Saturday, May 30, 2015

On Being a Wife

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Wives in the Bible cover a broad spectrum, so that makes me hopeful. They weren't all perfect and some were downright wicked, can you say Jezebel?

First there was Eve, the mother of civilization. Somehow, she took the devil's bait. Why did she do that? Did she feel that she wanted to have her own original thought? Look at where that got her.

Then there's Sarah - who was clearly beautiful and seemed to have a good relationship with Abraham. Twice she lied and said Abraham was her brother and both times Abraham instructed her to do so. She laughed when the angel said she would have a son, as did Abraham. But she had Isaac; at 90 that could not have been easy. I might have laughed also. (Genesis 12-25)

Other wives in the Bible:

Rebekah - Deceived her husband so that the son she loved would receive a blessing.

Zipporah - Despised by her in laws because of her race; she was Ethiopian.

Lot's wife - Looked back and became a pillar of salt. (How's that for not listening to your husband?)

Job's wife - Told him to curse God and die. (Whatever became of her?)

Abigail - whose husband Nabal was noted as a fool; she had the good sense to do what was right and is noted as a woman of good understanding. She eventually became one of David's wives. I think many wives who have husbands who are not godly or not living as they think a Christian man should, use Abigail as their primary example as to how to deal with their husbands. Caution should be exercised before making this your default model.

Ruth -  Listened to her Mother In Law and found a good husband in Boaz.

Esther - Became queen while married to King Ahaseurus and saved her people.

Zeresh - Fed in to her husband's hatred for Mordecai; she instructed her husband, Haman, to build the gallows that he was eventually hung from. (Hatred and bitterness never yield good results.)

Priscilla - knowledgeable in the Scriptures and worked with her husband, Aquilla.

Sapphira - dishonest with her husband Ananias; because of this they were both struck dead instantly.


Wives are called to be help meets. We are to help - do you know what helping entails? And why do men require so much help, and are not always willing to take it from the female species based on the way they're wired? The blue print for being a helpful wife can be pulled from some of the stories above, in addition to Proverbs, Ephesians, Colossians and Titus.

Being a wife is an honored role, yet not an easy role. It can be a tad complicated - if I do say so myself. Because God has clearly defined roles in marriage, we as wives are called to submit to our husbands. But submission is not demeaning nor does it take away your dignity. Submission is reflective of Christ's example - He was equal with God the Father, yet He chose to submit to the Father's will; we can see that submission is a voluntary choice - a good one I might add. But it is complicated because in marriage we are two fallen human beings who come together attempting to mirror Christ and make something beautiful.

If you're like me some times you beat yourself up, because you may feel that you don't measure up. The examples above are to let you know that there is no situation that is too big for God. Regardless of our husbands, we are responsible for our actions - sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's not. No earthly relationship can ever function properly unless we have a correct relationship – a true relationship with the God of the Universe.

But be encouraged - being a wife is a token of the favor of God.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Proverbs 18:22

What kind of wife are you?
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Beach Thoughts

Living in California has given me a new appreciation for the outdoors,  the awesomeness of God, and the smallness of man. On Memorial Day we took an impromptu drive to Zuma Beach. Initially it seemed as if the weather was not cooperating with us as it was overcast and chilly. Because of this we left later than we anticipated.
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I live in the San Fernando Valley, so to get to the beach you have to drive through the mountains. They are a couple of roads that take you to the beach, but because I have a slight fear of heights I take  the road that I feel most comfortable on - i.e. it has more than one lane and there are guard rails. Prior to moving to California I don't think I ever drove on mountainous roads; I was a city girl and when I lived in the Bahamas the beach was a stone's throw away. I recently visited the Bahamas and I remember my father making a big deal about driving us to the highest point of Nassau. Well, it wasn't as high as I remembered and nothing compared to the hills and valleys in California.

As I drove on Kanan Road and saw the beautiful mountains all around me, my only thought was, "How can one not believe in God? There is no way man made all of this." I thought this as my legs quivered as I traversed the heights. Of course if you go up you must go down, so then my foot was gingerly on the brakes as we wound our way down toward the beach.
Source

Of course, it being a holiday parking was initially an issue - but then I said a quick prayer and a parking spot opened up. Actually two cars were leaving at the same time, which is rare.

As we got out of the car, we realized that we had indeed hit the jackpot. The wind was warm, the sun was out and the waves were beautiful. We situated our blankets and chairs and then I went walking along the shore - one of my favorite things to do at the beach. I saw families just sitting and enjoying each other; I saw children playing in the sand with so much glee; I saw a lady sitting by herself in a very contemplative mode playing with sand while tears ran down her face; I saw couples holding hands and making out. I saw groups of people working out and lone joggers jogging. I like squishing my feet in to the seaweed and I wondered what the rocks that protruded out of the sea were covered with. I wondered about the people that lived on the beachfront, "Were they appreciative of nature right at their front door?" Further out, I saw surfers riding the waves. I walked to the end of the beach where there was wall and folks were rock climbing and then I turned around and made the long walk back.
Point Dume at Zuma Beach

The beach was so welcoming I didn't want to leave. I sat and listened to the waves and meditated on the goodness of God while wrestling with certain frustrations in my life right now. But the sound of the waves mellowed my frustration. I reluctantly left the beach after four hours, but if I could duplicate this day I would do it again.

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1 [NLT]

The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. Psalm 89:11 [NLT]

This is what God the LORD says-- the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: Isaiah 42:5 [NLT]


Do you go to the beach? Do you enjoy the beach?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Commencement, Again

Yesterday, the third of my children graduated from college. This was my 3rd college commencement in the past 5 years. This was the rainiest graduation of the bunch - it never rains in California but it chose to rain Thursday and Friday.  The weather was unseasonably cold, and pretty much everyone in attendance wore a poncho. We were able to buy our ponchos on Thursday night from Target. And then I felt the urge to straighten my hair, so there was no way I was getting it wet. That poncho came in handy with my doo rag on underneath the hood. Seating was at a premium even though we got there early. In spite of the rain, I enjoyed all of the pomp and circumstance associated with this graduation, and yes the sun eventually came out (and the doo rag came off).

It just seemed that these last 4 years went very quickly.  At each commencement, I think about where my child was when they started college and where they are now as they are about to embark on this life adventure.


  • I've realized that even though you think you're not prepared for the next chapter, all the experiences, all the course work, all the papers, all the late night sessions, were preparation for this moment right now.



  • I've realized that every child's college experience is different, but the college experience does not have to be the one we hear about the most. It can be a successful one where you don't party, don't drink, don't experiment sexually yet you come out a well rounded human being. It's not only through frivolity that we learn.



  • People have bestowed a special honor on my husband and I for having raised 3 children (so far) who were able to graduate college. I accept the honor, but the greater achievement is that they all know the Lord and He is the guiding force in their lives. I've realized that though my children have graduated from college I still feel ill-equipped to pass on knowledge as to how we did this; parenting is complex.



  • I've realized that there are no coincidences in God's plans.  We moved to California 8 years ago; but had we not moved I'm not sure that my daughter would have gone to USC. Had we not moved, I'm not sure that we could have afforded USC. 



  • I've realized that even though the monetary value of college is sometimes questioned, that the greater value is in seeing your children grow before your eyes. It is a pleasure (and sometimes a pain) to hear them expressed well formed thoughts that stemmed from classroom knowledge combined with their experiences and shaped by their character.


  • I've realized that I've enjoyed most commencement speeches, though a year from now I won't remember all the details. This year I was left with 3 equations from Mellody Hobson:
  1. hard-work + bravery = success
  2. imagination + bravery = creativity
  3. love+bravery = happiness



  • I've realized that I'm just freaking proud of my children.
Commencement means beginning, but it also signifies the end of something. It's never too late to begin again.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, to them who are called according to his promise. Romans 8:28
"For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me," declares the LORD, "So your offspring and your name will endure." - Isaiah 66:22

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What To Do When You're Unmotivated

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There's a million and one things to be accomplished, but you just don't have the wherewithal to tackle  any of them. Ever been there? I have.

This can last for an hour, a day, a month or a while. So how do you rev yourself up?

Here are some things that have worked for me:




  • Stepping back - sometimes getting a different perspective really provides the impetus we need to get moving.
  • Knowing what's at stake - it maybe that the kids or husband are depending on you.
  • Recognizing that you are worthy - and what you are doing is worthwhile.
  • Physical activity - anything (within reason) that's sustained and gets the blood flowing
  • Playing a game with a child.
  • Taking a long drive - I live in California so driving along PCH eventually becomes very relaxing and clears my head.
  • Going to the beach and walking along the shore.
  • Talking something through - sometimes with a good friend, a trusted person or a random stranger in a coffee shop. Because we're more similar than different, just verbalizing may be all that we need to get going.
  • Quiet meditation (is there any other kind?).
  • Dealing with today's challenges - not tomorrow's or the whole week, just today.
  • Worrying less and trusting more.
  • Just doing it - here's an anecdote. I enjoy running; I like what it does for me and how I feel after I run. But 99.9% of the time the hardest part of running for me is getting out there and getting started. Once I start, all doubt is erased and my focus is simply on enjoying myself and finishing.
So the next time you feel unmotivated, uninspired, or blah fight it as much as you can; even surrendering is fighting. You won't stay this way for long - there's too much to live for.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 [NLT]
Do you have anything to add to this list?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Forgiveness


It's never too late to forgive. Of late, when I receive my morning newspaper, I've noticed that it has a sticky ad on it. The first time I saw this I thought, "Why would anyone do this?" The sticky ad was a nuisance as I couldn't read the newspaper. As I pulled the sticky ad off, I expected it to rip and damage the newspaper. Instead there was no damage - the paper didn't rip and the ink didn't smear. As I pulled it off, it reminded me of God's forgiveness. Forgiveness is like removing that sticky ad and being brand new, pure, and clean. The word “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt; in essence, to remove the sticky ad!

You're brand new when God forgives you and when you forgive others you become brand new also. You let go of the hurts, anger and resentment. You choose to wipe the slate clean and start over. You are emulating the forgiveness that God extends to you.

We know what an unforgiving spirit does - it breeds resentment, anger, and bitterness in the person that was wronged. Forgiveness is required in all of our relationships - with our spouses, our children, our coworkers. I've been married for a long time and I've learned that I can't change anyone (this applies to spouses and children); so when I feel wronged I can choose to forgive or I can choose to carry a grudge.

God is working on me, because I'm finding it’s much easier to forgive than carry a grudge. The person may still be who they are, but I no longer have animosity toward them. This all seems so hard, but it’s doable simply because God chose to do this for me, so I know with His strength I can forgive others. Ephesians 4:32 reminds us to be kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.

The next time you remove that sticky ad from the newspaper, ask God to give you the strength to forgive the person that's hurting you.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3: 13 [NLT]
Are you struggling with forgiveness today? Are you learning to forgive others?