Tuesday, May 26, 2009

05/26/09 - Doing God's Work

My church has been reading the bible cover to cover this year. It's been so amazing to know that my church family is reading the same pages of scripture I am reading. We have our Sunday School time to dig deeper and then a sermon each Sunday on the scripture we've read. It's been a great encouragement to me and many I know who've been following along.

This week we are in Nehemiah. As God's children began doing His work of rebuilding the wall, they came up against opposition. There were some who were down right mad they were working on rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem.

It says in Nehemiah 4:17, " each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other."

Just make a mental picture of this. Here they are trying to rebuild a wall. Remember they didn't have the tools or technology we have and I am sure the work was not easy, but it was God's work, so they worked! With their free hand they had to hold protection from the enemies.

Isn't that how it is still today? God calls us to do His work: a ministry, the mission field, evangelizing to our classmates or co-workers, showing Christ's love and light to those around us, and yet we must be on guard of our enemy. We must carry our weapon, the Word of God, to fight off the opposition.

God may call you to do something, but it doesn't mean it will be easy or conflict-free!

What has God been calling you to do?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

05/23/09 - Wedding Vows

These vows are framed hanging up. They serve as a reminder of what we committed to each other. Writing our vows was my favorite aspect of preparing for our wedding! We memorized our vows for our wedding. We didn't share what we wrote with each other till about a week before the wedding.


JOHN'S VOWS:

Heather Arnel Paulsen, it is a great privilege and honor to stand here with you today to become your husband.

Heather, you are a gift from God and you are my soul mate and I am truly blessed to have your love and devotion.

I, John Timothy Patenaude, commit to you Heather, before God and these witnesses to be the spiritual leader of our household by faithfully seeking God's will for our lives.

I commit to give you my full devotion, loyalty, and respect and to never take you for granted.

I commit to care for your needs: spiritually, emotionally, and physically and to provide a loving household in which you can openly share your innermost feelings.

I commit to join to my heart to yours and share with you our desires, needs, joy, sorrow.

I commit to protect you, to love you, to provide for you, and to stand beside you all the days of my life.

I love you, I need you, and I thank God for you.

HEATHER VOWS:

I, Heather Arnel Paulsen, am honored and humbled to stand before you, John and God today to become your wife. To join our hearts, our lives, and our families.

You, John Timothy Patenaude, are the love of my life. The man that God created for me to love from this day until the day we are parted by death.

I commit before you, God, and these witnesses that I will remain faithful to God, seeking His will and guidance for my relationship with Him and for our marriage.

I commit to willing submit to your leadership as the the church does to Christ. Trusting you to faithfully seek God for His will.

I commit to be honest with you even if it may cause pain. To be your support, comfort, and companion through life's trials and to be faithful to you no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

I commit that with God as my guide I will strive to be a blessing in your life as I seek to develop a quiet and gentle spirit and a heart that puts you and our family first.

I commit that with God's grace I will make our home a safe place of refuge for you. A home filled with laughter, joy, peace, and unconditional love and acceptance.

My whole heart and all my devotion belongs to you John and you will have it the rest of our lives.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

05/21/09 - Question

I received this question in my last post: How can an unmarried christian woman prepare to be a "love maker" as you said? How did you prepare yourself for this, before getting married?

Thanks for the questions!

It got me thinking and here are a few things I did before I got married to fulfill this vision I had once married.

1) I asked God to give me a heart that would have a desire to make my home this safe haven. To reveal to me any bitterness, anger, hurt, or pain that would stand in the way of fully giving myself to my husband and children in this manner.

2) When given the chance to provide a loving atmosphere in my home, I practiced being the "love maker". Maybe I'd try to do something special for my sisters (who were my roommates till I got married). Or when we'd have company over, I'd work towards serving them in such a way that they felt the warmth and love I desired them to feel.

3) I didn't know that remaining emotional pure would aid in this, but keeping my heart for my husband alone helped me fully give my heart to him. Because he alone has my heart, a whole heart, it was easy to want to "spoil" him and provide a safe haven for him.

4) I kept an according folder of "household ideas". If I saw something in a magazine or newspaper article, I'd cut it out and put it in my folder. I had sections such as: Holiday, decorations, party ideas, kids crafts...etc. I have used this folder a few times since we got married.

5) When I'd observe something that a wife/mom did that I admired I wrote it down in a journal. This way I would not forget some of the things I wanted to incorporate into my own home.

6) Finally, I committed to John, in our marriage vows, that I would strive to make our home a safe place for him and our children. (We wrote our own marriage vows...maybe I'll post them tomorrow.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

05/20/09 - "Love Makers"

No this is not a post about physical intimacy! Just wanted to clarify from the get go!

I believe that God has given women a unique ability to provide an emotional atmosphere in our homes. This is bring the love into the home, thus women are the "love makers" of their homes.

Our homes should be a safe haven, a place of complete rest, a place to "let our hair down", and a place one can grow both emotionally and spiritually.

As a wife and mom it's been my goal to provide this level of unconditional love and acceptance in my home. To have a home that is restful, safe, and joyful.

This goal was something I began working on long before I met John. It was a vision I had before I got married and I asked God to prepare me for this task.

Do I believe men provide emotional support and love? Yes, but again I believe that women were created with a different set of emotions that lend them self to being the "love maker" of their homes.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

05/19/09 - Positive or Negative

Every once in awhile my husband will ask me, "Do you think so and so is a positive person or a negative person?"

Not in a judgemental fashion, just a question: Does the things that come out of that persons mouth show them to be positive or negative?

Then to turn the question to myself. If someone spent any length of time with me, would they say I am positive or negative?

It's easy to get caught up in complaining or being negative...far too easy. But I am reminded by my son's Sunday School verse: Do everything without complaining or arguing.

I hope to be a positive person!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

05/13/09 - Older Women/Younger Women

Younger women: How often are we intentional about interacting with older women?

Older women: Do you feel that younger women are interested in getting to know you and take advice from someone who has walk through life's trials?

Lately this has been an ongoing discussion with an older woman in my life. Are the generations mixing within the church? Or do we basically keep to our own peers?

Paul told Titus that older women are to teach the younger women (Titus 2). Therefore, the generations should be mixing, but sadly I think we as a church are falling short of this.

I've heard older women who claim they've given all they have and now this time of life is "their time". They've paid their dues and are done with ministry, as they pursue their own interests.

Also, younger women can look at older women as "out of touch" with what life is like in this culture. They have a subtle distrust of older women.

It is my firm conviction that older women and younger women need to be mixing their lives, being authentic with each other, and share a biblical perspective of womanhood with one another.

I am blessed to have two older women in my life who I can turn to for advice, to bounce ideas off of, to seek counsel from, and to have as friends. They have helped me see through my cloud of crazy hormones, motherhood frustration, and relationship issues. Their advice is always straight forward and godly.

How about you? Do you have an older woman you can turn to? Or are you an older woman who has made yourself available to younger women to help them through some of those tough stages you've walked through? What do you think is the greatest hindrance in making this happen?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

05/06/09 - Emotional Affairs

It seems like everyone is talking about emotional affairs. Check out this article: 12 Ways to Break Free from an Emotional Affair. (It's not written from a Christian perspective.)

Emotional affairs are tearing families apart. It starts with a seed of discontentment in your marriage or with your mate. It starts with thinking you deserve something you're not getting. It starts with comparing your marriage with others. It starts with a pattern of emotional highs and lows before your married.

Finding emotional purity before you're married, I believe, will lead to emotional contentment once your married.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

05/05/09 - Christian Etiquette

When I was a waitress in college at Cracker Barrel the waitresses thought very little of Christians. Why, you ask? Well, it was known that if a family prayed before a meal that you'd get a little tip (10% or less).

I would cringe inside when other waitress would bemoan having a "Christian table".

What would make it worse is when they'd pray and then be demanding, complaining, and down right annoying (trust me I had my fair share of these tables) then they'd leave a small tip with a track on how to become a believer.

It would make me want to run out to their car and tell them I was indeed a believer and a world is watching...so have better etiquette!

Do we take into account how we are speaking LOUDLY our beliefs with our actions? We, as Christians, need to be different! Sure, there are bad waitresses out there who give bad service, but how we handle it can be honoring to Christ.

Think about all the people who are "watching" us....waitresses, check-out clerks, bank tellers, over the phone sales people, receptionists, guest relationships staff and medical personal. What impression do you want to leave? Do you want to leave people with an taste of experiencing Christ?

Friday, May 1, 2009

05/01/09 - Guy/Girl Friendships

Ah, the age old question: Can a guy and a girl be just friends?

In short, yes!

Many come to my blog or read my book have been in some type of confusing guy/girl friendship. But can there be a friendship that is "confusion free"!

The confusion generally begins to take place when one of the person's involves begins to "read into" the actions of the other person. For example, a girl begins to believe that the simple hug after youth group or the text message reminding her about an upcoming event, means that the guy involved likes her and want to take the relationship to the next level.

(Actually normally a small action from a guy like that would produces a week or more worth of: What did he mean by that? Asking other girlfriends, "Do you think he likes me because he did this or that?" Thinking and rethinking about what the tone of his voice was, how long the hug lasted, the exclamation point at the end of the "hope to see you there" text message, and on and on and on till we've thought ourselves into a tizzy!)

Sure, I'll admit that there are things a guy can do that are confusing, but unless he has said, "I like you, I want to date you, and I am treating you this way because my feelings for you are growing." You have no business reading into his actions. (By the way guys, you have no business treating a girl different than other girls unless you've stated your intentions to her!)

It tough not to have expectations, but if you want to simply enjoying a guy/girl friendship we have to have NO expectations of the other person.

I had a conversation with a young woman who was struggling with an on-line friendship. The guy "blew" her off of an instant message date they had set up and she was upset. She didn't know if she should confront him on this or just let it go.

I asked her, "How would you feel if this was a girlfriend? Would you confront the girlfriend or would you just think to yourself, 'Something must have come up'?"

In order to have a guy/girl friendship it's important to keep your own expectations and thoughts in check. Don't read into the actions of your friend, just enjoy the friendship.