Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

The Popular Church Girl & The Other One

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photo credit: azntaiji via photopin cc

Two young, married women join a local church around the same time. While both ladies are married and have children, they are different in appearance, personality and background. One of the women (we will call her Rachel) is lovely physically. She is slender, fit and lives a healthy lifestyle. She has four beautiful children, all perfectly behaved. Her husband is charming and popular. They have a comfortable income and a beautiful home. Rachel is sweet and friendly. She loves the Lord. There is nothing at all to dislike about her.

The second young woman (Leah) is also kind and loving. She is generous with her friendship and quick to serve where needed. She is well-studied in the Word and has a burden for the lost. She also loves Jesus. Leah is in a difficult marriage. She has made mistakes and the consequences linger, but she and her husband work hard to honor the Lord in their marriage. They love their two children and are committed to their family. Leah’s family struggles financially. There is rarely enough money each month to pay all the bills. Leah also struggles with health issues. She is overweight and doesn’t feel attractive by worldly standards, but her husband loves her and says she is beautiful.

Rachel and Leah are both welcomed into their new church home with open arms. They are both treated with kindness and shown hospitality. Yet, as the weeks go on, Leah begins to wonder if any of her new friends at church will seek a deeper friendship with her. A few months later, she is at church and is talking with Rachel. Rachel shares about how she has been invited to another lady’s house for a little get together with a few of the ladies. Rachel is surprised to hear Leah wasn’t invited. Leah also notices that Rachel seems to be surrounded by ladies after service each week. She is making lots of friends. In fact, they all seem to want to be her friends. Despite Leah’s efforts, she still hasn’t managed to make one good friend. Leah is feeling the pangs of loneliness and unwanted battles with jealousy. She prays for a friend…just one person who wants a deeper friendship with her than the typical Sunday chit chat.

The months go on. Leah watches on Facebook as every post that Rachel makes ignites a long list of replies. She and her family are invited to birthday parties, bridal showers and other events. During the week she receives no calls or emails. She doesn’t get invites to lunch. She is keenly aware that, for reasons she can only assume, she has not be counted worthy of relationship. She has no one who will check on her or know if she is going through a trial. She has no one to turn to when she needs a listening ear. She has no one to call a best friend…at least not from her church family.

This “Rachel & Leah” story is nothing new in church today. It is common. It is disappointing. It often goes unnoticed. The truth is, the church is sometimes a breeding ground for being a respecter of persons. Cliques and preferential treatment is far too common. There are always Rachels, who walk into the church and are immediate hits. They are popular, loved and preferred. People flock to them and seek to have meaningful friendships with them. There are always Leahs, who are the ones that are left unchosen and unselected as a friend of importance. They may be very pleasant and loved by others in the church, but they are never the ones that people choose as close friends. It’s really quite sad.

What is this preferential treatment based on? It’s usually the same criteria that the world uses, which is extra sad. Appearance. Wealth. Popularity. I think most people don’t even recognize what they are doing. It is a subconscious working of the flesh to prefer one person over another for these reasons. They are just drawn to them.

At the end of the day, both Rachel and Leah need close friends within in the church. They both need relationships. It’s so important that every Leah who walks into the church is singled out and pursued by someone. We need to keep watch for those Leahs who are slipping through the cracks and going home hurt every week because no one is trying to get to know them.

Sure, be friends with Rachel, but don’t forget about Leah!

A few years ago my world was rocked when a woman from our small church took her life. She had relapsed into alcoholism in a moment of weakness and was overwhelmed with guilt. I remember weeping and being filled with conviction because I knew I missed so many chances to get to know her better. She needed relationships. She had some, but maybe if she had more she would have had someone she felt she could turn to. I don’t know. What I do know is that there are too many Leahs out there, of all ages and backgrounds, who are getting completely overlooked in church. It is a shame. It is wrong.

I’ve committed myself to loving Leah. I’ve committed myself to seeking out Leahs who need friendship. I am completely committed to loving all of my sisters, regardless of how the world would measure them up. They are daughters of the King and so precious to Him. Thus they are precious to us!

I am committed to Leah because I know Leah. I understand Leah. I have been Leah at times.

If you are Leah, I pray you will understand that your worth is not measured by worldly standards, but by the Creator of the Universe. He made you wonderful and well worth friendship and love. Don’t give up. Perhaps you will find another Leah who needs you as much as you need her.

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said,“Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:1-13

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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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