christianity

How Will I Know?

This is something a dear friend of mine wrote after her husband died. I came upon it this week as we are packing up our things to move back to Washington. It touched me the first time I read it and again as our life is about to change drastically.

How Will I know?

How Will I know if I am a woman of trust until tested by life’s heaviness pressing and crushing in and yet…I discover You, my God, are here with strong hands extended out waiting to take my hand in Yours.

How Will I know if I am a woman of faith until what I have held in possession is stripped and taken away and yet…it is just that which allows me to behold Your beauty as my one thing I desire.

How Will I know if I am a woman of hope until discouragement and loneliness creeps in and yet…I’ve encountered that my alone time spent and given over to You Lord, satisfies completely.

How Will I know if I am a woman of forgiveness until being wronged and tested with unfairness and yet…when asked, I learn to surrender the pain over and into Your care.

How Will I know if I am a woman of joy-filled praise until what I loved so dearly has gone from my life and yet…the dependency on You has produced a song of worship in my heart for my Savior who never leaves me.

And finally, how do I know if I am a woman of love until these hardships are allowed to transform me into Your image, Jesus, and I can see the world and touch it with the heart like yours?

KM

07/06

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We have enjoyed our time greatly in Mexico, but the Lord has made it clear that we are to go back to the state that we love and be closer to family, aging parents, and finish what we started at Cherith Brook. I don’t know what is in store, but I do know that he will direct our steps. God often doesn’t give us the big picture! He says, “Do you trust me? Will you obey even if you don’t see?” So, we are trusting Him to provide for all of our needs. He has already opened so many doors leading us in the direction He wishes us to go. One. Step. At. A. Time.

We are excited for our new journey. It won’t be easy. But, I know that when we go through hard things, He is always with us. We would appreciate prayer for wisdom, safe travels, and an easy transition for the students I have taught over the last two years as they interact with their new teachers.

Thanks to all who are our prayer and support partners! We couldn’t do this without you!

christianity

A Godly Woman Part 2

Here is the second part to being a Godly woman. We are looking at what the Bible says about how we are to act and behave; what characteristics a woman that claims Christ should implement in her everyday life.

So far we learned a godly woman is:

  • pure
  • respectful
  • diligent
  • controls her tongue

Today we will add:

  • controls her thoughts and emotions

2 Corinthians 10:5

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Sometimes we can let our thoughts and emotions runaway from us. It may be when we are laying in bed and a thought comes to mind, which triggers other thoughts that aren’t good. They can range from the “if only” thought, to thinking about the wants and desires of others and their things, to hateful thoughts about being wronged in some way, and then to desiring someone other than our spouse.

We see in this verse we are to take every thought captive. We need to bring each thought before the Lord and ask Him to enable us to stop the emotions that are tied to those thoughts.

Philippians 4:8 says “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

I love this verse! I learned it when I was a little girl and it has been one that I go to often, especially now that I am older and my thoughts can get away from me. The Bible is so fantastic because it not only tells what we aren’t to do, with a big list of no-no’s, it tells what we are to do and how to do it.

Jesus went to the Father daily. He had a relationship with God. That is our example:

Matthew 14:23 “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.”

Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning , while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

When we have ungodly thoughts we need to get on our knees and pray. When anxieties overtake our thoughts and emotions, pray. When we have thoughts about wanting things that don’t belong to us, pray. When we think about getting back at someone who has said or done something detestable to us, pray. When images from movies, internet, or billboards enter our minds, pray.

I guarantee if we just take a moment to stop and pray, our worldly thoughts and emotions will turn to things that build up, not tear down.

Dear Heavenly Father, let my desires be your desires. Help me to see others as you see them so I can treat them in absolute purity. Help me to not let my emotions get in the way of the work that you have for me. Please take away my anxiety and fear and think on things that are pure, lovely, honest, and just. Amen.

christianity

A Godly Woman Part 1

I have been asked on multiple occasions to be a mentor to young women. I am always excited when asked to do so because it shows that these women are seeking something different than what this world wants to offer. They are usually looking for someone to come along side them and to speak up; to show them what being a Godly woman looks like, because face it, we all know what we see on T.V. And instagram is not what our soul desires to strive for.

Where is the best place to start? The Bible. I plan on sharing what I have learned over the years with you. I don’t claim to be an expert. I just want to share what is on my heart.

Titus 2 verses 3 to 5 is a great place to start.

3. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,

4. and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,

5. to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

As I am now considered an older woman, I feel I am called to teach the younger women to do just what these verses say.

We are to be pure, respectful, and diligent. We are called to love our husbands and children; to be kind, self-controlled. Do we need to say everything that comes to mind? No. When I want to speak out and I know it may be hurtful, or not have the other persons best interest at heart, I try to stop myself. I seek God and see if there is a different way to say it, if at all. In doing this one act of stepping back from the situation, I have seen my own life change in not needing to feel like I have to speak all the time. Are there times when I do speak up? Absolutely. Sometimes I have had to be very truthful with people, but I try to do it in love.

This leads me to the next point. A Godly woman controls her tongue.

James 1:19-27

James 3

Specifically James 1:19 and 26 say James 1:19  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:26  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

We are to keep our tongue in check. James 3 is a whole chapter on the tongue and how it can give blessing and praise to God one moment and in the other moment curse and reject people who were created by Him. (James 3:9)

Controlling our tongue doesn’t mean we stay silent and hold a grudge, giving our offender the silent treatment. Having spirit-led self control, means we give control of ourself to the Spirit, so we no longer feel like we have to say something. It’s controlling our actions as well, knowing that our waiting in silence will affect our physical actions, so we can still show love as we wait patiently to see when and/if we should speak up.

James is one of my favorite books in the Bible. There are some meaty words of declaration and ways to live a godly life in this book. It’s a small book with a powerful punch. I recommend reading it this coming week and see how you can take its truths to heart and watch as it transforms your mind and soul.

Reminder: a Godly woman is pure, respectful, diligent, and controls her tongue.

There are many more aspects of a Godly woman and I plan on taking the next few weeks to write about them.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the examples that you have given us in your word of Godly women and what being a righteous woman is all about. May we seek these truths out and show us where we are lacking.

marriage

Refreshing Springs Through the Valley of Weeping

With our daughter’s wedding upon us and friends and family are beginning to arrive, our house is quickly being filled with chatter, laughter, and a little chaos.

Although I am extremely blessed and excited for this marriage to happen, I can remember a time when going to weddings was extremely painful for me. I was going through my separation and divorce and even the thought of going to a wedding made my stomach turn.

I tried to be happy for the couple, who were so in love that nothing could hold them back. But, I wasn’t feeling it. I struggled. A lot. I remember being at a small bridal shower and crashing to the floor because I had a grand-mal seizure. I was rushed to the hospital, where my friends stayed with me for hours to make sure everything was okay. Well, I wasn’t okay-mentally or physically. I just ruined a fun party and I felt horrible for the bride-to-be as her special day ended up in the ER as a result of me.

Now, many of my friends have experienced the loss of their spouse. I feel for them. Even though I haven’t been through the pain of becoming a widow, I do remember feeling alone and seeing joyful couples all around me and wondering if I would ever be happy again. Through all of the pain, I had to hold on to biblical truths. I love Psalm 84:2 “I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD.”

This is not our home! This sin-filled, selfish world is not our resting place. Oh, how I so look forward to the day when I get to see my Savior face to face. No more sorrow. No more suffering. Peace and love will fill me every moment.

It’s through the difficult times that we get our focus off of us and turn to the one who brings joy unspeakable and we experience Christ in a way that we couldn’t fathom.

In a few days I will stand with my daughter and watch her marry the man of her dreams. This is a time of rejoicing! I am no longer sad at weddings. I am joyful that God created a union between a man and a woman that would cause us to no longer be alone and to walk out the trials and joys of life together. I am especially thankful that God gave me my current husband, who is my soul-mate. We would not be having this wedding without God, who healed my epilepsy, gave me new life in the way of three children, and has given me streams of living water through the trials.

“What joy comes for those whose strength comes from the LORD…when they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.” Psalm 84:5,6

family, marriage

Little Things…

We are a little over a week away from our daughter’s wedding! Everything is happening so fast and As you know, I have been thinking quite a bit about love and marriage.

We have all been battling a nasty cough and this week it was my husband’s turn. He has been trying to get rest and taking all his medications that help with this head cold.

One day after I was finished teaching school, I went in to see how he was feeling. I gently took his hand and held it. He looked up at me and said, “Your touch brings healing to me.” I was stunned at how just a simple gesture can mean the difference between depression and desperation to hope and healing to someone.

We know we need touch. It’s one of the five love languages and it’s an important one. For me, touch was always on the bottom of the list. My husband on the other hand, loves touch and it was number one for him. Even though touch wasn’t my first love language, I have grown over the years to understand that it is very much needed and it has moved up on my list to number three.

Jesus touched the unclean. He went out of his way to heal the sick; to touch the untouchable, to make himself unclean, so that another could experience life and living water.

Living in Mexico we see plenty of unclean people. Some are just dirty, some have lice or other diseases. I hate to admit it, but several times when I offer a hug to one of these “unclean” people, I think to myself, am I going to contract something? But, then I say a prayer of forgiveness and ask God to do a work in my heart. Because in reality, do I want to sacrifice convenience for disobedience to the Father?

What if physical touch to the person in front of you meant life or death? What if putting a hand on a shoulder or shaking a hand and really meaning it, provides the hope they need to make it through one more day?

The neat thing is, in marriage, touch produces life; life to the marriage feeding the soul, and life in the form of a newborn baby.

“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man…immediately the man was cleansed of his leprosy.” Matthew 8:3

marriage

The Love of Marriage

This past weekend we had a bridal shower for my daughter. Let’s just say it was absolutely amazing! I feel like I can say that because I wasn’t the one who coordinated the whole thing. Actually, I had a very small part in it as the groom’s family wanted to bless Sarah and took care of everything. I did get to share a devotional and this is what I shared:

Marriage is an intensely personal thing. We know our spouse like no one else knows them: habits, moods, wishes, regrets, sins, giftedness…we get the inside look. The trick is to take that knowledge, the beautiful, the difficult, the work in progress, and to really LOVE our spouse. To SERVE each other. Not just the wife serving her husband, but the husband serving his wife, also; To know the truth and be faithful because of and in spite of it all. It is a privilege and a responsibility to know someone so well, and to commit to being faithful to them “until death do us part.”

There is a famous passage in literature that is a scene between a convict and a Catholic priest. It is from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Jean Val Jean is a man who stole bread to feed his starving family, and he was caught, convicted and became a hardened criminal through his years in chains. He was convicted because of a crime committed out of love, but the hardship and the hatred that surrounded him changed him into a frightening man.

When he is finally released from prison, he cannot find a place to sleep; his reputation as a criminal is made clear by the papers he is required to show at any inn in which he attempts to stay. Finally, a priest allows him to stay in his home, he shows gracious hospitality without fear. He allows him to sleep near the cupboard where the silver is being stored for the night, and he shows no need to protect himself or his property. Jean Val Jean steals the silver, and escapes into the night, only to be caught and returned to the priest’s home. When he is brought back, the priest declares that the silver Val Jean has stolen was a gift, and that the only problem the priest has is that his guest had not taken the candlesticks, also. They are so valuable, and they could be of such use to him in his new life. The stunned police leave, and the priest is left alone with Jean Val Jean. This is what he says to him:
“Jean Val Jean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.”

Although we can’t BUY another’s soul, the priest was a beautiful example of love; he knows the criminal and his crimes, but he calls out to the man with love and it changes the man’s life. We all need to be reminded of our true identity, our identity in Christ as new creatures, reminded of the fact that God calls us Beloved and that we are clothed in righteousness. It is so easy in the pressures and mess of life to forget who we really are. As a married couple, we have the privilege of seeing one another day in and day out, we really know each other’s habits and behaviors, when those things reflect Christ-likeness and when they don’t. But even when they don’t we know who God says they are. We can remind them of their real identity. LOVE them as the priest loved a hardened criminal, without fear or self-protection.
1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love, says in verse 7: LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. May you give to one another a love that knows and bears and endures through it all.

This gift to you is this candle. Candlelight is an amazing thing. It creates romance, it hides the laundry pile that we didn’t quite finish, it softens wrinkles and bad hair days, it creates a soft glow that is beautiful. May the candlelight set the stage for romance, may it create soft light that radiates beauty. Let this candle remind you, above all else, of Christ’s light, but also Jean Val Jean’s story. May you believe and hope for each other, calling out in each other your true identity as a Son and Daughter of the King. May that bring you great hope and an anticipation that He is doing a great work in each of you, in your marriage, and in your future together.

Adapted by Christine Landis
original by Diane Miller

Please feel free to like and share this post.

family, marriage

Letting Go…

It’s been an emotional last few days for me. Wedding plans are being made, we have DIY projects all over the living room, and the dress has arrived!

I am excited for my daughter in this new adventure she is embarking on, but it has been stirring all kinds of emotions. I find myself reflecting on milestones in Sarah’s life…first tooth, first steps, first heartbreak.

Learning to let go and let her grow up. I am trying to give advice when she asks and not take over when I see something that can be done better.

We have had many laughs along the way and a few tears. Imagine my surprise when she asked me to be her Matron of Honor! The flood gates opened and the waterfall of tears began. What an honor (thus the name) to be there right by her side on one of the most important days of her life.

I sometimes find myself thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. How did she do it? Letting go…watching Jesus do what He did, to be persecuted and beaten? I’m sure she cried out to God for comfort, pouring out her heart to the creator, the one who could stop the atrocities from happening to her son.

Now, I am not comparing our daughter’s wedding to crucifixion, even though marriage does require self-sacrifice and self-denial. I am just reflecting on moms in the Bible who have had to “let go” of their children. I think of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, and the Mother of Moses. Hannah also comes to mind, who kept her promise and gave her son to the House of Lord where he learned under Eli. All are amazing women, who saw the bigger picture and didn’t stifle their children.

I am so looking forward to that day when I see our daughter walk down the aisle, to hand her off to the man we have prayed for all these years.

I pray that as she leaves our nest she will learn to fly together with her spouse in unity and strength!

Eph 5:31  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Eph 5:32  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Eph 5:33  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.