Too Much to Gain to Lose

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A few months ago I had the brainchild of getting into couponing. Now, I know nothing about it, but have always wanted to learn, and since my daughter is a recent Ultra-Couponer, I hoped I could latch onto her and get some good ideas. So I decided to start with shopping deals at CVS.

My first week, I bought $11 worth of stuff, and got $10 worth of Extra Care Bucks back! Not bad, eh? But I had to wait until next week to use those bucks, and the next week there were no real deals. The same with the following weeks.

One day I looked at my ECB receipt and discovered that this day was the very last day to use it! No problem – even though it was a Sunday, I would go after church. So on the way home from church I stopped by the CVS only to discover that it had already closed the the day! Oh no! My ECBs were expired! All that money was wasted!

I let a wonderful opporunity slip through my hands.

It reminds me of a verse: “Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have learned, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

God has been speaking to me through this verse. Sometimes it is a gentle rolling, a murmer in the background, and other times it is a shocking almost visible trumpet call.

Why? Because I struggle. I struggle with allowing precious things to slip through my hands. I struggle with maintaining a lazer focus on the true and right things, and often get distracted with the meaningless dribble of life. I struggle because my attention span is so very very short.

But God in His mercy continues to call, to pull. He gently murmers in the background, and loudly proclaims His truth right in my face. And these are the things He has been speaking to me about giving the More Earnest Heed to:

1) My God – Coming to grips with the reality of God’s constant presence is something I need to pay more earnest attention to. His presence brings a clarity to my daily routine, and draws me toward a right relationship with Him.

2) My marriage – I may have been married a long time, but there’s no time for vacation or coasting. I must always pay earnest attention to my spouse, otherwise, the parade of daily distractions will pull us apart.

3) My children – For me, I struggle with screen time. It helps to remember that every moment spent in front of the screen is one less moment I spend with my family. It’s something I must always be on guard against.

There’s too much to gain to lose.

Is there anything The Lord has been speaking to you about lately? Do you find yourself struggling with the meaningless dribble of life and not doing what you know you’re supposed to?

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On a personal note, you may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet here lately. It’s because I’m allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my daily activities and schedule. There have been plenty of evenings I thought to myself, “Well, I’m not getting on the computer tonight. I wonder what I’ll do?” and before I knew it, one or the other of the young people pulled me aside and I spent the evening talking, or taking a walk, or something fun. It’s been a good thing to keep my computer turned off.

We’ve continued on our travels, and now we’re up in the northern states. It’s blissfully cool here, so I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the great running weather. My 5k times were good for August! Now we’re back south, and it’s more of a challenge.

We’ve been doing a lot of singing as a family, which I love. We got our new CD, “I Have Been Blessed,” and have also been learning new songs. If The Lord allows, I’m hoping to make a recording when we come back from this trip, so we will hopefully have another CD ready to put out before the year is up.

We got to visit with the grandkids last week, too! What a blessing it was to be there while Emily had her birthday!! I can’t believe she’s turning 6 years old already!!

Time flies! …and I’m constantly reminded as I look at my grandkids, “I have too much to gain to lose.” I don’t want to let any opportunity to glorify God slip through my hands!

What Kind of Tater are You? (devotional for women)

Today’s post is a light-hearted devotional for women for a favorite spring pasttime, gardening. As we plant our gardens, let’s be thinking about the Tater family. I wonder…what kind of Tater are you? What kind am I? Something to think about.

sprin devotional for women

sprin devotional for women

One of the things I’ve missed for those 17 years of being on the road was having a garden. I had a garden while we lived in PA in the early years of our marriage, but once we went on the road in 1993 I was confined to a tiny houseplant…or was it a busplant? Anyway, I was thrilled this year to be able to break some new ground and put in some strawberry and broccoli plants.

Now, in the past, I’ve grownthings like carrots, beans, peas, and even potatoes. I thought it was amazing that a potato is actually also a potato seed! You can take a potato and put it in the ground, and it will sprout up and turn into a potato plant, and from that potato, you can get 6 or more potatoes! When I lived in Texas and it was time to harvest the pototoes, though, I discovered that potatoes were perfect places for fire ants to build their ant mounds! Boy was I surprised when I pulled on my first potato plant and found, not just potatoes, but fire ants!

I’m not sure what you call a potato seed, but let’s talk for a minute about different kinds of potatoes in the home.

1. Dic-tater – She’s the one who tries to run everything her own way, and refuses to let her husband lead.
Now, the Bible says we are to “guide the house” (see 1 Timothy 5:14.) That word “guide” literally means to run the household, or to manage family affairs. In other words, once her husband has set a direction for the home, it’s her job to make sure that direction is followed on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, however, it’s easy for Mrs. Dic-tater to think she’s in charge of everyone, hubby included, and if things are not done her way, she gets fuming mad!

Let’s not ever forget the Bible mandate, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)

2. Ro-tater – She’s never consistent with anything. One day she’s happy, and then for no reason, another day she’s down in the dumps. Now, being a woman (read that word “hormone junkie”) and being hypoglycemic (read that as “extremely sugar sensative!) I know that physical things have a lot to do with how we feel. But there comes a time when we need to come to grips with our feelings and not let how we feel dictate our day, orour families.

Mrs. Ro-tater is never consistent with her children. She disciplines in irritation one day, and the next laughs at the very same offense! Little Johnny has no idea what’s right and what’s wrong, and becomes very insecure. Children need to have limits, and Mrs. Ro-tater doesn’t seem to realize this. She’s too busy riding her waves of hormones and sugar to pay much attention to training her children.

I’m so thankful that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” (see Hebrews 13:8) and, “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6a) The Lord deals with us in consistency, and we would be more Christ-like, and less like Mrs. Ro-tater, when we are consistent as well!

3. Sweet-tater – She’s through and through a sweetie. She’s different than the rest; she’s formed from a totally different mold. She’s not a dic-tator, or a ro-tater, or an agi-tater or a speck-tater, but she is kind, loving, peaceful, gentle, good, full of faith, meekness, and self-control. In fact, she is different because she is filled with the sweet Spirit of God! (Galatians 5:22-23)

She’s thinks more of others than of herself (see Philippians 2:3,) and strives to teach her children consistently. While she rides the same hormone waves everybody else does, she doesn’t let it alter her behavior, and if the waves get really rough, she does what she can to let folks know that she needs a little time to take care of those waves, rather than just blowing up.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to try to plant sweet taters this year, too, beside my strawberry patch and broccoli. And while I plant them, I’m going to ask The Lord to help me be full of the Holy Spirit, so I can be more Christlike like Mrs. Sweet-tater!

Question: How many other members of the Tater family can you think of? Can you think of any more things you could add to this devotional for women?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

My Husband Socks Me in the Eye Every Night

Sneak Peek: Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT!! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED! “Friends, come praise the Lord with me!” 

Lord willing, I’ll be uploading the Kindle version within the next few days!

 

 

OK. The dirty secret is out. My husband socks me in the eye every night.

You see, I hate sleeping with any sort of light in the room, so I put something over my eyes to keep any light out. I discovered that the very best thing to put on my eyes at night is one of my husband’s dress socks…the thick ones, of course (the thin ones are too light, and just don’t feel right!)

So every night he “socks me in the eye…” or rather, he lets me use one of his beloved dress socks to cover up my eyes at night. In fact, I’ve been using his socks for about 25 years…so long that he just automatically knows what socks I like and gave me a whole bag of his old “singles.”

So what does that have to do with marriage? Everything! You see, we all have our odd little idiosyncrasies – our little preferences for a thick sock rather than a thin one, squeezing the toothpaste tube from the end rather than at the middle, or pulling the toilet paper off the top of the roll rather than the bottom .

My husband learned long ago to just accept my little oddities as a part of me, and to not try to change me, but to let me learn and grow on my own. So he smiles at me, shakes his head, and gives up some of his own dress socks for my whims, letting me use them every night.

Just as we have our own little preferences (and we want our husbands to indulge us) so our men have their own preferences. Ladies, it’s to our advantage to bless him by allowing him to have his own little idiosyncrasies and not trying to change him.

How to Learn to Live with Idiosyncrasies:

1.       Don’t try to change your spouse. It’s very common for newly married couples, or even those that have been married for a while, to have it stuck in their head that it’s their responsibility to change their spouse. This is all despite the fact that often it was those very differences that drew them to their spouse in the first place. However, somewhere along the line, they concluded that their own way is the “right” way (though in reality it doesn’t matter a hill of beans whether the toilet paper comes off the top of the roll or the bottom!)

 

 First, let me say that those differences have been there longer than you have been part of his life, and they’re not likely to go away just because you don’t like them. One of the very best things you can do for your marriage is to stop trying to change your spouse.

2.       Show them that you love them, not just despite their idiosyncrasies, but also FOR them! Forgo all nagging, huffing and puffing at their oddities, but even accept or learn to laugh at them. They can be “inside jokes” in your relationship. Remember that the thing that is so weird about the other person actually has some very special merits to it. Though it will never mean as much to you as to the other person, it does help you to pick up on some of those things, and espouse them as your own.

For example, I often pick up on some of My Beloved’s unique humor, phrases he goes around saying, or songs he so cavalierly mangles. They say that imitation is one of the finest forms of flattery. It sends a signal to the other person that they are very valuable to you and cannot be replaced. It gives a feeling of security in the relationship.

3.       Remember that you have your own idiosyncrasies that your husband puts up with. The other day I walked into the bathroom, saw the lid up, and thought to myself in a huff, Why does he always leave the lid up?? Instantly, the Lord brought another thought to my mind, He could just as easily say to me, Why do you always leave the lid down?? I had to smile at myself, knowing that some of the things I do probably seem quite odd to him, I just don’t think of them that way, because I think my way is not only the right way, I often think of it as the ONLY way!

Harping at him will never change him. Loving him in spite of his oddities will. Or maybe they won’t – but I’d rather be happy in an enjoyable marriage than miserable in a horrible one.

What does your husband put up with? What are some of your oddities? Rather than concentrating on what we have to put up with, let’s look to ourselves and think about what HE has to put up with, and thank him for his patience.

For me, when I snuggle into bed with one of my hubby’s socks (clean, mind you!) I enjoy knowing that my husband loves me in spite of my oddities. And do you know what? I know he has some too, and I love him anyway. That’s cozy enough to sleep on.

So what are some idiosyncrasies you’re willing to tell about? Don’t embarrass your husband, but it’s ok to tell about your own. Also, is there some other tidbit of helpful advice you have for younger ladies who have difficulties dealing with their husband’s oddities?

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • If you missed my announcement at the top of the page, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED!
  •  In this book, there is:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

If You Love Your Kids, Love Your Spouse!

At a friend’s funeral, I was amazed to see her remarkable legacy of nine children and thirty-eight grandchildren, many of whom are being raised in the ministry. Each of her children and most of her grandchildren have put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and are living their lives for Him. Mary has been a wonderful testimony of a godly wife and mother.

I would have never guessed, however, that her marriage hadn’t always been wonderful. In their early marriage, the fights were almost constant and Mary wondered if she had made a terrible mistake. Still, Mary and her husband were unwilling to get a divorce, so they turned to God and began attending church.

God graciously rewarded their search for truth by leading them both to trust Him for salvation. Now that they were born-again, they began to seek Him for every decision. Through His Word, they discovered that as they drew closer to God, they drew closer to each other. It created a strong foundation for stable, happy children.

How can I raise happy children who love the Lord? Love my spouse!

Amazingly enough, the vast majority of 2nd Generation Christians I spoke to felt that their parents’ marriage was excellent. At least I thought it was amazing, because in many cases, I personally know their parents…and they don’t have the storybook romance! Not that they fight like two children over a candy bar, but that they have their differences for sure.

That tells me one thing: even if your marriage isn’t perfect, if you’re careful to keep your disputes private, the kids perceive the marriage as excellent. And a child’s perception is the child’s reality.

So how can we love our spouses, even through the differences?

1. Having a desire to please the Lord is probably one of the best things you can have that will strengthen your marriage. One young lady told me, “Both my parents had a tremendous desire to do whatever the Lord wanted, and often that seemed to settle the disputes.”

2. Present a unified front to the children. Successful-parent marriages always back each other up to the children, even if they disagree. They wait until later to talk over the decision privately.

3. Say positive things about your spouse, especially in front of the children. This may be a tough one for some folks, but I feel that it is possible to take the good of your spouse, however small, and show how thankful we are for it.

4. Never tear each other down in public, and especially not in front of the children. Successful parents know that to tear down their spouse is to tear down themselves.

5. Invest in your marriage. Take a little bit of time each day to flirt with or express love to your spouse. The returns on your investment will be tremendous! Take a look at my series on A Lasting Marriage for more ideas!

Let us learn from people like Mary and her husband. They didn’t always have an ideal marriage, but they sought the Lord and did their best to obey Him in their roles as husband and wife. They learned to communicate with each other without animosity, to present a unified front, and to speak positively about their spouse. They learned what the Bible says and began doing it. And because they did, there are now many young people across the globe living as a light for those around them. Oh, to have a legacy like theirs!

Question: Do you believe in the permanency of marriage? How does tearing down our spouses affect our children?

Special Announcements:

  • Stay glued to the Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments!

 

 

  • Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

There are plenty of wonderful marriage blogs that are a real blessing. Here are a few of them:

To Love, Honor, and Vacuum

Messy Marriage

The Alabaster Jar

Also, some good books I’ve read on this subject:

Created to Be His Helpmeet, by Debbie Pearl. Debbie has some very insightful principles in her book. The one thing that changed my life completely was her description of the three types of men. If you read nothing else of hers, this alone will help you.

Lovebusters, by Willard Harley. Dr. Harley tells about the things which tear down marriages, and if we’re able to prevent those things from happening, we can build up our marriages.

Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas. I love the premise of this book, “What if marriage was more to make you holy than happy?” It’s so true. God can use the ministry of marriage in our lives to change us to be more Christ-like…if we let it. Right now, Christian Book Distributors is selling it for only $5!!

For your information, I get nothing from recommending these resources. They are just great books that I’ve read and I think are very helpful.

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

3 Things That Make Your Hubby LOVE Coming Home!

 

Being in military ministry, we work closely with young military families. Megan and her husband Mark had been married about two years, and had the cutest little 14 month old boy, Josiah. Megan was the typical young army wife, who married with stars in her eyes and ended her marriage with daggers in her hands. But at sometime between the stars and the daggers, we had the privilege of working with them for a few months.

I stopped by Megan’s house one day to visit. Brushing the crumbs off the couch, I sat and began to talk about the Lord. I tried not to notice, but toys and trash mingled together on the floor, and the coffee table was a mountain of who-knows-what. Her boy walked around clad in typical Tarzan fashion, in a diaper – a very smelly diaper! That was in itself not too bad, except after a time it started to bother me that no effort was made to change the boy. But the dog was very interested in the contents of the diaper, going up to little Josiah and licking the edges of his diaper at every chance he could. Of course, the family pet turned and licked the boy’s face!

Though that was disgusting enough, soon the boy found a long-lost bottle of mysterious liquid (complete with floaties of unknown origin!) and walked around drinking it!! While Megan’s back was turned, I relieved the boy of his bottle and took it to the kitchen sink, where I’m sure it remained for quite some time.

No wonder they were having marital trouble!

Someone once said “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” and after that experience, I began to believe it!

Want a happy marriage? Keep your home in order. Or at least WORK on it. Never just “let it go.” I’m preaching to myself here, because these things are a real challenge for me. My sister, who grew up sharing a room with me, could tell you how horribly messy I am/was, but the Lord has done great things for me. Here are some things I have learned:

Keep your home CLEAN! Or a semblance of clean. Divide your home into 4 zones and clean each zone during its week. That way, your whole house gets a good cleaning at least once a month. And if you don’t get to all of it this month, no worries – it will come around again. For ideas for creating your own house cleaning schedules, see HouseCleaningTips.com, and for a template and printable, see this great article from Money Crashers.

Keep your home NEAT! Work on organizing and putting things away. All of these points are a struggle for me, but especially this one. I am the Queen of Clutter. My son told me once that I was the most “organized dis-organized person” he knows! But through systems such as the Flylady system, the Lord has helped me to make a lot of progress. In fact, I really got a blessing the other day when we had a bunch of people over for Memorial Day and my daughter commented, “You guys are so organized! You’re doing such a good job making this huge meal for a big crowd!” I would never have been able to do it pre-Flylady!

Keep your home nicely DECORATED! It doesn’t have to be a Martha Stewart home, but there’s a lot you can do with thrift store items if you know what to buy and where to put it.

I am Decoration-Challenged, so I try to get some help for this one. My oldest daughter is really good at it, as are some of my friends, so I ask them for help. Generally, I just let them come up with ideas and I do it, knowing that I know nothing of decor! But you probably don’t have that problem. Maybe you’re really good at it, so here’s your chance to let your creativity shine!

Pinterest is probably your best place to get decorating ideas! Though I’m not on myself – I know I’d be swallowed up and never heard from again – I’ve stalked it a few times myself!

I didn’t mention this before, but your body is another “house” you need to take care of. Even the smallest effort to eat right, get some exercise, and dress up for your honey will be appreciated. Check out these posts here for some pointers, as well as some ideas from Trim Healthy Mamas and Crossfit Mom.

Beware perfectionism – don’t turn into Mrs. Law! I can hear it now: “What??!?” (voice rising) “You left your COFFEE CUP ON THE END TABLE??!!!??!” No, no, no! This is to be an IMPROVEMENT for your family, not a DESTRUCTION! Get the kids in on the clean up, and sit and enjoy your nice place, but let The Man be The Man. Believe it or not, he will eventually see the effort you are making, and begin to clean up after himself.

Don’t let your stars become daggers! Make the extra effort to work on your home and marriage, even just a little bit each day, and you’ll see tremendous benefits!

Don’t just take a journey…take a COURAGEOUS journey!

What systems do you use for cleaning and organizing your home? Do you have any decorating pointers we can use? How about some ideas for better fitness and nutrition?

Also, check our Facebook page for “Destinations” (assignments for the day) to pump up your journey!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

8 Ways to be Your Husband’s Best Friend

It’s been great to write about A Lasting Marriage! I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I have writing it! This week, I found some really great articles about “Being Your Spouses Best Friend” in my preparation for this week’s blog post. Michael Hyatt wrote an excellent article on How to Become Your Spouses Best Friend which gives a lot of food for thought. Danielle Peters, in Fancy Little Things, wrote 7 Ways to Become Your Spouse’s Best Friend – a great article that gives more wonderful suggestions. And even if you’re not military, Veterans United has a great post on Beyond Loving Your Spouse: 25 Ways to be a Best Friend.

Here are some more ideas:

1. Accept your husband – dirty socks, gas, burps and all! One of our great desires is to be accepted as we are. Shouldn’t we do the same for our best friend?

2. Have fun together! Have a date and make sure there is some play time, too!

3. Feed him! It’s still true that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” …even after 30 years! Make his favorite dishes and desserts. As he gets older, we may need to modify these for health’s sake, but don’t modify them so much that they become unrecognizable! Apple pie should never become rhubarb sauce…

4. Dress up for him. Of course, morning hair is going to happen, but if you’re still wearing your morning hair when he gets home from work, that’s a problem. Don’t get caught in your rollers and pjs in the afternoon! Dress nicely for him, and when you go out on a date, wear something that’s nice.

5. Flirt with him. Yes, even after all these years, still flirt with him. Wink at him across the room, or raise an eyebrow at him. Drape a bare thigh over his leg (when no one’s watching, of course) or lay a pair of your underwear on his shoulder as you walk by. Ah yes, you can get quite creative! It makes life very interesting.

6. Find his love language and speak love to him. According to Gary Chapman, author of 5 Love Languages, they are: 1) Touch, 2) Giving, 3) Serving, 4) Talk, and 5) Time. Find out your hubby’s, and plan to love him the way he perceives love.

7. Get upset only at true sin. Dirty socks are not a sin, nor are farts or shoes on the steps. Eating ice cream out of the carton is not a sin, either. Pornography, on the other hand, is a sin, as is adultery and spiritual neglect. Take the things that may personally irritate you to God, but don’t blow up at him because he left his shoes on the steps. And if true sin is involved, approach him with meekness, “considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

8. Learn to forgive. This is a big one, ladies. The only way I learned to forgive was when the Lord brought me face-to-face with my own faults, and I learned that mine are just as big and horrible, but different. It’s the same with you. Your sins may not be as glaring, but they’re still there. Learn to forgive, because you’ll need to be forgiven often yourself.

You may have only been married a year, or 20 years (or you could be like us…going on your 30th year!!) but you can still be best friends. You’re already taking a journey…now, make it a COURAGEOUS JOURNEY! Give it all you’ve got and watch exciting things happen!

Are you and your husband still great friends? Tell us about it! How do you maintain a close friendship with your spouse?

Check our Facebook page for “Destinations” (assignments for the day) to pump up your journey!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, http://www.messymarriage.com/

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

3 Prayer Methods That Will Revolutionize Your Marriage

 

When I was young, my dream was to be a professional softball player…if there even was such a thing. But I wasn’t the star player, for sure. But one summer I went to something called Softball Camp, where I learned a ton of important things and honed down the fundamentals of the sport. I learned a great – and easy – way of stealing bases (and I never got out after that!) I also learned how to catch a ball and throw it again all in one smooth motion as well as the all-important wrist flick of batting a ball squarely over the shortstop’s head!

The next season, I was ranked up right with the best of the players on our team, and the year after that, our team won second place in the District Championship!

The point is, that fundamentals are extremely important. To improve in the very basic of skills is to improve everything about yourself.

Prayer is one of the very basic of Christian “skills,” and yet we often pray like we sometimes drive – aimlessly! Here are some suggestions for methods of praying that I have used in my prayer time for my husband, and the Lord has greatly blessed it:

1. Pray for your husband from Head to Toe – I got this idea from Girlfriends in God. Remember the Song of Solomon, how the king describes his wife, and the woman describes her husband? In all pureness of heart, we can pray for our husband from head to toe. Pray that the Lord will guide his eyes to see the right things, his lips to speak encouraging words, and his hands to do God’s Will. Pray that his feet will go only where God wants him to go, and that he will glorify God with his life. And your mind can fill in the rest! Go ahead and enjoy this one!

By the way, don’t be afraid to pray about sex, especially if it’s a concern to you. Remember that, if it’s something that bothers you, it’s important enough to pray about, and God is concerned, too.

2. Pray for your husband through the Scriptures – When I use the Scriptures to pray for my husband, I insert his name in the appropriate places. Some of my favorites are Ephesians 2:16-20, and Colossians 1:9-14. Both of these Scriptures are full of thanksgiving for my husband, and prayer for his growth and relationship to God.

Ladies, if there’s one thing we need, it’s a husband who is walking with God! And if we don’t pray for him, who will? So let’s set our hearts to praying for our men to be godly.

3. Pray through Character Traits – Like I said on my Facebook page, get a list of Character Qualities (like this one) and begin praying through them, perhaps just one a day. That helps to keep us from “selfish praying” – praying about only the things that bother us and not seeing the whole picture as God sees it. This practice alone has changed my family dramatically.

 

Want to hit a home run for your marriage? Get back to the fundamentals, and pray for your husband! We’re in a desperate need of ladies who will stand up and take a journey – a Courageous Journey – of prayer!!

Check our Facebook page for “Destinations” (assignments for the day) to pump up your journey!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, http://www.messymarriage.com/

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

6 Things Prayer Does for a Marriage

Imagine taking a journey – a very Courageous one, of course – to a wonderful place where everything you need is always available just for the asking. Folks are happy, the surroundings are peaceful, and you can rest. It’s not a boring place; there is always something exciting going on, and a treat around every corner, just waiting to be discovered. Adventure, excitement and contentment combine together in this place. Where are you? Why, it’s the Land of Could-Have-Been!

Last week, when I wrote about 4 Things That Will Send Your Marriage to the Divorce Court, and How to Prevent Them, I mentioned “The Four P’s” that can make your Marriage a Hawaiian Honeymoon! Today, I want to elaborate a little on one of the Four P’s: PRAYER.

Prayer is a tremendous power for good in our lives, an untapped resource we often neglect.  It’s the Land of Could-Have-Been. Through prayer, we get exactly what we need just for asking. Prayer creates a peace and rest of the soul, and brings joy to those around us. Every day brings a new adventure of faith…through prayer. But for many of us, it’s as fanciful as some far-off fairytale land.

Well, it’s time to take the Land of Could-Have-Been and change its name to the Land of My Own. After all, it’s available…and now it will be My Own. But in order for me to claim this land as My Own, I need to see what is available to me when I get it.

What does Prayer do for a Marriage?

  1. Eliminates Worry
  2. Infuses Hope
  3. Exposes Motives
  4. Discovers Root Issues
  5. Accesses Power
  6. Identifies Right Paths

To not take advantage of prayer is to never see what Could-Have-Been. It is to spend our days in the Worry-World and live in Depressed “Down”-Town. Hopeless Acres will be our lot, and we’ll spend our days putting out little fires created by the Root Issues of the Incendiary City.

Come on … let’s take a journey. In fact, let’s take a Courageous Journey, and head on over to the Land of Could-Have-Been and claim it as Our Own!

Today’s Destination: Prayer! Spend at least 5 minutes in prayer today. It’s hard to carve out the time sometimes, but remember…it’s the path to the Land of My Own!

Also…keep checking our Facebook page for more Destinations throughout the week (assignments and encouragements!) You’ll be glad you did!!

What has prayer done for your marriage?

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

The Strength of Commitment

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When Glenn Cunningham was 8 years old, both of his legs were badly burned in a schoolhouse explosion which also killed his older brother. His injuries were so extensive that he lost all the toes on his left foot, and sustained a lot of other deep tissue damage. The doctors wanted to amputate, but his parents decided that they would do what they could to save Glenn’s legs.

It was a huge uphill climb for Glenn and his family. His physical therapy sessions were quite demanding, often leaving him bathed in sweat. He was told he would never walk, but he determined that, not only would he walk, but he would run! So he pushed himself harder, doubling up on his physical therapy and finally, painfully, began to walk and eventually to run.

Because of his total commitment to improving himself, Glenn went on to break the world record for the mile, and to win the silver medal at the 1936 Olympics. Only the advent of WW2 ended his running career.

Now, your marriage may not be “missing all the toes on your left foot,” but you may be having some sort of marital difficulty. Perhaps it’s just a bump in the road, or maybe it’s a large pothole! It may even be a serious crisis, like we spoke about last week.

None of us come to marriage as a perfect human being. We all have some baggage, so we can’t expect smooth sailing all the time. Unfortunately, sometimes the only thing we have left is our commitment, but let’s not think that’s a small thing – commitment is the solid rocket booster that gets our marriage off the ground, and launches it into orbit.

When I said my vows to my husband, I committed to him for life. And since I enjoy being happy and not sour, I want to do things to make for a happy marriage.

What are the first steps to overcoming marital disabilities?

1. Be willing to do whatever it takes to preserve your marriage. Statistics tell us that married people live longer, are happier, and have higher incomes than their single counterparts. Staying married is worth it!

2. Nurture your marriage. Regularly water it with kindness, weed out bitterness, and be watchful for outside threats. Take some time to creatively invest time and effort into your marriage, and the dry wilted parts will begin to fill out and become beautiful once again.

3. Understand that it will be extremely difficult sometimes, but the rewards are incredible! Just like the children of Israel had to cross the muddy Jordan river and defeat many giants before they could enjoy the fruit of Caanan, so we must endure hardness and defeat “giants” of false philosophies to enjoy the fruits of a happy marriage.

Most of us will never run in the Olympics, even though we have perfectly good feet. But we can rack up a whole bunch of points with our spouse by being willing to commit to our marriage and work on it.

Your Assignment:

1. Dig out something from your wedding, perhaps even something that has your vows on it. Put it in a conspicuous place to remind you of your vows.

If you’re like me, living in an extremely small space, you may not have access to your wedding things. I’m going to be writing down my vows as well as I remember them (they WERE 29 years ago!) and post them up. Maybe I’ll even post them on Facebook!

2. Pray through your vows, asking God to help you keep the vows you’ve already made.

3. Memorize Matthew 19:6 – “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

How are you doing? Let us know!

Linking up with: The Alabaster jar, The Better Mom, Raising Arrows, What Joy Is Mine, Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, Time Warp Wife, To Love, Honor, and Vacuum

Marriage Crisis Cleaning!

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Ever feel like you were living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? Most of us have been there; we know how horrifying it can be to hear a knock on the door and realize how awful our home looked. You know the routine. We get a phone call from Aunt Maude, and she says that she’s coming over. In fact, she’ll be here in 10 minutes! Oh, NO! Suddenly, we fly into action! Kids, trash and clutter start flying as we tear around the house trying to make some semblance of order to the place. This is what we call “Crisis Cleaning!”

For years now, I’ve been subscribed to a home organizing group called Flylady. Flylady has helped me so much, giving loving instruction and encouragement on how to slowly but surely remove clutter from my home and give my family a happy life. I rarely have to kick it into Crisis Clean Mode anymore.

But this month, I want to talk about our marriages. Sometimes our marriages are in a crisis. We’re not happy with our relationship to our spouse, and in fact, our marriage is a mess! None of us like to admit it, but sometimes we need help.

To see if you’re in a crisis, take the following quiz:

Do you find yourself:
– emotionally detaching from your husband
– wondering why you ever got married to begin with
– finding sex to be a burden
– walking on eggshells around your husband
– listening to a close friend who is having marital troubles
– wishing he could work longer hours
– or wishing YOU could find a job to take you out of the home when he’s there

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’ve come to the right place. March Marriage Moments is just for you!

I got married as a 19 year old, having only been a Christian for 3 years. To say I was still “wet behind the ears” is the understatement of the century! Our first year was rocky at best, and in many respects, it went downhill from there. By the time we were married 7 years, we had three sweet children, but we argued all the time.

During this time in our lives, my husband pastored a small church. He had character flaws, and so did I. The combination was quite disastrous! One night, not long after the bank notified us that we were about to lose our home (which was incredibly messy,) we had a huge fight. Neither of us hit each other, but when I went to bed that night, I cried hot tears of anger. I desperately wanted to leave, but I couldn’t – the kids were asleep, and people were depending on me to pick them up for church the next day!

Let me tell you, we were at the lowest of the lows.

But God worked miracles in our marriage, and things are very different now. In the recovery room the other day, as I was doting on My Beloved who was recovering from surgery, the nurse said, “You two look like you never fight. Do you ever argue?” We both had to laugh! If only she knew…

So how did we make it for 29 years (and 7 kids), you ask? The ultimate answer, of course, is God. But there are certain things He showed us, and certain steps we took along the way that I’d like to share with you.

That’s what March Marriage Moments are all about. Each week, I’ll be posting some tips to help your marriage be stronger, and some ideas and activities you can do to draw you closer to your spouse. During the week, I’ll be posting on Facebook links to other good blogs, sites, or additional assignments that have helped me over the years. Maybe we can get some conversation going! And somewhere along the line, I hope to have a guest post by My Beloved himself! By the end of March, hopefully your crisis will have turned around to being on the road to calmness.

Your First Assignment: (if you dare to take it!)

Take a few minutes this week to honestly evaluate your marriage. If possible, do it with your spouse. But if he’s not available or not interested, that’s ok – much friction can be prevented if only one moving part gets oil.

Envision what you want your marriage to be like. Are there any couples you know who are really close? What do they do to be close? Is there something you can learn from them?

Finally, commit to greet your husband with a smile every morning and each time he comes home. It may be tough at first, but after a few days you will begin seeing some real progress from this ONE exercise alone!

Take some time this week to work on your marriage. It’s worth it!

Let us know if you’re taking the assignment! How’s it going?

Linking up with: The Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, Raising Arrows, What Joy is Mine, Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, Time Warp Wife, To Love, Honor and Vacuum