Christian Life · Christian love · kindness · Uncategorized

You Did It For My Child…You Did It For Me

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During a recent text message with my daughter Whitney, she shared with me about the blessing her small group leaders are to her and her husband.  She said to me,

“They invited us over for dinner Friday night and we had a really great time!

I replied by saying,

I like these people!

That this dear couple would invest in the lives of my family means so much!  Because they extended that kindness to Paul and Whitney, it was like they had done it for me!  If you’re a parent, you understand that when someone reaches out in kindness to your child in a special way, it’s as though they were doing it directly to you, because it touches your heart.

Let’s put that thought on a spiritual plane – when you and I serve our Savior by living out the Christian life in practical ways, God says it’s as though we have done it to Him.

Matthew 25

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

That could include:

  • Sharing a meal with others in your home
  • Spending time mentoring a younger woman
  • Opening God’s Word to encourage and teach
  • Dong a kind deed like serving the elderly, visiting the sick, or writing a card, providing for the poor.

These deeds don’t save us, but they show the world that we belong to God.  When we do any of these kinds of things in the name of Christ, God says it’s as though we are doing it directly for Him!

So, who will you reach out to today or this week?  Ask God to show you  who and how and then do it in Jesus’ name.  His Father’s heart will be touched by your actions.

What action has someone extended to your child that meant much to you?
What action could you do that will touch the heart of God?

Christian growth · Christian Life · Christian love · Dates · Family life · Husband · Love · Marriage · tongue · Uncategorized

Win the Argument

 

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My husband and I have been arguing again. You know how that goes. It’s over a topic we’ve discussed before – serving one another. The conversation went something like this:

Me – Let me do that for you.

Him – No, I already took care of it, but thank you.

Me – I can never seem to find a way to serve you: you always beat me to it! You do so much more for me than I do you.

Him – Hon, that’s not true! You do so much for me. Goodness, I couldn’t do what I do on a day without you!

Continue reading “Win the Argument”

Christian love · Love

Let’s Show LOVE

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February 1st is tomorrow!! I’ve always loved this second month of the year.  Maybe it’s Valentine’s Day and the pink, and flowers and romance, or maybe it’s just that spring is a month closer!

The theme of this month is what?  I’d say LOVE and you might agree.

Sunday night a wonderful message was preached at my church regarding the command for believers to show LOVE.  It’s in the Scriptures over and over again.  Love one another. Do all things in love.  Serve one another in love.

Why?

By this shall all men know
that ye are my disciples,
if
ye have love one to another.
John 13:35


The congregation of my church was reminded of the truth that it’s not necessary for us to die for others.  No, we are to live for them and we do that by loving them. “What would that look like?”

  • Taking a meal to someone
  • Letting someone sleep on your sofa until they could get back on their feet.
  • Helping someone financially.
  • Inviting someone for a cup of coffee.
  • Listening to a heavy heart about a burden they’re bearing.
  • Cleaning someone’s house.
  • Making a visit.

None of us can do all of that, but we can do something.  Something that would show Christ’s love.  What will you do to show others you love Christ?  I’m asking myself the same question even as I write this post.  

We must do it.  There’s enough of the enemy’s ugly tactics of division and sinfulness – let’s reach out with hands of compassion and the love of our Savior to show the world what LOVE REALLY looks like.

Has someone reached out to you in a loving gesture recently?  Have YOU reached out to show love?  What other ideas do you have as to how we can do this?

With love,

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Christian love · Family life · Women's roles

Hiding the wind

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The storm that blew through our back patio left evidence of very strong winds. The porch swing was now in our neighbor’s yard. Chairs and outside decor was scattered in the grass and tall weeds across the road. We never saw the wind herself, of course, but its destruction left ugly reminders that she had passed our way.

As we stood at the door and watched the storm blow through, is it possible that we could have stepped outside and stopped the wind?

No way.

Proverbs 27:16 tells us that whoever can hide a contentious wife can also hide the wind. In other words, just as impossible as it would be to stop the wind, so it is impossible to stop a contentious woman from her unbridled actions. The next part of the verse also tells us it’s like oil slipping through fingers – you cannot stop it.

This descriptive picture is such a good warning to my own heart. I can cause much destruction in my home and in the lives of those around me if I don’t stop the contentions – the irritations – in my heart from being turned into actions and words.

May each of us guard our hearts and our tongues today so that when others around us hear our words and watch our lives, they won’t be fearful of the destruction left in their path, but they can rejoice that they were in our presence.

I love beautiful clear skies and sunny days! I pray that my influence in others’ lives will be that kind of refreshment, rather than the stormy winds that are dreaded and destructive!

We each need to ask ourselves if we are leaving devastation like the wind or delight like the sun (or perhaps we should ask those that spend time with us each day)!  We’ll need to listen with a humble heart and a willingness to change, if necessary. It wouldn’t do to blow up like an unpredicted storm!

With whom do you need to be especially careful ?  Ask the Lord to help you respond in love towards them today.

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Christian love · home · Home making · memories · refreshment at home

Happy Imperfections

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I’ll never forget the day we moved into our country home where we are now.  It had just been finished being built! We were moving into our very first brand new house!

It was surreal.

I wasn’t moving into someone else’s mess or used home that needed work – this one was new and perfect!

We had many strong men helping us on move-in day lifting, carrying and lugging all our possessions into our new abode.  One kind man set down a box in my kitchen and I began to slide it closer to the place where it would be unpacked.  His response echoes in my ears even today:

These hardwood floors will scratch up even by a box being slid across them; you better lift that instead.

I followed his wise advice, fearful of causing some imperfection to come to my new and perfect home.

Those words guided the careful application of pads to every chair, table, foot stool, and anything else that was going to be rubbing across the hardwood.  I couldn’t stand the thought of a scratch ruining the looks of my perfect kitchen, hallway or living room.

But alas and alack, over the four years that we have been here, it has happened.  What would that man say if he could see where a can of green beans fell in my pantry and dented the floor there on a day when I was preparing a meal?  Or the heels that have walked across the planks causing scratches, or the other little nicks and bumps that have happened just because people live here, visit here, eat here, spill here, and do life here?

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Perfection isn’t a word that would describe my home, but I’m good with that now.  I’ve come to see those scratches as reminders that people are more important than my perfect standard.  If we lived here alone there would be far less imperfections, but oh, the blessings of belly laughs, happy shedding of tears, playful frolic, nurturing visits, prayerful conversations and loving of souls that we would have missed!

Thank you, sir, for your good advice.  I’m grateful you shared that with me – I really am.  I’ll keep the pads in place and care for my home as a gift from the Lord, but when the marks are added to the hardwood, fingerprints to the glass, or smudges on the walls, I can smile instead of grimace at the happy remembrance of the people that have helped make memories – not imperfections.

Last week when I mopped the floor, I saw a scuff on the floor and started to sigh, but then was reminded of the truths that God has been teaching me about living more for people than perfection.  Instead of sighing, with every stroke of that Swiffer, I thanked God – by name – for the different people who had been in our home.  It made my heart so happy – happy for my perfectly wonderful memories made in my imperfect home.

Do you ever get caught up in wanting your home to look perfect, and feel frustrated that it isn’t? People are more important.  Look at the people, instead of the imperfections, and you’ll have the freedom to use your home to glorify God!

Refresh your heart about your home.

Denise Signature 150 px

children · Christian love · Family life · home · Motherhood · Parenting · Wife's Role · Women's roles

In-Laws and Outlaws Part II

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Jokes about mothers-in-law…there are many.  I remember hearing one about a Greyhound bus going over the side of a cliff, but there was no worry, because the only passenger was the man’s MIL.  Ouch.  Where do those punches come from?  Maybe from people who have gotten fed up with that female in-law who crossed the relational boundaries.  But it’s so easy to do, isn’t it?  We may reason that

  • we only want to help!
  • we’ve been where our children are and we think we need to  give them some good advice.
  • we see our kids getting ready to make the mistake of a lifetime.
  • they need help raising those grandchildren of ours.

The reasons for mother-in-laws interfering are many, but for the most part, they may be very unwelcomed  from our birth children and our in-laws.  It can do far more damage than it does help when it’s unsolicited.

What is a mother-in-law to do if she desires to have a good relationship with a son or daughter-in-law?  Here are a few things I’ve learned (and am still learning!).

  1. Only give advice when it’s asked for.  If you see your kids doing something you think is wrong, pray about it instead of speaking to them.  Trust a sovereign God to direct them just as He directs you when you’re heading down a wrong path.
    That would include little “hints” you might want to drop about your DIL’s housekeeping, lack of meal prep, or careless parenting skills.  Or your SIL’s need to turn off the television, get a job, lead his family or attend church.  Take it to God instead.
    I’ve had to ask both of my girls to forgive me for stepping over that boundary once they got married!  We’re so used to being “mom” that we scold, advise and reprimand our grown kids as quickly as we used to throw our arm across them when we came to a sudden stop in the car.  Let’s fold our hands in prayer instead and ask the Lord to give them wisdom to make right choices.
  2. Don’t demand your children’s presence for ANYTHING. would mean Christmas, Thanksgiving, your birthday, Mother’s Day – you get the idea.  They have lives of their own.  They have a family to care for.  They have burdens to carry.  They have jobs and ministries.  Let them live their lives.  Again, if you feel neglected, take it to the Lord in prayer.  Even if you don’t demand their presence, but you pout because they weren’t there…it’s just as bad.
    Also, be sure you’re building that marriage relationship with your spouse.  Have so much fun together that your kids will know that if they’re not able to come home, you both are fine just being together!
  3. Never drop in to your children’s home without calling ahead.  “Yoo-hoo!” at the front door as you walk in could make an embarrassing situation for you and your children.  It can also turn you into the lady that might be given a ticket to ride that Greyhound bus!
  4. Consider your child’s spouse.  Think to your own MIL and how you liked or disliked when she left you out or included you, as the case may be.  Love them.  Talk to them.  Send a text.  Call them occasionally just to say hi.  Pray for them.  Treat them with respect and give them those kind of words.
  5. Allow your children and their spouse to be adults.  Treat them as such, remembering that you raised them to be independent. Don’t see your son as your little boy.  He’s a man.  Let your daughter be a grown woman. Let go of those early days and let them establish a home as adults.

Remember the story of Ruth and Naomi?  Ruth was said to have been kind to her mother-in-law.  We may cry out – “My daughter-in-law needs to take a lesson from her!  My son-in-law needs to learn to be kind to me!”  But what made Ruth and Orpah want to go back to Bethlehem with Naomi?  She had been gracious to them!  Someone has said,

Maybe if we were more like Naomi,

there would be more Ruth’s.

If you’re guilty of something in this post, be humble and ask the Lord to help you.  You might even need to ask your children and in-laws to forgive you for the way you’ve treated them.  A humble spirit of repentance could be the very thing that will turn those difficult relationships around.

Let’s be more like Naomi today.

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Christian love · Family life · Husband · Marriage · Motherhood · Refreshment in marriage · Wife's Role · womanhood

In-Laws and Out-Laws – Part 1

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Someone has said…

Marriage is like twirling a baton, turning handsprings or eating with chopsticks. It looks easy until you try it.

A huge part of the difficulty that can come to a marriage is dealing with the In-laws.   You see, when a girl says, “I do,” to a man she loves, she is also saying “I do” to receiving his family.  She takes them on as her own family, and of course, he takes hers as well.  But that isn’t always the easiest job in the world.  There are so many variables as to why that’s the case, but I’d like to address what to do in order to make those relationships better.

I’ve been both a daughter-in-law and am now a mother-in-law, so I can speak a little to the female side of these relationships.  Tomorrow I’m going to speak to the mothers-in-law.  But we’ll look today at being a daughter-in-law that would honor the Lord and also be a blessing to the other side of her family.

  1. Give your in-law’s names – When I was newly married, I had a sweet father-in-law who oddly enough had been (and still was) my boss at the school where I taught.  He was also my pastor.  Now all of the sudden, we were related!  That was a strange transition to make!  My mom gave me good advice before my wedding.  She said, “Start calling your in-law’s by the name you choose right after you’re married.  It will sound like it’s bouncing off the walls when you first say it, but keep on saying it. It will get easier.”
    My husband and I had decided to call one another’s parents as we do our own, Mom and Dad.  When you have parents of your own that you treasure and love, it’s hard to throw that title to someone else, but these people were parents to the man I’d given my life to! Could I not “adopt” them as my second set of parents?  So, after the honeymoon, I needed my mother-in-law’s attention and I had no choice but to say it – “Mom…”  It was just like my own mother had warned me.  It seemed like I had shouted it into a megaphone!  But I kept on saying it until it became as natural saying my own name.
    It can be so difficult to give your in-law’s a name that instead, you refer to them as only pronouns.  Love them enough to give them a name – Mom and Dad, Bob and RuthAnn, Mom C., something! It’s so much kinder than “her” or “him!”
  2. Give your in-law’s the benefit of the doubt. If you’re questioning their actions, their absence, or their words to you or your husband, just step back and don’t assume anything but the best.  Instead of asking, Why does your mother only call you and ask about the holidays?  Don’t I count?  Assume that he is the one who could answer her questions.  Then you make an attempt at saying, Hey, I hear you’re wondering about us coming for Thanksgiving.  We’re looking forward to it. Do you have a minute that we could talk about what you’d like me to bring?
    It’s a tendency to get offended, but sometimes if we build a bridge for communication, it will make things easier the next time.
  3. Give your in-law’s time to be with their son without you.  Don’t feel offended that your MIL would love to spend time with your husband.  Instead, help that to happen.  When my in-law’s came to visit us for Christmas, I always tried to encourage my husband to take his mom out for breakfast one morning.  They could talk and spend time together, and I know she appreciated having her son to himself for a couple hours.
    (Tomorrow we’ll discuss what happens if this need becomes obsessive for her!)
  4. Give your in-law’s time with your whole family.  Holidays can be downright dreadful if there are not wise decisions about where and when the holidays will be spent.  Going back and forth to both families is exhausting and sharing that holiday with only one side of the family can be hurtful.
    Our solution to that is to spend Thanksgiving with one side and Christmas the other.  Then the next year do the opposite.  Birthday’s, Mother’s Day and so on can be handled in the same way – back and forth.
  5. Give your in-law’s the same kindness you’d give your own parents.  Most husbands aren’t good at remembering to buy gifts and cards for their mom once they’re married.  Why not consider it your duty as his wife to remind your fella to buy a card for his mom for Mother’s Day?  Or you pick out the card and gift for her birthday and let him sign it for both of you.  She’ll recognize his handwriting and will be elated that he remembered.  Only you will be the wiser!  The point is, be sure to do the same kind acts for your in-law’s as you do for your family.
    In the book of Ruth, we hear Naomi saying to her two daughters-in-law:
    Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
    Both Ruth and Orpah had shown kindness to their mother-in-law and she was fully aware of it!
    Could that be said of you and me?  Take the high road and show kindness. Be first to do it.  Do it even if it’s not returned.  What to do?

    1. Call them.
    2. Send a text to check on them.
    3. Send them pictures of your children.
    4. Send them pictures of your husband!
    5. Pray for them.
    6. Love them with words
    7. Love them with your time.
    8. Love them with actions. A card, a gift, a loving gift of your time.

It would be hard not to love a daughter-in-law who responds with those kind of actions.  I didn’t always do that. I struggled, especially in our early years.  But I thank the Lord for the good relationship he gave me with my in-law’s over time.  Ladies, sometimes the hardship in the in-law relations can make them look like outlaw’s, but if we make the effort, we could very easily turn things around for God’s glory and we daughters-in-law could be remembered as favorably as Ruth was.

What’s your best tip for responding as a daughter-in-law? Who has a great daughter-in-law that you’d like to brag about?

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for tips for the Mothers-in-law!