Chipped Cups and a Thankful Heart

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There’s a routine that happens in our house several times every day – perhaps it looks similar at yours.  It’s the washing and cleaning up after a meal. Most people don’t relish scraping lasagna off dinner plates, deciding which Rubbermaid container will hold the remains of the tossed salad, getting all the dishes into the already-full dishwasher or cleaning out the drips on the oven floor, but it all must be done.  The blessing of these tasks at my house is that I never work alone.  My thoughtful husband works alongside me until the towel is folded over the edge of the sink and the kitchen light is turned off.  It sounds like a pleasant scene, doesn’t it?  It truly is, and I try to thank my spouse often for his diligent efforts to help me with this daily chore.

But I haven’t always been the smiling spouse and happy housewife during this task.  As ungrateful as it sounds, there have been times when I’ve corrected him for the way he was handling the dishes.  He’s a big guy with big hands, and my dishes have often cringed under the force of being picked up or set down in a not-so-gentle way.

Of course, it was my duty to tell him, right?

Only if I wanted to crush his spirit about helping, when he could have been off doing any number of far more important things than washing my “riches.”

Only if I wanted to hush the chatter we had been having while we worked side by side in our sudsy love.

Only if I wanted to make him feel like my son instead of my husband, my leader, the head of our home, and the provider of the very home in which we were working.

Only if I valued my possessions more than a happy marriage.

But I did it and I regretted it. I confessed it to my God and to my hard-working, strong husband.

I decided after that that it was far better to work together, each of us happily humming, talking, teasing, laughing, and loving, than to be doing this triple-day duty by myself just so I could keep my dishes – my riches – without any nicks.

God knew I would need this reminder and He put it in the form of a proverb –

Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great riches and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 15:16

Yes, it’s better to have plates with a hairline crack, a bowl put in the wrong cupboard, or a set of eight glasses that only number seven now, than to have a perfect set of dishes without the comradery that happens when we work together with right hearts.

My dishes were my “riches” that proverbs mentions.  What’s yours? What form of perfection or higher standard comes between accepting gracious help or refusing it?  If your husband attempts to help you at home, do you appreciate his efforts, or do you demand perfection?  Do you accept his help, or ask him to go do something else so the task will be done the way you want it accomplished?  Maybe you need to remind yourself, as I had to do, of the blessing of a man who will be kind enough to offer a hand.  Think about whether you’d rather be sitting at home alone with your “riches” around you, or  living happily as one, with a little less “riches.”

I think many wives must come to grips with this truth.  So, if this rings true in your heart, know that you’re not alone.  Our sinful heart wants our way, instead of the wonder of a sweet marriage that comes when two people work together with happy hearts.

When it’s all said and done, what’s left of my dishes may only be chipped cups and splintered saucers, but if my heart is full of gratitude instead of grumbling, there will also be a whole lot of love that got splashed up in the soapy process.

That’s what I’m going for.

How about you?  What are the “riches” that are causing you to be demanding and critical instead of thankful for your spouse?  Ask God to help you exchange that criticism for gratefulness. Then smile while you sip your coffee from that chipped cup!

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Talking To Your Spouse with Grace

 

 

couple aThe phone rang and she answered it. The change in her tone was blatantly obvious to everyone in the room.  This wife went from bubbly/friendly to irritated/annoyed.  “Who was on the other end of the phone?” we wondered.  Then she said his name and we learned that it was her husband.

This scenario happened in the public setting of a business.  My heart sank when I realized that when this lady heard her husband’s voice, instead of being glad to hear from him, she was irritated.  His call interrupted her.  His questions annoyed her. And his needs overwhelmed her.  She was only too happy to hang up and move on with the people around her and the business at hand.

But I cannot point a finger at her because the rest of my hand is pointing back at me.  It’s easy to get a call from Dale and answer casually instead of enthusiastically.  Do you ever get caught up in the day-to-day routine as I do and forget the special bond you share with your spouse?  Consider the difference between answering the phone with,

“Yeah, whatcha’ need?”

Or

Hi Sweetheart!  I’m glad to hear from you!

What about when he asks you a question and you answer him for the second or third time?  Does each answer get louder and more aggravated? Remember how you loved his name when you were dating?  Do you say it with as much tenderness now?

Last week my brother-in-law was working his job inspecting roofs, as he has done for many years now.  The early morning dew was still on the back half of the house, making the surface slippery.  His work would be quick and he planned to climb down in just a minute, but just as that thought was flying through his mind, his foot slipped and he could feel himself falling.  He grabbed the gutter of the house, helping to break his fall, but only a little.  He was taken by ambulance to the Medical Center in the area where he was treated in the Emergency Room for his many broken bones.  Praise the Lord for sparing his life!

As my sister and I walked the hospital halls together, we discussed the abruptness of any calamity.  No one plans for it.  No one puts, “Visit husband in trauma unit” in their planner, but life as we know it can be changed in a moment. We all know that, but we move on each day as though we are ignorant of that truth, and we blurt out unkind phrases and words like an umpire at a ballgame.

Remember the woman I mentioned at the beginning of this post?  The one who changed her disposition when her husband called?  Sadly, I learned the news of her husband’s death and I wondered if she ever wished she could talk to him again, with a completely different frame of mind? Did she ever wish he would interrupt her busy day by calling her?

If you knew that this was your last day with our spouse, would you use a different tone when we answered his call?  Would you use kinder words when responding to his questions?  Would your repeated answer be more patient?  Even if we knew we had 50 more years together, wouldn’t we want our relationship to epitomize tenderness, kindness and sacrificial love?  These are all words of grace – what we receive from the Lord every day.  It’s what might not be deserved, but we give it, because that is how we are loved and spoken to by our Savior.

I know I need to make some changes in order to fill my husband’s ears with words of grace. How about you?  Excuse me while I answer my phone…

Hi Sweetheart! I’m glad to hear from you!

If we asked others what they hear when we speak to our spouse, what would they say? What would our husband say?  It’s all about grace.

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Help Your Husband Live Joyfully With You!

I’m posting later in the day, but we just returned from an evening away. Read on and you’ll see what we did and what a special time it was!

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It was early evening and we had just finished a simple supper of BLT’s, a summer favorite. My husband pulled his Bible out of his book bag and told me he had something he wanted to read to me that he had read earlier that morning. We were spending an afternoon and night away at a lake cottage, just to have some quiet time to study, pray and be together on his day off. A boat or two rumbled past on the not-so-far-away lake as he opened to Ecclesiastes 9 and read about 6 verses, concluding with this verse:

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity, but that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

When he finished reading, he closed his Bible, nodded and smiled at me. As I looked at him I thought about how well he does that. He lives joyfully with me every day!

  • I saw it earlier when we were preparing to travel to the lake. He was coming to pick me up from my dentist appointment and sent a text to tell me he would be late.
  • When we stopped to pick up a salad for lunch, he brought the beverages to the car – a water for himself and diet Lemonade for me (my favorite).
  • As we made our way to the lake, he chatted, telling me the reason he was late – the opportunity to share Christ with a man. I love it when he shares his day, his burdens and his life.
  • He reached over and took my hand and said, “I sure love you!”
  • Later in the afternoon as we sat overlooking the lake, he said how thankful he was we could spend an afternoon together. Tears welled up in his eyes as he said, “Sometimes I just miss you so much.”
  • Even after our simple BLT supper, no fuss, no special recipe, he said, “That was so good; thank you, Sweetheart.”

Live joyfully with your wife – that’s what he does every single day. I am so blessed.

Why am I sharing this with you today? To boast? No. Even as I write out this list of only some of what he did in just ONE day, it is a stern reminder that I could make it so much easier for him to obey that Scripture if I was also living joyfully every day. There are days I just feel cantankerous! I’m often Fussy, griping, and complaining instead of joy-filled.

If I would laugh at his spontaneity, smile at disruptions, appreciate kindnesses, and live as though there was no tomorrow, I’ll bet it would help him to live even more joyfully with his wife. And maybe I couldn’t even believe there could be so much joy, and wouldn’t that be awesome?!

  • What do you need to change to help your husband live joyfully with you?
    MAYBE:
    Take the drive he suggests, even though you know you’ll be motion-sick on those curves.
    If he initiates a kiss in public don’t push him away.
    Leave the children with a sitter for an hour or two so you can sneak away for a date.
    Hold hands, rub his back, smile at him, send him a loving text message, ask him questions about his day, and really listen when he talks to you,
    Be understanding of his need for physical love.
    Tell him thank you for the ways he provides for your family.
    Pray with him before he leaves home.
    Be waiting at the door for him when he returns home in the evening.
    Get up and spend time with him before he leaves for work, if possible.
    Surprise him with a night away for just the two of you.
    Decide with God’s help not to fall apart when the next disaster strikes.

Let’s help our husbands obey the admonition to live joyfully with his wife by being joyful, too! Now, put a smile on your face and in your heart, and go share that joy with HIM!

Refresh your husband,

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Family Friday – Keep Your Marriage Safe

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Recently in the late hours of the night, while a subdivision of residents was fast asleep, a thief entered the quiet of the street and began making his way up driveways looking for unlocked cars. All he was interested in was cash, and any he found was taken.

What the thief didn’t know was that a security camera was right on him, taking footage of his sinful deeds.  Aside from seeing him enter unlocked cars, one thing noted on the security tape was that when he approached one vehicle that was locked, he simply moved away from it. There was no attempt at breaking in.  The security of the car door locks, kept him from taking what was not his.

As I thought about the crime, the Lord brought a truth to my mind about my marriage.  No one can steal away from our relationship unless we leave areas unlocked.  So then, we must check to be sure that we’re keeping our marriage safe.  Here are some security locks that need to be checked regularly:

  • Keep your marriage vows.
    • Love
      • Love is a choice, not a feeling. If you’re not “feeling it,” pray and ask God to help you love your husband – He will. Keep praying about it and don’t quit!
      • Love him thoroughly, the way you want to be loved. Accept him and don’t have any expectations of what he should be or should do.  Would you and I want to be held to our husband’s list of expectations?  We must accept him in the same way.
      • Love him physically. Don’t withhold your physical love as punishment.  Doing so could cause ramifications that could cause the thief to come in and steal what is supposed to be only yours.
    • Honor
      • This is the same as respect. A husband doesn’t earn it as the world says he must – you give it because God commands you to.  Eph 5:33 Honor him as unto the Lord, or as you would the Lord!  Your words, your reactions, your decisions – your whole married life is to show the man you married honor – the highest esteem.
    • Obey
      • He has ultimate leadership for your home. Whether you like his decision or disagree, God says the husband is the head, and unless what he is asking is sinful, then you must come under his authority. Period.
    • ‘Til death do you part
      • Never should we use the word, “Divorce.” Nor should we threaten to leave.  Marriage is for a lifetime.  Considering divorce is leaving an open door for the right situation to enter so we have an out.  (I realize divorce for fornication is allowed, but often lesser things cause those words to be spoken.)

So, how secure is your marriage?  Are you leaving an unlocked door in any of the areas above?  There are many other safeties we could discuss, but I believe if we’re  honoring our marriage vows, most of the other scenarios will be safe from danger.

Marriage is a gift from God that is a beautiful picture of our relationship with Christ.  He keeps us secure for eternity.  I’m pretty sure I know a subdivision of people who will now be locking their car doors at night.  Don’t you wait until the thief comes to steal from your marriage before you do what is wise!  Keep it secure all the days of our life, “so long as you both shall live.”

Happy Easter!  Rejoice; He is risen, and that makes a difference in every area of life – even your marriage!

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Diligence At Home Brings Blessing

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A woman who is a homemaker can feel overwhelmed with the length of her tasks which might include:

  • Laundry
  • Errands
  • Meal prep
  • Laundry
  • Dishes to wash
  • Rooms to clean
  • Laundry
  • Groceries to buy
  • Calls to make
  • Preparations for things upcoming
  • Laundry

Those tasks are on repeat.  They come each day and have to be repeated again and again.  It’s easy to feel unimportant and overlooked.  A woman can also feel overwhelmed with all that is on her shoulders.

So what’s a woman to do?  A guiding biblical principle is obey right now what you know you to do.  Being obedient will bring blessing from the Lord (Prov 8:34, 35).  Stopping to read God’s Word might seem to others to be counter-intuitive, but the Lord will use His Word to direct you, give you guidance and peace.

Just this week on a very busy day, I had the churning feeling of wondering how it would all get done.  God directed me to Proverbs 22:29

 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean (obscure) men.

It was a reminder to me of a man like Joseph, in the book of Genesis, who worked so diligently that he was promoted more than once!  He was noticed and appreciated.  He was a real testimony to unbelievers, simply by his work ethic!  Though we have no kings to stand before, it’s a reminder that our work is a testimony to our God.  Who is the One who does the promoting, the noticing?  It is our Heavenly Father.

If our business takes us to a job, that’s fine and good and we must give it our best.  But it’s no less a calling to have your “business” at home as a wife and/or mom.  That is a high and lofty calling.  Do your business to your best ability!  Don’t whittle away time doing useless, time-wasting things.  Sometimes when a person feels overwhelmed, they just give up before they ever get started.  Use your day carefully, going from one task to the next.

The blessing of being faithful may come from those you serve in your home, and it might not, but it will come ultimately from the One who gave you that place in which to serve.  He sees you, even as He saw Joseph down in the prison cell.  He notices.  He promotes.  Today you may just be the Queen of the Laundry, but be diligent in your business as you do it to the King of Kings.  Your “Well Done!” from Him will make it worth it all!

Lovingly,

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Family Friday- Your Husband is Worth It!

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When I read in Scripture about some of the men having multiple wives, my heart cringes.  I can’t even imagine the rivalry between “tender-eyed” Leah and lovely Rachel, sisters who both married Jacob. There’s enough right there for all kinds of trouble, right?!

But let’s set all that aside and look at one thing – Jacob noticed that Rachel was beautiful.  He had eyes to see that she was lovely.  Men are visual.  Period.  That is how God made them.  When your husband chose you, he liked – no, he loved what he saw!  What did he see?  Think back to your introduction, or the time when his heart began to be drawn to you.  How did you look to him?

I remember when my husband and I began to date seriously, he would come visit his parents for the weekend, which also happened to be the city where I lived and worked.  Before he left very early on Sunday morning to head back to school, I would get up and get ready for church- shower, hair fixed, and dressed for the service.  I wanted to look my best so he’d remember me that way in the weeks we were apart!  Now obviously, since we’ve been married, he’s seen me LOTS of mornings before makeup and hair and he loves me.  But I would be foolish to remain the plain, unkempt look for the rest of the day!  After I add a bit of makeup and curl my very straight hair, it might not improve much, but it’s better than when I started, and my husband notices!  Why do I do it?  Because my husband is worth it!

I can get a bit weary of the girls on Instagram or blog world who say,

“Here’s my Momiform.  This is just the way it is, folks!”

The caption is under a picture of her with leggings and a baggy t-shirt, hair pulled back in a pony tail and no makeup.  Her message is that life is just too busy, too demanding to do anything else but pull this on and live in it until it’s time for bed.

No one has to be outfitted in finery, or look like a model, but putting on a pair of comfy jeans or pants, a top with some form, a pair of earrings, and five minutes at hair and at least some mascara and lip gloss, would not only make her husband smile, like Jacob looking at Rachel, but would probably also make her feel more energetic and ready for a day of demands before her!  Seriously, getting ready for the day – even if you only have 30 minutes, will make you feel more like some body and doing something!  Why do we do it?  Because our husband is worth it!  

Show your husband that he is worth it by gussying up a bit each day before he comes home.  Wear something he loves to see you wear.  Put on a necklace or scarf with those jeans.  Add a little blush, mascara and lip gloss. Stop making excuses and just do it.  Our husband sees all kinds of women every day that did take the time to look their best…we should too.  Our marriage is worth it!

Is this a difficult assignment?  I Corinthians 13 reminds us not to “seek our own.”  If you were going to put his needs and desires before yours, how would that change your attitude even about your appearance?

Refresh your marriage,

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Taming the Laundry Pile

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Happy Friday, friends!  Maybe you love Friday, until you look in your laundry baskets and find them all overflowing with dirty clothes, towels and kitchen linens from the previous week.  Now this weekend you’ll spend most of Saturday getting caught up, knowing that in three days, it’s going to be flowing out into the hallway again!

Please forgive me if I’ve shared this already (I searched my blog and couldn’t find it, so I feel safe! I’m losing it!).  One little thing I’ve begun doing in the last six months EVEN WITH JUST THE TWO OF US IN OUR HOUSE is doing one load of laundry every day.  I alternate between dark clothes and whites.  It might not always even be a big load, but if there’s enough to do even a small load, it’s going to be washed. The blessings of doing one load every day are:

  • It only takes a short amount of time to gather that color of laundry.
  • It’s just a little bit of clothes to deal with once it comes out of the dryer.
  • I don’t have a whole day where I’m dealing with laundry all day long!
  • The clothes get back into the closet/drawer quickly, so they’re ready when needed.
  • It’s become a part of my morning routine as soon as I get up.  I throw them in when I feed my kitty (her dishes are in the laundry room).  By the time I’m finished with my Quiet Time, the clothes are ready for the dryer.  By the time I’m showered and dressed, the clothes are ready to be folded.
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Add the word, “Daily” to this sign and you’ll reduce your laundry stress!

I might add that I don’t do laundry on Sunday, but doing it six days a week has been a real help and refreshment!  I hope it will help you, too!

What will you do to refresh your heart this weekend?  I trust you’ll go to a Bible preaching church!

Stay refreshed,