Following God with Courage

"This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be

afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." -- Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Love, Be Encouraged by the Plan... NOT Overwhelmed

Here is a link to my Proverbs 31 Woman's Monday Checklist blog. I had a hard time deciding where to put this information. Since it is a list, I put it on the checklist blog, but it is also a step in a direction that I hope will bless and encourage my husband and improve our relationship. Right now, Holidays, special occasions, and any other times we want to have guests over are stressful. We have to scrounge to get the living area presentable. And, we do that often enough that we never really get to the "back rooms" of the house.

So... here's to My Lord Jesus. May this new habit - 14 minutes a night (7 organizing & 7 cleaning) glorify you in the peace it brings to our home.

And, here's to my husband. May this new habit bring peace to our home.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Change the Climate of Your Marriage

Here is an article I read that I want to remember for a long time:

Change the Climate of Your Marriage
Whitney Hopler Contributing Writer

Just as every place has a climate, so does every marriage. The climate of your marriage relationship can be a stormy one that's filled with conflict, a chilly one that lacks intimacy, or a sunny one that brings warm joy into your life. If you don't like the weather outside, there isn't anything you can do to change it. But you can change the climate of your marriage to make it what you'd like it to be.

Here's how you can change the climate of your marriage:

Focus on communication. The single greatest factor that influences what your marriage conflict is like is how you communicate with your spouse. More than what you say and do, it's how you say and do it that affects your relationship with each other the most. Your communication climate can change throughout different seasons of how you communicate, depending on the value and satisfaction you and your spouse feel as you interact with each other. So to improve your marriage climate,
it's important to improve the way you and your spouse communicate.

Seek your spouse's perspective on the various situations you encounter and the different issues that you discuss. Even if you don't condone or agree with your spouse's perspective, get to know it and try to understand it. Give your spouse your undivided attention when he or she is sharing thoughts and feelings with you. Ask questions to clarify and learn more. Ask God to remind you regularly of ways that your spouse reflects His image.

Build trust between each other. Do all you can to live with integrity so your spouse can trust you. Tell the whole truth in all situations and follow through on
your promises. If trust has been broken between the two of you, realize that the process of re-building will be slow and gradual, but make the effort one step at a time.

Adjust your expectations. Talk openly with your spouse about what you each expect your marriage to be like, and why. Define what counts as expressions of love, respect, spirituality, romance, responsibility, and other issues that matter in your marriage, learning what's most important to each of you. Use the knowledge you've
gained to adjust your expectations of each other.

Strengthen your commitment. Ask God to help you and your spouse remain
committed to your marriage and continue to mutually invest in it. If either you or your spouse harbors any nagging doubts that your marriage will survive, those doubts will negatively affect your marriage climate. But the security of knowing that you both are truly committed to each other will improve your marriage climate. Remember key moments of your shared history together, and put energy into your present relationship to make new memories together.

Resist cultural temptations that can harm your marriage. Rather than rushing around in a constant state of hurry, trying to accomplish multiple tasks at once, slow down to give your spouse your full attention when you're interacting. Instead of adopting a consumerist attitude that breeds dissatisfaction, ask God to help you become content with your lifestyle, and remember that your spouse is more important than material things or status. Reject an overly romantic view of love and
marriage and realize that only God is capable of loving you perfectly, so don't put too much pressure on your spouse and accept his or her imperfections. In the face of a culture where divorce is commonplace, renew your resolve and efforts to making your marriage last.

Talk supportively. Ask God to help you speak positive words that convey support to your spouse and avoid speaking negative words that discourage your spouse. Keep in mind that God gives you grace every day, and let your gratitude for that gift motivate you to give your spouse grace in the conversations you share.

Take a climate reading before discussing a key issue. Don't just jump into serious discussions about key issues. Instead, make sure that your current marriage climate can support the stress of difficult conversations before starting them. When the climate is right, your discussions will have a better chance of being productive than if you and your spouse talked at the wrong time. If you need to improve your
marriage climate, call a marital truce, temporarily avoiding controversial issues and overlooking each other's offensive actions so you can strengthen your relationship.

Deal with conflict wisely. Recognize that conflict is a normal part of every marriage, and that your marriage climate can improve as you and your spouse deal with conflict and invite God to strengthen you both in the process. Pray against evil spiritual forces that cause tension in your relationship. Seek to understand how both you and your spouse feel about each conflict you engage in, listen well, speak the truth in love, and seek solutions that will benefit both of you rather than just one of you.

Forgive each other. Let your gratitude for how much God has forgiven you motivate you to obey His command to forgive your spouse when he or she hurts
or offends you. Rely on God's help to get you through the forgiveness process. If abuse is involved, be willing to forgive, but also get out of unhealthy situations so you're not subjected to any more abuse. Trust God to help you overcome any obstacle you might encounter, because of His great power and love for you.

Keep strengthening your communication climate with God. Remember that you must be in a close, loving relationship with God to be able to truly love your spouse well. Stay close to God through regular prayer and other spiritual disciplines so you can enjoy a great climate in your relationship with Him that will impact your
marriage climate too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

101 Things I Love About my Husband 2010

101. He's a bedrock and values our relationship above all except God.
100. He helps me when I am sick.
99. He put up Christmas lights Thanksgiving night... even though he doesn't like to start celebrating Christmas so early.
98. He made a Christmas music play list just for me in my car.
97. He gets the book drop in for me on cold mornings.
96. He likes SciFi.
95. He tries to keep filth out of his mind by avoiding watching it or reading it.
94. He wears dress clothes just for me.
93. He wears dress socks just for me.
92. He shares his warmth on cold days.
91. He takes me to Christmas concerts.
90. He goes to the Y with me... even though he doesn't really enjoy it.
89. He swims with me.
88. He shares his gloves when my hands are really cold and my gloves just aren't working.
87. He works on his time management issues just for me. They don't bother him.
86. He makes plans... just for me.
85. He helps me set boundaries against outside forces that threaten to crush me.
84. He builds things for me.
83. He works on organizing our house.
82. He likes my piano playing.
81. He likes my coloring.
80. He is impressed with the birthday present I gave him.
79. He does my laundry.
78. He does the dishes.
77. He does the floors.
76. He cleans my bathroom.
75. He cleans his bathroom.
74. He prefers my cooking to others.
73. He packs my lunch.
72. He packs me lemons so my water tastes better.
71. He makes me rest.
70. He turns on the Christmas lights for me.
69. He loves my cinnamon rolls.
68. He is tall.
67. He gives teddy bear hugs.
66. He talks about his work with me.
65. He endures my talking about my work... sometimes.
64. He walks the dog for me.
63. He watches chick flicks with me... sometimes.
62. He loves my family.
61. He misses my nieces.
60. He leads our family in Advent readings.
59. He opens doors for me.
58. He fixes the drinks at dinner.
57. He makes tea.
56. He helps me grocery shop.
55. He helps me shop for clothes.
54. He wears and likes the clothes I bought him.
53. He is great to talk to.
52. He thinks I'm beautiful.
51. He eats new and strange vegetables with me.
50. He is starting to like many vegetables.
49. He tries new food with me.
48. He lets me try new recipes.
47. He encourages me to try new recipes.
46. He has a giving spirit.
45. He helps with the Christmas shopping.
44. He takes pride in taking out the trash.
43. He takes pride in doing the dishes.
42. He takes pride in helping me.
41. He is affectionate.
40. He values honesty.
39. He values honest communication.
38. He is appreciates when I sacrifice so he can spend time with friends.
37. He appreciates my help with formalities.
36. He makes me coffee.
35. He supports me trying to be healthy.
34. He helps me try to prevent my headaches.
33. He enjoys sacrificing to help his mom.
32. He is still tender towards his mom.
31. He is protective of his sisters.
30. He protects our family unit.
29. He is helping to balance our time between the two sides of our family.
28. He cares how I feel.
27. He loves the LORD.
26. He is willing to sacrifice and take a stand for what is right before the LORD.
25. He hopes for the best.
24. He doesn't let me lose hope.
23. His beliefs are not easily swayed.
22. He loves Jesus.
21. He doesn't let horror into our house.
20. He prays for me to have good dreams.
19. He prays for me to have hope.
18. He turns off bad movies.
17. He goes out of his way to find good Christian music.
16. He enjoys texting me.
15. He texts me "100" times a day... maybe not always that many times, but he talks to me all day... everyday.
14. He is working on scheduling... for me.
13. He is a reader.
12. He reads to me.
11. He wants me to have fun.
10. He likes to hold my hand.
9. He likes to have me on his arm.
8. He thinks going to church is important.
7. He thinks having a calm Sunday morning is important to worship.
6. He is against going to church as a thing we "have to do".
5. He thinks we should go because we want to worship God, and we should be in the right state of mind when we get there.
4. He gets out of bed early so that I can have my time with God.
3. He encourages me.
2. He seeks God.
1. He loves me.

Being Thankful: "Where's Johnny's cap?"

I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. —Psalm

A story is told about a family that went on a picnic by a lake. At one point, their 5-year-old son waded into the lake, stepped into deep water, and sank out of sight. None of the adults in the family knew how to swim, so they ran up and down the shore in panic while the child bobbed up and down and screamed for help. Just then, a man happened by who sized up the situation, leaped into the lake, and rescued the boy. He climbed out on the bank with the child, who was frightened but unharmed, only to hear the mother ask with irritation, “Where’s Johnny’s cap?”

So often we focus on small disappointments that cause us to grumble and complain rather than focusing on the wonderful things God has brought into our lives, not the least of which is His everlasting love and eternal salvation. When we complain about the small dissatisfactions of life, we’re asking, in effect, “Where’s Johnny’s cap?”

Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18). We may not be thankful for everything that comes our way, but we can give thanks in everything. It may be difficult to be grateful when we lose our job or our health fails, but we can be thankful for the good that God has brought to us in this life and grateful for the life to come. —David Roper

As endless as God’s blessings are, So should my praises be for all His daily goodnesses that flow unceasingly! —Adams

Instead of being preoccupied with our problems, let’s praise the Lord for His blessings.

So often we focus on small disappointments in our mates. It causes us to grumble and complain rather than focusing on the wonderful person and helpmate has brought into our lives. When we complain about the small dissatisfactions of their behavior, we are in a sense asking, “Where’s Johnny’s cap?” I am guilty of this. But, I don't want to be. Lord Jesus, please help me to properly appreciate all that you have given me... and that includes all the parts and aspects of my wonderful husband... My Love. -- Amen.

Until next time...