respect and Submission  – check out the little miracle that I got to witness because I trusted God and respected and submitted to Greg.

“So, When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?”

I’d like to welcome a number of new wives who are just beginning this journey toward becoming the godly wives God calls us to be.

It can be a bit overwhelming at first as you begin to look at all that you don’t know and all that it seems needs to be changed.  A lot of you have very valid concerns and questions.  If you have a question I have not addressed here, please leave it for me in the comments and we will talk about it!

  • This seems like more than I can handle.
  • When does the peaceful part start?
  • I feel like I am losing myself. (Part 2)
  • I don’t want to lose my voice and power in the marriage (Part 2)
  • I feel so lonely. (Part 3)
  • I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not saying anything at all. (Part 3)
  • My husband isn’t changing at all.  Respect doesn’t work on my husband. (Part 4)
  • My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage. (Part 4)
  • But I’m right! (Part 5)
  • I’m so scared to give up control!  I am the better leader.  I should be in charge! (Part 5)
  • He doesn’t deserve my respect! (Part 6)
  • Why can’t HE change first?  Why do I have to change when he’s the one who is so far from God and so unloving? (Part 7)
  • Wives who have been on this journey for awhile – please share your wisdom with the wives who are at the beginning of the trail.  I may anonymously share your comments in another post, too, if that is ok. 🙂

1. This seems like more than I can handle.

YES!  If you feel that way – that is a GOOD THING.  It means that you realize that you can’t do this on your own – that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be the godly woman God commands you to be in your own power.  That is a critical first step because it is only through the power of God’s Spirit filling you up and giving you supernatural power that you can be the wife of His dreams.  You can’t do this without Him.  In your own power, all you can do is have the sinful nature in control.

The results of the sinful nature being in control are predictable and written for us in Galatians 5:19-21:

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The thing to realize is that if I have ANY of these things going on in my life and mind and soul – I am being powered by the sinful nature.

When God’s Spirit is in charge, the results are also predictable and are written for us in Galatians 5:22-25:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

If I don’t have all of the fruit of the Spirit growing in us on an increasing basis pretty much daily – something is SERIOUSLY wrong with my walk with Christ Jesus.

Either:

1. I never actually received Him as my Savior and Lord – accepting His gift of His death for me in my place as payment for all of my sins against God and giving my life completely to Him for Him to now be in charge.

2. I am not living with Him as Lord and am cherishing sin in my heart.  Often, the biggest ones are

  • PRIDE – thinking I know best and I know better than God and His Word doesn’t apply to me, I am justified in not obeying His Word
  • idolatry  – making something else most important in my life – I MUST HAVE THIS THING to be happy.  If that thing I must have to be content is not Jesus – I am in sin.
  • unforgiveness – If I refuse to forgive others when they sin against me, Jesus says God will not forgive me – Matthew 6.

If I have grieved the Spirit of God – I don’t have His power blasting through my soul and empowering me to do things that I cannot do on my own.

I need to:

  • admit my sin is wrong and offends God’s holiness. (I John 1:9)
  • ask for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus that He shed for me.  He paid for all of my sin as if He had committed the wrongs I have done.  He bore the full wrath of God that I deserved in my place so that I can be made right with God by His goodness.  He puts His holiness and righteousness (right standing before God) in my account and He puts my sin in His account when I trust Him and put my full faith in Him.  He took my death and punishment and when I receive this gift He gives me, He gives me His life with God and the spiritual riches of heaven.  I don’t deserve this.  I deserve hell.  I can’t earn God’s favor.  I can’t earn God’s pleasure with me on my own.  But Jesus can give me a new heart and soul and I can stand before God with the righteousness of Jesus as my robe – so that when God sees me – He sees His perfect Son.  I don’t understand how all that happens.  But I am SURE THANKFUL He is able to do that for me!  WHAT GREAT NEWS!
  • turn away from my sin 180 degrees and stop doing it and turn to God.
  • die to my old sinful self – nail it to the cross to die and be buried with Christ – then I can  put on my new self in Christ. (Galatians 5:24)
  • seek to obey God in EVERYTHING and allow His Spirit to fill me daily. (Ephesians 5:18)
  • have my only goals in life to be to know God, to desire to please Him, to obey Him, to do His will and to bring Him the greatest glory
  • give myself as a living sacrifice to Jesus daily.  I lay down my rights, my wisdom, my plans, my life, my desires, my possessions, my future, my family, my marriage, my everything.  Then I pick up His wisdom, His plans, His desires, His power, His strength, His holiness, His will and I seek His glory alone.
  • focus on the good things God has done for me and given to me and have a thankful heart. (Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 4:8)
  • do not worry or trust SELF anymore, but trust God with all my heart. (Philippians 4:4-8)

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, He will obey My teaching.  My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.”  John 14:23-24a

If Jesus is my LORD – my answer to Him is always, “Yes!!!”  There is NOTHING He can ask me to do that I won’t do.

2. When Does the Peaceful Part Start?

You actually control a lot of the speed of this process.

Becoming a peaceful wife has NOTHING to do with our husbands or our marriages – it has EVERYTHING to do with our relationship with Christ.

If you cling to sin and cherish it more than you cherish obeying Jesus and being full of His Spirit and repenting of sin – you will have a long time of pain, frustration and struggling.

The beginning of this journey is PAINFUL.  It is hard to give up idols and face our sin!  And it is terrifying to stop trusting self and seeking to feel loved and to learn to trust God if we have not done that before.

The sooner you learn to trust God and put all your faith in Him and the sooner you embrace His wisdom and repent of your sin – the sooner you will experience His supernatural peace and joy.

  • I must be willing to give up EVERYTHING that offends God.  Every single thing.
  • I must be willing to obey Christ and make Him LORD of everything in my life.
  • I must submit 100% of myself and my life to Jesus.  I have to wrestle with my fears and beliefs and God’s Word until I can get to the point that I can honestly say, “Not my will but Yours be done, Jesus.”
  • I must be willing to obey Him no matter what the personal cost to myself.

When your sinful nature is no longer in control – but you have died to your old sinful self – and God’s Spirit is in control and you are walking in obedience to His Word – the peace will come automatically.  God gives His spiritual gifts to those who live by faith, who trust Him completely and who obey Him, even when there is suffering and hardship.

  • It was really shocking to me at first when I began to experience it.  I usually had worry and anxiety and fears running constantly through my head all the time.  But when I finally repented of all my sin and idols and unforgiveness – I realized one day that that voice wasn’t going all the time.  Things were still and calm in my head.  That was WEIRD and DIFFERENT. Then it dawned on me that this strange feeling was PEACE.

Wow!

It felt SO GREAT!!!!!

Let me warn  you – God’s peace is SUPER addictive.  Once you experience it-  you will be willing to do anything to have it again if you lose it. 🙂

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  Isaiah 26:3

SOME OTHER WIVES SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES:

1. Angelique:

I have been on this journey for 17 months and it does take a while! I, too, am so glad you are on this journey. It takes so much courage and strength to do this. There are days that are so hard and days that are so wonderful. I tell April all the time, “I hated you and loved you at the same time.” I hated that my old self had to die to its old ways of wanting to be pleased all the time but then I loved her because of the truth she was fueling me with. The truth has truly changed me and my marriage.

So don’t give up and if you feel like you want to, just reach out and we are all here on this journey with you. Trust in God’s perfect plan. The Bible says, He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

The one thing I learned early on was – I had made my husband an idol in my heart. I had to learn to replace Jesus as my one and only God. That was extremely hard for me because I had my whole identity wrapped up in how my husband made me feel. So if I didn’t get the warm and fuzzies from him that day then chances were, I was having a crummy-feeling day.

I had to learn how God felt about me. I had to daily and moment by moment remember God’s intense love for me – that I was uniquely and wonderfully made. That He had a great plan for my life. That I was beautiful and precious to Him. When I knew that, like really knew that, there was this overwhelming peace and joy that flooded my heart. Sure, I still wished my husband would be romantic and pursue me more ,but my world didn’t get shaken when he didn’t.
I also had to notice the ways my husbands was showing his love or trying to be romantic. Some times I needed a magnifying glass to actually see them, but I delighted in each one.

The more I began to focus on God, the happier and more peaceful I became. The less I controlled him and nagged my husband, the lighter I felt. The more I focused on my sin, the more gracious I became.

Then somehow like magic, my husband started to miss me and wanted to be with me more. And the more I invested into my husband’s life as an act of love (not wrong motives…you have to be careful with that) the more intrigued I became with this person I married. God gave me a window into my husband’s heart and I began to see things and learn things about him I never knew after 8 years of marriage. Now I truly delight in just being with him, even if its watching him build things in the garage. Sometimes he invests back into me and sometimes he doesn’t. I’m okay with that! God knows the desires of my heart and I fully trust God with them!

I am so glad you are here and working on improving your marriage. I know God is pleased you are trying to honor Him by being a godly wife.

2. A Fellow Wife

We all have down days.

There is a sadness in realizing that things are not going to be like you thought they would. But I promise you, there is true peace in this path. I have been on this journey for 13 months but things really just started clicking into place for me 2 months ago. It takes time. And you can do this.

Realize this – God’s plan is good. It may not feel good at the moment but some day you will look back and see that His plan is so much better than what you originally thought you wanted in marriage.

I once heard this in a marriage seminar and it has helped me tremendously. God does not tell us to submit to our husbands because he thinks we are inferior. He is giving us the KEY to our husbands heart by telling us to submit. Our soft, submissive behavior draws our husbands to us and makes them respond in ways that we have long dreamed they would. They don’t always do it exactly when we want them to. But it does happen.

You can certainly tell your husband things you want in your marriage. But letting him decide when to give you these things is giving him the ability to give you a very sweet gift that you will savor and treasure. Instead of him giving it to you because you are demanding it, he is giving it to you – when he chooses to do so – as a gift from his heart.

Yes, you are a sheep but that does not mean you are not infinitely precious to God. Do you know that God has your very name written in the palm of his hand? (Isaiah 49:16) If you were the only one on earth, He still would have sent His Son for you. Don’t doubt your worth. God’s Word also says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

I do this when I am feeling down. Write down 10 wonderful things about your husband. Things like he is affectionate or he tells you he loves you daily. Whatever they are. Even going to work for your family makes the list- that is a huge thing and how most men feel is a way they can show love the best. Making a list like this always makes me feel better and reminds me how blessed I am to have my husband.

Coming to that place where you decide you can be okay either way is HARD. There is no getting around that fact. I had some real days of grieving when I realized that I had to give every hope and dream into God’s hands to see what He would do.

But He has not failed me. I did this with no expectation of return. BUT my husband has actually done some very sweet and unexpected things since that time to show his love for me. Are they things on my time table? Nope. Are they exactly what I would have ‘ordered’ him to give me? Nope. But they are honestly much, much sweeter.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

We’ll look at the other questions from the top of this article in the next few posts.

OTHER RESOURCES:

Nina Roesner wrote a post about the normal stages that wives go through on this journey.

My YOUTUBE CHANNEL – “April Cassidy”

“Making a Big Breakfast for My Husband”

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From a precious wife – thank you for allowing me to share this!  MANY, MANY wives will relate!

I just completed day 20 this week, I am about six weeks behind, but I am taking the Respect Dare at my own pace in hopes that I will glean more from it and really work carefully at applying the principles in my own heart. May God’s Spirit guide me and lead me daintily and tenderly through the remaining 20 dares.

I feel good to have gotten half way through Nina’s book. I was a wife whom from the beginning didn’t know if I had it in me to complete the dares, yet alone work on becoming a respectful wife.

Dare 20 was a hard dare for me. I thought I was getting it, I wrote down four things that I wanted to do to show my hubby sacrificial love, and then I did some of those things.

  • One of those things was to clean his bathroom (the downstairs bathroom that only he uses and calls “his throne room” jokingly). I braved this task and did it cheerfully and didn’t mind it. I had fun killing about six different spiders and cleaning the yucky “needed to be cleaned for the past two months!!!” bathroom.

I did it without expecting anything in return and knowing that it needed to be done.

  • The second thing (I forget what it was now), but I did it, cheerfully and willingly.
  • The third thing I wanted to do to show hubby love was to make him a big breakfast. My hubby likes eggs and sausage, biscuits and gravy, the works! The desire to make him this breakfast came from a heart that had wanted to make him a big breakfast since his birthday in May or since our anniversary in June. I gave him a raincheck and wanted to make it for him. So I bought the needed groceries.

Hubby came home late from a baseball game that he went to with his work. He got home around 1:00 a.m. He woke up at 8:30 and didn’t fall back to sleep. I tried to be very quiet and to let him sleep. Once he came downstairs, I started making breakfast. I was discouraged since I couldn’t get our digital music player to play in the kitchen. I asked him for help but he didn’t know how to help me. So I ended up making the breakfast and sang some songs to worship God and to make my own joyful noise.

So as I am making this breakfast my hubs is sitting down at the kitchen booth table. He is tired, drained, and is trying to communicate to me about the game. I was trying hard to listen to him and to finish things up.

Well I got everything made and served up. And then came the sitting down at the table.

And out came the junk (the sinful motives and attitude) that I didn’t know would come out.

Before we prayed, I complained.

  • I complained about the music player that I HAD WANTED him to fix so I COULD listen to music to get ME (or try to get us) in a better mood since I knew it would be a hard day to talking with hubby since he was out of it (ON top of working two 12 hour days previously during the week of overtime, which God so graciously allowed).
  • Then I complained that my husband didn’t appreciate me.

AND THE HEART OF THE MATTER WAS, I was complaining because I expected him to be SO APPRECIATIVE of the sacrificial act of love I was doing for him.

We had a talk. I told him about my desire to be affirmed by words and appreciated. I told him my desire to be cherished and appreciated. BUT THE FACT WAS….

That I guess I was stewing some of the time I was preparing the food, because I wanted so much to be appreciated while I was cooking.

Just one comment.

I expected my husband to react in a certain way, the way I thought he should. I wanted so much to make it perfect, but I was the one who made it hard.

I know hubs would have said thank you, but I didn’t give him time to say anything. I just jumped in, critized him about the lack of fixing the music player, and then was drowned in my desire and need for appreciation.

SO I ended up asking for forgiveness. He prayed for our food.

Then I got overly emotional. I could only pray to God. Help me Jesus. I just wanted to please God. I just wanted to feel appreciated.

Hubby said it would have been better that I hadn’t cooked the big breakfast if I was going to EXPECT HIM TO REACT IN a CERTAIN way at a CERTAIN point of time.

So I was overcome by tears. Tears that knew I had sinned. Tears of my deep emotions and desire to be loved, cherished, appreciated, adored, but also tears of repentance. I completely understood what my husband was saying.

  • I was being disrespectful by my expectations.
  • Wanting his words of affirmation when I thought he should give them.
  • Not waiting on hubby’s response time.
  • Wanting hubby’s approval more than God’s approval.

I did serve hubby with love. But it wasn’t a sacrificial perfect love like Jesus’. I wanted recognition, admiration, praise, and compliments at the right time, but Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross didn’t come with recognition, admiration, praise, and compliments. It came without any rewards. It came with humility and obedience. It came with a desire to please God and not man.

That is where I failed. That is why I am writing this.

To encourage those who have stories similiar to mine. To proclaim that Jesus forgave me of my selfish, changing motives for praise and recognition, and to give Him the glory for beginning to change my mindset.

Thanks April for allowing me to share.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I believe that every wife has multiple moments like this on the journey to becoming a respectful, godly wife.

This is probably going to sound really strange. But – I am thankful that sometimes our husbands DON’T give us the affirmation and recognition we desire, especially at first.

WHY would I say that?

  • When we don’t get what we really want – our husbands’ appreciation, their verbal affirmation – it forces us to see our true motives.  Seeing our true motives is very necessary for us to really die to self, take every thought captive for Christ and for God to refine our faith.  These are opportunities for God to skim the “dross” off the top of the melted gold in our hearts to make us more and more pure.

THIS IS A PAINFUL PART of the journey.  To be sure!!!!

It is wonderful when our husbands do affirm us, encourage us, thank us and appreciate us.  I’m glad when they do these things.

BUT – our motives have GOT to be to please and honor Christ alone.  It is only when we are truly finding our contentment, purpose, identity, acceptance, fulfillment and joy in Jesus alone that we can be the godly wives Jesus commands us to be.  And we can only do that by the power of His Spirit.  There is nothing good in us on our own.  It is all about Christ and His power every step of the way.

EXPECTATIONS – The Respect Dare Day 1

The Respect Dare, Day 20 – Loving Our Husbands with Sacrificial Love

Expectations – Part 1   (Part 1 of a 4 part series I did earlier in the year on expectations.)

I Want Affirmation from My Husband!

 

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