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, Uncategorized

Day 21 Prayer: Sound Mind

Thoughts can run away from us. Sometimes I find myself laying in bed mulling over the day. Soon, I am not just thinking about the day, but I am thinking about comments that were said; how I should have answered differently. Or, maybe I was silent and wished I had spoken up and possibly defended myself. I go down the rabbit trail of how I will respond next time.

In reality, it’s not a good thing to start that line of thinking. I have found it leads to anxiety, worry, and in some cases depression.

The Bible says we need to take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) the key word is to obey. If I am thinking thoughts of how I would retort back to someone, that tells me my heart is not in the right place. Maybe being silent was actually the godly response. Jesus didn’t always defend himself.

Our minds can be a whirlwind of deception and imagination. Thank goodness we can have the mind of Christ. As we grow and learn to discern better what is true, we are able to put away ungodly thoughts.

When my husband faces depression, I am able to recognize the signs and start praying for him immediately. He will often ask me, “Have you been praying for me?” He knows I am, because the depression tends to not linger as long as it once did.

With the stress this world offers, we need to diligently be praying for our spouse’s thoughts. It’s easy to go down unwanted rabbit trails and with our hyper sexual society, thoughts can go wrong in a flash.

Day 21 Prayer: Sound Mind

Pray for a wise and discerning mind.

Pray that your family would take to heart Philippians 4:8, which says, “Whatsoever things are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”

Pray that you would be able to take every unpleasant thought captive.

Thank God for the mind that he has given to you and your spouse and pray that you will have unity and likemindedness in all things.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

family, marriage

Day 20 Prayer: To be a Good Father

I love my dad. My father is one of the most humble, gentle people you will ever meet. Is he perfect? No. However, his Godly example is bearing fruit not only in my life, but in the life of my kids.

My earliest memories are of him reading his Bible every morning while eating his breakfast. (My mom did this, too, but we are talking about fathers.)

My dad is a hard worker, a man of integrity, and has great knowledge and wisdom. He also has a funny side. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, we always wonder if he will say something wise or funny.

Maybe you didn’t have a good father. Maybe your dad wasn’t even around. It saddens my heart when I hear stories of fathers who didn’t stand up to the plate, and were absent or were abusive either verbally or physically.

The wonderful thing is, we can pray for our husbands to be a good father to our children. Regardless of their upbringing, God can do awesome things in the heart of a man who is willing and ready.

Day 20 Prayer: To be a Good Father

Thank God for the children he has given to you and your spouse.

Pray that your husband will be a Godly example to your kids.

Pray that he will not provoke your children to anger. (Ephesians 6:4) If this has happened in the past, pray that he would be able to use his words wisely and discipline without anger.

Pray that he would be able to communicate and be interested in your children. If he struggles with the desire to be an interactive father, start there. Pray for a change of heart.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity-blessed are his children after him.” Proverbs 20:7

marriage, Missions

Day 19 Prayer: Coming Out of Comfort Zones

When we were in the Philippines, we asked one of the Pastors what his vision was for the ministry. His reply has stuck with me.

He said, “I want to get this church established and raise up a leader, so I can go to other parts of the Philippines and start more churches to spread the gospel.”

I thought, wow! I like his vision. But, what a difficult one. He was willing to start fresh. To give up what he had worked so hard for, to continue reaching people. For him, it wasn’t about how many people came to his church. He just wanted to reach more people. This seemed like such a different concept than what I have seen in American churches.

I struggle with my comfort zone. Some maybe thinking, you?! I know we lived off-grid where we had to haul water everyday and didn’t have conventional electricity and Now we are living in Mexico. But, These things are just giving up some modern comforts.

To volunteer at a rehab home or walking through the red light district inviting drug addicts to church, that’s way out of my comfort zone. However, I have been blessed every time I do it.

It’s baby steps. Like the Pastor in the Philippines, I’m sure when he started his first church, he was anxious and wondering how it was all going to work. Seeing God work out all the details and watching people get excited for Christ, I bet it spurred him on to go a little further and continue God’s work.

Day 19 Prayer: Coming Out of Our Comfort Zone

Thank God that He stretches us beyond what we think we are capable of.

Pray for you and your spouse to step out in faith and do something that is uncharacteristic. For your husband, it may be as simple as leading your family in a Bible study, which can be difficult for a lot of men and way out of their comfort zone.

Pray that your kids will be willing to go beyond what they normally do. Maybe it’s talking to a friend about Christ.

Pray for an opportunity to talk as a family about what God’s vision is for your family as a whole.

“But be doers of the Word, not hearers only.” James 1:22

marriage

Day 17 Prayer: Money

They say finances are one of the top arguments couples have in their marriage. It can be difficult to get on the same page. Some people are spenders while others are savers.

When we counsel couples before they get married, this is a topic we talk about. Naturally, you think lack of money will bring stress. However, I have seen couples with plenty of money have stress, if not more.

I know in our marriage, when we forget to trust God, that’s when our emotions get the best of us and we begin the downward spiral of “what-if’s” causing anxiousness.

I have experienced first hand the verse that says, ” I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging for bread.” Psalm 37:25

Learning to be content in all things is a lesson that I have had to learn. It can be hard when we see others with the latest and greatest things. Early in our marriage we made some mistakes financially. But, thank goodness we have learned from those mistakes.

Living in Mexico, I realize how lucky I have been all of my life. We see people who struggle on a daily basis. It’s sad to see and we try to help whenever we are able. Sometimes that doesn’t mean giving them money. It can be providing clothes that have been donated, or taking them to a shelter. The most important thing is sharing Jesus with them. I love the verse, “Silver and gold have I none, but what I have, I give to you.” Acts 3:6

Day 17 Prayer: Finances

Thank God for his provision today.

Pray for unity between you and your spouse. If there is financial tension, pray that it would be removed.

If spending is an issue, pray that God would give you the ability to stop and take a step back from what you are desiring and ask the question, “Is this a need, or a want?”

“Don’t love money; be content with what you have for God has said, I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

marriage

Day 16 Prayer: Honor

The dictionary definition of honor is high respect or great esteem. In our world today, I don’t see many people honoring others.

What does our speech look like to our family members? Are we rude when no one else is around? Do we cut down and tear down? Do we roll our eyes in frustration?

When we lived off-grid there were times of great stress for me. I had three little ones, and everything was a chore, it seemed. If I wanted tea, we had to have the water hauled in. If I wanted to make a phone call, I had to walk one-quarter of a mile to our “phone booth”, which was a stump on the hill.

I found myself not being respectful to my family. My speech had a bite to it that wasn’t very pleasing. When God showed me I needed to change it, I cried out to the Lord. I began to read my Bible on a consistent basis. God showed me I needed to get into His word before I did anything else each day. Thank goodness His mercy is new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-23)

After a while I noticed I was showing respect and honor to my husband and kids. I became a good listener. I wasn’t getting frustrated at things that weren’t getting done around the house. I started praying for my family and seeing their hopes and dreams, not my own.

To respect or honor someone also means to do it when it’s not reciprocated. Regardless how they respond, we need to choose to love them anyway. Love isn’t based on someone else’s actions. It’s a choice.

Day 16 Prayer: Honor

Today thank God for the family He has given you.

Pray that honor and respect would become a natural occurrence in your household. If this is difficult, and you find yourself speaking words you wish you could take back, take a moment and breathe before you speak. If you need to, walk away for a few moments.

Pray for understanding within your home and thank a god his mercies are new every morning!

“He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He didn’t revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to Him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:22,23

marriage

Day 15 Prayer: Safety

Prayer for safety has been a part of my prayer life since Mark and I were first married.

Then as kids came into the picture, I have continued those prayers with even more fervency.

We have had our share of bumps and bruises and I will never forget when my husband fell 20 feet off our roof. He came away with a broken wrist. He did have to have surgery and now has a plate and 13 screws inside his forearm. Although this incident shook us, we knew the accident could have been much worse.

My daily prayers have been not only for physical safety, but for spiritual and emotional safety as well.

As much as I would love to protect my family from anything negative in their life, I do know that God uses all things for good, who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28. Again, I need to trust that God has their best interest at heart and regardless if bad things happen, He will see it through to the end.

When our daughter went to Ghana this last year, I was praying constantly for her protection. I knew if something happened I wouldn’t be there to help her through. I prayed against sickness and disease, against bad people with evil intentions, against any accidents and that she wouldn’t get lost and lose her way.

Prayer is powerful. When I get to heaven, I would love to see the things that were prevented just because a mom got down on her knees and prayed for safety.

I know families whose spouse or children were killed in an accident. I am not saying it could have been prevented if only someone prayed. We are in a fallen world and tragedy does happen.

What I do know is that He will comfort us when we most need it.

Day 15 Prayer: Safety

Pray for safety and protection for your family from any accidents, sickness, or danger. If your spouse works around heavy equipment or has a dangerous job, pray for clarity of mind.

If your kids are in school, pray for emotional protection from influences that may cause harm. Pray that they would know they are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9