I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for November, 2012

On the Face of It

I received a bit of a surprise last night, thanks to a conversation inspired by “The Respect Dare.”  In the particular dare I happened to be working through, I was challenged to ask my hubby how I am doing regarding my speech.  Does he feel I talk down to him?  How could I improve?  You get the idea.

My first thought was, “Nope. Not doing it.”  After all, the book did say I should do it if I was feeling brave and I couldn’t exactly say that was the case.  But after a few moments of dragging my feet, I took the plunge.  You see, I’ve got a history.  I have a pretty wicked barb for a tongue when I am in a mood so I was afraid I would hear that I hadn’t made any changes.

To my delight, hubby assured me that things had been going much better and for a decent amount of time.  Don’t get me wrong – I still need to work on consistency but I was thrilled to hear that steps are being taken in the right direction!

Then he kept talking and I’ve been meditating on what he said ever since!  He told me that he often knew how the conversation was going to go before I even opened my mouth. Want to know how?  My eyes.  Yep, he said the look in my eyes could either draw him in or cause his defensive mechanism to kick in.  He’s told me more than a few times that my eyes were one of the first physical traits he noticed about me back when we met.  Now it’s the first place he looks when I approach him because he will know in an instant whether I am earnestly seeking a conversation or simply seeking to shred him.

There was a phrase that he used that stuck in my head – “seasoned with grace”.  He was referring to the look on my face.  Not my speech, my countenance!  My heart aches a little when I think of the times that he has “interrupted” what I was doing to speak with me and I gave him an exasperated/irritated/frustrated face.  So much for letting him know how important he is!

So my challenge to myself is to make sure that I approach him with a look that is, as he so aptly put it, “seasoned with grace”.  That means I have to make sure everything about my approach is grace-filled and focused on relationship building, not “winning” some ridiculously useless power struggle.  And I’m betting this approach will work with others in my family as well!

21 Days and Counting (Day 20!)- Learning to Laugh

I do not pretend to be anything close to a perfect wife.  But I am  a wife who wants to learn to show love in a way that her husband readily understands.

In honor of the upcoming release of “The Respect Dare” (hitting bookstores December 11, 2012!), I have been asked to share one tip for wives who desire to display respect to their husbands.  So I decided to focus on the one I’m learning right now!

Laugh.  Laugh with him, laugh at his jokes, watch corny movies and laugh with him!  If your relationship is anything like ours, the two of you likely are different when it comes to your sense of humor.  Actually, we are VERY different in that area.  In the past, much to my shame, I have been one of those wives that sighed in frustration and rolled her eyes when hubby began telling some of his cornier jokes.

Then the Spirit opened up my ears.  Something happened – don’t remember what – and hubby and I were sharing a good belly laugh.  He hugged me and told me, “I just love to see you smile and I especially love to see you laugh!  Makes me feel like I’m doing something right.”  And it hit me – he told those corny jokes to try and get me to laugh because it made him feel good.  It made him feel like I was happy with him and in our relationship!  I don’t have a perfect track record in this area and may never get to perfection.  But I have become much more aware of how much my laughter touches him.  I’ve even sought out reasons for us to laugh together!

So the next time hubby is telling someone the same joke you’ve heard a hundred times, watch the faces of the others around you and steal some of their enjoyment if need be.  Rent a silly  movie and ask him to watch it with you.  Whatever you choose to do, find a way to enjoy a laugh with your man.  It releases endorphins which makes you feel happier which means you will associate a feeling of happiness with being around your hubby.  Bonus!

Focus

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.”  James 1:23-25

I’ve been dealing with a petulant child lately.  Nothing extreme, no big melt downs.  Just a perpetual pout and the occasional stomping of a foot.

Before I confuse too many people, I am not referring to any of my own children.  In fact, I’m not referring to an actual child at all!  I’m referring to my “inner toddler”.  

I’m being stretched in some fantastic ways lately.  Getting a chance to read through The Respect Dare by Nina Roesner has been such a powerful experience for me.  The reading of each chapter goes so quickly and the dares look deceptively simple since they are handful of questions to answer or a set of seemingly simple instructions to write down a few sentences or statements.  When I sit down to actually carry out the dares, I discover that they are digging deeply into who I am and the “baggage” (both good and bad) that I brought in to my marriage.

But then it happens.  That little girl inside me sticks out her lower lip and says, “I don’t wanna.”  Let me make something very clear.  This is not about the book directly.  It’s more about my attitude.  See, I want an escape clause.  I know that scripture tells me to respect my husband and the implication is that I am to do so unconditionally.  But there is a selfish part of me – larger than I would like to admit – that wants an out.  I want a deadline – “If he isn’t a better husband by  ___________________, the spouse is no longer obligated to . . . ” You get the idea.

We are an instant gratification society. But marriage doesn’t instantly work perfectly; it doesn’t instantly make the two in the relationship happy.  Most of us would be happy if it just consistently got better day after day!  

There I was, implementing my dares, trying to do the right thing.  My prayer life is far more active than ever before (part of a recent dare!) and the growth and learning I’ve already gleaned from the book keeps running through my head.  But that doesn’t mean the aforementioned toddler is behaving herself!

Earlier today, we were discussing finances (Christmas shopping has begun and we have a budget that we need to watch carefully).  My inner toddler started whining – “He doesn’t trust me.”  “He’s being mean and telling me I’m stupid.”  I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t trust myself to speak.  Hubby noticed and asked why I was so quiet.  I was honest and said that discussing finances with him makes me nervous because it has been a hot button topic for us in the past.  He assured me that he was simply trying to think through what we had already purchased and what we still needed to purchase and that he was in no way trying to be negative.  And that’s where it ended.  Not a great victory, I know, but we didn’t get into a knock-down, drag-out fight so I’ll take it.

After running errands/doing a little more shopping and using an early Christmas gift of cash to purchase a fast food supper we were relaxing at home when all of a sudden hubby looked at me and said, “I’m really proud of how creatively you’ve stretched the budget and at how diligently you’ve been tracking your purchases and staying well-within the budget.”  Wow.  It ain’t moonlight and roses but it isn’t typical for us either!  It’s a little victory and a baby step in a new direction.  I’ll take it!

 

Does Your Husband Seem Distant? (Reblogged)

Check out some wonderful advice from Nina Roesner over at The Respect Dare Blog.  I wish I could say that I always do well in this area but the sad truth is I let life get busy and I just “forget”.  Okay, I don’t exactly forget because I never really think to do anything in the first place!!  So I’m challenging myself and you to become intentional in this very important area.  What important area you ask?  Click the link below and find out.

Does Your Husband Seem Distant?.

Fun Opportunity! Or is it a Big Responsibility?!

For quite some time now I have followed a blog entitled The Respect Dare.  (There is also a Facebook page by the same name!) It’s allowed me to connect with other like-minded women as we seek to be obedient to the command at the end of Ephesians 5:33 – “the wife must respect her husband.” It’s not always easy to do but it’s a deeply seated need in nearly all of the men I know!  Reading the blog and checking in on Facebook keeps the issue in front of me consistently and increases the chances that I will get it right more often!

So I am THRILLED to have been chosen to be a part of the launch team for Nina’s book by the same name which is being released soon by Thomas Nelson publishers!  I have gotten my advance copy of the book and have started working my way through the dares.  I don’t want to give too much away but I love the format!  It’s worth reading the introduction to really get a sense of where the author is coming from.  Then you get to the chapters, each of which contains one dare.  The chapters are nice and concise so it won’t take you long to read one.  Don’t get me wrong – the dares themselves are challenging!  But the chapters are a quick read so you can get to the important task of working on the dare!

Stay tuned for more information on the release date of the book, where you can get your copy, etc.  And I will continue to share my impressions of the book (without giving too much of the content away, of course!)

 

Just a Note

It doesn’t look all that intimidating, does it?  It’s a blank note cared, approximately 3″ x 5″ when closed.  I bought a set of 10 (with envelopes), took the first one out of the package and . . . froze.

It’s just a note card.  How hard could it be to write a quick note?  I mean, I maintain three different blogs!!  It’s not like writing scares me.

But this note had to be written just right.  You see, this note is being sent to the A21 Campaign offices in Greece.  The note will be passed on to a young woman who has been rescued from sexual slavery.  See why it was scary?!

How do I encourage a woman who has been enslaved, degraded, belittled and likely even abused?  What could I POSSIBLY have to say that would build her up and begin to restore her sense of self-worth and personal dignity? I certainly can’t say anything like, “I know what you’re going through” because I don’t have a clue!

Lucky for me the  A21 website has some great tips.  So I jotted a few lines, stuck it in the envelope, and prayed for a woman I will never know who needs to know that she has worth.  I will likely never know who it is that gets the card I’m sending.  And I don’t need to know.  It’s not about my gratification or feeling that I’ve done something good.  It’s about providing one small piece of encouragement to a woman who needs to know that someone cares.

Free The Slaves

According to the information on their website – “Free the Slaves works with frontline partners in six countries.  We promote holistic, sustainable solutions that are developed by community members themselves.  We help communities assert their basic rights, and we share success stories so others can see what’s working.”

I just discovered this ministry and I am fascinated by their approach to freeing people from debt-based slavery. Many of the people they work with find themselves in slavery based on someone’s claim that the village owes a debt.  In most cases the debt was faked or has been paid off for years.  Free the Slaves starts with something simple – a transitional school for the children in these families.  The families insist that their children go to school rather than working.  From there, they teach the women skills that allow them to create a home-based business.  They encourage and assist the citizens in creating a network of support which begins to build a sense of confidence that enables people to move themselves to a place of independence.  The home-based business component is key because these families could find themselves falling back into a debt-based slavery situation if they are not able to take care of their financial needs.

The other component they deal with is supply chain economics.  Most of us, without even realizing it, purchase products that involved some form of slave labor to create it.  Technology components, cocoa and more have been clearly linked to slave labor somewhere in the world.  Free the Slaves contacts government officials to educate them about what works to discourage the use of slave labor and what doesn’t and to encourage them to demand corporate disclosure.  A recent law, which FTS refers to as the “conflict minerals rule“, requires companies that use a certain group of minerals – specifically tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold – to disclose where those minerals come from.  These minerals can all be found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where slave labor is used to obtain those minerals.

Kevin Bales, author of “Disposable People”, believes that it is possible to wipe out slavery in the next 30 years.  But it isn’t going to happen unless everyday people get involved by contacting their government officials and demanding that we, as a nation, start taking action.  Bales has been quoted as saying that billions of dollars are spent combating homicide in American and a fraction of that is spent battling slavery even though more humans are enslaved every year than the number of people that are killed every year.

Check out the Free the Slaves website to find ways that you can get involved.

Yes, I’ve thrown a number of websites at you.  I have my favorites as do other members of my family.  Pick a website that really captures your attention and take steps to get involved.  I don’t care how you take a stand/make a difference/get involved just do something!!  There are 27 million people who desperately want to experience the freedom that you and I take for granted every day but they can’t achieve without our help.

I know how I intend to get involved.  I’d LOVE to hear back from some of you about what you are doing!

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