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My most important ministry

image8 o’clock rolls around, I go through the bedtime routine with my kids that never seems to end. I feel as though I’m walking in circles getting this one bathed, this one some toothpaste on their brush, and a drink for this one. We read books and I hear a sweet voice say, Just one more Mama, and although I’m so ready to be done, I can’t resist it. We say our prayers, everybody gets tucked in, and I say my final goodnight.

With a big sigh, I stand in the doorway of the girls’ room and say, they’re down finally. 

The house is quiet and satisfyingly clean – I’m just ready to put my feet up and numb out into a good book or TV show.

My husband has been home for at least three hours, but we’ve barely had time to notice one another because we have been chasing kids and cleaning up from dinner. I think to myself that I know he needs attention and at the very least, someone to vent to about his day. I’m just too tired. 

Sound familiar? We’ve poured ourselves in every aspect of our day and accomplished all that there is on our to do lists, but we fail to remember our spouse. I’m always happy to hear his voice when he calls to tell me he is coming home, I love seeing him walk through the door, and so on. However, sometimes I’m so drained at the end of the day that I don’t even have much to say.

I fear that this is where many couples who used to be hot for each other wind up co existing like good roommates, not husband and wife. They love each other, but often struggle to put out any extra effort when they’ve done everything through the day.

Though this is a realistic struggle and one I have definitely faced, I desire more for our family. We have important jobs and responsibilities as parents, employees, and in the ministries which we serve. However, if we fail each other and neglect our marriage, we’ve failed at our most important ministry. God made my husband and I for one another, to carry each other through life changes and difficulty. This is a bond that has to remain united and strong. We can make the most money, have the biggest ministry, the cleanest house – yet if we fail in our home, our first and most important ministry, we’ve done it all for naught.

Aside from my relationship with God, which should always be at the top, my husband and my marriage should receive top priority. My husband was the one who saw me at my weakest and my absolute worst. He was the one who laughed with me as we lived off of Ramen noodles and didn’t have two dimes to put together. He’s the one who made me swoon the first time he held my hand. He’s been there through it all with me. And if everything, I mean everything, falls away, he and I are all each other has. That relationship must be nurtured and strengthened.

My goal is to give my husband more of myself, not just the leftovers and a bland conversation I have after a very long day. I can’t forget the need the both of us have for one another. In a day where marriage is often treated carelessly and disrespected, we need to fight hard to keep our love and relationship strong.

Pray for your husband and pray for your marriage. Ask God to show you your weaknesses and how you can improve to be more giving in your relationship. Spend some real time thinking about what you love about your husband and how you can show him that.

 

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His Rescuing Hand

Sometimes I cringe when I think about the semester I spent away at college, all of the dumb things I did. Let’s be honest, I followed a guy there. I was hopelessly stuck on a guy who I thought if I could just be everything he wanted, he’d want me. Dear guy, thank you for not giving me a second thought. I couldn’t have imagined myself back then saying this now, but thank you.

I had no idea about the hand of God playing a role in my life at this time, especially considering how lost and deep in sin I was. It seemed as though I couldn’t stay out of trouble or sticky situations. There were many times I could’ve gotten hurt and people (that I never saw again) were put in my path to get me home safely, as I wasn’t in my right mind.

God also sent some sweet young ladies from the campus crusade for Christ. I have no idea what they believe to this day. I just remember that they extended kindness to me and that it was then I decided I would start going back to church. I didn’t really know how I felt about any of it, as I hadn’t been in years. However, I knew I felt empty. The guy I followed there turned out to be nothing short of a disappointment. I was homesick. I hated myself so much that I thought alcohol made me more appealing. I was 18 with the world at my feet, making the dean’s list and doing well academically. Yet I was the saddest young girl.

I couldn’t see what God was doing. I couldn’t see that in spite of my know it all attitude, He knew better. He was seeking me out, orchestrating the very moment I would come to Him. Literally, He found me in a pit and desired to draw me to Him. My stubborn spirit took a while to come around and I had some weird theology to unlearn, but He patiently and gracefully drew me to Him.

I followed a guy there and I remember tears streaming down my face as I knew it was really over. I wanted him to care, I wanted him to rescue me from my misery. Little did I know, God had already sent His Son to rescue me, to pull me out of the miry clay. I was not even His at that time and yet He was seeking me out. God had much, much more in store.

I don’t deserve such love and grace. A couple of years later, I accepted Christ and my life was forever changed. I can’t help but wonder as I write this, who is God seeking out today? Is He putting us in someone’s path as He draws them to Himself? Is He slowly working on a stubborn heart like mine? Is He rescuing a poor, wretched soul? You would have never known just by looking at me then that God had a plan and a purpose, even when my life was at it’s ugliest. You never know who you’re looking at today that He is doing just the same.

 

 

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Praying for the offender

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“Ughhhh, I don’t like her!!!”

My husband responded with a knowing smirk on his face and said, “Have you prayed for her?”

I rolled my eyes on the inside. You ever done that? You’re not physically rolling your eyes, but everything inside is disgusted and annoyed just the same.

“Maybe you ought to quit complaining about this person to me and go to the Lord in prayer. He knows your heart on the matter. Pray for God to bless them.”

“Blah, you know just how to bug me! Cant I just have a few minutes to be mad? Why do you have to be all spiritual about this?”

My husband didn’t have to say anything to me that the Holy Spirit wasn’t already trying to get through. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach that though I had been wronged, my heart on the matter was also wrong. I knew that the Bible says the greatest commandment is to love, to forgive as I’ve been forgiven, and to bless those that curse me. My flesh didn’t really like the sound of that, but I knew it was right.

Y’all have been there. You get offended and you go on a mini rampage about someone, as the Holy Spirit whispers there’s a better way to react. We can either heed to that voice and give the situation to God, taking it to Him in prayer. Or we can dwell there, letting our anger turn into bitterness and thus allowing it to suck the life out of us spiritually.

God knows we get hurt. He knows that a swift punch in the nose would satisfy our injured feelings. We don’t have to act like we have this forgiveness stuff figured out.

He does ask that we pray. We can go to Him with our feelings, being honest, and we can pray for whoever has caused the offense. If we truly and diligently make time to pray, He can change our heart and attitude toward them. The person may never like us or make things right, but we won’t be drowning in bitterness as a result.

We have to remember that although we have been offended, we caused our own offense too. God sent His Son to die for us in spite of our sin nature and all He knew we would do wrong. He loved us anyway. He sought to save us even when He knew we’d fail. He forgave us with just a simple change of heart and saying, “Lord forgive me, I’m a sinner.” If our God can love even the vilest of mankind, He can give us the power to love and forgive others.

It ain’t easy, but you’ll experience true freedom when you let it go and give it to Him. Go to Him in prayer, ask for help on the matter, and pray for the one who has hurt you.