Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

I Wish I Could Make Her a Sister

medium_1461634812
chicks57 via photopin cc

This is going to be one of THOSE blogs. One of those really hard to write ones. One that really exposes the heart of an issue. Being real isn’t always easy, but in doing so we are often able to minister to and relate with others. It brings a sense of community and a feeling of understanding. It promotes compassion and gives others some insight into the trials of others which helps us to love them, support them and pray for them. So this is a REAL blog about REAL issues of life and the heart.

Tonight’s topic is especially hard though. You see, if you’ve never suffered through the pain and frustrations of infertility, you probably haven’t considered the many ways in which it affects a woman, a marriage or a family. There are so many emotions, trials and challenges. I have been experiencing one lately, as I deal with secondary infertility. (For those who don’t know, secondary infertility describes a woman who has been able to have a child but hasn’t been able to conceive or bring to term and deliver more children.)

My daughter is such a beautiful gift from God. She is five years old now and I can barely stand to see her grow up so quickly. I try to cherish every moment and every experience with her. She makes my life so special. The Lord was good to us in giving us this precious little girl, and I thank Him for her daily. I accept that she may be the only child He will give us, and that His plan is perfect, though we certainly have prayed for another miracle baby over the past five years.

While I am able to accept His will, it’s not to say it is without the occasional tear or heartbreak. A few nights ago I experienced a new kind of pain and it was for my daughter. She was playing with her little cousin and his big sister at Grammy’s house. At some point my daughter heard her big cousin referring to herself as the little one’s sister, so my daughter started to profess that she too was his sister. She was gently reminded that she isn’t the sister but rather the cousin and my brother (her uncle) went on to explain to her how special a cousin is. Still, despite their efforts to encourage her, she was heartbroken. She wasn’t a sister.

When they told me about this happening (I was at a wedding at the time), I was so sad for her. You see, we are part of a family and church family that places great importance on family and most of the families have been blessed with multiple children. In fact, many of our friends have very large families. We watch as sisters and brothers share sweet moments, hold brand new siblings, teach each other and love on one another. It’s precious and I’m so happy for those families. At the same time, I can’t help but ache for my daughter, who wants so badly to experience those moments, but can’t.

Sadness isn’t the only emotion for me. Whether or not it’s how I should feel, I’m often filled with guilt. I sometimes blame myself for not being able to make my daughter a sister. I would so love to give her that experience someday, and it’s my prayer that this will happen, but for now I’m left feeling inadequate and like a failure for not being able to make my little girl someone’s big sister. It’s a hard feeling to describe, but I’m sure other’s who have experienced similar circumstances will understand all too well.

I know that, just as I have to accept that I may never be able to mother another child, my daughter will have to accept that being someone’s sister in the traditional sense may not be God’s plan. What I will strive to remind her and assure her is that in the family of Jesus, she is a sister to many of God’s children. She will have friends who are like sisters. She will have big and little sisters in the Lord. While it may not be exactly the same, with Christ’s help it’ll be enough.

Perhaps our dreams of adopting will someday come to fruition and we’ll be able to give her siblings, but for now we will teach our daughter that God is the opener and closer of wombs. He is the one who knits families together, whether naturally or by adoption. He will give her plenty of opportunity to love others and to be loved. I pray now for my little girl’s heart, that she will have understanding in this and, even at this young age, trust the Lord. I pray also for this mommy’s heart, that I would feel the hurt when it’s needed but then move on to joy and contentment. I pray that my heart would see the opportunities all around me to use my mother’s heart to minister to others. I continue to thank God that I got the tremendous privilege of experiencing life forming and growing within me, and that I get to gaze upon my daughter’s beautiful face every day. Thank You Jesus!

Thank you readers for being willing to go deep and real with me here in this blog. If what I share touches your heart, I pray you will share the blog with your friends and stick with me here. If you have never suffered from infertility, I pray you will be able to give understanding and compassion to friends and loved ones who have or do now. I pray that, as you look upon the faces of your children, you will remember to pray for those women who are aching for children they cannot have even now. Pray for them and thank the Lord again for His blessings.

“And He (God) will make the barren woman to keep house and to be the joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord!” Psalm 113:9

4 Comments »

Where Did “Holy Matrimony” Originate?

medium_3641641090
Kamal Zharif via photopin cc

Holy Matrimony. Where did the concept originate? What does it mean to be joined together in holy matrimony and how has the concept evolved? How does it affect marrying couples of today? These are the questions I had in mind as I read about the history of marriage in and outwith the church. The first issue we need to explore is the idea of being “joined together” and who has the right to do this “joining” of a man and a woman.

You may be surprised to discover that marriage was not always a matter of state or government. The government didn’t always have a say in whether or not a couple was joined together in marriage. Couples didn’t always require a state license to wed, nor be married by a person who was government-certified to do so. It wasn’t until the middle ages that marriage contracts permitted by the church or the state came into being. In fact, it may surprise you even more to learn that the church really had little to do with the contractual joining of a couple in matrimony for nearly 6,000 years.

Prior to the middle ages, a man and a woman were joined in marriage by vows that they took and pledged before God and private contracts between families. There need by no officiate present. No one did the “joining” except for the One who actually created marriage in the first place – God. A marriage declared by a couple and their family was considered valid and recognized up through the 1700’s.

 

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6

 

God is the Author of marriage and He joins a man and a woman in matrimony. He brings them together. He hears and receives the vows they present to one another and to Him. He blesses their union and gives them instruction through His Word as to how their marriages should work. This is how both the early church and early government saw the marriage covenant. Then, between the 17th and 18th centuries it all started to change.

As we have watched and experienced, various governments have grown in their roles and scope of authority over the years. In the history of America, and other countries as well, mankind has fought against unjust and bad governments. We have submitted to governments that seem to be more just and right. We have allowed them to take control of some aspects of our lives, and have pushed back against them when they have tried to go too far. We apply for driver’s licenses thereby asking the government for permission to drive and recognizing their authority. We offer up our taxes and fees. We pay for licenses to run businesses, keep dogs and to hold yard sales on our property. We ask their permission to enter into marriage by applying for a license, and we are “joined together” by a person who has asked for permission to do so by applying for a license himself. It wasn’t always like this, but that’s the way it is today. The government has seized control of God’s beautiful creation of marriage and therefore now assumes the authority to determine and change the very concept of marriage….one man and one woman.

We can expect nothing less. When we let the world in, it will twist and turn and re-invent what God did perfectly the first time. He formed the man and the woman to be perfect counterparts for each other, physically, spiritually and emotionally. He brought the woman to the man and joined them together in a truly holy matrimony. He declared that none should separate them. He desired that their covenant would be kept sacred and unbreakable. There were no officiates or state contracts involved. It was pure and it was exquisite.

As I write this, I find myself a little saddened by the way the secular world has worked its way into this sacred covenant. On the other hand, a marriage is still a very beautiful occasion, and there is nothing wrong with a couple submitting to government ordinances in purchasing a marriage license, throwing a big celebration and allowing someone to officiate by leading them through their vows and wedding traditions. As long as a couple understands that it truly is God who is “joining” them in marriage, the rest is just fun and romantic. We just need to remember to keep Jesus at the center of our wedding ceremonies and to make it very clear that it is God who does the joining.

Leave a comment »

You Should Care – You Really Should

Image
photo credit: rafa2010 via photopin cc

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18

That’s the problem with so many Christians today. We love in word and talk, but we don’t love in deed and in truth. We speak great works of affection, but we close our eyes to real opportunities to put that love into action. We say that we care, but our caring falls short of being willing to self-sacrifice in any way to meet a need. We consider ourselves to be loving, but we pass right by one who feels like she is drowning with troubles and heartbreak, and we don’t even stop to find out if there’s something we can do to minister to that hurting heart. That’s the problem. It’s a big one.

As I write this, I know there are many who do love in deed and truth. There are many who do sacrifice of themselves to serve others. There are many who do care when they see a brother or sister hurting and do strive to minister to the brokenhearted. There are some who do seek to understand the pain of others. Still, there are so many in church today that are completely oblivious to their hardened, self-focused hearts. I have been there myself at times. I too have neglected a friend in need of comfort because of time or inconvenience or whatever the reason. Even filled with conviction and shame, I pressed on about my business telling myself that someone else would have to be the one to help. How sad.

You should care – you really should.

If you’re a Christian, you should care about people. You should have a pulling in your heart to minister to those who are hurting. You should care about your family, friends, church body and the lost. You should care about the one that everyone else ignores. You should care about the one that may smile on the outside, but you know is suffering on the inside. You should care about their hardships, burdens, struggles and heartbreaks. Do you try to understand their pain? Do you ever just feel it with them? Ever sit with them and weep? Ever put yourself in their shoes?

You should care – you really should.

Why don’t you? You may not even be aware of your lack of love. There is ample opportunity in this world to get lost in distraction. You are busy. You have your own problems to deal with. You don’t really have time to give. You don’t really think it’s that important what that person is going through. There are so many excuses. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are making them. Sometimes we are just so blindingly self-focused and self-centered that we cannot manage to see beyond our own interests to settle our sights on that hurting person right in front of us. We are so focused on ourselves, we can’t possible see their pain. We should see it. We should care.

You should care – you really should.

Perhaps you don’t care because you don’t think their pain is valid enough for your standards. You don’t see it. You don’t get it. You don’t try to see beyond your own understanding and to really be able to relate to what another person is going through. So you don’t weep with those who weep. You don’t shed their tears with them.

“What’s the big deal? So she wants a baby but can’t have one? So what? She just needs to get on with it and get over it.” Stop. Try to understand the deep pain, longing and heartbreak that a woman feels when she struggles with infertility. In your mind, picture her crying herself to sleep. See the look of disappointment and heartache that crosses her face when she sees a newborn baby. You’ll never know what it feels like if you haven’t been through it yourself, but you can imagine the pain and suffering. You should care.

“What’s the big deal about her being alone for so long after her divorce? She should just learn to be content in her singleness.” Stop. Try to understand that this woman who has been divorced or widowed is lonely. Do you understand that kind of loneliness? Imagine the heartache that she feels being the only single person at the event or family party. Imagine how she yearns for the protection of a husband, or just the comfort of having someone hold her. Remember her pain and stop minimizing what she goes through. You should care.

“It’s their own fault that they’re going through money problems again. If they just tithed they would be better off. They made their bed; now they’ll have to sleep in it.” Stop. Your judgement and your condescension is not welcome, and it certainly is not loving. You’ve never made a bad choice in your life? Get off your high horse and start loving people. Try to imagine what it’s like to go through one financial struggle after another. Imagine years of unpaid bills, fear, worry and anxiety over every rent payment and car repair. See the tears that flow as they try to figure out how they will provide for their children. Feel their embarrassment as they wear shoes that are falling apart and as they collect food donations. Try to understand how hard it is. Try to feel their pain. You should care. You really should!

We love in word and talk. We say “I love you” to our family members and friends. We may offer up a prayer for the person who is struggling, or maybe not. The problem is, so often we are not loving in deed and truth. We are not putting love into action. When we don’t put love into action, it calls to question whether we really love or not. That’s where truth comes in. Do I love you? Do I care enough about you to take my eyes off myself for a minute and be there for you? Do I care enough to experience your burden and your pain with you? Do I care enough to sacrifice my own time, comfort and pleasure to help you? Do I? Do you?

It doesn’t take much to show a person in deed and truth that you really do love. A word of encouragement. An hour of your time. Meeting a need. Weeping with them. Acknowledging their pain. Understanding. It doesn’t take much, but it does take loving yourself less and loving others more.

We should care. Do you know why? Jesus cares!

When Jesus took those lashes, those beatings, that crown of thorns, He cared. When He stretched out His arms and took those nails, He cared. When He gave up His Spirit and died for our sins, He cared. When He rose from the dead into glory beyond comprehension, He cared. When He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, convict and help us, He cared deeply. Jesus LOVES in DEEd and TRUTH. He didn’t just say, “I love you.” He proved it in His death. That’s why you should care.

I’m tired of love talk. I’m tired of loving in word. It feels empty now. I’m tired of receiving love and giving love that way. Let us love in deed and in truth. I want to be the kind of person that makes this real in my life. Someday when I go to be with Jesus, I want people at my life celebration to remember me as a woman who loved in deed and truth. I ask the Lord to crucify my self-love and self-focus, and to help me to really love. Join me.

4 Comments »

Laughter is Excellent Medicine

Image
photo credit: fabbriciuse via photopin cc

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25

Oh the joy of laughter! I absolutely love to laugh. I love those amazing laughing fits where your tummy starts to hurt and tears are rolling down your cheeks because you are laughing so incredibly hard. I call that “laugh-crying”. I seriously love to laugh, and it’s a good thing too, because laughter is excellent medicine for the soul.

The verse above in Proverbs says that this virtuous woman that we look up to as a role model “laughs at the time to come”. While silly laughter is wonderful, this particular laughter isn’t the result of a good (or bad) joke. This woman isn’t giggling in a young, silly fashion. She is laughing because she is care-free when she peers into the future. You see, she has worked hard and had faith in the Lord, so she is not worried about what’s to come. When you’re not worried, you can laugh. When you laugh, it ministers to your soul and makes for a joyful atmosphere.

Our families need us to be women who can laugh at what’s to come. You see, the way they feel is intertwined with how we react to life. We give them an example and we wives and mommies usually set the tone in our home. If we worry, they will worry. If we are afraid, they will fear. If we are stressed, the stress will start to overtake them as well. Even a young child senses her mother’s emotions and takes them on. A worried mother will see that distress on the face of her child like a mirror reaction.

We need to laugh. The truth is, when we are in Christ, we have nothing to worry about. When we follow Him and devote our home ot Him, we need not fear the future. When we work hard and diligently and we leave the rest in the hands of the Father, we know our home will stand strong. So we can laugh at what’s to come. We can look boldly into the face of the future and laugh aloud knowing that nothing – NOTHING – can destroy a home built upon The Rock of Salvation, Jesus Christ! Amen?

God calls us to be hard workers. When we work hard to prepare our homes, as we read about in Proverbs 31, we can trust that God is going to take good care of us. The future doesn’t scare us. Whatever the Lord wills for our lives will transpire. He is in control. He knows the big picture. He will hold our home together if we are in Him.

You may step out onto your porch and see a storm brewing on the horizon. You see it coming. It may look fierce and cruel. It may seem cold and frightening. You can stand there, stare that storm boldly in the face and laugh until the tears come flowing down. You can laugh because no storm is stronger or more powerful than our big, mighty God. We have done our jobs well and God will preserve us through it so we trade worry for laughter. Our families are blessed. Our home is safe. Our God is glorified. Ah, excellent medicine indeed!

2 Comments »

How to Punish Troublemakers at Church

Image

photo credit: kalavinka via photopin cc

“That’s it! She’s done it again! She’s stepped on my toes for the last time! You wouldn’t believe what she did to me this time. I caught her gossiping behind my back and calling me an immature Christian. She told people things I only told her in confidence. She did the same thing to Darlene and Amelia. She also told Rick that Steve said he was ignorant because He believed in baby baptisms. I’ve had enough with this “so called Christian”. Come on girls! Let’s give her a good shunning!”

We’ve all had them. We’ve all experienced them. We recognize them shortly after they arrive, and we have nightmares about them well after they’re gone. They are the church troublemakers. You know who I’m talking about. They are the ones who only open their mouths to complain and rarely have a pleasant word to say about anyone. They love to stir up trouble and division. They use prayer time as an opportunity to gossip. They seem to have no filter on what they say and do. Yep, we’ve all known them.

It can be hard to deal with these kinds of people. Not only are they frustrating and hard to befriend, but they are also often in sin in the ways they deal with their church family. They can be difficult to confront about these issues because they usually react badly and make it worse. Oftentimes they leave and spend years hopping from one church to the next. You can’t say they aren’t saved or judge their hearts, but you wonder where they’re discernment is, where their grace is and how they don’t seem to be maturing spiritually. Paul would call these people weaker brothers and sisters in the Lord. They make you want to scream!

So how do we punish these troublemakers? How do we deal with their frustrating tactics and rude comments? What should we do to handle these people who are clearly stealing joy from the church family as a whole? Ready for it?

What we do is take ahold of them, look into their eyes and say…….well actually. Before I continue, let’s look at an example in scripture when Paul dealt with an issue like this. It seems the church at Corinth had a troublemaker of their own (I’m sure they had many). We never hear his name spoken…..yay Paul for not gossiping, amen? Yet Paul sends the church very clear and very awesome instructions on how to deal with troublemakers.

“Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.” 2 Corinthians 2:5-8

How do we punish troublemakers in the church? Love. We love them. We take ahold of them, look straight into their eyes and tell them how very much we love them. And every time they frustrate us, we love them. And every time they sin against us, we forgive them and love them. And when we confront issues, we do it in love. And when they need us, we don’t turn away from them but continue to love.

We punish every offense with the most violent and purposeful love we can muster – and with the power of the Holy Spirit filling us up, that’s a lot of LOVE!

Oh Lord Jesus! Help me to love those who frustrate me and sin against me! I pray Lord to be a more loving person, not just to those that are easy to love, but to the most difficult. Fill me up to overflowing with Your perfect love for Your people! In Jesus’ Mighty Name I pray, AMEN!

Alright folks…..now go punish people with LOVE.

10 Comments »

Faithfully Fighting Lyme

Fighting Lyme Disease through the power of the living God

Faithful Lyme Warrior

Fighting Lyme Disease by the power of the Living God

easone13

A fine WordPress.com site

Kristeen Nicole Gillooly

Sharing the love of God through music. My voice, His message. Join the conversation.

Life Is A Beautiful Mess

A glimpse into the mess of life and the beauty of grace.

A Brunette's Reflection

Unprofessional Relationship Councilor, WannaBe World Traveler, Trial and Error Cook, and Almost Famous Whatchamacallit