Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When Christian Wife Married to A Non-Believer & Clip

I became a Christian after we were married, and my husband became a Christian seven years after me. God's Word is clear that if you are not yet married, it is His will for Christians to marry Christians.

Here's a 37 second clip when I was asked how I dealt with the years when I was a Christian and my husband was not yet a Christian:

Of course, the power of the Gospel was changing lives in the New Testament times (which includes our day and time!) When the book of Corinthians was written, people were becoming Christians after they married which raised a dilemma. Were they supposed to ditch their current spouse to find one that they could share the commonality of their faith with? What about us today?

The Bible is clear—the answer is no, if your spouse is willing to live with you.*

1 Corinthians 7:13-14:
"And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy."

But what if the husband leaves?  In verse 15, we read, "let him leave." 

"But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace."

Verse 16 tells us this also applies the other way around, too—the husband can become the Christian first, and the counsel if the very same. It goes on to say in 16, if the nonbelieving spouse chooses to stay, how do you know that they will not become a Christian in the future? How do you know that because you now have the light of Christ in you, that they will be wooed to Christ through your life?

So how does a Christian woman act who is married to a non-believer? 

I had seven years practice at this one. 

Now don't think for a minute I was the ultimate Proverbs 31 Christian wife (Proverbs 31 describes a godly woman who has lived through many seasons of life) and won my husband into the faith at twenty-six years of age. 

It's more like Christ won Him in in spite of my messing it up! Aren't we glad God's will is accomplished among us unfaithful, fickle, and weak members of the human race because He is the faithful, unchanging, mighty God that's in total control of the results of our step of obedience? (My step was I was willing to live with him after I became a Christian and he did not—I'll be posting more on this in a video clip later this week) 

Our job is to trust, His job is to work.

The passage that was my cornerstone passage for seven years was 1 Peter 3:1-4 (and I tell women that it's for Christian women if your husband is not a Christian or if  he is a Christian—but not acting like one):

"Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 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."

I've writtten an entire book on this subject, in which I tell our story and share encouragement from God's word for those who are separated or facing separation. Please pray for my publisher who has had some delays, and we are unsure of the launch date.

*In other places, the Bible talks about adultery as grounds for divorce—but the intent of this blog is not to unpack that today. I'll mention while divorce is allowed, if reconciliation is at all possible—lives can still be repaired and families restored through forgiveness.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Christian Wife Has No Love for Husband Video Clip

In the below 97 second video clip, I addressed questions from the audience concerning what a Christian wife can do who has no love for her husband and believes she has fallen out of love with him.

The video quality is grainy; it's a copy of a copy. The audio should be good though.

I'm experimenting with video clips to see if you like my adding them to the blog. I want to learn to blog better and keep up with the ways I can present Biblical truth into your life.

Every now and then I'll share one of life's funny moments as I did in the opening of this clip when my beloved and no-nonsense mentor, Elisabeth Elliot, called our home for the first time.

I look much older now—this was 6 years ago. I'll be posting this week other short clips from this talk.

Please forward this blog entry to anyone you know that may be in a difficult marriage or similar circumstances, and tell them to come back this week for more on this topic.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's Raining In the Kitchen

How well I remember about 15 years ago. I was flipping through a book catalogue as I sat right outside my bathroom on the carpet to let my boys play in the bathtub a bit. My thoughts echoed to my heart, how wonderful motherhood is. Ah, a few, relaxing moments to myself while the boys are happily occupied in my bathroom.

They were having a ball as moments before I had been watching them slide into the tub from the ledge on the end of the tub with their legs straight in front on them as they slid into the water. Being like a big kid myself, I thought, I don't see why I can't let them do that, it's really fun and besides.... it's free! What a great idea! Let the sliding begin!

I got up from flipping through my catalogue to see what new books we might want to read aloud together (I now had four kids: 2 girls, 2 boys), and slipped downstairs to put some water on the stove for the spaghetti noodles. I could get down and back in one minute to check on them again. I walked into the kitchen, and it was RAINING IN THE KITCHEN! Water was pouring out through all three of the track lights right in the center of the cooking area and onto the hardwood floors!

My thoughts suddenly jumped to the splashing that was going on upstairs! I can't remember if I grabbed the pots first to put under the big 3 concentrated areas of "rain" or if I thought I had to cut off the source first. I ran upstairs and yelled, "It's raining in the kitchen! No more sliding in the tub!!!" but when I dashed into the bathroom, I almost slipped because there was a small lake on the floor--wall to wall!

"Turn the water off! Stop sliding!" I screamed. I ran to the linen closet and grabbed all the towels my hands could hold but as soon as I put them on the floor they seemed to be saturated and then I had sopping dripping towels and the lake was still there. It seemed useless!

The lake totally surrounded the toilet and I realized that was where the water was entering or more like pouring into the kitchen. The boys then noticed the lake and were laughing and having a ball as they got out of the tub and wanted to slosh around in the lake. I felt like a cartoon character all the while thinking is this my life? I ran to the linen closet and grabbed what I could and threw all the towels on the floor directing the boys to sop it up! Sop it up! It's raining in the kitchen!!!

I did a major juggling act to get pot or dump water out in the sink and keep new empty pots under the rain, as I thought of a note we had on the refrigerator that said, "we do not create unnecessary work for others." Ouch.  I should have added, "we do not create unnecessary work for OURSELVES!"

In time, I got things under control, and things were quiet again. I can't remember much more about that night except that my husband was not home at the time and I knew incidents like these never happened on his watch! I couldn't be mad at anyone but myself because I was the one who let them do it. They were too young to know that a lake on the floor means a monsoon in the kitchen. I snapped the picture below when they came out of the bathroom. Do you think they look worried? Stressed out?

They are now 20 and 18 and are fine young men. As far as I know they haven't needed therapy yet! All the craziness seems so long ago, and I have a HUGE lump in my throat of gratefulness that God allowed me, a totally cracked, imperfect, foolish, and weak woman to be their mom. But we serve a great God who delights in us. That's amazing. I love how merciful He is to us. How He gently leads those who have young.

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." -Isaiah 40:11

Don't we serve a mighty God who is sovereign over all of our mistakes?

Don't you want to trust this God who works faithfully in our lives in spite of ourselves?

Have you ever had a time when God gently assured you He was still in control in chaos?

My boys, left to right: Alex (18), Terry (my hubby), and John (20)

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

She Speaks Conference

I'm packing things up to attend the She Speaks Conference for Christian writers and speakers that will be held this coming weekend by Proverbs 31 Ministries.

She Speaks Graduate
Their emails have been so encouraging and reflect such a servanthood spirit that I want you to read a couple. Maybe you can make plans to attend next year (conference is full with a waiting list for this year).

I'll post live photos from the event on twitter, facebook, and instagram. I may even send out a short video on my YouTube account (all of these buttons are on my home page if you want to subscribe).

Here are some of their uplifting emails:

"We have prepared an oasis in the middle of the bustle where you can sit in the lap of the Holy Spirit. Each year we take every name from the attendees to the volunteers and pray over them.
The night before you arrive we arrange a room with soft lights and music, cushy pillows and chairs and a welcoming atmosphere for all who enter. Around the edge of the room are tables with the Names of God and scriptures telling where these names are found. After every inch of the room is prayed over, we take your name and pray as God leads us to a Name of God specifically meant for you.  We leave it there for you to discover during your weekend adventure."

"God knows you will need alone time with Him, so He asked us to prepare a place for you to escape from the noise and cuddle into His Presence.  A handful of women join me there to pray with women who need a shoulder to cry on or a prayer partner."

"...know that we are praying over every planning detail of this conference and we are praying for each attendee. During these final days, as you prepare your heart and your mind for She Speaks, I encourage you to leave behind any doubts or fears that Satan may have whispered in your ear in an attempt to keep you from this life-changing weekend."

And a note to ask the attendees to demonstrate kindness to the hotel employees:

"There are many expressions of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13 and all include us being intentional. As we enter the...hotel let's love intentionally. ...it takes 130 staff members to pull of an event of this size. ...will you join me in loving others so that God will be glorified through His daughters. We will ...place 'large' jars labelled "Love Intentionally" with holes cut in the top for you to drop $1 in...Our goal is to bless the staff and to express God's love for them....to purchase 120 starbucks gift cards, one for each employee. So whatever we raise we'll split it that way....consider doing...things for staff ...Leave cards, gift cards, goodie bags, chocolate, shake hands, hug necks and above all may your actions reflect God's heart for the employees."

I'm signing off now. See you back here next week when I hope to be a better writer and speaker! Until then, hope to send you some good pics from She Speaks. God's blessings to you!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is It Worth The Craziness Of Multiple Young Children?

Is it worth the craziness that goes on when you have multiple young children? Definitely! How fast the time flies and that season is gone! My two sons in this story will both be in college this fall. I told you last time that trying to keep up the habit of reading with your children is not always easy. To read my article that appeared in Homeschooling Today of a typical every-obstacle-that-can-will-get-in-the-way day that we experienced that was just another typical day in our home with young children, click here.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Making Your Child A Lover of Books

I found a very short list of books that I recommend for children after my son cleaned out a closet for us last week. It is not my complete list, as I have another list that I will publish on my blog another time. This list is a mix of books recommended originally to me by Carole Seid, with some I discovered elsewhere. We read everything below—in some cases—many times!
  • Complete Set of Winnie the Pooh
  • Complete Set of Beatrix Potter
  • A Child's Story Bible by Catherine F. Vox
  • The Wind in the Willows
  • A Child's Garden of Verses (can memorize "My Shadow")
  • All of Marguerite de Angeli
  • Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaires' Books
  • All of Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • All of Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice is excellent!)
  • All of Gene Stratton-Porter (We adored Freckles & Keeper of the Bees)

Make your child a lover of books! Always get the unabridged version which is what the author originally wrote with no changes. If they are too young after your first attempt on the unabridged, put it away for several months or a year and try again until they are ready. (Don't steal the thunder of the book by reading a watered-down abridged version. Save the book for the real thing!)

Keep going to the library and let them have a stack for quiet time! I have wonderful memories of my children spread out in the sunroom as I prepared supper—each going through their stack of picture books—quietly absorbed in their book until the timer rang 45 minutes later! Don't be emabarrassed about checking out a laundry basket full of books for two weeks!

Next time, I'll share how it wasn't always a bowl of cherries trying to read together! I think you'll identify!

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Daughter Sings "How Great Thou Art"

My daughter, Mary, who many of you know was born blind, sang at my friend's father's funeral today. I thought you might enjoy hearing her singing "How Great Thou Art." She had 48 hours to learn the verses. (no one but you will hear me prompt her a word:) I love the old hymns! Many, like this one, are prayers! It was such an honor for her to be asked. Below is a photo with my friend, Kim (whose father died) after the funeral today. Click here to see the video (video will be totally black).

Below are some of my college friends and me after the funeral.

The video of Mary singing today is a blackout, because I didn't want to stand behind her in the choir loft with everyone seeing my camera, so I put it beside me on the seat. Since Mary was born totally blind and has never seen, it kind of makes the blackout video help us see what she "sees." For more about Mary, click here.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

She Speaks Conference

I'm so excited that next week I'll be attending the She Speaks conference in Concord, North Carolina put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries  I'll be learning how to be a better writer and speaker. I'm really excited I'll get to hear P31 Ministries President and author, Lysa TerKeurst speak. We will end with a worship time on Sunday morning.

I'll send you some live photos and video clips from the conference so you can see what 650 women in one room look like! I'll be meeting my agent for the first time after nearly two years of working together. (we are both originally Southerners, but live 1600 miles apart!)

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." ~Proverbs 31:26

     She Speaks Graduate 

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Chambers on Making our Bodies Servants Under Jesus

I was totally convicted in all three areas when I read the following passage by Oswald Chambers. He has a way of stating things that make me see the application of scripture into my life in concrete ways.

I'm passing it along to you, not to be a negative in your life or mine, but to wake us up to blind spots. I finally went to the gym after reading this, so it already has been used for good in my life.

I hope you will open yourself up to whatever God has for you in it, too. In my mind, I keep hearing, "when the body says, 'Sit,' and He says, 'Go'..."

"The way to examine...we are doing what Jesus Christ wants us to do is to look the habits of our lives in three domains—physical, emotional, and intellectual...When we begin to work out what God has worked in, we are faced with the problem that this physical body...has been used by habit to obeying another rule called sin; when Jesus Christ delivers us from that rule...Much of the misery in our Christian life comes not because the devil tackles us, but because we have never understood the simple laws of our make-up. We have to treat the body as the servant of Jesus Christ: when the body says, 'Sit', and He says, 'Go', go! When the body says 'Eat,' and He says, 'Fast', fast! When the body says, 'Yawn', and He says, 'Pray', pray!"     ~Oswald Chambers, Daily Thoughts for Disciples, pg. 128.

I'd like to add my two cents...when my mind says, "Stay Up", and He says, "Go to Bed", go to bed!

When my heart says, "Worry and bug your husband (like a dripping faucet)," and He says, "Trust and be quiet", trust and be quiet!

When my body says, "Stay cozy in bed" and He says, "Put your feet on the floor," put my feet on the floor!

When my mind says, "Get going! Hit the ground running! You have a lot to do!" and He says, "Come spend time with Me! I'll show you what to do!", spend time with Him!

"I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection." 
~1 Corinthians 9:27

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stories That Inspire America

I snapped this picture of our National Motto in Easton, Maryland this past week when we were there for a wedding, and wanted to share it with you.

Our family's really enjoying hearing the history behind our patriotic hymns from Ace Collins' "Stories Behind the Hymns That Inspire America." We've learned the history of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," and how "The Star Spangled Banner" became our national anthem in the 1930's in America.

You're never too old for a good story. C. S. Lewis wrote, "a children's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story...for my part, I do not write for children, but for the childlike, whether of five, or fifty, or seventy-five." 

In my opinion,  The 4th of July Story by Alice Dalgleish is just such a lifetime story which can be enjoyed by any age. It is short enough that it can be read in one sitting.

In it, we learn that the inscription on the Liberty Bell—that great bell in Philadelphia that rang out liberty for the new United States of America marking the birth of our nation. The inscription contained the words of Leviticus 25:10:

"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, Unto all the inhabitants thereof."

We learn the first words of the Declaration of Independence (we have it framed at home, you can get a copy from American history museums. The original is on display if you get to Washington, D.C.!):

 "In Congress, July 4, 1776  A Declaration be the Representatives of the United States of America," and that all men had a right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." 

We read the last words that Thomas Jefferson had written in the declaration that read, "And for the support of the Declaration we...pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honour." 

The Fourth of July in America is a great holiday to remember God's grace shed on America. Maybe today you can read through the words of our great patriotic hymns, or even better yet, to sing one! I read "The 4th of July Story" aloud to Mary this morning after breakfast.

The freedom we have in our country reminds me of another freedom. It reminds me of the freedom that the slaves would later find when they crossed that line in Ohio to freedom before slavery ended in our country. It would be another 100 years before America would right the wrong of slavery. 

But it reminds me of yet an even greater freedom—that many slaves already knew before they had freedom from slavery. 

That's the freedom we have from sin that was purchased on our behalf at Calvary. I received Christ as my Savior and Lord on a Fourth of July many years ago in 1985. 

If you have not received freedom found in Christ alone from your sin, what is keeping you from turning to Christ no, asking for His forgiveness, and receiving Him as your Lord and Savior? Ask him into your life this very day, and if you live in America, go celebrate your new found freedom in Christ with the sound of fireworks! I heard them on my first night of freedom in Christ, too!

"As free ... but as the servants of God." 
~1 Peter 2:16

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; 
the old has gone, the new has come!"
~2 Corinthians 5:17

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