Friday, April 29, 2011

04/29/11 - Royalty Demands Modesty

Yesterday on the radio they were talking about the wedding dress of Kate Middleton. They were speculating about who made the dress and what it was going to look like. They said they knew one thing, "Her arms will be covered because Royalty demands modesty."

Yes, royalty demands modesty.

As Christian women we are daughters of The King, we are Royalty. We should be setting the standard of modesty, not stoop to the world standards. We should be distinctly different!

I hope others take notice of her beautiful dress and the simply way she honored her position as the new Duchess and maybe one day the Queen.

I also hope wedding dress designers take notice that not all brides want to wear strapless, which is pretty much all you find if you go wedding dress shopping. They need to give brides a choice. (Although you can have a wedding dress alter to make it "chapel ready" which would add straps or sleeves to a dress.)

Let's hope that Kate's dress sets a new standard in Wedding Dresses!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

04/27/11 - Relationship Target

I've been working on a power point for my Emotional Purity talk I'll be giving at the ICHE convention in June and I found this Relationship Target.

I felt like it was a perfect visual for my heart for emotional purity.

We have this one spot reserved for our mate, whether married or single.

We live in a culture where we've lost a sense of what our healthy, good boundaries and this target puts it into a good visual perspective.

Monday, April 25, 2011

04/25/11 - Sports Team or Jesus

Think of your favorite sports team. Get a picture of them in your mind. Now imagine that they are having the BEST year ever! They've won almost every game and they're unbelievable!

Now imagine if someone gave you front row tickets to the championship game!

What would you do?

How would you behave if you were at the game?

Would you dress up?

Would you cheer so loud that you'd lose your voice?

Would you jump up and down?

Would you dance around at each score?

Would you spend a week reading the paper and listening to sports radio to get ready?

Would you talk to all your friends about this game?

Would you go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it?


Would you say, "Really front row...that's too close!"

Really, cheering, no..why would I cheer...what would people around me think.

Yawn...didn't they play last week, do we really have to go?

What...3 hours, no way, I am not staying 3 hours.

You want me to wear my jersey, no thanks.

Don't tell anyone we're going!!

Raise my arms at a score...those people are silly!

See friends we're all created to worship.

But what do we worship?

Some worship sports teams more than Jesus.

Some worship their family more than Jesus.

Some worship their sex life more than Jesus.

Some worship their dreams more than Jesus.

Some worship their career more than Jesus.

Some worship their stuff more than Jesus.

Some worship their coffee more than Jesus.

Some worship the earth more than Jesus.

Some worship their ego and reputation more than Jesus.

Some worship their un-forgivingness more than Jesus.

What do you worship?

What gets you excited?

Going to church or going to your favorite sporting event?

Friends, transfer that worship to Jesus, there's nothing better!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

04/21/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 5)

I asked an "older" more "wiser" woman her thoughts on the "leaving" process. Here's what she shared:

"There is a leaving at the wedding, and it actually starts before, but there still is a relationship with parents, one the bible even addresses. Honoring your parents I believe is living a God-honoring life, not parent-honoring life, even though it honors the parents, that is not the focus.

Living financially independently is just one of the ways a new couple will not depend on parents. The decision making is now made by the couple, not that parents won't be asked for guidance and wisdom, but the ultimate decision is made by the couple.

Conflicts are now handled without the parents involvement, and many women run home to mother to vent, not really looking for advice, just to be heard. But, I do believe all of these issues can be done within the guidelines of living in a complementary fashion. Meaning the parents complement and enhance their children's marriages by not stepping over boundaries, yet having involvement with their adult children when asked.

The command to honor our parents is not rescinded at the marriage when the new family is formed, it is still in effect, but I think it's important to state that it's not obeying the parents. The best way to honor parents is to live a life that honors God, that honors the parents more than anything."

The highest way a young couple can honor their parents, is to honor God. When the couple is seeking the Lord, they will seek right relationships with those around them. Great thoughts!

I'd love your thoughts on "leaving and cleaving"!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

04/20/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 4)

So many newly married couples face "issues" with family or in-laws (depending on who's talking). It makes me wonder, "How will I be as a mother-in-law?" I guess this post is just a wish list for how I hope to behave when my boys get married. I hope to help encourage that cleaving process, especially that first year.

Here's a post for a future me when I do become a mot
her-in-law (Lord willing):

1) Give grace! Grace that they don't deserve. They will hurt your feelings. They will step all over your heart. But give them grace! Remember what it was like those first couple of years of marriage. Let them be intentional about growing that bond with their wife. It may be hard, but give them grace upon grace upon grace.

2) Have no expectations...especially around the holidays! They are going to be juggling two families (in some cases 3 or 4 families with divorced parents remarried with new family units) and that is not easy! Plus, they may want to create some of their own new traditions. Don't let this bother you, Heather! The less demands you make the more they will want to be with you!

3) Keep your mouth shut! They may not want your advice. They don't need you to nit pick at them. They need to just have your support and encouragement.

4) Give them space to "cleave". Don't make late night phone calls. Don't stop by without calling. Don't intrude. Don't ask questions about things you don't need to know about. Just give them space!

5) Don't compare how much time they spend with your daughter-in-law's family. It's not a competition. Sure you may want more time with them, but give them space and when they ask what you want share your needs in a very honest way without adding guilt or manipulating them.

6) Pray, pray, pray! Cover and bathe them in your prayers. Pray that God will use everything and anything to help them form a bond that will lasts for as many years as God gives them life!
(By the way, 8 years ago I told John that I'd be honored to be his wife!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

04/19/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 3)

Cleaving with your mate is not just the physical act of becoming one, but becoming emotionally and spiritually "glued" to your mate.

When you are intentional about becoming emotionally and spiritually "glued" to your mate, that bond will help you as you face life's "storms", which come for every married couple. And this bonding requires a lot of emotional energy.

In Deuteronomy 24:5 it says: If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.

I think there is such wisdom in this passage. I don't want to make something out of it or try to just make this fit my point, but that first year of marriage should be a time that a couple is intentional about focusing on one another.

Many people told us, "Oh that first year is the hardest!" or "If you get through that first year, you'll be good!"

It's true...not that the first year, for us, was filled with fights and arguments (honestly most fights couples have that first year are because someone is being selfish or has unmet expectations) but it was filled with a lot of emotional and spiritual complex bonding, that required a lot of energy!

Way more energy than I could have ever even possible imagined!

Can I make a couple of suggestions to new couples:

Turn the TV off at night (or Internet, ipad, ipod or anything that becomes a distraction) and focus on each other. John and I played this card game Hand and Foot almost every night as newlyweds. We loved just talking and getting to know each other. It will take intentionality to bond with each other.

Read one chapter of the bible and prayer together daily. I wish I could say that John and I have been doing this since day one, but it took us a few years to get our act together and we've had to be very intentional about growing this aspect of our marriage.

When you want to plan an outing, or have company over...make sure you run your plans past your mate.

Go to bed at the same time.

Go away at least one weekend every three or four months (if this is in the budget). Once you have kids getting away will be harder and those intentional times of stepping outside of your normal routine will grow and bond you.

Try to eat at least one meal together each day, at the table, with the TV or computer off. Family dinners rock!

If you can, step down from outside commitments for that first year.

If possible work in ministry together!

Don't let people make you feel bad for taking that first year to just bond! You'll come out of the bubble and into real life soon enough!! ;-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

04/18/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 2)

As soon as Eve was fashioned out of Adam's side, it says, "For this cause and man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Gen. 2:24

Adam and Eve had no earthly parents, yet this is recorded as the beginning of marriage in the bible.

My parents recently went to a Weekend to Remember put on by FamilyLife today. My mom was sharing that one of the speakers was talking about the Old Testament covenant that God made with Abram in Genesis 15.

In the Old Testament the way people made a covenant with each other was to cut in half an animal and pass through together. In Genesis 15 God's Spirit passed through the halves of animals making a covenant with Abram.

The speaker went on to say that at a wedding you have the groom's family on one side and the bride's on another. The couple pass through creating a new covenant with one another. Laying aside the old bond with their families.

Interesting concept!

When a couple gets married they form a new team, a new family! This new family should be intentional about "cleaving" to one another, especially in that first year of marriage.

When issues rise, they turn to each other first.

When holiday plans need to be made, they do what's best for this new family unit.

When job decisions need to be calculated, they look towards one another.

When conflicts arise between them, they don't run to their original family unit for support (first).

They don't throw each other "under the bus" in front of anyone.

It's about making their needs and wants more important than anyone else's (including their own!)

They don't share private family issues with others.

They create a safe, refuge from the world.

Do I think this means the couple doesn't interact with family or engage the world? By no means! I am saying that a couple should be intentional in cleaving. In using emotional energy to form this new family.

But cleaving goes beyond what I shared above, it's about becoming one. We'll talk about that tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

04/15/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 1)

Last week at a wedding the pastor was talking about "leaving and cleaving". He said that the primary bond of the groom and bride to their parents was to be transferred to each other. He stressed this point. The fact is their allegiance should be towards each other and should be the strongest bond in their life.

As a mom, the bond with my sons is strong. It's been present since the moment I found out I was pregnant. (I still remember the exact moment I found out I was pregnant with each son.)

But as a mom my hope is to prepare them for a bond that will be even stronger than the one I have with them.

Eight years (almost) into my marriage I see that we as a Christian community aren't talking enough about what the "leaving and cleaving" looks like.

Many young people struggle with, "What does this look like?" And many parents struggle with feeling not as important in their child's life any longer.

Next week I hope to post some of my thoughts about this topic and I'd appreciate any of your own personal thoughts or testimonies. I think the more we talk about it the "easier" it may be for some of us to "leave and cleave". It may also give parents tools to help their child break away from that original family of origin.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

04/14/11 - Tips for getting into the Word

(I wrote this article for my local MOPS group, so yes,

it's geared towards moms, but I hope it can be helpful for you!)

I can do all things through Him who strengths me

Philippians 4:13

In these tiring days of wiping noses, cleaning up messes, being on the brink of exhaustion, and acting more like a ref than a mom some days, how do we stay spiritually satisfied?

As moms of preschoolers there should be a sense of urgency to keep ourselves spiritually full each day. If we have a bent towards spiritual matters our kids will have a bent towards spiritual matters. Also, if we’re to be raising up this generation of kids it’s best we go to The Book to find out how to! But how does that practically work itself out each day?

I hope these practical tips will help you as grow spiritually as a mom of preschoolers!

1) Don’t compare how other mom’s do it. When I hear of a mom who gets up an hour before her kids to do her bible time, I sigh, “I’d have to get up at 5 am and honestly I need sleep!” This doesn’t work for my schedule or with my kids.

2) Find the best time to get some time in God’s Word. We should try to get at least 15 minutes a day reading God’s Word. Now before you lament that you don’t even have 15 minutes, look at what you do: Do you watch TV, surf the Internet, or look at random profiles of friends on Facebook? I am sure if we all got real honest with ourselves we can find 15 minutes.

3) Find some verses that really minister to your heart, write them out on 3x5 cards and post them where you spend most of your time: kitchen, car, bathroom, laundry room, or carry them in your diaper bag.

4) Leave bibles around your house where you spend time nursing, cooking a meal, or in your car. Having the Word around will give you more of a chance to grab a quick spiritual snack.

5) When you do get some “time off”, use some of that time of concentrated and quality time reading God’s Word. This has proven to be some of the most spiritually awesome times for me!

6) Get accountable with another mom. One great idea is to text a friend “check” each day after you’ve read. For me, there’s a group of gals on Facebook I “check” in with each day after reading.

7) It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, just read the Proverbs of the day. So the 6th of the month read Proverbs 6. Or pick a passage of scripture and read it every day for a month or two. (I’ve been in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 – 7 nearly every day since Jan 1) You’ll be amazed at how much you are fed just by reading and re-reading the same passage!

8) Subscribe to a podcast of your favorite teacher (Can I suggest: Walk in the Word, Revive our Hearts or FamilyLife Today) and while you’re folding laundry or playing a game on Facebook you can turn on a sermon to be encouraged.

9) If you have time join a bible study. This may require more of a time commitment, but would provide accountability and some life on life mentoring you may need in this season of life.

10) Relax! There are no rules on how you do your “bible time”. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what works for you! And remember we only do this “through Christ who strengthens” us!

I hope you’re encouraged by one of these tips and I hope that you continue in your daily bible time or find time to get started!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

04/13/11 - Counterfeit Womanhood

Have you heard that bank tellers spend a lot of time "studying" real money. The more they know the details of real money, the easier for them to spot counterfeit money.

For 40 years the culture has "preached" a counterfeit womanhood to us.

This has become our "real" womanhood. Even in the walls of our churches.

We must saturate ourselves with what biblical womanhood looks like. It looks radically different than what we've come to believe as "real" womanhood.

Don't be fooled! Get into the Word of God in a very intentional way to seek out what God is calling His daughters to. Filter every cultural message of womanhood through the filter of the scripture.

Oh fellow sisters of Christ, let us show what the real womanhood looks like!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

04/12/11 - Seeking

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search Him with all your heart and all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29

And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29: 12-12

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:10a

Are you seeking with all your heart?

Pride, worry, lack of prayer, and misplaced heart affections will keep you from the blessings of God.

Monday, April 11, 2011

04/11/11 - My need

My silence has been good. God has pointed out, pressed in more, and helped me see more my need for the daily gospel in my life.

Pruning is painful. It hurts. It's uncomfortable.

But it's so worth it!

I am seeing God not allowing me to get away from His corrective hand. I want to run, in my flesh. But I want to be willing to surrender it all. It's all His.

I want His transformation in my life.

I will move forward, cautiously asking the Spirit to be ever present in my words, my posts, and my life.

Here's a great message from Paul Tripp: The Difference Between Amazement and Faith