Friday, February 28, 2014

A change of Heart

February was a month of learning and growing for me. I learned a little about some of my friends and a lot about myself! I also learned that even though I am a great mom, I am still trying to learn the lessons I am teaching my children. Let me explain.

My wonderful hard working husband had an opportunity to take a little vacation this month. He got to get on an 'airs planes' (as my son would say) and leave this cold Virgina weather and land in sunny, warm Florida.

But, by being out of town, that left me with the kids on my own for 4 nights. For the week leading up to him leaving I kept having mixed feelings. How could he just up and leave me for 4 nights all by myself with four small kids? But wait, I kinda do the kid thing on my own anyway. Don't get me wrong, my husband is a great father, but he works long hours to make it possible for me to stay home full time. This means that there are some days that I take care of the kids all day and get them to bed before he even walks through the front door. So him being gone for a few days doesn't really throw a wrench into my life. So why then was I so mad?

When I dug down deep and really worked through my feelings, I wasn't mad, I was jealous. Jealous. Why does he get a fun 5 days off when I haven't had 12 hours off in 5 years? How come he can just decide to up and go to Florida when it takes a small miracle to get me and the 4 kids to the grocery store and back?

I have had many people, family, friends and complete strangers tell me that our family should run differently. That my husband should 'do more' around the house. That I need to 'train' him to help more. I respectfully disagree. Just like every person has different qualities, each family unit does too. My family doesn't need to run like others. I love serving my family. I love that I get to spend my days with my kids and I get to love and encourage my husband. So why then was I jealous that he was getting a vacation and I wasn't?

Sinful human nature. Or something more?

His vacation came at a time when I had started to feel overwhelmed with my responsibilities. It came at a time when I was feeling taken advantage of. I had 5 people who depended on me and I was feeling drained. I didn't look the way I wanted to and I defiantly didn't feel the way I wanted to.  I started to have the dreaded and very damaging, "what about me?" attitude.

I was talking with a friend, or more likely complaining. When she said something that just rocked me. She said, "We can do everything right, say everything right and be everything right. But, that doesn't guarantee that we will get the outcome that we want." Or maybe it doesn't guarantee an outcome that we think we deserved.

I thought about this for a few days. I really am a great mom. Sure, I lose my temper and yell. I get tired of the constant 'why' some days. I haven't truly slept through the night in 4.5 years. Four years people!!  But, I truly love my kids. I have a desire to teach them and grow them the way God wants me to. I also am a great wife. I may not be the prettiest arm candy a husband could have, but I love my husband. I respect my husband. I want to do the best I can by him. So, I can be a great mom and a great wife and still not be the one who gets the vacation.

Then today my daughter had a disappointment and a subsequent bad attitude to go with it. Her younger sister got to ride in the truck with daddy, while she had to ride in the car with mommy. "I don't want to ride with you! I want to ride with daddy!"

"Honey. I understand you want to get to ride with daddy. But we don't always get what we want in life. Today it's sisters turn. Another day it will be your turn. We don't always get to be the special one. We don't always get to have the new dress, or be the birthday girl, or be the one that gets a special treat. What really matters is how you treat people when it's not your turn. We need to change our heart so that we are happy for sister that she gets to have a turn."

Yes. We need to change our heart.

We don't always get to be the special one. Or the one who gets the vacation. We can do everything right, say everything right and be everything right, but that doesn't mean we are guaranteed the outcome we want. But what matters is how we treat people. What matters is how we treat people when we don't get want we want (or get to be the one on vacation).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sinful. Me?

My husband and I attend church pretty faithfully. My favorite part of church is the worship. I love going and just being able to sing to the Lord. There is something so powerful in praising Him!

This past weekend our sweet 2.5 year old girl stayed in 'big church' with us. It was fun singing with her. She asked about the worship leader and what her name was. She even said she looked like a princess on stage. But other then that little bit of church I can not remember what was said during the service. I could not tell you what our pastor preached about. I was so consumed with the conversation I was having with the Lord. And boy, was it humbling!

As I sat between my amazing husband and one of the sweetest girls I know, I thought,

"Wow Lord. I am doing pretty good! Of course, I sin like everyone else, but I am in a really great place. No 'super' sin in my heart."

"Oh really? None at all?"

"Nope. We come to church and tithe regularly. I try to talk daily about your Son to our kids."

"That's great. Still no sin though?"

"Nope. Not me.  I mean look at my family. I love my husband and children deeply, just as You have called me to. I serve them without complaining, most days at least."

"Hum. Ok. So no sin there?"

"I mean, not really. We don't do drugs, we rarely drink any alcohol. I don't cheat on my husband. I don't lust after any other man, just like your word says. I am not addicted to anything....."

"Ok. What else?"

"Well, I certainly don't go around murdering anyone. I don't covet what my neighbor has. I am content in our little old house. I love being home with and for my family. I try to do nice things for the people in my life without them knowing- that way You get the credit. I love everyone, justs like you have told me to."

"Really? You love everyone?"

"Uh, well, sure. I mean, I don't agree with some peoples choices or their life style, but they are always welcome in our home.  I have made mistakes in the past and I felt the need to cut ties with some people, but that wasn't because I didn't love them, just I didn't really have room for the drama in my life. If they really needed me I would be there for them."

"So you love everyone?"

"Yes. I have hurt people in the past by not loving them the way You expected me to, but I have grown so much in the last few years. You know I have. I love!"

"Really?"

"Yes!"

"What did you tell yourself when you looked in the mirror this morning?"

"What?"

"What did you say today while getting ready for church? 
What do you say to yourself every morning?"

"Ummmm.....I told myself I was too fat......That I look ugly in all my cloths."

"Uh-hu and..."

"And I said that I was a disappointment because I don't look like I did before I had kids, that I am not attractive because I don't fit in my wedding dress."

"And"

"And that I hate my hair and my freckles."

"The hair I picked out for you? 
The freckles that I perfectly placed on your face?"

"Well, yes."

"So tell me. Do you love everyone?"

"No."

That night while sitting with my husband after the kids have gone to bed I said the normal things I always say.

"I shouldn't have eaten that dinner. I will never be skinny if I keep eating." Or "I am sorry you got stuck with such a blob of a wife." Or "I am so ugly. Look at me, my belly is so big and my legs are so skinny, I look like an apple on tooth picks."

Normally, I say these things without even thinking twice. But since that church service, every time I think these things I get a little twinge in my heart.

Society says that as my weight increased, my worth decreased.
Society says that because I don't make a paycheck, I am not worth anything.
Society says that  my worth is found in my looks, the size of my cloths, how beautiful my hair is. My worth is found in how many friends I have or how many activities I am involved in.
Society says that the prettier I am, the more worthy I am of love.

God says none of that is true.
God says that I am loved whether this world thinks I am pretty or not.
God says he loves me in a size 2 or a size 22.
God says my worth is found in him.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
-1 Peter 3:3-4

Everyone knows that we celebrate Valentines day in February. That it's the month of love! Well, I have decided to make February a moth of loving myself. For the rest of this month, I will not say demeaning things about myself to my husband. Because old habits are hard to break, if I do say these things, I will apologise. I will speak truth in place of the lies.

The Bible tells us that the Devil is the father of lies. That he is prowling around looking for someone to devour. The Bible tells us to be careful with the things we say and the thoughts we have as to not give the Devil a foot hold in our lives. When saying demeaning things about ourselves we are allowing the Devil control in our lives. That constant chatter in our heads about how we are not worthy because of how we look, or what we weigh, or what we haven't accomplished, takes our thoughts off of the Lord and all he has done for us. We are not thinking about all that we are thankful for.

I want to be a women of love. I want to live a life of thankfulness. I can not do this if I am constantly telling myself I am worthless. 

I am worthy because God loves me.

I am loved.

I am worthy of Love.

And you are too.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Gentle & Quiet Spirit

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
1 Peter 3:3-4

Many years ago, when I first read this passage, the "gentle and quiet spirit" stuck out at me. I felt that I was anything but 'gentel and quiet.' I talked too much and too loud. I said things and did things I later thought that I should not have. I wanted to be a women (and later a wife) that was both pleasing to my husband and my Lord. 

There were many times though out our dating years and early marriage that I would think I was being too loud and that my husband would want a 'gentel and quiet wife.' So I would sit with him and not say a word. My husband (or boyfriend at the time) would ask over and over "what's wrong?" I would just shake my head and give a simple and soft spoken "Nothing." 

Finlay, one night, after being asked over and over what was wrong; And after having so much I wanted to say, but felt like I needed to sit silently, I told him. I told my husband I was trying to be what God wanted me to be, to have a gentle and quiet spirit. My husband simply laughed and said, "You do!" 

"I do?! But I talk too much and I talk to loud and I ask too many questions! I am trying so hard to have a quiet spirit, but there is so much I want to say!!" 

That's when my sweet, patient husband explained it to me. Oh, and it changed everything! Having a gentle and quiet spirit, means being kind, living at peace and being content. 

Lets look at one piece at a time. 

Being Gentle:

Being gentle means living at peace with those around you. It means living peacefully without violence or aggression, without spreading gossip or purposefully causing trouble. 

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, 
just as we instructed you before.
1 Thessalonians 4:11

Living a gentle life doesn't mean "shutting up" it means living at peace with those around you- minding your own business. It doesn't mean not saying anything, it means choosing carefully how you say all you need to!

 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18


Having a Quiet Spirit:

The way my husband explained it to me is this: when we think of someone having a 'wild' spirit, we think of someone who is not content. Someone who is always running about, who doesn't know what they want. 

A wife with a quiet spirit is someone who is content with staying home and watching after her family and her household. A quiet spirited wife is not someone who doesn't talk, but rather someone who is happy with what she has, grateful what she is given. Her speech, the words she says and her actions reflects this inner contentment. 

 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:26-27

Did you catch it? Not only does the Proverbs 31 wife, (The Wife of Nobel Character) watch over the affairs of her house, but she speaks! She speaks! Being gentle and having a quiet spirit does not mean 'shutting up and not talking', but rather talking with peace and living with contentment. It's not living silently, but purposefully.

How do we apply this to a life of a mom of young (or old) kids; To a wife of a hard working husband?  

It means when the kids disobey we don't yell, we speak with peace. 
It means when we disagree with our husband we do not become disrespectful, but live at peace with him.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, 
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

The last piece of 1 Peter 3:4 says, "which is of great worth in God's sight." I desire so deeply to do, to say and to be of great worth in God's sight. When I am gone from this earth I want my children and my husband to "rise up and call me blessed" (Proverbs 31:28)- not for the acknowledgement from man, but because I know that if they do, it means I have lived a life that was pleasing to my Lord.