Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

The Way She Looks at Us

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My daughter is five years old and she has this obvious draw to words of affection and affirmation. She is quick to remind us how much she loves us and delights in being showered with affectionate words. She also will often prompt us to give each other words of affirmation, smiling broadly as my husband and I tell each other that we love one another. I see this look in her eyes and it is like a window into her precious heart. It’s the way she looks at us when my husband and I communicate love and honor that shows us how important it is to her that we love each other.

Being affectionate with your spouse isn’t just about you or how you feel. There is so much that we communicate to our kiddos without even realizing it as we hold hands, cuddle on the couch, or embrace when he comes through the door after work. Words and acts of love blesses our children in several ways, whilst also building up the relationship and keeping affection alive. Here are a few of the ways our “public display of affection” and words of affirmation bless our children:

  • Children love to see their parents in love with one another. They are blessed knowing that Mommy and Daddy love one another and are happy together. Happy children are usually raised in happy homes, where love, honor and respect flow freely and openly.
  • There is security in a happy marriage for the children. Seeing their parents in love gives children a sense of safety and stability. In a world where half of their friends will come from families of divorce, children need this reassurance. Words and acts of affection reassure them that their family is safe from the pain of separation and divorce.
  • Children are always watching and learning. Displaying a happy marriage, with hugs and kisses and hand-holding and words of affirmation, will set a wonderful example of marriage for the kids. By the grace of God, may they go on to be happily married in a God-centered home one day too.
  • The affectionate and loving couple are much less likely to be that couple that says unkind words to one another, especially in front of the kids. Children are often quietly observing as couples share harsh words in angry tones during times of conflict. This is confusing and upsetting to little ones, who love both Mommy and Daddy. Those angry words hurt children, even when they aren’t directed at them. Let the loving and kind words flow while biting back those harmful words and looks.

When my husband I speak words of love and cuddle up together on the couch, my daughter looks at us with such joy, peace and contentment. She is secure in our love for one another. She delights in our happiness and her little cup runneth over. Being affectionate with your spouse shouldn’t only be for the kids, but blessing them is certainly a good reason to keep words of affirmation and acts of affection a part of everyday life.

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How Will My Daughter Remember Me?

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The human brain is a funny thing. Sometimes mine works well and other times not so much. I’ve learned to accept that and just laugh at myself when my brain decides to malfunction. When it comes to memories, I have very little memory of my young childhood. I’d say most of what occurred in my home before the age of ten is something of a mystery to me. I have flashes of memories, but not much detail. My younger brother, however, has a very good memory and he can tell stories of his young childhood with vivid detail. Interesting how the brain works.

I may not remember much of my childhood, but I’d say I’m more on the uncommon end of the spectrum in this. Most children have memories from much younger than ten years old. The truth is, children remember what they see going on around them. They form memories and impressions very early in life. They are taking it all in visually and aurally much earlier than most of us realize. They are forming memories and associations with those memories perhaps even before they know how to express what they are seeing/hearing/feeling.

So why is this important?

I’ll confess that there have been times I’ve been very convicted about the way I spoke or an action I did in front of my young daughter when she was three, four or five years old. In times of weakness and in the flesh, I’ve made comments to others that were hurtful or even sinful with her in the room and I’ve very foolishly assumed she wasn’t paying attention because she was playing or because she was too young to understand what I was saying. I’ve criticized my husband in her presence. I’ve gossiped. I’ve flippantly made comments that were just silly and unedifying. She has heard me say these things, and though she perhaps hasn’t responded or reacted in that moment, she has taken some of it in. She has formed memories and connections based on my sinful words.

Now before you get all bent out of shape or start judging me, understand that I have repented of this sin and am forgiven. I thank God that we can be real and honest and open about our struggles with the flesh and with sin. 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” I thank Him even more than we are saved by grace through faith and not by works. I have no problem confessing this sin because I know that God has offered me forgiveness for all of my transgressions, but why bring it up?

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deut 6:7

God tells us that we are to teach our children something here. What is it we are supposed to teach them? The answer is in the context.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Deut 6:4-5

Our God is one Lord and that we shall love the Lord God with every part of our being. That’s what we are supposed to be teaching our children, but notice what God says about how we are supposed to teach them this. Do we teach it by simply reading this scripture and then going about our life in any manner we like? Nope. We are supposed to teach them by talking about the Lord in our homes, when we are out, when we lie down, when we rise up….basically we teach our children to love the Lord by talking about Him and loving Him ourselves at all times.

That’s pretty convicting. We need to remember that our children are always listening and watching. They may hear us proclaim Christ when we are in a good mood and things are going well. They see us smile and shout “amen” at church. They may even see us read the Bible from time to time. Is this sufficient? I’m convicted that the words of my mouth should always be glorifying to the Lord, and that while I speak and act out of love for Jesus, my daughter is learning how to love Him herself. Nothing is more important. Nothing.

Knowing the calling God has on me in this, and knowing what a failure I am in this way, I ask the Lord for Holy Spirit power to reign in my tongue and to make my speech and actions a constant reflection of my love for Jesus. I pray that the flesh would be triumphed over by the grace of God and His Spirit working in me. I pray most of all that my daughter would not remember a mother who only loved the Lord in some parts of her life, but rather a mother who was sold out for Jesus every day. I hope she remembers that, when I failed, I confessed and repented. I didn’t pretend to be perfect, but rather understood God’s grace in my life, thus compelling me to seek Him more.

Children remember what they see and hear from very young. Their young hearts are being molded even now. The things we say and do matter to them. While I may never be perfect on this earth, I pray that my daughter will remember me as someone who genuinely and deeply loved the Lord with all of my heart, soul and might and that she will love Him all the days of her life.

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Why Be Grateful for the Storms of this Life?

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bernat… via photopin cc

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” James 1:2

EH? Count it joy? Be happy about trials of various kinds? I can honestly say that we go through a great variety of trials and I confess that it is rare that I leap for joy at the discovery of a new trial or time of tribulation. Yet, we are told to count it joy. There are several reasons we should be grateful and joyful, even in the midst of great trials and sometimes tremendous amounts of pain and suffering. Here are some of the reasons we should be grateful for the storms of life…

  1. Trials teach and grow us in patience and faith. The testing of our faith produces patience and works in us to develop our faith to maturity. It is during times of trial that we grow the most in our walks with the Lord as we put our trust in Him alone.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-8

  1. Trials produce endurance, character and a more confident hope that will never let us down. We know who our hope is in and that He will never fail us or let us be destroyed.

 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5

  1. Trials and pain bring us closer to the Lord. We draw nearer to Him and He is right there for us, bringing us comfort, strength and peace.

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18

  1. Our faith through trials brings honor and glory to God, not to mention the testimony that it is to the lost.

“So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7

  1. When we go through trials, God ministers to our spirits in a very personal and beautiful way. He renews us and establishes us. We see His work in our lives very clearly.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

  1. The end result of enduring through the trial is the crown of life and glory beyond what our mortal minds can comprehend.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

No one asks for trials, and yet we see that experiencing trials produces some wonderful fruit, in us and around us. We may not see the fruit now, nor may we feel God’s loving hand in it, but we have a blessed assurance that it’ll all be worth it in the end. If we truly believe God’s Word, then we have every reason to be grateful for the trials and storms this life has for us. As we put our faith in the God of all creation, we can face today and everyday with strength, hope, peace and joy.

Praying today for people going through horrific trials, that they would feel the very near presence of God and know His love.

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Choosing Peace Over Conflict in Marriage

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Floyd Brown via photopin cc

Every couple fights! It’s normal. It’s healthy. It’s just the way it is! Right?

There are probably very few couples out there who can honestly say that they never have a fight or argument. Hopefully there are many, many homes in which simple disagreements never escalate to the point of being classified as an argument and then further on to a fight. Yet for many homes, even Christian homes, escalations are indeed more common than one might think. In many homes they happen as frequently as taking out the trash (and sometimes triggered by a wife nagging her husband to take out the trash for that matter). Some couples are finding themselves in conflict monthly, weekly and even daily. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there is nothing “normal” or acceptable about a Christian couple fighting this much.

Here are three common reasons that a Christian couple may find themselves in conflict so often:

  1. External Stresses. Couples may find that when they are going through times of intense stress or pressure, fights occur more regularly. Stress often causes people to lash out or to assign blame. We oftentimes inexplicably take out our stress on those who are closest to us because we somehow feel more free or safe to do so. We assume they will continue to love us, despite our snide comments and rude remarks. We feel the need to assign blame, which just leads us down a terrible path altogether (ie Adam and Eve). In these times we are often afraid, and that fears leads us to unleashing our emotional storms on those we love. Not good. So what to do we do?
  2. Unrepented Sin. When we sin, we place a wedge of separation when us and the Lord. We quench the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we live in unrepented sin, our marriages and homes suffer. Sin is destruction and that’s all it knows how to be. When we allow it in the door, pain and suffering will follow. Whatever the sin may be, couples will find that conviction, shame and downright rebellion will cause an atmosphere of rottenness to develop in a home. Have you ever thrown something rotten in the trash and not noticed the smell was getting bad until you leave the house and come back? You walk in the door and the smell hits you like a plank between the eyes. Gross! No one likes a smelly house, and a house where sin is allowed to settle in will fester and stink and cause all kinds of problems. Whether it be something that is an outward sin, such as stealing, pornography or adultery, or one that is more inward, like pride, covetousness and hateful thoughts, sin issues in the home can cause division, disintegration of the family and lots and lots of really bad fights. So what do we do?
  3. Deeper Issues of the Heart. Sometimes couples fight because there are much deeper issues and wounds than can be seen on the surface. Some couples simply do not have feelings of love for one another. Either the love has faded or it was never really there at all. Some have deep wounds that have altered them, such as the loss of a child or a traumatic experience. Other couples experience conflict because of going through life changes and challenges. Infertility. Loss of a job. A move to a new place. Chronic illness. There are deep issues that can cause a lot of pain, confusion and oftentimes marital conflict. When our hearts are hurting, the words of our mouths can be more based on an emotional outcry than on logic. We say things we don’t mean. We sometimes try to inflict pain so that we aren’t hurting alone. So sad. So what do we do?

There is one answer to these common problems. There is one thing we can do to restore calm and unity to the family unit. It seems simple, but it really is profound and perfectly reasonable. What we do is….CHOOSE PEACE. We choose peace over conflict. We always have a choice about whether or not to be a part of conflict. We ALWAYS have a choice. We can choose peace over conflict and bring serenity back into our homes, by letting go of our own needs to lash out, be right, make a point, assign blame and share our hurt. We can choose peace instead and quiet instead of letting our tongues go unbridled. We can choose peace instead of taking out my hurt on my husband or daughter.

“For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11

Peace isn’t something that just happens to lucky people. Peace is a choice. Unity is a choice. Even love is a choice. The thing is, it’s a choice that sometimes requires sacrifice and hard work. We have to learn to control our tongues and our hearts. We learn to be wise about when to be quiet. We learn that it’s okay not to get the final word and that we don’t have to be right all the time. We learn to weigh out what is most important…..proving my point or peace? Being right or peace? Getting my way or peace? Indulging in sin or peace? God says we should choose peace. It’s that simple.

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19

One last point I need to make here. If sin in your life is bringing you conflict, know that you cannot possibly choose peace if you don’t repent and get rid of that sin. Sin and peace cannot live in harmony. There is no such union in Christianity. Sin is the enemy of peace. If you are living in sin, repent of your sin and get rid of it. Then you can choose peace, and what a blessing that will be to your home, marriage and kiddos.

“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:18

“Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.” Proverbs 12:20

CHOOSE PEACE!

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I Want Her to Walk in Purity

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“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Purity. The word used here in 1 Timothy is the Greek word “hagneia” that comes from the root word “hagnos.” It is translated “pure from carnality, chaste, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate and clean.” As the mother of a daughter, purity is something that I have on my mind often. I so long for my daughter to walk in purity throughout her life.

This scripture in 1 Timothy is one that I pray over my daughter. I pray that she sets a beautiful example of Christ’s power and glory in her life through her lovely speech, God-pleasing conduct, deep love, unwavering faith and purity. Purity doesn’t always mean sexual purity, but rather is a way of life in which one chooses not to mingle with the sin of the world, but rather to serve the Lord with a whole, uncompromising heart. Purity is a heart that’s sold out for God manifesting itself throughout the entire body…in speech, modesty, humility, chastity and grace.

While purity isn’t solely based on chastity, this is one of the most common and devastating ways in which young ladies surrender their purity. God says that the sanctification of a single person is their sexual purity.

 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God…” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

I pray for my daughter’s purity, even now while she’s young. I pray that she will be able to hold fast to her purity and that my husband and I will be able to present her as a pure bride on her wedding day. That thought overjoys me and also motivates me in the decisions I make for her now. You see, striving to protect and guide our children sometimes requires sacrifice. We make choices that other people mock or belittle. We may say no to “dating” as the world sees it and yes only to modest apparel. Does that mean our kids have to cover themselves from head to toe? No, not necessarily. However, allowing our kids to wear revealing clothing is a way in which we send them out into the world with a target on their backs. Do we want our children to be like the world or like the Lord? That’s what we have to decide.

I’ve made that decision. I will train my daughter up to know that the Lord’s calling on her life is to abstain from sexual immorality. I will teach her the beauty of purity and God’s course for her life. I will not allow her to wear mini-skirts and tiny shorts or low-cut tops. I will educate her at home, where she will not be thrust into the hands of a secular and liberal education system that will issue great lies and confusion about sexuality, family life and so forth. Dating will look much different in our home than in others. We will treat her as a beautiful young lady and remind her all of the time who she is in Christ.

Now I know fine well that I can do all of these things only to find later in life that my daughter still stumble. I pray this isn’t the case, but I know it’s possible. I know that ultimately our children have to make their own decision to follow God. Still, I will labor and fight for my daughter’s purity. I will pray for her, teach her, exhort her and support her. I will be honest with her and show her the truth. I will do everything in my power to protect her purity, both for herself and for her future husband. She is worth that and we are privileged and honored to be the ones to raise her in the ways of the Lord.

Purity is important. For our kids, it’s crucial. It’s where so many families lose. It’s where so many are suffering. Teen pregnancies, abortions, drugs, sexual confusion, STDs….so much sin and so many devastating consequences. Our children need our protection and guidance.

Listen, my daughter won’t be missing anything by not attending the prom or by not wearing the same revealing clothing that some her friends do. She’s not missing anything by being removed from situations of bullying, peer pressure and the influences of worldly friends. You may want your child to be like the other kids. You may not want them to feel different, but I’m looking at a generation of kids in which most of them are having sex before they turn 18. I’m hearing the way these kids are speaking and behaving and I say, “Let our kids be different!”

Jesus didn’t make us new creations so that we could return to looking just like the world. He said not to be conformed to the world. He told us to be set apart. He wants us to be a shining light in a dark place. If you want your children to be like everyone else, no doubt they will be. They won’t shine for Jesus, but rather the world’s darkness will quench and put out their light. They won’t stand for purity and holiness, but rather blend right in with the others, pressing and sometimes shattering every boundary of purity they come across. This grieves the heart of the Father, and it grieves our hearts as parents.

By the time our kids get to this point, there’s little we can do but encourage them and pray. That’s why it’s so important that we start early. It’s crucial that we teach, guide and protect purity from an early age, so that it is a way of life. Praying for the purity of our young ones and praying that they will grow to be an example of God’s glory and goodness, walking in beautiful purity.

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When I Hurt a Friend with my Words

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Caro Wallis via photopin cc

I’d like to tell you that I never say or do anything that would harm another person. I’d like to say that I was never insensitive or inconsiderate. I’d love to tell you that every word I utter or type is grounded in wisdom, kindness and love. I wish I could tell you that I’ve never hurt a friend, but that would be a lie. I’m here to say that I did hurt a friend, and I so wish it wasn’t true.

As a blogger, some of my blogs are written more off the cuff than others. Most are the result of study and prayer. I try to make sure I word things in a way that is truthful but also gentle and compassionate. I also try to be very clear about the tone, direction and meaning of what I’m writing. Sometimes I get it wrong. In a recent blog, I made a comment that brought hurt to the heart of a dear friend and sweet sister in the Lord. I was so glad that she made her feelings known to me in such a gentle and loving way. I’m glad we had the openness to talk about it and that she caused me to take another look at what I wrote. In doing so, I recognize so clearly where my words were both hurtful and also misleading.

You see, in an effort to encourage deeper relationships within the church (particularly within the sisterhood of the church family), I made a comment that would seem to readers to completely dismiss the close friendships and relationships that I have been so blessed with over the past seven or so years. As I re-read the blog, I got a clear picture of how hurtful those words could be. I immediately regretted ever penning them. As my eyes moistened, I was reminded by the Spirit that I can sometimes be so blind to how powerful words can be. They can edify or tear down. They can encourage or discourage. They can speak goodness or darkness. They can make a friend feel loved or they can make her feel like her friendship wasn’t what she thought it was.

I apologized to my friend last night, but I wanted to write this blog because I want to be real with you. As a blogger, I’m sharing words every day that can be powerful. It’s so important that we use those words wisely. It’s important that we think before we speak. I value my friend so very much. I’ve been so blessed by her friendship, love and support. Her and her family have been an encouragement to us, helped us when we were hurting and shown us the love of God. When I wrote those words, I didn’t even consider how they were going to be taken. I didn’t mean what they implied. Still, harmful words are hard to erase.

I’m blessed to know that my friend has forgiven me, and I so hope she knows how much I care for her and appreciate her friendship. I hope she knows I treasure her and her family. Life as a believer in Christ is all about growing, and we never stop learning….usually from our mistakes. I’ve learned a lot from this one. Hopefully you too can learn something from my mistake before having to make it yourself.

Words are powerful. Use with caution!`

Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

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What Selfies Don’t Reveal

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Ah the selfies! They are constantly flowing through the social media news streams and allowing us to see the side of people that they want to share. I know people who take a ton of selfies and others who never post pictures of themselves. Media reports talk about connections between producing massive quantities of selfies and such concepts as narcissism. I don’t know. I think ultimately there are two points that cannot logically be refuted:

1. People share selfies because they want others to admire them in one way or another; and

2. People only share what they want you to see.

Smiles, silly faces, glam shots….selfies can bring out many different characteristics and even emotions. Some people go for the goofy approach, giving us a sampling of their fun and playful personality. Others are clearly the result of careful calculation to make sure the best angles and lighting are achieved for maximum beauty. Some selfies are subtly sexy in nature. The pout. The big eyes. There are many variables. At the end of the photo shoot, hopefully you have something to share that will acquire tons of “likes” and be admired by many.

As eager as some are to take stunning selfies, they are just as keen and cautious to avoid pictures that are less flattering. We only share what we want people to see and we only want people to see the very best side of us. Yet, as I glance through the pictures, I can’t help but wonder what’s really going on in the lives of these lovely people whom I care about and love. What’s going on in their hearts? How are their walks with the Lord? Do they need prayer? Help? A hug? Selfies don’t tell us these things…in fact, they seem to often be more of a masquerade or charade.

Anyone can make a beautiful. photo-shopped picture, pop it up on their wall and make the world believe they’re happy. Then when the news breaks that there’s been marital problems, addition issues, illness and financial strain, we are all so surprised. After all, they looked so happy in those pictures. Their lives looked so together.

It’s not wrong for us to want others to see the best sides of us, nor to smile even when we’re hurting inside. I just think we need to be willing to be real with one another…at least those trustworthy people in our lives who can handle the raw, unfiltered ugliness that we ALL experience from time to time. You see, we live in a fallen, sin-infested world in bodies that are prone to breaking down. None of us have perfect lives. None of us have selfie-approved lives all of the time. Sometimes we’re a mess. Sometimes we have bad hair! haha Sometimes we are hurting far beyond what anyone can comprehend.

Friends, sometimes we are so desperate for people to admire us and look up to us that we refuse to admit when we need help, prayer or support. We need to strip off those chains and be willing to let others in. God never intended us to travel this narrow path alone. We need each other. Holding it all in will only cause us harm and additional pain. Share your burdens with each other and be available to help carry the burdens of others. That’s the true Christian way. That’s the Jesus way.

You know what’s awesome? God shows us in His Word that it is the beauty of the heart that matters. It matters so much more than the physical beauty that the world craves. I’m not saying we should stop taking selfies. They can be lots of fun to share and see. What I am saying is that I’m not content with selfie relationships that are based only on outward, photo-shopped illusions. I am willing to be real and show my beloved sisters in the Lord who I really am….the good and the bad. I know they will love me for all of me and they will encourage me, which will make me a better person in the end. As we edify one another in the Lord, the beauty of our hearts grow. That’s true beauty!

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Too Much Talking in Discipline

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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

I’ve always found it important to explain to my daughter why she is receiving a negative consequence for her bad behavior. What’s the point of disciplining her if she doesn’t realize why she is being punished and how this re-direction is going to benefit her? I want her to know what God’s Word says and how we are to walk in the world. I want her to someday be a shining example of a Godly young woman, who is respectful, kind and courageous. I guess I’m old-fashioned in the sense that I want her to learn to respect her elders and to season her words with honor.

Still, I recently studied this discipline technique where the instructor reminded me that sometimes explaining everything to a young child is ineffective and just frustrates the child. In other words, if the issue is pretty black and white, over-explaining it or trying to lecture a young child about what he or she has done wrong ends up creating more conflict and less learning. In this training session he gives examples of how one simple explanation is sufficient. If a child continues to try to debate the issue, it becomes unfruitful to go back and forth with him/her to try and get your point across. Simply enact the disciplinary measure and leave it there.

I found this to be interesting and true. Especially for young children, too much talking, or talking to them like they are little adults, can end up sounding more like a parent and a kid debating than a parent usurping authority in the situation. I see it in my own home. Say, for example, my daughter does not want to eat her dinner but wants an ice cream instead. I tell her that she cannot have dessert unless she eats her dinner. She starts throwing a fit because she doesn’t like my answer. Instead of simply disciplining the behavior, I continue to try and explain to her why eating ice cream instead of dinner is a bad choice, how I’m trying to look out for her health, why she needs to honor and obey me, etc. Meanwhile, my daughter’s hearing nothing because she’s in a full-blown hissy fit, whining, crying and throwing herself on the couch. See what I mean?

If the child knows what he or she is doing is wrong, they may not need any explanation, or a short one will suffice. Obviously there are a variety of circumstances in which a more thorough explanation is in order, but usually a quick, straightforward response is all that’s needed to answer a request and correct a misbehavior.

Now there’s one more part to this that wasn’t in the video I watched (it was a secular training course), but that to me makes a huge difference. We don’t need long explanations during a time of discipline because hopefully we are instructing our children before they get into trouble what is expected of them. In other words, teaching our children what the Word of God says about how we are to conduct ourselves, what our household rules are and what we expect of them is much easier and pleasant when we do it before everyone is frustrated. It should be done when everyone is happy and getting along. Then, when problems arise there is already a foundation there for most issues.

I’m finding this information to be useful in disciplining my four year-old. I hope it can be useful to you as well. May our children grow up to be God-loving and God-serving young men and women! 🙂 That’s my prayer.

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Five Marriage Killers Part 3

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photo credit: ·Cuentosdeunaimbecila· via photopin cc

3. Sexual Stalemate

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25 “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.” Genesis 4:1

God created sex. He intended for marriage to be consummated by an intimate sexual fulfillment when two bodies are made one flesh. It is a beautiful gift that God gave His children for wives to experience sexual intimacy with our husbands for the cause of having children and for a pleasurable bonding with each another. The Lord God said man and woman would be one flesh before sin had ever entered the world, therefore we know that sex between a husband and wife is not sinful, nor is it defiled. It is in fact a lovely and most natural unity.

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled…” Hebrews 13:4a

Sex is a beautiful and honorable union when it happens within marriage. We see back in Genesis 4 that Adam “knew” his wife Eve and she conceived a child. Now we all know that the word “knew” is referring to sexual intimacy. This word is used throughout the Bible to refer to love-making. It’s so fitting as well to consider that a sexual relationship is the physical act of knowing someone so intimately that you are aware of every part of their body. This is why it’s so important for Christians to strive to remain pure until marriage. That intimate sexual knowledge is one that should only be shared between a husband and wife. Your husband should be the only one to know you that intimately and vice versa. It is so sad that the majority of people today miss out on the blessed experience of being their spouse’s one and only sexual partner.

God had a design for sex. He formed man and woman to be perfectly suitable partners for one another. In simple terms, all the parts fit, and when they do, the pleasure is incredible! Ladies, God designed us to be sexually involved with our husbands. As women we must recognize that our husbands have sexual needs that must be fulfilled. Science can show us why men seem to need sex more often physically. Their simple anatomy and reproductive system have been created in a way to need regular release to maintain a state of well-being. Sure men can go without sex—of course they can. The question is why should they? If their bodies were created, by God Himself, to renew and require release, why should we deny them the fulfillment of what their bodies are demanding? We should not. It’s simple.

While our men are driven by physical sensitivities to feel the need for regular sex, we women tend to need sexual intimacy on an emotional level. For many of us, it is through sexual bonding that we feel loved, connected and close with our husbands. I know when my husband and I have had to go for short lengths of time without intimacy it has left me feeling a bit disconnected and needing that physical closeness. If we need sexual intimacy emotionally and they need it physically, then it’s a win-win situation!

Women of today are deceived into thinking that a wife should never feel obligated to make love with her husband unless she feels like doing it. We are told that we should consider our own needs first and the needs of our husbands secondly. We are told that we have the right to say no when we’re not in the mood (or fake a headache as the magazines would say), and that our husbands must simply accept that and reign in their natural desires. Biblically speaking we see a sharp difference in the approach to sex. God tells us that, when we are married, our bodies no longer belong to us but to our spouse, and that we are to meet each other’s needs whenever they arise.

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

This passage starts out with a command and a way to avoid lust and fornication. Let every man have his own wife and every woman have her own husband. God knows that we are sexual creatures. He made us that way. He knows that we will struggle with lust and the desire to have sex. He knew that Adam needed a helper to meet ALL his needs—including the sexual ones. Marriage is the only right place to express that sexual nature of ours, therefore let a wife have her husband and let her husband have his wife.

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence and likewise also the wife unto the husband. What does this mean? The Greek word for “benevolence” is the word “eunoia” which means “goodwill and kindness”. Women should render unto their husbands the goodwill and kindness that is due to them. When the verse says it is “due” to them, do not be deceived into thinking that means you only give them the goodwill you think they deserve it. Our reverence of our husbands is not based on what they deserve. If you think of it that way then you have to swap it around and also say that your husband only needs to be kind towards you when you deserve it.
Do you think so highly of yourself that you think you will always be deserving of his best towards you? Do you really think you are perfect sister? I know I’m not. I don’t deserve my husband’s affections and love all the time. If we really got what we deserved, we would all be cast into the lake of fire. Thanks be to God and Jesus Christ, Who has shown us kindness and given us—not what we deserve—but His unending mercies and grace. Your husband may not deserve your goodwill but the Lord Jesus Christ is commanding you to give it to him regardless.

The passage goes on to talk about the wife’s and the husband’s bodies. “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” Now this goes against everything the world teaches today, doesn’t it? They tell women it’s perfectly okay to deny their husbands sexual intimacy because it’s their body. They give their hearty approval for abortion because they say it’s a woman’s choice what happens to her body. The Lord God of the universe says that when you marry your husband and commit your life to him, you give over ownership of your body to him permanently. If your body is a door, you give your husband the key so that he may enter in at any time. Wives, your bodies, according to the Word of the Living God, belong to your husbands, and you are not to deny them the pleasure that you have to offer.

No doubt there will be some reading this fuming with hot anger. Let me address one point that is certain to come up and cut it off before it even begins. By saying the wife’s body belongs to her husband I am NOT saying that a husband should or has the right to force his wife to have sex against her will. It is very wrong for any man to force any woman to have sex, even his own wife. I am VERY against it. Whether or not a woman chooses to follow God’s instruction to give her body willingly to her husband is her decision to make. She can decide to disobey God or she can obey. That is up to her. I think I’ve made myself clear.

“Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” 1 Corinthians 7:5

Ladies, the world wants us to believe that we should look after our own needs first, but the Word of God says that we are to care more about our husband’s needs than our own. Withholding one’s body from her husband is in direct contradiction to the Bible and I would encourage you ladies, if you struggle in this area, to pray for God to help you make things right and meet the sexual needs of your husband. Keep him satisfied at home and be the lover he’s always wanted you to be. And remember to enjoy it!

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Five Marriage Killers Part 2

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2. Clamorous and a Nag

People assume that nagging is just a normal part of marriage and turn a blind eye. Then again, divorce has become such a “normal part of life” that people rarely even bat an eye at the mention of it. It’s hardly surprising to find nagging an acceptable trait amongst wives and Christian women. It is time to wake up, sisters, and identify nagging for what it is—ugly, ungodly and just plain irritating.
Nagging occurs on a variety of levels and within a wide array of topics. Women are almost always the culprits and the need to nag seems to arise from a feeling that they are entitled to more than they have or that their husbands are not meeting their high standards in one way or another. That unrighteous attitude of entitlement creates in a lack of gratitude, anger, resentment and indignation when we don’t get what we want. For example, Lisa feels she is entitled to a tidy yard, and so if it is not tidy she feels at liberty to nag and shout at her husband until he gets it done. Jane thinks she’s entitled to brand name clothing at top prices, so she makes her resentment known to her husband when he insists all they can afford is the knock-off brands. Ladies, we need to remember what exactly we are entitled to—death.

Remember that it is by the grace of Jesus Christ that we have not been condemned to eternal separation from God because of our sins. We deserve nothing. Every good and perfect thing that we have is from God and because of His sweet and rich grace. I’m not saying that we should be doormats as wives and that we should never ask anything of our husbands. It is how we go about asking and how we react that matters.

Is it good for our husbands to take care of the maintenance of our homes and yards? Sure. Is it good for him to live up to his responsibilities as a husband and father? Absolutely! Godly men usually do behave in these ways when they are seeking the Lord. The kicker is that this book is not written for those men. They have their own literature to read and more mature men to disciple them. You, as a wife, need to abandon those feelings of entitlement which prevent you from being truly grateful to God for the life, husband and provisions you have. We need to learn that we can respectfully share with our husbands once and then leave it alone. God is in control. When we can get to that point and stop the conflict-inducing nagging, then we can live at peace with our men.

When it comes to nagging, my own guess is that about 90% of nagging is about tasks the husband is not getting done around the house. He forgot to take out the trash, fix the leaky sink and clean out the storage unit. He keeps forgetting to call when he knows he will be coming home a bit late from work. He squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle and leaves his clothes on the bathroom floor every morning! He never takes his plate to the kitchen sink when he’s finished with the meal you’ve lovingly and selflessly cooked for him, right? Cry me a river! Okay, I shouldn’t have said that so flippantly, but if these are the biggest problems in your marriage, you should be dancing for joy and praising the Lord for the blessings He’s poured out on you! Ladies, there are women out there who are being beaten daily, cursed at daily and treated horribly. There are women whose husbands have left them to raise their children alone, who are barely able to keep food on the table and could care less about the state of the yard. There are real problems out there, so it is time to stop nagging your husband for not taking out the trash, appreciate him for the man that he is and all the worthy things he does for you and the kids, and take the trash out yourself.

While it certainly is a pleasure to have a husband who takes care of these needs around the home, it is important that you, dear wife, are not causing friction in the marriage relationship by bringing up the same topics over and over. Chances are your husband heard you the first time and has decided not to comply with whatever you have asked of him. Now the ball is in his court. Leave it there. If your husband neglects to do these things, then do them yourself or hire someone else to do it, but be careful not to nag him. Even Jesus spoke of this type of repetitive communication when He commanded His disciples not to use “vain repetitions” in prayer. If the Lord God Himself doesn’t want vain repetitions, then I’m sure our husbands don’t appreciate it either.

There is often a lack of accountability and discernment in this area within the church, and wives are becoming better and better at getting their way through the art of consistent, persistent nagging. The truth is, it works like a charm, as men give into their wives’ demands with broken spirits and contrite hearts, but is this a method that God finds acceptable? What about your husband? Is a nagging wife lovely and virtuous? Does your nagging make him want to please and love you more? What does he really think about your nagging?

“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” Proverbs 9:13

The Hebrew word for “clamorous” is the word “hāmâ”, which means, “roars, noisy, disquieted, troubled, loud, tumultuous or raging.” Basically, the foolish woman is a loud-mouth. She constantly feels the need to tell everyone where they should be going and what they should be doing. She is never quiet and content, but always finds something that she feels she must put right. Perhaps she has a word quota to meet each day, but kind and uplifting words of affirmation don’t count! We need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are clamorous. Do we love to hear ourselves talk? Do we have to be right all the time? Do we think we always have the right answer? Are we just plain loud all the time? While we may think this makes us look wise, the hard truth is it makes us look foolish, and does not encourage affection from our husbands. When you ask your husband why he loves you, would you be offended if he said, “I love you because you have a big mouth, tell everyone what to do and nag me constantly”?

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…” James 1:19

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1

A woman’s mouth can either be used to build up those around her or to tear them down and destroy them. The tongue can be such a dangerous thing; the match that starts a raging wildfire. With only a few words you have the ability to encourage, edify and show love to your husband and children, building them up. Words of affirmation are a help-meet’s best friend. Use them whenever you can. Give your husband praise for being a good provider in the home and taking care of you and the kids. This manner of edifying communication is good in the sight of the Lord. However, if you then use the next breath to discourage, wound and humiliate, would you not consider that foolish? Words are powerful tools. How will you use your words today? Will you use them to criticize and nag you husband for not taking the trash out this morning, or will you use them to whisper sweet words of affirmation in his ear as he heads out to work, knowing he will be thinking about you all day? The choice is yours sister. Don’t make yourself a fool.

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” James 3:10

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:28

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” Proverbs 21:9

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Proverbs 21:19

“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” Proverbs 25:24

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” Proverbs 27:15

The Hebrew word for “brawling” and “contentious” is actually the same word, “midyān”. It describes the woman who is always nagging, moaning, unhappy, complaining about something, and ever-so-difficult to please. Men often call this type of woman “high maintenance” and it makes perfect sense that men married to “high maintenance” women often walk around defeated and deflated with their heads hanging low. They never seem to win! Why is this same basic sentence about contentious, nagging women repeated over and over in Proverbs? Are we seeing a pattern? Repetition indicates importance in the Bible. We can clearly see from these passages that the Lord knew and recognized that nagging was, is and probably will continue to be, a huge problem in marriage. Is a woman who fits this description attractive?

The God of the Bible, who loves you and cherishes you dear sister, says that nagging and clamorous behavior is not beautiful, but indeed very, very ugly. I’ve struggled with nagging as well in my own life and daily ask the Lord to help me bridle my tongue and use it for edification instead of destruction. Praying the same for you!

 

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