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I am foolish. I ask for things I don’t need. I cry out for relief when you want to give me a deeper faith. I beg for an easy solution now when the best solution is just around the corner. Please don’t answer my prayers.
The Israelites got their prayers answered. In Numbers 14:2 they said, “If only we had died in Egypt or here in the wilderness.” You gave them what they asked for. You answered their prayer. In 14:28-29 you said that since they wanted to die in the wilderness, they would.
Your plan for us is ALWAYS better for us than our plan. Your ways are ALWAYS better than our ways.
Please help me remember this when you don’t answer me as I hoped you would. Please help me to trust that when you don’t do what I ask it is only because of your great love for me.
Please, Lord, don’t answer my prayers!
My mom and grandma were visiting me this week, so I brought them with me to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). It was so wonderful to have them with me, until we got home and I tried using the Love and Logic strategies I had been taught. Our speaker talked about giving your child choices, so I prepared to implement his suggestions right away. My son had a box of cereal and the peelings from a cutie that he left out. I asked him if he would like to put away the cereal box or throw away the trash. He chose the trash and promptly threw it away. I got into a conversation and didn’t even realize for a few minutes that I was still holding the box of cereal in my hands. I didn’t realize it until my grandma said, “He did his part, now are you going to do yours and put the cereal away?”
You see, I am not used to that level of accountability. I live 1,000 miles from my extended family. I have close friends at church, but they don’t see the day-in-day-out me. My husband likes to keep the peace in our household, so he rarely picks a fight. And most importantly, I am the mother. My children have to do what I say. So there is really no one who gets to make sure I do the things I say I will do.
While this can be a good thing, it is a dangerous thing too. I think we all need a little accountability. Left to our own devices all the time we have a tendency to become lazy or selfish or gluttonous or overly concerned with appearances. We all have sins that tend to haunt our lives that are just waiting to gain a foothold. When we are accountable to people, we are more likely to keep those sins at bay. But when we think no one will notice, it is much easier to give in to temptation, whatever that temptation may be.
So although I didn’t much like being called on the carpet for not doing what I told my son I would, it was nice to have someone there who was comfortable enough in our relationship to lovingly scold me.
I got a traffic ticket the other day. (It just so happened it was the same week our pool blew away in a wind storm and our flatscreen tv got busted by a curtain rod, but that is a blog post for a later day.) Today I started taking my online drivers course that will reduce my ticket price and keep my insurance from going up. As I was reading the materials, it dawned on me that marriage can be like driving.
The instructors said that people drive so much that they become familiar with it. As their driving comfort level rises, they forget to pay attention. The very same thing can happen in a marriage if you let it.
If you have been together very long at all, you might be taking your spouse for granted. You no longer eagerly await his arrival home, but instead greet him with a peck on the cheek and ask what came in the mail. Forget those long talks about places you would like to travel some day. Now you just exchange information about how much your car needs new brakes. Gone are the days of long walks holding hands. Now when you get to the grocery store you send him one way to grab the batteries and light bulbs while you get the milk and bread.
It is great to be comfortable in your marriage. You want to feel like you can be yourself around your husband—sweatshirts and fuzzy slippers included. It is important, though, that you pay attention to your spouse and your marriage.
In both driving and marriage, lack of attention can lead to some costly and hurtful situations.
This is our first year to garden here in Lubbock. There has been quite a
bit of work involved.
Tilling the soil
Having extra topsoil trucked in
Building three huge planter boxes
Staining the planter boxes with two coats of stain
Shoveling the topsoil from the pile into the boxes
Adding more good soil
It took all of these steps and many hours of labor just to get us to the
point we are at right now. We are finally ready to plant.
I got to thinking today about how a marriage is much like gardening. There are many background steps involved before the harvest of a peaceful
and enjoyable marriage. You can’t just imagine a perfect garden and then
start harvesting your vegetables later that day. Likewise, you can’t
just dream of the perfect marriage and then magically enjoy one. Marriage takes work. It takes sweat. It takes tears. It takes
compromise. It takes fighting and coming through stronger. Marriage
sometimes feels more like work than like fun. But take it from me, the
rewards of a strong, vibrant, and healthy marriage are worth every minute
you spent making it so.
What do you think makes a marriage strong and vibrant? Leave your
Would you consider your marriage to be magnetic?
Believe it or not, marriage is magnetic. Some days you are like opposite
polls who cling together by an invisible force. You want to hang around
your spouse and laugh and share. You want to cuddle or be close to your
polls of a magnet. When you come close, you both want to push away. It
is on these days that you need your space. Everything you say gets on
your spouse’s nerves. You argue about everything from who made the bed
last to why the toilet paper is on the roll wrong. You just don’t feel
like touching or being near one another. On the attraction days it is fun to be married. You can enjoy and love
each other with ease. You may even begin to think you have married life
all figured out. But there come the repellant days. On these days you
question why you would marry someone who annoys you so much. You see your
marriage as work instead of fun. If there are enough repellant days in a
row, you might even start to wonder why you got married at all. My dear friend, take heart, this is totally normal. Those magnets attract
or repel each other depending on how they are positioned. It is not quite
as easy to change whether you are having an attraction or repellant day
with your spouse, though. Each type of day will come and go. There is no
need to brag on the attraction days or fret on the repellant ones. Instead of worrying about the status of your marriage on the repellant
days, try the following 1. Realize it is a normal part of a relationship.
2. Tell your spouse how you are feeling so they know you aren’t upset with
3. Watch what you say and how you say it so you don’t cause extra hurt
4. By mutual consent, take some time apart to do your own thing.
5. Allow your spouse to have alone time too without taking it personally.
6. Look forward to tomorrow when you will have another attraction day.
7. Most importantly, spend some time with God asking Him to comfort your
heart and repair your attitude. To make sure you don’t miss any marriage tips like these, click on the
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Have you ever had one of those professors or teachers who didn’t spell out what they were looking for when you were to do projects or papers. They would give an assignment like: do a paper on ancient Egypt. I hated all the uncertainty with an assignment like that. I wanted to know how many pages the professor was expecting, what citation style, margins, font size, cover page or not and on and on. It was so much easier to create a project when I knew what the professor was expecting of me. I wouldn’t be stressing about the details and could focus on doing my best on the project.
God knew that we need structure. We need to know the guidelines and limits. We need the details. He wanted craftsmen to work on this special place where He would abide, but He set forth what He expected of them so they could concentrate on creating without worrying about whether it would meet His approval.
We also have been given guidelines by God. He tells us in His Word what we need to know to live victorious lives. He tells us that in order to be right with Him we have to believe on His son, Jesus, turn from our sins, and accept His free gift of salvation. If we have done that, then we are free to live our lives without worry that we won’t meet His expectations. Of course, we won’t want to stop with salvation. Our gratitude for our salvation will overflow into wanting to live our lives to bring glory and honor to His name. He has even given us guidelines for that process all over His Word. Philippians 4:8 is a great place to begin.
So rather than thinking of God as exacting and restrictive and His Word as full of dos and don’ts, let us see it in a new light. Let’s focus on the great time God invested in telling us how to please Him. We know exactly how to please our God, now let’s get out there and do it!
My husband and I noticed a funny phenomenon the other day. There are some times when I not only expect him to disagree with me, I actually want him to!
We all do it. We ask a question or make a statement that is worded so that if your spouse were to agree we would be mad.
“I look terrible in this shirt, don’t I?”
“This lasagna I made tastes horrible!”
And he does it too.
“I didn’t deserve that promotion at work anyway.”
“I am starting to go bald, aren’t I?”
Now I am all for telling the truth. I am not telling you to lie to your spouse. I AM telling you that some questions need to be answered with more care than others. If you get one of these tricky questions, think what would be the most loving thing to say in that situation. Here are a few examples…
“You look good, honey, but you look super-sexy in your blue one.”
“It doesn’t taste as awesome as it usually does when you make it, but it is still way better than my mom’s, or cafeteria food, or fast food).”
“Of course you deserve the promotion. I know soon your boss will see the same potential I see in you.”
“I don’t notice it at all, but even if you go as bald as a cue ball you will still be sexy!”
It is great to know how to answer when your spouse asks that type of question of you. It is even more helpful when you warn your spouse that type of question is coming. I have caught myself making a statement that I want him to disagree with. I will then signal him—“What do you think of the new recipe I tried? Keep in mind that I worked on it all day.” He then knows how to respond appropriately. Yes, it would be better if we were all ready for the cold, hard truth at all times and would not take offense. However, I know myself and sometimes I ask not because I want the truth but because I want affirmation. Keep your ears out for those types of moments in your marriage. If you tread softly, you can prevent a lot of arguments.
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From the devotions of Malinda Edgell:
Some of you may dread tax day in April. Folks required to work retail dread Black Friday. Customer service employees nation-wide dread working their counter the day after Christmas. Me? I dread the day each year when I’m expected to read about her–the Proverbs 31 woman. Ugggh. Today I’ve decided to focus less on the Super Woman of the Bible and more on the mother wanting to provide her son with the most detailed list possible for a future mate…King Lemuel’s mother. I’m no Bible scholar, but I’m just guessing she wasn’t anyone different than you or I. She wanted the best for her child. She wanted to give advice that would make her son’s life easier, happier and less stressed. She wanted to make sure her son repeated no mistakes she, or her friends, had made. Down deep, I’m pretty sure of this, she wanted more for her son than she was herself. Someone better, smarter, more productive, more business savvy, more generous, more frugal, more supportive, more–well, just more, than what she was! Hence, the Proverbs 31 gal. To King Lemuel’s mother, I can relate. I set much higher aspirations for my son’s future mate than a replica of me. I desire that he marry and spend the rest of his life with someone more lovely, inside and out, than his father picked. Nope, I’ll never be the Proverbs 31 woman, but I can pray my daughter-in-law wil be!
Reflections by Christi:
What about you, bride? Are you the type of woman your mother-in-law can be proud of? Will she be delighted to introduce you to her friends? Will she brag on all the things you have accomplished or how kind and generous you are? If you are not, then today is YOUR day to start becoming the Proverbs 31 gal.
Photo courtesy of Regina Penney http://www.penneyphotography.net/index2.php