Discipleship · Memorizing Scripture · Uncategorized

Checking In

In mid September I began memorizing the third chapter of Colossians. Oh, what a joy this chapter of Scripture has been to my heart! I have mediated on it over and over as I’ve put this chapter in my heart. There are so many wonderful truths about my position in Christ, and then the reminder of the things that should be a part of my life because I am in Him!

When I shared my desire to memorize this chapter last month, I promised to give an update. My goal was to learn one verse per day, but it was a bit too challenging. My struggle isn’t each learning individual verse, but saying them in order! The Lord is giving me understanding as I keep rehearsing the chapter each day. I am really enjoying using the Bible Memory App. It really makes it easy to review my verses anywhere. I am now up to…

Verse 21. It’s exciting to me that I only have four more verses to go in this chapter!

There have been many nights that I awake in the middle of the night, wide awake. It’s been my practice this month to begin repeating Colossians 3 in my mind. Before I know it, I’ve gone back to sleep! I dream peacefully and get good rest.

Psalm 119:52

 I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself.

This is no boast…I’m very slow and I don’t have nearly the amount of Scripture memorized that I should have at this age. I only share this to keep myself accountable. I also pray it challenges you to be memorizing God’s Word! What a treasure it is.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

The Final Chapter In Mentoring – How & Why

Final chapter of Adorned

Do any of these describe you?

  • A young mom fought for control of her children. Not knowing how to make them obey, she promised rewards, and also threatened they’d lose everything they owned. The children won; the mom was disheartened and worn down.
  • A husband and wife are on two separate pages. He does his thing, she does hers. The co-exist under one roof.
  • Self-control is on the back burner. Whatever she wants, she has, not even thinking of the long-term personal cost.
  • Depression is a way of life for her. She doesn’t even know how she’ll put her feet on the floor tomorrow.

On and on the scenarios go. It seems that every single day I’m reminded of the reasons behind books like, Adorned. Many times I’ve been one of the women I described above. But how I thank the Lord for the Gospel – the fact that Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again to give me eternal life and also abundant life in this present time. My life can have purpose, my marriage and parenting can gain direction. I am able to have wisdom to move forward and strength to overcome sin. That’s the story of the Gospel and the message behind Adorned that we’ve been studying for the last 15 weeks.

Who do you know that needs the truths we’ve talked about? Once we know these truths, we are responsible to share them with another woman so she can walk in growth and victory.

Titus 2:5

That they (the older women) may teach the young women…

Women need women to help them.

What’s the benefit?

  • Informally teaching these lessons can make an older woman realize she has purpose.  She won’t be lonely as she pours into younger women. She will look for ways to reach out. Even if you can’t leave home, you can call, Facetime, or chat with Facebook video.
  • Younger women won’t feel desperate as a single woman or wife.
  • Young moms won’t feel isolated or at a loss for what to do.
  • Women will be filling the need for relationships and conversation.

What to do to get started:

  1. Get a copy of Adorned and read it through.  Mark it up.  
  2. Keep growing in God’s Word yourself.
  3. Ask for the Lord to bring someone into your life – young or old.
  4. Read separately, then get together and discuss it.  
    ~What questions came to your mind while reading?
    ~How can I pray for you regarding this topic (loving your husband, submission, or kindness?)
  5. Pray together.
  6. Be available.

Or you could listen to the broadcasts that I’ve recorded that highlight each chapter of the book, Adorned.  Listen and then discuss the lesson together.  Stop it and talk.  Share from your own life experiences. Pray together.

Another idea is to do a version of Apples of Gold. I’ve shared lots of post about this ministry. You can search Apples of Gold in the search engine here on my blog and find LOTS of ideas.

The point is, there is no cookie cutter way to invest in another woman.  Pray and then allow the Lord to direct you.  Be watchful and open.  Then live out this passage of Scripture and be used of God to Adorn the Gospel – show the new life you have in Christ because He died and rose again!  Show the purpose you have as a godly woman whose life has been changed by the Gospel!

I’d love to know – are you currently mentoring another woman? If not, what’s holding you back? If you are, I’d love to hear how it’s going!

Refresh someone else by mentoring them!

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

This Changes Everything

Adorned #14

I don’t know if your mother had a saying that you remember, but my mom used to tell me and my sisters to “Act pretty.”  It has nothing to do with outward appearance, She was telling us to be kind.  We all have to be reminded of that…even in our adult years!

Paul tells us in Titus 2, Older women are to teach what is good, and to train the young women to  love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, and kind.

Why does he have to remind us of this?  Because it’s so easy for us to DO all the things we should be doing, but with the wrong attitude.  We can do the laundry, cook a meal and make the house spotless, but be huffing and puffing a bad attitude while doing so. (I’m So guilty!)

In her book, Adorned, Nancy paints the picture of Mary and Martha in Luke 10.  She reminds us that we  are sometimes “distracted with much serving, worried and bothered about so many things.”  We become stretched thin and stirred up, bothered and brittle.

On this occasion, Jesus and his followers gathered at the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus.  There could’ve been two or three dozen people! Martha, with her take-charge temperament, moved into hostess mode for this impromptu gathering.  

I imagine that she is excited to see Jesus and others there in her home, thankful for the joy of hosting her friend here where she lived with her sister Mary and brother, Lazarus.  Martha began to clean and cook and make sure everyone was properly served and comfortable while Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to Him teach.  Can you just imagine the thoughts that were running through Martha’s mind when she spots her sister sitting while she’s working?

Nancy reminds us that her thoughts included popular sins we all deal with:

Self-centeredness – Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her to to help me. Notice the words pointing to herself.

Insensitivity – People had gathered around to listen to Jesus teach.  But that didn’t keep Martha from barging in, interrupting Him, disturbing everyone.  She was more concerned with how she was being inconvenienced.   

Accusation –  Asking if someone would give her a hand would have been  an understandable request.  But her words were accusatory – both towards Jesus and Mary.

Resentment –  Can you just hear her in the kitchen loudly and purposefully banging the pans around in her disgust? Her inner martyr had likely been muttering under her breath for a while now.  What tone does she use?  Is she whiney, loud and unkind?  Probably so.

Serving was no longer her joy and privilege – it was a burden.  

It’s so easy to get to this place where Martha is.  It’s easy to feel that we have a heavier load and then to feel resentment towards the ones we are serving.  But when we feel this way, we must stop and ask ourselves the question we have been pondering in this passage – Is my thinking sophron right now?  Am I thinking sound, biblical thoughts?  Realizing that we are serving and doing what we are doing for the Lord can bring our thoughts back to solid ground.Our thinking will change our attitude and our attitude will show in our changed actions.  Out will flow acts of kindness rather than resentment.

After we’ve discussed subjects that are weighty like sophron thinking and being sober and reverent, isn’t it a little trite to end by talking about being kind?  Hardly. Why? Because women set the tone of the home. We’ve heard the saying, If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. There is much truth to that!   

Kindness begins at home! Our family should get the first of our efforts and energies.  The baked bread, the home cooked meal, the kind gestures that we fuss over for our guests.  Let it be done FIRST for our family. 

We must remember that we first learned kindness from our Savior. 

Titus 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

4 But after the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, He saved us not by works of righteousness which we had done, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost,

Kindness is at the end of the list of traits in Titus 2. It’s a fitting ending, reminding us that all that comes before it must be done wrapped in the beauty of kindness, the type Jesus has towards us every day. Having a kind attitude truly does change the atmosphere. Even if you have to do something hard, like rebuke a child, entertain guests when you feel ill prepared, or have a conversation on the phone with a needy person, if we ask the Lord to give us His kindness, the situation will be far more pleasant for our own heart, as well as the one we are encountering!

Look back over the last couple of days and ask the Lord if your attitude has portrayed kindness or resentment. The blessing is that even if we’re convicted of wrong motives, the kindness of our Savior forgives us when we confess!

Refresh your attitude of service to one of kindness.

Discipleship · Mentoring · Motherhood · Parenting

Loving Your Child Through It All

Adorned Series #13

Hectic school routines, multiple discipline issues, outrages and temper tantrums, messes, stresses, spills and strong wills might describe your mothering yesterday, but I’m here to remind you that there is grace for the task in front of you today, dear mom!

Many women feel so overwhelmed at their task of mothering.  I can remember wondering what it would feel like to just hop in the car mid-morning and head to the grocery store.  That’s my high energy time!  I thought about how fun it would be to be able to just GO!  But I was a homeschooling mother, with two girls to train and educate.  Our days were full and I usually went to the store at the end of the day when I was weary.  However, it was not a sacrifice!

Those kind of situations feel like they’re lasting FOREVER.  But guess what I did yesterday?  I went to Kroger early in the day!  

I’m here to encourage you moms not to lose sight of the important task you’re facing.  Your job as a mom is such a high calling!  When Adam named his wife Eve, he was saying she is a life-giver.  That’s what you are!  It doesn’t matter whether you gave life to the children in life naturally, through foster care, or adoption…you are a Life Giver!  What could be more important than that?  You are on assignment from God to pour into those children the Truth about their God and about their need for a Savior.  

I think it’s important that we keep connected to the days when we were asking God for these children.  Or even if they were “surprises,” God says they are blessings from His hand! 

Psalm 127 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:

God said to Abraham of Sarah in Gen 17:16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.

Too often, we take the blessings of God and turn them into cursings.  We bemoan how our life has been put on hold, how sleep-deprived we are, that we are always on-call, that we don’t have a life outside of cooking, teaching, and cleaning up spilled milk.  

In her book Adorned, Nancy said,

You wouldn’t be human not to wear down at times under the strain…and most people will never see the sacrifices you make to parent your children.  But if you’re not careful, if you’re not prayerful, if you let the days just pass by without being determined to sue them for God’s highest and best purposes – to remember the real reason you’re doing all this – then the blessings He intends for you in this season may slip through your fingers.  And your children may miss out on the vision of God’s love you were intended to give them. 

The answer is doing what you do with God’s help. 

Hear some fresh reminders from an older mom:

First, let me remind you that the children in your home are blessings.  When older women are teaching the young women to love their children we remember that the word for love is  Phileo, the friendship kind of love.  We are not their buddies, we’re their mother, but we have the kind of love for them that enjoys them.  Do they feel that coming from you, or is it more resentment?  Ask God to help you enjoy them TODAY. Enjoy them when they’re loveable.  Enjoy them when you have to discipline them again.

Secondly, let me remind you that your children are in your home for a relatively short period of time. I know…it feels long right now, but trust me, you will soon be watching them march in graduation or walk down the aisle to be married and you’ll wonder how that ever happened! Make the time while your children are in your home count!  Have fun!  Be spontaneous!  Laugh! Smile at them!  Play games.  Craft.  Bake together.  Hang out in the back yard. Pray with them. Read God’s Word to them.  (The psalm for their age) Put your phone away.  Look at them.  Hear them speaking to you!

Thirdly, let me remind you to show loving affection.  Do it with your words.  Say, “I love you.” Do it with your gestures – give the hug, the pat on the back. Your children need your motherly affection. Even if your children are older, they still need your love and words of affirmation. Notice not just the bad things, but notice the good! 

Recently after I’d spent time with one of my girls I sent her a text and told her how proud I was of her and that I loved her.  She responded, “You don’t know what that means to me.  I feel like I’m so self absorbed and unpleasant most of the time. I love you, too!”  I had no idea she was feeling disheartened, but when the Holy Spirit prompted me to write her, I realized that those words were just what the Lord wanted her to hear.  (I miss those opportunities many times! Ugh!)

Fourthly, realize that they must be your priority. People are more important than things.  An immaculate house, a perfect yard can wait.  Let them play in one room.  Let them hang out in the yard.  Be the cookie mom who invites the neighbor kids over!

Nancy reminds us that sometimes the best way to prioritize our children is to prioritize time with God.  I have my Quiet time in the morning.  Often one of the girls would need something while I was praying.  They would knock, then come in and find me on my knees, praying for my own heart, for them, and for our school day.  Without that time, I would have fallen apart even more often!

Always remember that your husband is your priority above your children.  He will still be with you when they leave! How does this happen? When they’re young the children need you almost constantly, but as they grow and mature, make sure that you are making time for your husband. Make sure you’re spending MORE and more time with him as the years pass. Go out on regular dates. As the children age, make them more and more independent so they are ready to step out, and you are not their crutch and they are not yours.   Spend MORE time talking, dating, praying, dreaming as each year passes.  You don’t want to be looking at a stranger when your kids are gone! This was not God’s plan. 

Motherhood is a roller coaster ride.  It’s full of joys and sorrows.  If you have a child away from God, spite your efforts and prayers, don’t give up.  It’s always too soon to quit. God loves them more than you do!  Keep living out that overflowing life of a believer.  Show them the joy of a Christian who walks with God.  Be there for them.  Keep loving them.  Text them.  Talk to them.  Don’t be afraid to speak of biblical things…it’s to be overflowing from your life.

Keep on being a life-giver.  By our responses, our words, our affection, our encouragement to our children or the children God puts in your path, we can be life-givers all the days God gives us on this earth!

Refresh your love for being a nurturer to the children in your life by remembering how well your God loves you, how patient He is with you, and how He disciplines you in kindness and mercy.  Then in good days full of praise and achievements, and in difficult days full of correction and biblical instruction keep on loving your children well.

Discipleship · Marriage · Mentoring

An Unexpected Blessing

Adorned lesson #12

We had just left a social gathering and were driving home when my husband said to me, “So many women will not let their husband lead.” He didn’t mention what/who he was referencing, but just the observation he had made while we were at this gathering of people.

I let my mind think back to our recent gathering and
I heard a wife answering for her husband. 
I heard another one talking over top of her man. 
Was it that the men didn’t know what to say, or was it that he wasn’t given the chance to say it?  I’m pretty sure the latter is the answer.

I know how easy it is to do both of those things! If I don’t use the brakes of self control! What is required in these situations is a word that causes most women great distress. The word is submission. The definition of this word that I love is, To lean your husband’s direction. But what does God’s Word say about this word?

Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Nancy Wolgemuth says,

To our finite, fallen minds, the whole idea sound unfair, even preposterous.  The wisdom of God, however, is infinitely higher than human wisdom. If we only could grasp His eternal purposes, we would be enthralled with the perfection and splendor of His ways. So when it comes to this topic, we need to earnestly seek His wisdom rather than relying on our own limited, flawed perspectives.

Let me briefly share seven things that submission is not…

  1. A wife’s submission to her husband is not submission to men in general.
  2. Submission does not subject a wife to a life of forced compliance.
  3. Submission does not amount to slavish, subservience. 
  4. Submission does not minimize a wife into mindlessness.
  5. Submission does not mean the husband is always right.
  6. Submission never requires a wife to follow her husband into sin.
  7. Submission never gives a husband license to abuse his wife.

Look at the beauty in true, biblical submission:

When a woman denies the natural urge to resent her husband or retaliate against him, when she runs to the cross instead of running her mouth, when she maintains a gentle and quiet spirit and steadfastly hopes in God, regardless of her husband’s behavior – that is no spineless, mousy, whimpering puddle of dominated femininity.  That is a woman of power. ~Nancy

Are you a Woman of that kind of power? Remember that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ submitted to the will of His Father, so when we submit to our husband, we are adorning the beauty of the Gospel. It was a love so great that Jesus was willing to lay down His own life to obey the will of the Father.

Wives, when we submit in this way, our homes will operate the way God planned. That means there is only one head, instead of a two-headed monster. Then the unexpected blessing is that we portray Calvary love!

Is it easy? No because we have an old sin nature. Then how can we do this?
In the power of the Holy Spirit. Yield to Him. Give the Lord the grievance or disagreement in your heart towards your husband. Let the Lord deal with him. You just love him. How will you show your love?

By submitting. Then watch the unexpected blessing that will come!

What is your question regarding submission? Leave them here, please!

Here’s another perspective on submission. If your marriage seems hopeless, I pray this post will encourage you.