Friday, December 23, 2011

Marriage, HELP! Part Two: Husbands

In Part One: Wives, we looked at what the Bible says we as wives should look like in relationship with our husbands.  That we are to submit to them in EVERYTHING and what this means is having an attitude of voluntarily giving in to the leading of our husbands and cooperating with them. Ultimately we are showing respect or reverence towards God when we do this.

Now what about our husbands?  Do they get to rule and reign over us like kings and us their domestic slaves?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  The Bible is clear as to how our husbands are to relate to us as well, and all of these guidelines are to bring about a marriage of unity that brings glory to God.  So let’s take a look…

Here’s what the Bible says:

Ephesians 5:25-29  
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— (NIV)

Then in Colossians 3:19
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. (NIV)

Finally in 1 Peter 3:7
7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.  (NIV)

Here is the same passage in a more contemporary language found in the Message Bible-

7The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God's grace, you're equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don't run aground. (Message Bible)

Our husbands have a greater responsibility within our marriage.  They are to love us the way Jesus loves the church.  When was the last time you’ve seen God wrathful towards his believers?  Or when was the last time you’ve seen God belittling his followers?  How about when Jesus walked this earth?  -The answer is never.  Jesus came to serve, love and give His life up for His people.  This is the example that our husbands are to follow.  This is how our husbands are to love their wives.

I’ve been married for almost 19 years and my husband and I have known many married couples through those years.  Sadly, several have ended in divorce and two of the most common threads are lack of respect and the lack of feeling loved. Isn’t it interesting that most men will say that one of the most important things in their marriage that they could ask for is the respect of their wives and one of the most important things that women ask for in a marriage is to feel loved? Obviously this is why God gave us these guidelines to follow to keep our marriages healthy.

If you are reading this and you are the wife to your husband, then take my challenge from Part One: Wives. 

If you are reading this and you are a husband to your wife, then I challenge you to follow God’s Word and love your wife the way Christ loves the church.

God’s Word is not void based off of your situation.  His Word is truth.  It’s up to us to apply it to our lives for it to work in our lives.  So even if you have a rebellious wife that refuses to show you respect start praying for her and loving her and watch what happens.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Marriage, HELP! Part One: Wives

Most women don’t like the word “submit.”  It can be as repulsive and offensive as the worst swear word, yet it can also be a word that brings peace.  …..still reading?  Good!  Let me explain…..

Here’s what the Bible says:

Ephesians 5:22-24
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  (I added the highlight)

Then in Colossians 3:18
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Finally in 1 Peter 3:1,2
1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

Two of the above passages are sub-titled “Instructions for Christian Households” with the third one “Wives and Husbands.”  So in other words, this is direct from God to us marriage help.  The first thing we need to do is believe that God has our best interest in mind and that He doesn’t want to suppress women but free us.  (John 10:10 “….. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”)

So on to that much-hated word; submit.  Submit, in these particular passages, the Greek word used is ποτάσσω (hypotassō) which means: "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

As we as wives have an attitude of voluntarily giving in to the leading of our husbands, cooperating with them, we will be ultimately showing respect or reverence towards God.

Now you might be rolling your eyes while you are reading that paragraph, trying to imagine yourself in that role with your husband, but I am challenging you to try it.
You also might be saying, “Now wait a minute, I have to show respect to him even though he doesn’t deserve it?!”  YES, that’s what I’m saying, and I believe it’s what God’s word is saying too. 

But let me tell you, improving your marriage isn’t about one person changing how they treat one another.  It’s by both partners deciding to make a change. 

Remember Ephesians 5?  In the verse just before the one instructing wives to submit to our husbands, you will find this verse, verse 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Our husbands are instructed to submit to us as well! (Thank you Lord!) This is exactly why I am blogging this in two parts, with part two focused on husbands.

The Bible concludes with this thought found in 1 Peter 3:5-6 For this is the way the holy women of the past…… submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

This passage isn’t speaking of fear of physical, emotional or mental abuse.  (If you are in a marriage that involves abuse, please get out and get help.  Here is a link to one place that can help

The type of fear that is spoken about is the fear that all of us women have had at one point in our marriage that our husband is going to suppress and control us.  That he is going to pen us in to a life where he calls all of the shots and we have no voice.  If you are married to a man who is a believer in Jesus, then you must trust God to speak to his heart.  We as wives aren’t so much as trusting in our husbands as we are truly trusting our lives to God.  God will be on our side as long as we love Him and follow His commands.  Romans 8:28 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. John 14:15 15 “If you love me, keep my commands.”  Those are promises to us as believers.

So I challenge you to push the fear aside, submit to your husband in all things, and watch how your marriage will find peace.  You still have a voice, you still have an opinion and our husbands are NOT always right so let’s trust God. Let the Holy Spirit lead you in every decision, every argument.  Remember God is on your side when you keep His commands!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heart Song:Post-Partum Depression

I was in a deep pit; a deep dark hole in the ground able to look up and see the top with the sky in view, but where was God?  I couldn’t see Him anymore in the life around me.  I couldn’t feel Him anymore.  All I felt was loneliness.  Had God forgotten about me; had He left me?  I felt totally separated from Him.  I wanted to die.

I had my second daughter in July of 2002 and I was completely overjoyed to have her.  I adored her.  So when I was in the hospital recovering from labor and delivery, it didn’t occur to me that something could be wrong.  As far as I knew, post-partum depression meant you didn’t feel connected to your baby, like in that movie from the 80’s with Molly Ringwald.  I felt angry, but not at my baby, I felt angry and irritated with everyone around me.

When the nurses came in to check on me, I was irritated.  When family came to visit me, I was irritated.  –But did I let anyone know?  Absolutely not!  I am a Christian, and Christians don’t go through things like this.  We are supposed to be victorious in every area of our lives; and I wasn’t.  I felt like a failure and an embarrassment to God.  How could I represent joy and victory in Jesus if everything inside me was feeling the opposite?  So that day, the day that Madison was born, the deception began.

I went home, letting everyone think that everything was great.  My husband soon found out that that wasn’t true.  One minute I was feeling fine and the next, complete anger and then sadness.  When the anger would come over me, it was a sensation that would start at my feet and move up my body until I released it through my words or actions.  It was horrible and felt uncontrollable.  Then I would feel like such a failure again as a wife, mother and a Christian, that I would settle into a depressed state.  No one at church knew.  Not even my best friend at the time. 

How could I ask for prayer when I was the “prayer warrior” at church?  I knew I needed help, but who could help me when it felt like God no longer existed?  I felt hopeless.  I wanted to die and I had thoughts of dying to the point of planning things out in my mind.  The one thing that stopped me was my love for my girls.  I rationalized that my husband could go on without me, but my girls would suffer.  So I told my husband my thoughts and he called my doctor.

I went in to the office, trying to carry on the façade that this was really nothing; that I was still the happy-go-lucky person that I always had been.  Then I broke.  Sitting there in the examination room, I felt embarrassed, humiliated.  Again the guilt and failure of knowing that I am a Christian, and believing (what I know now is a lie) that “real” Christians never go through any struggles, weighed on my heart.

I walked out of there with a prescription to Paxil, an anti-depressant.  I still felt hopeless.  I took the prescription and felt…..numb.  I felt numb to everything and everyone around me.  I no longer felt angry but at the same time I no longer felt happy.  I would watch something funny, and like someone looking through someone else’s eyes, I would wonder why I didn’t laugh.  I also was numb to God, I no longer felt him or desired to feel him.  I was living moment to moment. I was on this medication for two months until one day I had had enough of feeling numb.

I went off of Paxil.  Just like that.  I decided that this wasn’t the life I wanted and wasn’t supposed to have.  I wanted to feel God again more than anything.  I pressed through whatever my mind was telling me.  I reached out for God, but first I had to push aside all that I thought I knew. My mind kept telling me that God is disappointed in me, that He wants nothing to do with me, that I am an embarrassment and a failure, that I don’t deserve to call myself a Christian. I remember the very moment I finally got the victory that I had been wanting.

I had gone in to change Madison’s diaper and at the changing table she was crying.  That day I had stopped taking the Paxil.  As I stood there, I felt it, the anger.  It was at my feet, crawling up my body.  It was at my knees when I whispered, “I rebuke this anger in Jesus name!  I have had enough!”  Immediately it went back down and then it was gone.  I’ve never felt anger like that again.

Later when telling my testimony to family and friends, I was told that you’re not supposed to quit Paxil “cold turkey.”  -Well I didn’t know that.  Supposedly you can go into a deeper depression.  Apparently, the authority of Jesus Christ isn’t affected by the rules of our medications.  (Thank God!)  I was free, free from the post-partum depression!

Why didn’t I speak the name of Jesus over my emotions earlier?  I don’t know, it never occurred to me.  Maybe because at that time in my life I wasn’t in the practice of using the authority that God has given to all believers.  Or maybe it’s so that I could share this Heart Song with you today.

If you or you know someone who has struggled or is currently struggling with post-partum depression, please share this blog with them today.  There is a song by Barlow Girl called “Never Alone.”  Here’s a link to their music: No matter how alone we feel at times, Jesus is there. 

Romans 8:38,39 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

Even though I felt separated from God that was just a lie that was spoken to my mind that I believed.  NOTHING can separate us from the LOVE of God that is in Christ Jesus.  That is truth.

What lies are you believing?  Are you ready to push everything aside and use the authority that Jesus has given to you?  If you don’t feel that you are ready, then reach out for someone to help you.  God loves you and wants to help you get victory in every area of your life.   Take that first step of faith and reach out to someone.

If anyone wants to share their own Heart Song of overcoming post-partum depression, please encourage others in the comments section.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Deep Cleaning

For some peculiar reason, today I am deep cleaning my house.  I usually do this about twice a year, and I don’t know what’s gotten into me. While I was sweeping out the dust from underneath the stove, and scrubbing down the kitchen I had a thought.  So gladly I take this tiny break (hoping to not lose the momentum I have) to share that thought with you.

Gross! This is in-between my oven and the cabinet!
How often do we take the time to clean out the crevasses of our lives?  The hard to reach places that you know need to be dealt with, but instead you choose to ignore only hoping that someone else will deal with it instead?  Or maybe it would just magically appear clean over time?  Well unfortunately life doesn’t work that way.  The dirty, dark, neglected corners of our souls will not get cleaned up unless we face those places head on. 

That might mean that we need to get a little uncomfortable and take a little extra time reaching that area, but once that dirty little crevasse is cleaned…ahh, what a relief! It is not able to remind you of the dirt and the filth any more that was left to pile up every day.  Freedom.

Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. (NIV)

It’s when we examine those corners and clean them out, get back to living our lives shining for the Lord, we will find peace.

When was the last time you examined the crevasses in your life?  Are there areas that you’ve been neglecting?  Ask God to show you those places today, don’t let the dirt keep piling up.