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.

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.

Who do you want to be like?

Who do you want to be like?
How many times have you thought to yourself, "If I could just be more like so-and-so?" 

If I'm being honest, I've thought it a multitude of times. 

In my personal life, I've thought it about my friends.

In my marriage, I've thought it about women who I felt were more attractive or fun or smarter than I am.

In business, I've thought it about others who seem to have more or quicker success.

On a recent Sunday morning, I was getting ready to step onto the platform to lead our final worship song. I've struggled with nerves in the past, but instead of reminding myself that those nerves are just pride, I felt God leading me in a different direction.

He reminded me that each one of us is created "fearfully and wonderfully". 

Scripture tells us in Genesis 1:27 

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
We are created in His image. When we're afraid to do something exactly the way WE do it, when we want to do something the way someone else does it, or when we're scared to mess it up, we're effectively negating that facet of God's image in us.

He created us as a part of His whole. All of us together are part of Him. When we neglect to be ourselves, we're hiding that part of Who He is. When we focus on not failing, we're not trusting Him to use that failure for our good and His glory. It's through failure that He can use us to display humility and grace.

Do we want to be more like Him? Then we need to focus on being fully ourselves, and no one else.

Who do you want to be like?

Is your marriage paralyzed?

Is your marriage paralyzed?
If you’ve been around the church long enough, you’re likely familiar with the passage about Jesus healing the paralyzed man whose friends lowered him in from the ceiling.

At first glance, this is simply another story about one of Jesus’ miracles.

Digging deeper, as I studied this passage with our women’s Bible study at church, God revealed to me several lessons from this story that could be applied to marriage.

If you’re not familiar with it, or even if you are, let’s read through it quickly to refresh our memories.

Mark 2: 1-12

1A few days later Jesus went back to Capernaum. And when the people heard that He was home, 2 they gathered in such large numbers that there was no more room, not even outside the door, as Jesus spoke the word to them.
3 Then a paralytic was brought to Him, carried by four men. 4 Since they were unable to get to Jesus through the crowd, they uncovered the roof above Him, made an opening, and lowered the paralytic on his mat.
5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and thinking in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like this? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 At once Jesus knew in His spirit that they were thinking this way within themselves. “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?” He asked. 9 “Which is easier: to say to a paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...” He said to the paralytic, 11 “I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”
12 And immediately the man got up, picked up his mat, and walked out in front of them all. As a result, they were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

How on earth can this be related to marriage? 
Here is what God revealed to me during my study.

1. We must eagerly seek Jesus’ wisdom and teaching.

The first thing we see in this story is that there was a crowd gathered to hear Jesus talk. Do you eagerly go to Jesus each day to listen to Him speak? Do you look forward to spending time with Him, learning from Him, getting to know more of His truth and His wisdom?

We can’t leave our Bibles closed and then claim we have no idea what God is telling us to do to heal our marriages, or to help our husbands, or to grow as wives. We must sit at His feet and listen to His words, and then we need to do what He says.

2. Be careful who your friends are.

First of all, these four men carried this paralyzed man to the roof of a house. How difficult must that have been? Not only that, but then they took the time to make an opening and lower him down to Jesus. This sounds like it must have taken a lot of time, patience, and strength. These were really good friends!

Secondly, verse 5 tells us that “When Jesus saw their faith”, He forgave the man’s sins. When He saw the faith of the FRIENDS, the man’s sins were forgiven. WOW!

Do your friends have that kind of faith? Are they willing to stand by you when you are in need? Will they sacrifice their time and comfort to be there for you?

Will your friends bring you TO Jesus through sound, biblical advice, rather than lead you AWAY from Him by encouraging you to disrespect your husband by “venting”, to focus only on your needs, or to divorce your husband?

The people we choose for our inner circle matter more than we can imagine.

3. Jesus knows our thoughts.

In verses 6-8, we see that the scribes were thinking things “in their hearts”. Jesus knew what they were thinking, and called them out on it.

If Jesus were to read your thoughts about your husband, would you be embarrassed? If He called you out on the way you think about your husband, would you feel ashamed?

Now, Jesus is not the author of shame; shame comes from the enemy and it’s meant to keep you stagnant. However, the Holy Spirit does use our conscience to guide us, and we may feel guilty or convicted about certain thoughts or behaviors in that we will take action to change and grow.

Consider whether you would be okay with Jesus holding you accountable for the thoughts you think about your husband. If not, reach out to me so we can talk through that some more. Scripture tells us that we are to “take every thought captive” and think about things that are pure, praiseworthy, and lovely. If your thoughts towards your husband don’t fall within that criteria from Philippians 4:8, then you must take them captive and intentionally turn them towards the things that do.

4. Do we notice the miracles God performs?

At the end of the passage in verse 12, we see that the man obeyed Jesus by picking up his mat and walking, while the crowd stood amazed, glorifying God and exclaiming that they’d never seen anything like that before.

Do you take the time to notice the miracles God performs in your life, in your marriage, in your husband? Miracles don’t always have to be something you’ve never seen before; the birth of a child is a miracle but that’s happened countless times.

Your husband may attend church with you every single week. Do you consider that a miracle? You should - it’s only through the miracle of the Holy Spirit that your husband has the conviction to attend church.

Does your husband go to the office and work hard each day to provide for your family. This is also a miracle.

Miracles aren’t necessarily something we can’t imagine happening; they can be everyday things that when we consider them, truly do take an act of God in order to happen.

Sometimes taking out the trash can be a miracle. 😊 We should always be intentional about keeping our eyes open to recognize and acknowledge even the tiniest of miracles that happen in our homes and in our marriages.

One thing I will work on is my friendships. In all transparency, I don’t have many (or any) in-real-life local girlfriends. I define that as someone I can meet for coffee every now and then, have playdates with our babies, go shopping, or hang out at each other’s houses. I would love to have some girlfriends that I can rely on when I need some extra support or just want to get out of the house.

Tell me, what is one thing you are going to work on? 
What is God speaking to your heart about growing in order to heal your paralyzed marriage? Share with me in the comments, or send me a message. I’d love to join you in prayer!

 
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