Give Thanks……Don’t Take it for Granted!

About a year and a half ago, I was at a bridal shower for a friend, and the women there were taking turns giving words of wisdom. There were a lot of wonderful things shared, but the one that really stuck with me was this, “Don’t take him (your husband) for granted”

 
Here lately I have been thinking about taking things for granted. As I sit here, I can list a lot of things that I do take for granted, that I shouldn’t. So as Thanksgiving approaches rather quickly, the following is a short list of things that I want to learn to be truly thankful for and not just take for granted.

Kyle Being Healthy; being a hard worker; having such a servants heart; being patient; and pretty much just being the most awesome husband ever!
Being Pregnant
Having a vehicle
Kyle having work
A husband that likes to laugh
Kyle’s strong, yet gentle hands
Being able to openly be a Christian

God has blessed me with so much….why shouldn’t I take more time to be thankful for it? 🙂

Advertisements

I Don’t Wait Anymore….

The following is from the blog Grace for the Road (http://gracefortheroad.com/).  It’s mainly directed towards single young women, but anyone is welcome to read it!

——————————————————

When I was 16, I got a purity ring.

And when I was 25, I took it off.

I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it — it wasn’t a statement or an emotional thing. I just slipped it off my finger that day and, before tucking it away in a box, ran my finger around the words on the familiar gold band.

“True Love Waits.” Waits.

What’s it “waiting” for, anyway?

*****

I had my reasons for deciding not to wear it anymore. Other people might have other reasons. It’s a graveyard of hearts, this place where single church girls crash into their late 20s and early 30s. Churches see the symptoms. They scramble to reach out to the ever-growing young adult singles crowd who feels alienated by family-oriented services.

But there’s something bigger behind it than that.

Much bigger.

There are a lot of girls out there who don’t know who God is anymore – the God of their youth group years just isn’t working out. Back then, that God said to wait for sex until they are married, until He brings the right man along for a husband. They signed a card and put it on the altar and pledged to wait.

And wait they did.

*****

And waited and waited and waited.

Some of them have prayed their whole lives for a husband, and he hasn’t shown up. They’ve heard the advice to “be the woman God made you to be, focus on that, and then the husband will come.” They’ve read “Lady in Waiting,” gotten super involved in church and honed their domestic skills.

And still they wait.

More than a decade ago, a youth leader handed them a photocopied poem in Sunday School written to them from “God” that said, “The reason you don’t have anyone yet is because you’re not fully satisfied in Me. You have to be satisfied with Me and then when you least expect it, I’ll bring you the person I meant for you.”

And the girls see it posted on their bulletin boards from time to time.

“You’re right, God,” they say. “We’re not satisfied in you yet. We will put you first and then you can bring us a husband in your timing.”

But many of them – if they’re honest – will tell you that time has passed, and it’s wrecking their view of God.

If this is who God’s supposed to be, then He’s tragically late.

So some decide to chuck “Lady in Waiting” out the window … and possibly their virginity with it. Church goes next. God might go next, too. If He doesn’t answer these prayers after they’ve held up their end of the bargain, why would He answer any others?

Whether it was the fault of the leaders, the fault of us girls, or both, a tragedy happened back then.

A lot of girls were sold on a deal and not on a Savior.

*****

I had that poem on my bulletin board all through high school – the one where “God” was telling me to fall in love with Him first and then I would be able to fall in love with a husband later.

Who wrote that poem anyway?

Pretty sure it wasn’t God.

When Jesus was here on the earth, the crowds would follow Him because they saw He gave good things. But that’s not what He wanted. He wanted their hearts for Himself. So He would turn to them and say things like, “If you don’t love Me so much that every other relationship in your life looks like hate by comparison, you can’t follow Me.” (Matthew 10:34-39, paraphrase)

That sounds a lot different from the poem.

Christ is the source of everything we need and the giver of all good gifts … but in telling people about Him, it’s possible we’ve sold them on a solution for life’s problems and not life itself.

What if we as girls had learned early on that having Him was everything, not a means to the life we think He would want us to have.

If we had learned we don’t abstain from sex because we’re “waiting.” We abstain because we love Him.

If I’d had on my bulletin board, “Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.

If I’d learned who He is, what He wants, how to give Him everything, not “wait” so that one day I could give my everything to someone else.

If I’d learned that it’s not bad to pray for a husband, but that my greater prayer should be for Him to spend my life as He chooses for His glory.

If we as believers make that our message, things could be drastically different for a lot of girls wondering why the God they think they learned to follow doesn’t compute. It doesn’t necessarily stop the desire for a husband or end all feelings of loneliness, but it does show a God who provides, loves and gives infinite purpose even to our singleness rather than a God who categorically denies some who pray for husbands while seemingly giving freely to others.

It shows that while marriage is good, He is the greater goal.

*****

Don’t think I’ve done this perfectly.

I’d be deceiving you if you thought that. I’ve had relationships where I made major mistakes. I’ve gone through angst-ridden phases where I met with friends to plead together with God to bring us husbands. I’ve planned major life decisions around possibilities.

I lived like I was waiting for something.

And that’s why I slipped off my ring that day. It wasn’t that I wanted to sleep with people – I haven’t. It wasn’t a slap to True Love Waits, or to anyone who wears a purity ring – saving sex for marriage is good and is His design.

I just didn’t want to wait anymore – didn’t want to live like I was waiting on anyone to get here.

I already have Him … and He is everything.

“Follow Christ for His own sake, if you follow Him at all.” – J.C. Ryle

For Single Young Women :)

Now I know I have quite a range of people who read my blog, but this post is aimed at all you single young women desiring marriage (although anyone is welcome to read it 🙂 )

This is a letter that was written to my friend by one of the married ladies that used to attend our church group, during a Secret Sister thing we did earlier this year.  My friend was greatly encouraged by it so she shared it with me and I was so encouraged by it that I want to share it with you 🙂

—————————————

 “Dear _________,

Oh my…I have been in your shoes and I truly know how difficult it can be.  You feel torn by conflicting emotions.  On one hand, you know God to be completely sufficient. More than sufficient, even – you know Him to be abundantly able to fulfill the deepest longings of your soul.

On the other hand, there is this relationship called marriage.  As God designed it to be, it is the most beautiful relationship on this earth.  To be a woman desired, sought after, and won as a bride…to be a Godly man’s confidante, cheerleader, and friend…to keep his home and bear his children…the longing can be so intense at times!

Often, then, the guilt comes, “if God is sufficient, then why this longing?”  “I must not love God as deeply – as passionate – as I ought to.”   Can I just say this?  The desire for marriage is given of God 🙂

There…no wonder it’s so consuming at times!   And yet that desire has the potential to become idolatrous.  See, there is a reason that the Lord created us with this longing.  It is all about His glory.  God’s glory.  His honor.  His reputation and the truth about His passionate, relentless pursuit and love for His bride → the church.

Marriage is a picture of this relationship.  It’s easy for us to lose sight of that, both before and after we marry.  The purpose is not our own happiness.  The purpose of marriage is the glorification of God by the portrayal of His relationship with His bride!  So then this desire is holy.  But recognize it for what it truly is: the opportunity to represent the Church to the world in your role as a wife.  It is a noble calling and not something to suppress.

But what do you do in the meantime?  Prepare yourself.  I know you are already familiar with the physical aspects of keeping a home.  Prepare yourself spiritually and emotionally.  Learn what God says a Godly wife looks like.  Learn about men and how they think.  Talk to your brothers and gain an understanding of why they act the way they do.  Not all men are the same but often they share strengths and weaknesses that we women do not have. 🙂

Appreciate their strengths and learn how you can be a support and an encouragement in their weaknesses.  Seek to honor and strengthen marriage as a whole – not only your future marriage, but those of the couples around you.

Above all, continually remind yourself that the desire for a husband, in its deepest sense, is actually a desire for God, for a husband is but an earthly picture of our relationship to Jesus Christ.  There a couple of books I’d highly recommend.  OK…more than a couple.  But if you’ve not yet read them, they are excellent!

Desiring God by John Piper

The Pursuit of God and The Pursuit of Man by A.W. Tozer

Hinds Feet on High Places and Mountains of Spices by Hannah Hurnard

And lastly, be willing to be patient. 🙂 God’s timing is not only good; it is perfect.  If He intends for you to marry, then He will bring the two of you together at the proper time.  Not too soon…not too late 🙂  But if He has designed for you to be single, then know that you are not doomed to a life of unfulfilled longing and regret.  You will always have the potential you have right now:  fullness of joy.  Abiding Peace.  The key?  Learning to walk in the presence of God. (“in thy presence is fullness of joy…” – Psalm 16)

Learn to love the voice of God.  Take joy in walking the path He has set before you.  Step by step, “Day by Day” do what He asks of you.  In this way, you can never miss His will for your life.  Believe it or not, marriage and motherhood have even greater opportunities for self-pity and discontent than does singleness…but also very great potential for unsurpassed joy.

Learn the skill of finding joy, contentment, and fulfillment now.  Christ is your only guarantee of those traits later as well.  No man can bear that expectation.  If you learn to find complete satisfaction in Christ, you can release your husband from a great deal of stress and allow him to be a man. 🙂 This will prove very helpful and your husband will be very grateful.

I will pray for you!

Blessings. 🙂

Your Secret Sister

Proverbs 31 :)

Whenever I used to think of the Proverbs 31 woman, I always dreamed of being like that…someday.  It wasn’t until just recently that I realized, though I’m not yet married, I can be applying most of these to my life right now! 

So I sat down, went verse by verse, and wrote out the qualities that the Proverbs 31 woman has….

Verse 11 –  The heart of her husband safely trusts in her and lacks nothing in value. 

                She is trustworthy

Verse 12 – “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life”

                She considers how her actions will affect him (and others)

Verse 13 – She works willingly with her hands

                She works with delight and pleasure

Verse 14 – “She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar”

                She is an enterprising person

Verse 15 – “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens” 

                She is not a sluggard

 Verse 16 –  “She considers a field, and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard”  NIV               

                She shows good judgment 

Verse 17 – “She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.”  Amplified Version 

                She is prepared for the work God gives her 

Verse 18 – “She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” NIV

                 She sees that her work is profitable

 Verse 19 – “In her hands she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers” NIV

                 We again see her working with her hands

Verse 20 – “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” NIV 

                She notices the needs of other and helps them 

Verse 21 –  “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.”   NIV

                 She sees that her family is well taken care of 

Verse 22 – “She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.”  NIV

                Once again we see her working with her hands and providing for her family

 Verse 23 – “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.”  NIV

 Her husband is respected at the city gates (because she speaks positively of him)

Verse 24 – “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.” NIV

                She makes things to sell; she’s industrious

Verse 25 – “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”  NIV

                She is strong and dignified; she is free of anxiety and worry (she knows God is in control)

Verse 26 – “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” NIV

                 She is wise and has faithful instruction (you can only teach after you’ve learned)

Verse 27 – “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” NIV

She watches over her family and is not idle (it doesn’t say she doesn’t rest though)

 Verses 28/29 – “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” NIV

She is called blessed by her husband and children (“that is, one who enjoys happy circumstances and from whom joy radiates to others.”)

She surpasses the noble woman

Verse 30 – “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”      NIV

                She fears the Lord

Now for the difficult part…applying it!!!  🙂 

 

Artwork done by my friend Meadow Brady 🙂

 

I Do!

This is a special guest post by a good friend of mine, Elizabeth.   I hope you enjoy it as much as I have 🙂

———-

I Do!

  Written on Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mom bought Josh Harris’ book “Boy Meets Girl” at a garage sale, and I’ve been reading that the past few days.  I had almost finished reading the fourth chapter when God got my attention… 

 
“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life
with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down;
Perhaps it crept to ones side like an old friend through
quiet ways; Perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose,
until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart it’s
pages betrayed the rhythm and the music; Perhaps…per-
haps…love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friend-
ship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from it’s green
sheath.”  ~Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

(This is the part that REALLY stuck out to me)
“Perhaps after all our worries and questions, we’ll discover
that all along God had the right thing at the right time for us. 
Perhaps His plan is more wonderful than anything we could
create by ourselves — whether it comes with ‘pomp and blare,’
or quietly, ‘like an old friend.’ 

Perhaps… perhaps… we should entrust our questions of
‘How?’ and ‘Who?’and ‘When?’ into His loving care.” 

I got alone with God.  “Lord,” I prayed, “I do.”  Immediately after I’d spoken that aloud I realized the significance.  Not only was I surrendering and entrusting these questions to Him, but I was also saying, “Lord, YOU are my husband, You are my All —I do!” 

 
~Elizabeth