Christian love · home · joy · Life · Love · Marriage

When Your Marriage Feels Like a Roller Coaster

roller coasstera

No one wants to be forced to ride a roller coaster – especially when it’s an emotional one caused by stress in marriage.  But, if we’re honest, we’ve all been there at one time or another.  We feel like life is spinning and twisting out of control and all we can do is hang on and hope for a safe and eventual landing.

That Marriage Roller Coaster ride can also make you feel helpless, alone, and desperate. In the middle of a marital crisis, you can “feel” like you will never be happy again, that there’s no hope for your relationship, or that it would just be better if your marriage was over. These can all be dangerous emotions/actions, if not handled biblically.

How about if we just stop together and get a biblical perspective for those kinds of days?

  1. Realize that your spouse is not your enemy.  Satan is the one attacking your home.  But the biblical perspective is, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”  (I John 4:4) God is stronger and greater.  He can get you past this hurdle, and that’s all it is – a hurdle.  The good news is that hurdles are meant for jumping over!
  2. Struggles are not a sign that your marriage is done.  Jesus told us, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer – I have overcome the world.” John 16:33  Since He has overcome, so can we!  When two sinners live together, there’s bound to be difficulty at times.  Add to the mix, children, who are also sinners, and you can have a house full of struggles!  But, as in the roller coaster analogy, you don’t just jump off when you’re climbing the steepest incline of the ride!  You sit tight, hold on (to the Lord and one another!), close your eyes (in prayer), and do the next right thing.  Soon you’ll be pulling into the very place the ride started, renewed in your love and softer and gentler with one another.
  3. Ending the marriage is not God’s answer to the struggle.  Seek for restoration. Humble yourself and do what is necessary to obey Romans 12:18.  Sincerely ask the Lord to show you if you are in the wrong.  Seek the biblical advice of a godly friend who will love you enough to be honest with you and tell you what you need to hear – not what they know you want to hear.  Lovingly talk to your spouse, when the time is right.  Share your heart.  Ask if you can get down on your knees and pray together.  It’s pretty impossible to pray as a couple and stay angry.  Again, humility is necessary on your part!  You can’t change him, but with God’s help, you sure can change the girl in your shoes!
  4. Believe the truth that the best is yet to be.  Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God has a plan to give us a hope and a future, and that includes your marriage!  You can both learn from this experience and enjoy greater days in the future, because of the restoration and reconciliation that has taken place.

Proverbs 24:10

If thou faint in the day of adversity,

thy strength is small.

Let the Lord be your strength, and climb down off that roller coaster, straighten your wind-blown hair, and don’t faint!  Believe the biblical truth and press on for God’s honor!

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian love · Family life · home · Husband · joy · Love · Marriage · refreshment at home · Refreshment in marriage

Make More Deposits

While waiting in line at the bank, a man developed a very loud case of hiccups. By the time he reached the teller’s window, the hiccups seemed to have worsened. The teller took the man’s check and proceeded to run a computer verification of his account.

After a minute she looked up from her terminal with a frown and said that she would be unable to cash his check.”Why not?” the man asked incredulously.

”I’m sorry, sir,” she replied, ” but our computer indicates that you do not have sufficient funds to cover this amount. As a matter of fact,” she continued, “our records show your account overdrawn in excess of $5000.””It can’t be!” he cried. “You have to be kidding!” “Yes, I am,” she answered with a smile, counting out his cash. “But you will notice that your hiccups are gone.”

Probably most of us know the sinking feeling to know of one time or another when there weren’t sufficient funds in the bank to cover our withdrawals. It makes for a rough day, doesn’t it?

While we are ever so careful to guard our bank account from being over drawn, I wonder what the records would show on the monthly statement of our marriage? How many withdrawals have you made? Wives need love, affection, attention, compliments, encouragement, dates, pampering, help around the house, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on… Each one of those represent a withdrawal from our marriage account.

We can also make withdrawals by nagging, belittling, giving a cold shoulder, being unforgiving, negligent to his needs, etc.

Now, think back on this past week – what kind of deposits have you made? Not the monetary kind – but the relational kind.

  • Have you shown respect for your husband with your words?
  • Have you elevated him in front of others?
  • Have you thanked him for being a provider for your family?
  • Have you done a thoughtful gesture for him? (Bought his favorite candy bar, written him a note, made his favorite meal, took him out on a special date or created one at home- you get the idea)
  • Have you spent time doing something he enjoys even though it might not be your favorite activity?
  • Have you done something to lighten his load?

These things (and many others) are ways we make deposits into our marriage. There’s a double blessing here – we’re meeting the needs of our husband and rediscovering what a joy it is to be married. It’s fun! It is God’s plan and He can only do what is good!

Take a thorough check into your “account” and make sure you’re not overdrawn! If it’s been a while since you’ve put something into your marriage, you might surprise your husband so much you’ll scare his hiccups away!

Refresh you marriage today!!

Come back the rest of this week for more marriage posts that will encourage you to make your relationship the best it can be!

With love,

Denise Signature 150 px

Family life · home · Husband · joy · Love · Marriage · memories · refreshment at home

Summer Date Night Ideas

backyard night1

One day last week, my husband was cleaning out some of his office boxes that had been stored away in our garage when he came across a stack of preserved letters, notes and cards, most of them written by “Yours truly.”  We began reading them and found ourselves laughing, crying, and rejoicing over the years, the experiences we’ve shared, and the goodness of the Lord in it all.

It became so obvious to me that the written note is so important!  Without that, how would we recall these precious memories?  How would we have remembered how awed we were by God’s provision, or how near the Lord was during that trial?

Since that afternoon, I’ve determined that I must
a.) Continue writing notes.  Texts are great, but in ten years, how will we be able to reread that form of media?
b.) Read through the stack I have tucked away from the 36 years behind us!

Now, here are 30 great Summer Date Night ideas! 

  1. My first encouragement to you about a summer date night is to make a time when you and your spouse can sit down and read through some of your cards and letters you’ve saved.  Go out on your back porch to read them, or take them to the lake where you can sit at a picnic table.  Just do it.  It will remind you where you’ve come from and how special your relationship really is!  I fell in love with my husband all over again!
  2. You don’t have any notes?  Sit down and write your husband one today and leave it in a special place where he’ll find it.  Write it on pretty paper.  Spray a little perfume on it.  Then tuck it away so you can start that file you’ll be able to read again when you’re old and gray.
  3. Make your own Drive-In.  Make the setting outside your home perfect for watching a movie or show on your laptop or tablet.  Turn on the patio lights, light candles, get a bowl of popcorn popped and a comfy swing to share!
  4. Bookstore Date–  I first shared about this here ,and no matter if you have done it before, this date can be done over and over again and it will be new each time.  It’s one of our favorites!
  5. Read your favorite books to one another – or find a new one to read!
  6. Bake cookies together
  7. Watch the sunrise, then make breakfast together
  8. Attend a local baseball game
  9. Go for a long drive
  10. Have a picnic
  11. Play Frisbee
  12. Visit the farmer’s market
  13. Video Record the Story of How You Met & Fell in Love
  14. Cook a Late Night Dinner Together
  15. Write a Prayer List & Pray Together
  16. Make Smoothies or Milkshakes
  17. Share 5 Goals Over a Late Night Snack
  18. Do a Puzzle Together
  19. Play a Game
  20. Have a Chip & Dip Night – Add Conversation
  21. Record Each Other Sharing a Recent Memory
  22. Tackle a FUN Project
  23. Write a Gratitude List about one another
  24. Have an Ice Cream Sundae Night
  25. Search for Funny YouTube Videos
  26. Go to Yard Sales and see who can find the best bargain
  27. Go to the Local Bike Trail and ride bikes.
  28. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert
  29. Begin a Date Night Journal and Write down each time you have a date, what you did and any fun memories you created.
  30. Go to a Theme Park Without your children and leave your phones in the car.  Ride all the water rides.  Eat the snacks.  See the shows.  Stay late for the fireworks!

I hope you’ve had a great first week of June, and I hope some of the ideas shared this week will inspire you to create some fun at home this summer!  Each day is a gift from God and is worth celebrating!  So enjoy!!

Stay refreshed in God’s Word this weekend.  We need Him every single day!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

Christian Life · Christian love · eternal · evangelism · Heaven · joy · Life · obedience

Bringing People To Jesus

grocery store.jpg

I’m one of those strange people who enjoy grocery shopping.  I love to walk the aisles and see new items and also find the best deals on the things I’ve written on my list.  Sometimes, though, it can be difficult when you’re trying to find something you don’t usually buy.

Such was the case this week when I went looking for Gluten Free tortillas.  Would they be in the Organic section?  No.  How about the Ethnic food aisle?  Not there.  An employee at the Kroger store where I was shopping must’ve seen my desperate searching and came to ask me if I was finding everything I needed.  I explained that I was looking for Gluten-free tortillas, to which she said,

“I think they’re over in the dairy (I would’ve never looked there!).  Follow me and I’ll take you there.”

I told her she could just point me in the right direction, but she insisted that she was happy to walk over with me to be sure they were really there.

As my cart and I shadowed her steps across the store, the Lord brought to my mind that this is exactly how my life should tell others of Christ!  It’s not enough to just give an explanation of who He is and what He did!  They need someone (me) to say, “Follow me and I’ll show you where you’ll find Him!”

How and when does that happen since He’s not simply on the other side of the building?

  • At home –  I engage in people’s lives and have a hospitable heart so that I can invite others into my home where I can share the Gospel.
  • In my neighborhood – I invite my neighbors to my church and church activities.
  • In my social contacts – I give them a Gospel tract and a testimony of God’s goodness to all of us.
  • At church – I engage in conversation with visitors at church and I look for a opportunity to ask them about their relationship with Christ.
  • At the grocery store, bank, doctor’s office – I learn the names of the people who work there and build relationships so that I can share the Gospel.

It’s such a privilege to share Jesus with others.  Why? Our lives are empty and searching for something and He is the answer!  He came to die for the sins of the entire world, yet each person individually.  He came to take our place on the cross.  He took the punishment that should have been ours so that we could have a relationship with God and go to heaven when we die. He’s the only way to heaven.   Having a relationship with God now makes life’s trials have purpose, and makes this life here abundant and purposeful!   This is a message that every person needs to hear, and it has to come from people who know the Truth!

I love Kroger for lots of reasons, but their personal touch is one thing that always stands out when I’m there.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, others should constantly be receiving a personal invitation from me to come to my Savior.  It happens when I invite them into my life and ask them to follow me.  “Oh, Lord, open my life and my lips to bring others to You!”

It’s my duty, but it’s also my highest privilege!

I struggle with this – I really do, but I so want to bring people to my Savior!  Are you inviting others to follow you so you could take them to Jesus? How are you accomplishing that?

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian love · Family life · home · Husband · joy · Love · Marriage · memories · Pastor's Wife · Women's roles

Family Friday – Ten Things This Mom Would Do Again

My daughters a.jpg

My mommy days are behind me now, and as I’m watching others in this special, yet demanding role, I have done some reminiscing over the years when my girls were young.  I have plenty of regrets, as all moms do, but I’m not going to dwell on those, because I can’t change them, and because doing so would not fall under the Philippians 4:8 things I should think about!  It’s in the past. But there are things that were so good about those days.  As I think back, I remember things that we did that I would definitely do again, if I had the chance.

Here they are:

  1. Be a stay-at-home mom.  I’m so thankful that I was there for all but 9 months of both of my girls’ lives.  The nine months I worked were the longest months of my life!  I hated being taken away from my family and my home.  I was under a teaching contract, and I kept my word to the prinicple, but when the school year was done, so was I!  My husband and I decided that it was best for me to pour into our own children, rather than someone else’s!
  2. Be relatively poor.  Does that sound strange?  I would have never anticipated saying that!  Our churches did the best they could to care for us, but when the girls were young, things were tight.  Very tight. As I stated above, I was a stay-at-home mom, so we lived on my husband’s salary alone.  We homeschooled, so we had book fees and satellite costs, which were a large chunk of money every year that we never had on hand.  We were in ministry all those years, and we needed time away – times to rest and refresh as a family and recharge our spiritual batteries and physical bodies.  We had growing girls and we entertained missionaries and guest speakers, so groceries were another cost that stretched us.  Where did we get the money for these things?  We prayed.  Our inefficiencies ran us to our all-sufficient God.  He provided for us in amazing, life-changing ways!  Had we had all the money we wanted or needed, it wouldn’t have taught us to depend on Him so greatly.  Being needy turned into a great blessing.
  3. Read aloud to my girls.  One way we entertained ourselves at bedtime, around the kitchen table, in the car, or on a blanket in the backyard was through books.  We read a varied kind of books, and they were carefully chosen, and opened a whole world to us, even while we stayed home.
  4. Use God’s Word in discipline.  We always sat down and talked with our girls in their bedrooms at discipline times.  We explained from the Scriptures what they had done wrong that God considered sin.  This kept us from acting quickly out of anger (we sent them to their room and we’d cool off before addressing the issue!).  They knew it wasn’t just that mommy and daddy didn’t like what they did, but they saw it in God’s Word, and it guided their thinking and changed their behavior.
  5. Laugh and have fun.  We had lots of laughs as a family.  I should have laughed at myself more, but we shared many fun times around games, out in the snow, in the car playing the alphabet game, baking in the kitchen, or building a fire in the backyard.
  6. Be faithful to Sunday school and church.  It’s not just because we’re a ministry family that we went to church.  We love being in God’s house and with God’s people!  Worshiping, singing, reading Scripture, giving our tithes, and fellowshipping with other believers helped all of us to grow!
  7. Show outward affection and say, “I love you.”  We’re a “touchy” family, in that we hug and love on one another.  Using words to express love between parents and children is so important.  Our children learn how to love by watching us.  The first place they should feel acceptance and unconditional love is at home.
  8. Leave the girls once in a while to go on a date with their dad.  We were making a stronger home for them, and they lived through the trauma of it all!  A parent can feel really guilty leaving a crying child, even though they’re in great hands with grandparents or other caring adults, but without those times away, your relationship will get stagnant, and you’ll only discuss things like empty milk jugs and unfinished homework!
  9. Spend time alone with God every day.  When the girls were small, this time was limited, but I would read what I could and pray over each of my family.  Sometimes it came a verse at a time, with interruptions in between.  Sometimes my prayers were while I was ironing their clothes.  It was then that I’d pray for the one whose clothes I was pressing.  I often left verses on cards around the house so I could meditate on that passage.  Those “little moments” fed my soul and kept my heart right with God so I could parent them and point my girls to Christ.
  10. Marry my girls dad.  I let them know often how much I loved their daddy and how God brought us together.  He had to be my first priority because that’s God’s order.  Why?  Because God knew that I’d be where I am today – an Empty nester, and He wanted my home to be just as fulfilling now as it was when our daughters were here.

And you know what?

It is.

What are you doing right now that you know you’ll be glad you’re doing as a mom?  Keep doing it!  What are you regretting?  Ask God how to change it and watch for how He steps in!  

Refresh your children by being the mom God will enable you to be by His grace.

With love,

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian Life · joy

Are You Living for The Next Thing or Content With Now?

Image result for disney world

Perusing through Social media recently made me wonder how many of us live for “The Next thing” that’s coming our way down life’s road.  It might be:

  • Marriage, then
  • Children, then
  • A home purchase, then
  • Vacation or Cruise, then
  • Another Child, then
  • A new car, then
  • When the children are in school, then,
  • A job promotion, then
  • The purchase of the newest gadget, then
  • When the children are on their own, then
  • Another great vacation…
  • When the grandchildren are born…

It goes on and on.  There’s nothing wrong, of course, with having goals, but some people seem unsatisfied until they attain that “Next thing.”  It’s such an easy trap to fall into, isn’t it?  Everything we see and hear in our world encourages that discontentment.  We’re always urged to want more and to do more and long for the next season of life.

But what if we could put on glasses with lenses that help us to really see what we have “Now”?  If we could really embrace the  joy of this stage, the gladness for these few possessions, the awe of this status of our lives?  Would we not be really living out the beauty the contented, Christian life that Paul’s wrote of when he said,

I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased and how to abound, every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  Philippians 4:11-13

If we feel a frequent restlessness with today and we’re  on the search for something else – big or little – to get us to through the next hoop of our life, it may be that what we’re really missing is not the newest toy from the electronic department, but biblical contentment.  

Where does that kind of contentment come from?  It’s not found at the Apple store, it’s found in the Secret Place of prayer.  When Paul spoke of “being instructed to be full and hungry,” he was talking of being initiated into the secret of contentment, and that can only come when we go to our God in prayer.

When we pray, we tell Him about our anxious heart, our longing for that something else.  We ask Him to give us joy in this day, this moment, this status, this car, this house, this marriage.  When you get up off your knees, you’ll find that instead of longing for something more, you will have found Someone who was enough!

Ask yourself (or better yet, ask God), “Am I living for The Next Thing, or am I content with right now?”  Respond as God reveals the Truth to your heart, and you’ll be staring the sweetest possession right in the face – REAL, TRUE CONTENTMENT.

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian Life · joy · trials

Deliverance From Fear of the Enemy

Bibles 1.jpgIt was morning and I had had a fitful night’s rest prior to waking up.  The weeks prior to this day had been crammed full of caring for others, a couple of trips, lots of study, sickness and then the emotional drain all that brings.  Now I found myself staring at yet another hardship and the day had barely gotten started.

The blessing of this moment was that I was also in my normal spot first thing in my day – I was in my Quiet Place.  My Bible was open and I was thirsty for its Living Waters.  I opened to a Psalm I’d been meditating on for several days – Psalm 63.  It comforted my heart to do what the psalmist had done and stop and remember all that God been and accomplished for me in recent days. Ii was reminded of His goodness.

Then I went on to Psalm 64:1

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

It was as though I could literally hear the brakes squalling, bringing my fretfulness to a complete stop!  The psalmist was asking God NOT to deliver him from the enemy, but from the fear of the enemy.  The Lord showed me at that moment that here was my problem – I was fearful of what the enemy might do, of what the enemy could do, of what the enemy was thinking of doing.  The enemy is powerless before my God!  I was jumping the gun and just having fear OF THE ENEMY.  Our enemy doesn’t have to do anything if we can be filled with fear about what they might do!

What is your fear today?  Usually we fear something that hasn’t even happened yet.  We fear

  • a poor blood test before the blood is drawn
  • our children leaving home before they’re even grown
  • running out of money when we retire before we ever even retire
  • what someone might do to sabotage our plans before the time for those plans has come

The list is endless.  But the point is that we fear things that haven’t come yet, so it’s not that thing that’s causing the fear, it’s the fear of what might be!  It’s a fear of NOTHING because we’re imagining everything.  It’s a futile, empty circle that only leads us to the pit of despair.

I dropped to my knees and asked God to forgive me for fearing what had not even come.  I put the matter at His feet.  I then asked for direction for the day.  I now had a purpose for the day ahead because the fear was no longer blocking my view of God’s plan for my day.  I moved on in victory over the fear of the enemy.  

My day was productive.

My heart was joy-filled.

My burden was lifted.

Do you have a fear of the enemy today?  Recognize it and then repent.  No child of God should be living with fear striking terror and dread in your heart.  Christ is victorious over this fear, and you have victory, too!

Do you deal with fear of the enemy?  How will you deal with it today?

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px