3 Things to Remember When You're in a Difficult or Painful Season

3 Things to Remember When You're in a Difficult or Painful Season
In the midst of the thickness, it can be very difficult to grab a hold of truth. We have to train our brains to take every thought captive and choose instead to focus on things that are "true, pure, lovely, and praise-worthy". 

Here are three truths for you to focus on in those times.

1. God is GOOD. 

It's important to remember this first, because everything else flows out of it. Everything God does is out of His goodness and love. He IS love. He created love, He created goodness, and He embodies them entirely. Every decision He makes, every situation He allows, is because He is GOOD. Just because you don't agree with what's happening, just because it might be painful, does not mean He isn't good. You can't possibly know what the alternatives were that the enemy was attempting to throw at you. Trust in God's goodness, that what He gives you and allows is so much better than any alternative.

2. God is WISE. 

We'd like to think we have all the answers and know what's best, but God knows better. He knows HOW to fix everything. Although sometimes it seems like He's not fixing things, or at least not at the speed we'd like, we have to look back at the first point - He is GOOD. Yes, He knows the WISE choice for every situation, and He knows the GOOD choice for every situation.

3. God is STRONG. 

Sometimes we can know that God is good, and we know He is wise, but we lack belief that He is strong enough to pull it off. Friend, God created strength. He IS pure strength! Not only is He wise enough and good enough to know what the best decisions are for us, but He is STRONG enough to carry out any task that is necessary. HE CAN DO IT.

If we can focus our hearts on these three things when we're struggling, our faith will grow and we will be able to watch miracle after miracle take place in our lives.

Friend, which of these three truths are you struggling with today? 
Which one is the easiest for you to believe?

Let me know how I can pray for you today!

What to do when you need a miracle

What to do when you need a miracle
Do you need a miracle right now, in some area of your life?

Are your finances in disarray, is your marriage in shambles, do you need a situation to be turned around completely?

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we read about a woman who needed a miracle. Her husband had died, and a creditor was coming to take her two sons as slaves. She had nothing.

What can we learn from her story?

1. Seek godly counsel. 
This wise woman sought counsel from the prophet Elisha. She didn't just go vent to her friends, or complain on the internet about her creditors and how cruel they were. She knew there was a man who knew God who could guide her in a righteous manner.

2. Obey.
When Elisha told her to go ask for a bunch of jars from her neighbors, she didn't ask why. It seemed an odd request, when all she currently had in her home was one single jar of oil, to gather a bunch more, "not too few" as he instructed. She did as he asked, and made sure her sons obeyed as well. She was an example to them of diligent and immediate obedience. There was no hesitation or questioning. {Side note: always, always weigh counsel against the Word of God - if you're being asked to sin or do anything that contradicts scripture, this is not godly counsel.}

3. Watch and wait.
As she poured into the jars, one after another, she saw them continue to fill with oil until she ran out of jars -  not oil. God provided as much oil as for the amount of jars the widow collected. No more, no less. And once they were filled, she was able to pay off all of her debts and live on the remainder with her sons - after she did additional work of selling the jars of oil.

Miracle accomplished! 

Notice that God didn't just grant her request in a split second, the way we'd like sometimes. 

Her obedience was necessary for the miracle to be carried out.

Friend, what miracle do you need today? Have you asked God what it is He wants you to do in order to carry out His will? 

I would love to cover you in prayer. Please share with me how I can pray with you, either in the comments or sending me a message.

Does your husband find you attractive?

Does your husband find you attractive?
If you're like me, when you first met your husband and while you were dating, you spent an embarrassing amount of time choosing outfits, putting on make-up, figuring out your hair, and making sure you looked your absolute best when you saw him.

Then we got married, and after a while living in the same home where you have every right to feel comfortable, you may have cared less and less whether you were intentionally pleasing him or not.

Some wives make drastic changes to their hair either by cutting it or dying it, without first asking their husband's opinion.

Some wives go shopping for clothes and never think to ask their husband which items they like before they purchase.

I've heard many wives joke about how they don't even bother to shave their legs anymore, because they're married so they shouldn't have to.

After months or years of marriage, while our husbands remain faithful to us - the only women they are truly "allowed" to look at and lust over - we tend to punish their faithfulness by disregarding their opinions about our appearance.

Some women get upset because their husbands don't compliment them anymore or tell them how beautiful they are - but have they stopped to consider whether they are intentional about catering to their husbands preferences?

Here's my encouragement to you today, sweet friend. 

Before you change your hair, or buy that new outfit, ask what your husband thinks

If he doesn't want you to cut your hair, then don't. If he doesn't like a certain outfit, don't buy it.

Relax at home, but make sure to take care of yourself daily with proper hygiene, shower early in the day, get dressed, shave regularly. 

Not out of obligation to do what he wants, but out of a desire to please him, to make yourself attractive to him, to show him that his opinion matters to you because HE matters to you.

Wouldn't you appreciate the same treatment from him?

Let's be wives who honor their husbands and seek to please them in all things, including our appearance.

Have you recently asked your husband's opinion about something related to your appearance? I'd love to hear about how you're honoring him that way - share in the comments!

7 Signs Your Submission Isn't Biblical

7 Signs Your Submission Isn't Biblical
Biblical submission does not mean that you have lesser value, that you no longer have a voice or contributions to make.

There are some women who believe they're being submissive while secretly using their guise to manipulate and control their husbands. This post is not for them.

I was the wife who whole-heartedly wanted to please God, and please my husband. However, in my quest to honor my husband, I found myself leaning too far towards the opposite direction and became the iconic "doormat" most people think of when they hear "submission". 

Below are 7 signs with which I am all too familiar... 

7 signs that your submission is not biblical:

1. You're afraid to disagree

God doesn't expect us to have the same thoughts on every topic as our husband. A lot of the time, you will probably agree. But there are times when you don't, and that's okay. Sometimes, it doesn't serve a purpose to voice your disagreement. It takes discernment to recognize when you should speak up and when you should. If you don't speak up simply out of fear, your submission is misplaced. 

While our husbands are charged with a huge responsibility of leading our families, that doesn't mean their opinions are automatically correct. There are times when they need to hear our disagreements, and the reasons behind them. The submission comes into play when we disagree respectfully, and then drop it after we've said our peace. We don't continue to drive our point home or nag.

2. You're scared to share your own opinions

There were times when my former husband would ask my opinion on something, but I had learned that if I didn't express the opinion he wanted, the conversation (and the rest of the day) would nose dive. I became hesitant to express my own true opinions, and only shared what I knew he'd want to hear. 

Our husbands are responsible for making a large number of decisions, and as wives, our role is to be their helper. We aren't helping them make decisions if we are withholding important information - which includes our opinions. God has given us wisdom, and promises to give us even more wisdom when we ask Him. The wisdom He gives us needs to be shared with our husbands; again, respectfully.

3. You don't ask for what you want or need

A good marriage thrives on open communication. If you find yourself not telling your husband your wants or need, you are blocking this important aspect of a marriage. I do recognize there are some husbands who make it difficult because of how they receive the information, or sometimes they refuse to receive the information. Our job is not to coddle our husbands; our job is to obey God's instructions for us as wives, and build up our home and marriage. Communication is an important way to build your marriage.

There is also the factor of expectations. If we never share our wants or needs, but we expect our husbands to automatically know what they are, we are setting them up for failure. Then when our needs aren't met or we don't get what we wanted, we blame them - but the responsibility lies with us for not expressing it in the first place.

4. You obey your husband when he asks you to sin

Yes, scripture tells wives to obey their husbands...but it finishes that with "as unto the Lord." We are to obey them as we would obey Christ, but Christ would never ask us to go against His word. If your husband asks you to sin, you are to obey Christ, not your husband. 

We must be careful what we consider sin, however. There are some things that are clear cut in scripture: murder, adultery, theft for example. Other things are left to personal conviction, such as whether to drink, the types of food to eat, how much TV to watch. Our convictions could be vastly different from our husbands. We need to discuss these differences, to maintain that open communication I mentioned above, but we have to be careful not to judge, whether consciously or sub-consciously, our husbands for having different convictions than we do.

5. You're afraid to offer gentle correction when he sins

When your husband in engaged in clear-cut sin, we must be able to FIRST look inward at ourselves to ensure we are not harboring our own continued disobedience, and then to gently approach our husbands with loving admonishment in an effort to restore them to right relationship with God and with others.

If you neglect to do this in the name of submission when you actually don't do it out of fear, this is wrong.

6. You allow mistreatment of yourself or others

The greatest commandment that Jesus gives us is to love. It is not loving to continue providing a breeding ground for your husband to live in sin. If we are not setting up boundaries when our husbands mistreat us or others, we are enabling them to continue in their sin. This is not loving, nor does it fulfill our role as their helper.

7. You submit out of fear of your husband, rather than obedience to God

Scripture is clear that we are not to fear man, because "what can man do to me?" "If God is for us, who can be against us?" 

Our submission should be a gift that we offer to our husbands out of obedience to God, out of fear and awe and reverence for His commands, and because we trust that His instructions bring blessings. 

We should not submit solely because we are afraid of our husbands. We need to put our faith, our hearts, our lives, in God's hands and trust Him with them. 

Dear sister, have you found yourself "submitting" in any of these ways? 
Reach out to me so that I can pray with and for you.

Why should I go first?

Why should I go first?
Friend, I have been there before.

In my previous marriage, when I was trying so hard to be the godly, submissive wife, there was still quite a rift and I didn't know what to do about it.

Despite what I felt were my best efforts, it seemed like my husband wasn't trying at all. There would be some good days, when I would thank God and pray, asking, "Why can't all of our days be this peaceful and fun?" Then there would be days when he would come home late and drunk, or wake up in the morning already angry with me.

I was doing all I knew how to do, and I felt like it was just on him at this point. He needed to step up. He needed to make an effort. He needed to love me as Christ loved the Church, the way a godly husband is instructed to love his wife!

God revealed something to me in that season. He reminded me that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Before we even knew who Jesus was, He died for us.

Before we even had the chance to love Him, He died for us.

Even now, when we do know Him and have promised to love Him, yet still reject Him through our sin and disobedience, He continues to pursue us, being faithful, gentle, and loving.

So why should we go first in our marriage?

Because, sweet sister, our goal is to be more like Jesus. Not more like our husbands.

We are not to emulate the behavior of sinners. We are to emulate the behavior of our Savior.

Jesus went first. Jesus continues to pursue. 

That means we are to go first. We are to continue to pursue.

I know it sounds daunting, impossible even, at times. But we know that God equips us when He instructs us. He doesn't expect us to figure it out on our own, nor does He leave us to gather the strength and ability to make it happen. He offers us His strength to accomplish His will.

Our job is to accept His strength and use it.

One thing we can do for our marriages, that I'm sure you're already doing, is pray. We need to pray unceasingly.

Another thing we can do is find a way to show our husbands respect and kindness every day. 

You might be asking yourself how exactly to do that, and I have a gift I'd like to share with you.

I've created a 31 Days of Random Acts of Kindness For Your Husband calendar that you can download and print out. 

You can choose to do all of these, or pick a few, or maybe just allow them to inspire you to come up with your own kindnesses to offer your husband.

My prayer is that this will be a tangible tool for you in your marriage, to strengthen the bond between you and your husband.

You can grab your copy of the calendar HERE.

Tell me in the comments if you find it easy to "go first", or if this has been a struggle for you.

NOTE: if you are experiencing abuse in your marriage, that is an entirely different topic. We are NOT called to submit to abuse. If this is happening to you, please first ensure your safety and that of your children, and seek wise, godly counsel.

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