Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You May Be an Adult, But You Are Still Acting Like a Spoiled Teenager

Since I haven’t been teaching, this is my only venue to share what I’m learning. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE TO TEACH THE WORD OF GOD, but I’m thankful for this avenue to share until God leads me to teach again.

So, I’ve been reading and studying about Eve, and we’ve talked about “THE” rule, but today I want us to see how her choice came to be.

Have you ever seen a woman out in public and wonder, “What in the world was she thinking when she put that thing on and went outside?” Sometimes I think that about my own kids…hahaha.

The phrase “primrose path” kept coming to my mind because sin is a slippery slope and often starts with a thought or something seen. The American Heritage Dictionary, the “primrose path” is “a course of action that seems easy and appropriate but can actually end in calamity.” YA THINK?

A person doesn’t become obese just thinking about food. A person isn’t known for being a gossip just by listening. A person doesn’t become a felon just because she thinks about killing someone. An embezzler doesn’t become one just by looking at money. An affair doesn’t just happen…there is a look, a thought, a desire, and action. Just one look. That’s all it took. Yeah. Just one look. That’s all it took.

Genesis 3:6 “the woman saw” – She looked with her eyes. My children can look with their hands, so that’s why I clarified. Oh be careful little eyes what you see. Oh be careful little eyes what you see for the Father up above is looking down with love. Oh be careful little eyes what you see. Remember this childhood song? There’s truth in it.

The thing about seeing something and focusing on something is different. The Bible says, “delightful to look at” – This was no passing glance. She looked at it and registered a thought – “delightful.”

This seeing-to-focus-thought -- “desirable” – Her focus was on the fruit and what she would gain from eating it. She desired/wanted what only this fruit could do for her.

“So she took some of its fruit” – Her glance turned into eyeing and her eyeing it turned into a thought and her thought turned into desire and her desire turned into action. Not only did she take action but the Bible says,“and ate it” – She deliberately did what she was told not to do. She made a deliberate choice to act in direct disobedience to God’s will in her life.

Then Eve directed -- “she also gave some to her husband” – she spread her sin around. Her sin affected not just herself but her husband and the rest of mankind. Your sin doesn’t just affect you…It affects your family, your friends, your coworkers, and possibly generations to come. You may not see how, but it’s not really for you to see. You just need to know and believe that God sees, and when He says don’t do it, THEN DON’T DO IT! Duh! This is how we as grown adults act like spoiled teenagers…thinking we know it all. My daughter who is a pre-teen told me I act like a know-it-all, and I told her that it wasn’t that but rather, I know-more-than-she-does and that is why I am called the parent. God is our heavenly Father and He is by far more intelligent and most wise. He knows what tomorrow holds. The question is…do you trust Him? OR are you too involved in selfish pleasures to hear His voice?

All it takes is one look, one thought that leads to sin that will separate you. It isn’t God who moves…It’s us.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I love Dr. Seuss’ books, and recently, the kids and I have been listening to Lemony Snicket’s books on CD when we travel. These two authors have some of the most off-the-wall words and sentences in their books…some are just downright silly.

If you were to open one of these books and read, “And the snake said, are you really not supposed to eat that?” The reader wouldn’t think all too much of it because it is just off-the-wall enough to fit.

Personally, I’m not a fan of snakes. When I was a kid, I’d go running to my daddy to kill whatever snake may have slithered across my path. Unfortunately, daddy got bit by a Copperhead once…but that’s a story for another day.

But in Genesis 3:1 it says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Does this not just leap off the page as being downright odd!? Not only because he misquotes the rule, but the fact that it’s a SNAKE!

I have a few questions…

1. Was Eve shocked by the snake speaking to her?

2. Did the other animals speak in the Garden of Eden?

3. Did the snake hiss his “s” in “say?”

4. Did she introduce the snake to the man? “Snake, this is man. Man, this is snake.”

5. Was Eve a couple of hours old (just fallen off the turnip truck?)

6. Could she not see this wasn’t “normal?”

7. Doesn’t she know that the only good snake is a DEAD snake?! Don’t mean to offend reptile lovers, but I’m not a fan.

I’m just here to tell you if a snake or any other type of animal started speaking to me, I’d freak out…thinking I was on a bad trip.

So, now do you see this verse as odd?

Not only does the serpent speak to her, but she talks back to him. She has a conversation with a snake! My mom used to say I could argue with a fence post, but I don’t think it’s the same thing.

There are women I know that I want to warn them about the guys they are dating that they are snakes…does that count?

Isn’t the Word of God a fascinating? Especially if we take the time to read it as if it was for the first time.

Sorry. Let’s get back on track.

Eve who apparently doesn’t have good judgment also doesn’t seem to have a very good memory either. She says, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” Let’s remember, God told Adam the rule. Eve wasn’t even created yet. We’re not sure how she got her 411 on THE rule. But if you will recall, God never said nothing about not touchin’ no fruit. Eve added to the Word of God – a big no-no.

Isn’t it just like Satan to masquerade as something that is so off-the-wall as a snake? Kind of gets a person off-balance the way Satan can come after us. He took the Word of God and twisted it. He likes to take truth and infuse a lie which no longer makes it a truth.

Verse 4, “ ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman.” How does she know what death is? How does she know the extent of how her decision to have a conversation with a snake will have long lasting effects? She doesn’t, but her Father does and that’s why He gave them the rule.

Verse 5, “ ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’.” Notice the word “when?” Satan knew it was just a matter of time before he took Eve down the path she would regret. Did Eve have any idea what “evil” was?

How many times have you bought into someone’s story only to find out they were lying to you? Have you ever believed someone who had ulterior motives? This was Eve. She was vulnerable. She was away from God. She didn’t have a clue what was happening until it was too late.

We have to keep our focus on our heavenly Father. We have to be listening for His voice, and when the world and all of their “politically correct rhetoric” starts whispering in your ear, you need to go find your Daddy, so He can kill the SNAKE!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons

Even though I’m really eager to get into Genesis 3, I think I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Genesis 2:24-25 in my study of Eve and following the godly wife model. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” To me, this verse is more like a Proverb instead of a conclusion. And think about it, Adam and Eve didn’t have a mother or a father. We don’t even know if they had belly buttons! I have to admit my sister came up with that question when we were growing up. I don’t have the corner market on being warped in my family.

Regardless of whether it is a Proverb in Genesis or not, it is wise counsel. My parents have taught young married couples before and for a while they taught college and career, and I remember them telling more than one person that when you get married, you really need to move away from your family for one to two years. Patrick and I were married October 24, 1994, and we didn’t move back till November 29, 2001. Those first two years of our marriage were the most difficult I have ever endured. I remember during our first year of marriage, I puffed up the stairs to our tiny loft apartment, slammed the tiny bathroom door and realized I didn’t have enough space to change my mind much less change my clothes. I opened the door and stomped back downstairs and asked my husband if he wanted an annulment. He laughed at me. Our honeymoon ended when returned from the trip. We didn’t have a honeymoon year like some do. The thing that attracted me to Patrick was his ability to stand up to me, but it would become one of the things that would drive me nuts! By moving away from our parents, I couldn’t just get in my car and go home to momma’s house – that’s just a dumb move anyway, but at the time, I was making a lot of dumb moves. After the first couple of years, things eventually got better gradually. We didn’t have a choice. It’s not like our parents were going to bail us out. We were adults now. We had made an adult decision. We had put on our big boy briefs and big girl panties, and now we had to work it out.

I remember after the wedding we went to the Holidome here in Shreveport before heading out the next day on our trip. You know, it’s an odd thing. I was taught all my life about modesty and being pure and keeping myself for the one I would marry…then in one short ceremony, we had this piece of paper that said we were husband and wife and it was perfectly fine for him to see me naked…not only was it fine for him to see me naked, but it was sort of a requirement. Did anyone else find this awkward? A piece of paper gave us the permission to become one flesh. A piece of paper and a covenant made between us and with God. I’m grinning as I think about that night. What a hoot! The rodeo was in town, and there were some rowdy cowboys in the room next door. It was a very interesting night.

All of this is to say, when you become a wife, there are no safety nets. There is no backup plans. My Pappaw used to say, “I’ve never thought about divorce…murder, yes. Divorce, no.” Divorce is not an option. You shouldn’t go into a marriage thinking, “If this doesn’t work out, I can get out of it.”

My mom said she was too stubborn to admit defeat and that is why she never walked out on the marriage. Sometimes that’s what a marriage boils down to…I made a commitment, and I’m too stubborn to admit defeat. Let’s face it, if it comes to that point, it might be the point at which one looks up.

Wives fight for your husbands. Fight for your marriage. If you say you don’t love him anymore then remember why you fell in love with him in the first place. Ask God to renew that love in your heart for your man. Pray that God will move mightily in your man’s life, but I assure you God will work all over your life before you might see change in your man’s life. If you are holding onto your past, then your arms and hands aren’t open to grab onto the future that God has for you. That old flame you had is just that…OLD. If you think the grass is greener, it’s because it’s growing over the septic tank! Wake up. Get your head on straight. Love yo’ man.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

P31 -- Seriously, Don't Read This One...You've Been Warned

Apparently, God isn’t through chiseling away dross. Thankfully, He loves me too much to leave me where I sit…struggling.

Have you ever read Stormie OMartian’s book The Power of a Praying Wife? If you haven’t, I highly suggest it…especially if you have ever struggled in your marriage, struggled with loving your man, struggled with being a godly wife. She doesn’t mince words. I like that in a friend, an author, or anyone God has put in my life.

At this time God has me focusing on my relationship with my husband. Sometimes I really stink at it. Sometimes I don’t like to do it. And don’t even get me started about my feelings when the hormones kicks in…I think I may be pre-menopause. (Bless his heart!) It’s one of the reasons I’m thinking about investing in Gorilla Glue (see a prior blog).

At any rate, when you think of godly woman, what verses come to your mind? Yup, Proverbs 31. Talk about filling some big shoes and setting me up for failure! At any rate, that is where we are going. So stop reading now if you aren’t interested in knowing more about a godly wife or if you think you are too far gone to care. Seriously. Stop now before there’s no turning back. Seriously.

Let’s break it down…shall we? Verse 10 says, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” I know a little about diamonds because my husband dabbles in diamond sales, but I was not familiar with rubies. I knew they were expensive, but I wanted to know more. Wikipedia says, “All natural rubies have imperfections in them, including color impurities and inclusions of rutile needles known as ‘silk.’ Gemologists use these needle inclusions found in natural rubies to distinguish them from synthetics, stimulants, or substitutes.” Rubies are ranked up there with diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds in value. Here’s another point, the value of the ruby isn’t determined by the one who owns or possesses it. Many see the value of a beautiful ruby. I love the fact that Wikipedia says natural rubies have flaws, and the Bible says rubies are valuable with their flaws (because you know they weren’t making synthetic rubies back then). A woman of noble character will be beautiful and valuable despite her flaws because people can see the overall picture of who she is…her color (is she transparent?), her clarity, her cut (what has shaped her), the carat (the weight of her character), and because she fears the Lord...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Verse 11 says, “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Verse 12, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Confidence is based on trust. She is a good steward and is able to make ends meet providing what her husband needs. He doesn’t lack anything of value…Which leads me to ask, what does a husband value? Appreciation (like us). Encouragement. This godly wife has his back all the days of her life whether she feels like it or not, whether he leaves his underwear on the floor, whether or not he leaves the seat up. Sometimes it is a listening ear without advice or being condescending that this husband is looking for. Sometimes he needs a soft place to land at night. She does him good.

In verses 13 – 19, we see the godly woman is diligent. She is a worker. She isn’t lazy. She is wise and intertwines the wisdom with business to make a profit. She is shrewd, thrifty, and a negotiator. She doesn’t play that helpless female bit. I used to negotiate a lot when I would settle bodily injury claims for my employer, and in Texas, I had a blast because I could be a real hard nose. I was good at my job, but sometimes I took my work home with me. Negotiating and working out deals is something done in a business arena. When I would tear apart my husband’s defense like I would any attorney, I was tearing down the man I married, the one I loved. There is no room for that in marriage.

In verse 20 – 22, this woman is generous to the poor. She doesn’t turn a blind eye to the panhandler, to the homeless, to the ill. She is generous to her family making sure they are dressed well and cared for.

My favorite verses are verses 25 - 27, “She is clothes with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” This woman is a powerhouse. She’s got class, and she knows that by taking care of her family now, by being a good steward and hard worker, that her future is secure. She knows who holds her future. She minds her own business and doesn’t get involved in wagging her tongue (invest in Gorilla Glue).

It is my sincere prayer that one day my husband and children will rise and bless me with the gratitude of their hearts and words of their lips.

The bottom line here is found in verse 30, “but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Regardless of what is going on around her, regardless of how her marriage is going at the moment, regardless of how her children are behaving – she – fears – the – Lord. No matter what is going on around her, this woman’s focus is on her Savior, and that’s what makes her beautiful.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Has a New Baby

On January 30, 2012, we got a new baby, and it was all Pearce’s doin’!

When Erin heard we were getting a new baby she was so excited. She immediately claimed that the new baby was her baby…after all, Pearce had claimed Jade as his. Jade is our 13 year-old, miniature Beagle. Jade is not the smartest dog on the block, but she is by far the happiest (and I’ll take that any day). She makes me smile. We call her the “Welcoming Committee” because she greets us coming down the driveway every day. When Pearce heard Erin take ownership of the new baby, he said, “Hey, they’re free! We could get two – one for me and one for you!” It really is a slippery slope when you are dealing with a kid like Pearce. He’s too smart for his own good sometimes.

I was a reluctant participant anyway, so I really stuck to my guns about getting just one puppy. I liked the name Sunshine, and Erin liked the name Angel. SOOOO, our new baby’s name is Cletus.

Just kidding…Her name is Sunni Angel. She is a Blue Heeler – Border Collie mix. I call her a Heelie. Both breeds are very smart and are herders. My ulterior motive for agreeing to get the puppy is because Jade is getting old, and she really doesn’t play with Pearce much anymore outside. I wanted a dog like Kelly. She was our first baby. She was a Shepherd-Chow-Heeler mix (looked like a Red Dingo but with a spotted tongue). Kelly was the outside momma. When Erin would swing on her tummy, Kelly would bark till she sat up to swing. One time when Pearce was about three and in the backyard with Kelly, she started barking up a blue streak. I couldn’t get there fast enough to see what he was doing wrong, but I did get there in time to see Pearce put his chubby little finger up to his lips and “Shhh” the dog. She was tattling on him. I miss Kelly. I hope that Sunni will play with Pearce outside and keep him corralled…that’s my hope.

SOOOO, since I work from home guess who is house training the baby. Yep, me.

I have to admit I love puppy bellies and puppy breath, and they are so much fun to watch play. The first day, we had some accidents, but we scooped her up and took her outside. When she did her business outside, we all but did the happy dance. We praised her and loved on her for doing the right thing.

Last night (01/31/2012) was her second night here, and she only whimpered about 15 minutes when I put her in the kennel for the night. When I got her out this morning, her kennel was clean and dry. Good girl, Sunni! Good girl!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my attitude lately and especially my attitude towards my husband and children. God has been really convicting me about how I’m going about being a wife to my husband. Sometimes I want to harp on the negative. Sometimes I don’t want to lift a finger to help anyone. Sometimes my tone is short and biting. Sometimes I’m just downright cranky and unpleasant to be around. And then it was as if God held a mirror up to my face and showed me how I was treating this puppy with Words of kindness...Warmth…Compassion...Understanding… Encouragement.

But God, she’s a puppy. She appreciates it when I play with her or feed her. She loves on me and gives me kisses. She doesn’t have a pre-teen attitude with a mouth to go with it. She doesn’t have a temper tantrum when she doesn’t get her way. I don’t expect her to pick up after herself. She’s grateful. She looks to me for companionship because Jade sure isn’t having any of it. Feed my sheep. Sir? She’s a dog. Feed my sheep.

I start digging and find John 21:17, “…Simon son of John, do you love me?” We know Peter’s answer is yes, and Jesus tells him to “Feed my sheep.”

Do you love me, child? You know that I love you. Feed my sheep.

You will notice Jesus didn’t say, “When they get their attitudes right, feed my sheep.” He didn’t say, “When they exercise self-control and gratitude, then feed my sheep.” I am to feed His sheep because of my love for HIM! My attitude towards God, my admiration, affection and love for God should come out in the way that I feed His sheep…My family is His sheep. I should speak Words of kindness…Warmth... Compassion...Understanding...Encouragement…to my family because of my love for Christ. It’s my attitude that needs changing. It’s my attitude and my thought process that I have control over.

Lord, help me to see people as if I’m looking through your eyes. Help me to show your love, your compassion, your empathy, your service to those around me. Yes, Lord, I’ll feed your sheep. Help me.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pride...It's a Trip...downward

I tell people on a regular basis that my name is not “Grace” for two reasons – my left foot and my right foot.

I can trip on air. When I was a cheerleader, they used to throw me on top of the mound, so I couldn’t trip and fall into the mound. At least up top, someone was holding onto my feet. In addition to tripping on air, there’s another thing I trip on regularly.


It gets in my way all the time. I’m constantly tripping over it. As women we’ve bought into a lie of the world and our pride is getting in the way of what we are supposed to be and who we are supposed to be. And by “we” I really mean “me.” If you think you shouldn’t have to submit or you shouldn’t have to serve your family, then you have an issue with pride as well. I’d like to help you with your perspective because sometimes I struggle with acts of service.

                Jesus Christ – perfect, holy, knowing no sin – chose to lower Himself to the status of human, thereby forgoing the beauty of heaven and His seat on a heavenly throne, just to save my sorry self. He chose to clothe Himself in flesh to minister to the needs of a dying world that had no hope. He chose to become flesh, so He could heal the sick, teach the listener and the follower, and redeem the sinner (PTL!). He humbled Himself to serve His disciples when He got down on His knees to wash their feet one by one…even the one who would betray him and the one who would deny knowing Him. (Got a rebellious child or wayward family member – yep, serve ‘em.) If Jesus Christ thought it was important enough to humble Himself for us, then what is your problem? What is my problem? Sin. Flat out sin and pride. Confess it. Get rid of it. Open yourself to the way God wants us as godly women to live.

Genesis 2:20 says that woman was made to be a helper. Helper – “(Hb. ‘ezer kenegdo, lit. ‘helper corresponding to what is in front of him’) conveys the sense of a helper ‘suitable’ or ‘comparable’ to man. This word ‘ezer is never used to describe the man in his relationship to the woman. However, the same word is used to describe God’s relationship to mankind. The word implies neither superiority nor inferiority; it is not about worth. Rather, it is descriptive of function. You do not lose worth in becoming a helper to someone. In fact, the function by definition suggests more the development of an endearing and productive partnership.” “The woman is formed from the man, indicating clearly that she is like him – the same flesh and blood (v. 23), with equal worth, and also ‘in the image of God’ (1:27). The man (Hb. ‘ish) named the woman, thus establishing his unique relationship to her (2:23). The ‘woman’ was given a name similar to his own. The name is an act cementing a close relationship as well as revealing the man’s status as being authority over her. While she is subject to him, she is also his close companion. Here at last is on who, as his helper, would stand on a par with the man (v. 18). (1)

1 Corinthians 11:3, 9 “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 9…neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.”

1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

Psalms 33:20, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” On the days I want a wife, I will choose to wait on the Lord knowing that He is my help, and I can’t get any better help than that for He knows my yesterdays and today and still loves me. He knows my tomorrows and hasn’t given up on me.

It hurts being taken to God’s woodshed to deal with the sin in my life. I don’t like it. It’s uncomfortable, unpleasant, and it’s just stupidity on my party. Please God forgive me of my unrepentant heart. Please forgive me of my pride. Help me to love my family the way You love them. Help me to be the godly wife you want my husband to have.

(1) Pg 12 Women’s Evangelical Commentary Old Testament.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Believes Every Wife Should Own a Bottle of Gorilla Glue...maybe even own stock

I can’t seem to help myself. Have you ever seen one of those toys that starts moving when it hears music? Yeah, I’m a lot like that. The better the beat, the more I get after it. I’ve been known to bust a move in a store from time-to-time, so it should not be any great surprise that on more than one occasion I’ve caught Erin dancing down one of the aisles at the store. There are some debates regarding “nature versus nurture” in regarding adoption and the child’s behavior. I happen to believe it’s both. As Christians our Heavenly Father adopts us into His family, and we are to emulate Him.

During my quiet times with God, He’s been leading me through the role of wife and how it parallels that of the Holy Spirit’s. I wanted to know more about the Holy Spirit, and this is what I found. “NASB translation of parakletos, a distinctive title for the Holy Spirit.” Other versions have used “Comforter” (KJV), “Advocate” (NEB), or “Counselor (HCSB).”(1)

The Holy Spirit is called Counselor (John 16:7,8). Do I give good counsel to my husband? Do I give wisdom and truth to my husband? In verse 13 it says, “…He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” Just because a thought comes to my mind does not give mean I have permission to speak it. I need to speak what is true, honest, pure, and holy. I don’t need to speak when my hormones are running on high. I don’t need to speak when I’ve been hurt unless I know it is what God would have me speak. I need to keep a bottle of Gorilla Glue on hand for my lips! (It's sad to have to write this, but do not go out and put Gorilla Glue on your's just downright stupid. I'm writing it to make a point.)

The Holy Spirit was given, so believers wouldn’t feel as if they had been orphaned (John 14:16-18). Isn’t that just like God? He’s wanting to make sure we feel secure and are protected. Do make my spouse feel secure and protected? The Holy Spirit is there also to remind the believer of everything Jesus said. Do I encourage my husband as God leads me? Once again, do I give my husband wise counsel?

What if I give my husband good and wise counsel, but he chooses to do something else? Ladies, this is where submission comes into play. Once we speak what God has spoken to us then we need to shut our mouths tighter than the lions in the den with Daniel. Gorrilla Glue anyone?

You know what else I discovered, the Holy Spirit talks to God about us. He interprets the moaning and groaning that cannot be put into words. Am I praying for my husband? Am I going to my Heavenly Father with the concerns and burdens of my husband?

There are days though that I get tired of doing and being, and sometimes I just want a helper. Is that wrong? Is that too much to ask? That’s when I have to look to God for help. He knows my limitations. He created me after all. He knows that when I get to the end of myself then I am more likely to rely on Him solely. He, Jesus Christ, is from whom I get my strength.

I don’t see anywhere that what I am and what I do as a wife is determined what he (my husband) may or may not do OR how I’m feeling about my husband at any given point in time. At work, my job descriptions don’t change based on what I feel. My boss would get a real kick out of that! My job description, my role as a godly wife does not change based on how he is behaving or in some cases misbehaving. My role as a godly wife is clearly defined regardless of the belief or lack of belief of my husband, the attitude of my husband or his behavior. I cannot change the way he feels, thinks, or behaves – that’s God’s business. What I can control, what I do correlates to my attitude – I’m turning over my heart, mind, and my attitude to God. Laying down my pride. Confessing my sin.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New International Version (NIV)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

(1) R. Robert Creech

Monday, February 13, 2012

Is Not the Best Wife

One of the hardest things for me is self-reflection, and even harder than that is to have God search me. It’s like lighting a fire under my growing behind. It’s just downright uncomfortable, and I try to avoid it at all costs. But during this fast and even before the fast, God had begun cleaning my house, going through and shaking the cobwebs loose, beating the dust out of the rugs, and removing the things I had once thought hidden. Does anyone else hate this as much as I do? I love, absolutely love teaching God’s Word, but He had me resign from teaching. I miss it. I miss the ladies in the class. I struggle sitting in class keeping my mouth shut…boy do I struggle with that. But that’s where I am.

And you know why? Because He’s cleaning my house…personally. It’s personal. And you know what subject He has me focusing on? I hate to admit it but my role as wife – more specifically Patrick’s wife. I am not a Stepford wife nor am I a perfect wife – nowhere close. So as I continue my blog being authentic, transparent, and open, I ask that you bear with me. Please.

Eve…God’s prototype of woman, of a wife. Maybe prototype isn’t the correct word, but it’s what I’m going with because another word doesn’t come to mind.

God chose to make Eve from Adam’s rib. His rib protected his lungs (breath of life -- remember God breathed into Adam) and his heart. How do I protect my husband’s life and heart?

                        • How do I have his back?

                        • Am I safe place for him to vent, unload and not be judged or criticized?

                        • Am I his partner in life? I can’t protect unless I know what it is I am protecting him from?

                        • Do I do anything that would cause him shame or heartache?

Eve was created to be an aid/ a help to Adam. How do I help Patrick?

                        • Does he see value in the way I run our home?

                        • Are my strengths in his areas of weakness and vise versa?

                        • Do I verbally complement him on his accomplishments and abilities?

                        • Do I praise him and encourage him?

                                           I can honestly say there are areas here where I need to improve.

                         • Do I look for ways to help?

                         • Do I look for opportunities to serve him? I have to be honest my attitude on this one isn’t always where it needs to be. I serve my children. I serve when I minister to others, but do I minister to my husband?

                         • Do I follow his leadership? And do I follow willingly or begrudgingly?

                          I guess it really boils down to my heart…my attitude.

You know something I noticed about Eve was she didn’t feel like she had to stake her claim as Adam’s equal. When God walked in the garden, He walked with both of them.

The term “helper” wasn’t meant to be derogatory in nature, but society has made us think that those who serve are less. It wasn’t meant to define woman as a subcategory to mankind, but rather the kind of relationship she should have with her husband. God refers to Himself as a “Helper.” The Holy Spirit is the Helper. He submitted Himself to God, and He helps believers in their daily lives. He doesn’t think of Himself. He doesn’t think more of Himself or of His own convenience, but rather on others. Sometimes I struggle here. Giving and giving and not being appreciated for what I do and give – But the Bible says that I am to do ALL as if unto the Lord. When I’m serving my family, when I’m serving my husband, I am to do it as I am serving the Lord. Lord, please make me more like you and remind me when I become disgruntled to do it for you, your glory. And help me to keep my mouth shut till the attitude passes!

Obviously, I need to do more studying on this. Fortunately, God loves me too much to leave me where I am. He who began a good work in me and you is faithful to complete it…that’s the good and the bad of it. (hahaha!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Choosing a Baby Name/ Choosing a Grandparent Name

Our daughter is the first grandchild on my side of the family. With adoption it is a little different than finding out the gender of your baby while in utero and naming him or her immediately. There is no doubt when that child is born, he or she is the name the parents have been calling it for the past four months. In adoption, sometimes you don't even get 24 hour notice to name the baby. Some parents opt to name their child AFTER she’s born. If I had waited to see what our baby looked like before naming her, we would have named her “Bertha” because when she was born the cord was around her neck and one of her little eyes was so puffy. Plus, I had never seen a baby born or even a few hours old. It’s tough coming through that birth canal!

My parents had already decided what they wanted our daughter to call them “Honey” and “Poppar.” “Honey” had actually been our dog's name, and I’m not really sure why momma chose it. “Poppar” is a fishing bait. So Honey and Poppar it was. Except when Erin started talking at an early age she couldn’t exactly say, “Honey.” Sometimes it came out “Nuney.” My personal favorite was the stint of time in which Erin called her “Hiney.” My mom has a cousin who is called “Lolli” and her husband is “Pop,” so together they are Lolli-Pop. Cute, huh?

Naming a baby is a huge deal. This is the name they will have the rest of their lives. I remember driving Erin to my mom’s one day, and at the ripe age of 2 ½ Erin told me she didn’t like her name, and she wanted to change it. If she had only known how long it took for her daddy and I to agree on her full name she would have known not to say anything. I told her how much I loved her name, and I asked her what she would have chosen for herself. She said, “G.” “G” was her grandmother her passed away this past year. Erin would go spend a week at a time with G in Mississippi since she was one year old. I told her “G” was already taken was there another name she preferred. She said, “Elmo.” Go figure! She was 2 1/2.

Thinking about choosing the name for your baby or choosing the name you would be called by a grandchild, niece or nephew – it’s something one ponders and thinks about before making that decision. Now can you imagine being responsible for creating a name for a whole species of animals? God brought the animals to Adam to name. What a daunting task that must have been! How exciting! How creative.

I have some very creative friends. They see things in general, every-day life and can immediately find a way to repurpose them or recycle them. They are just geared to that creative side. I, on the other hand, have moments of creativity, and I take them when I get them. In this instance, Adam needed to be creative because the names of these animals would last through Christ’s return. NO PRESSURE THERE!

Names are important. I hate to hear a person call another one names. I nip it in the bud instantly…of course, if it is a sweet, pet name then that is different altogether.

You know why God sent all those animals in front of Adam? Yes to name them, but also because God wanted Adam to realize he needed a match. He needed a mate. Genesis 2:20 says, “…But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” So God performed the first surgery. He took one of Adam’s ribs, closed him up and made woman. Then God brought the woman to Adam to be named. You ever wonder what Adam must have thought when he first saw Eve? “AHHH, yes! This is my partner. She looks and smells a lot better than that skunk I named yesterday, and it doesn't look like she'll spit like that camel.”

It just now dawned on me that up until this point, I have not read the name “Adam” or “Eve” in chapter 1 or 2 of Genesis. Do you find that odd? I find that odd. It isn’t until after both man and woman have eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil that we read their names for the very first time. Genesis 3:17, God calls Adam by name and disciplines him for his role in the fall of man. In turn, Adam turns around and names Eve. Isn’t that interesting?

Man and woman sin changing their complete relationship with God and each other, and in turn they get individualized names. Makes me wonder what if they hadn’t eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and chose to eat from the tree of life would they have the same names? Adam chose the name “Eve.” Eve means life. She would be “the mother of all the living”(1). Yes, man and woman had made a wrong choice. Yes, man and woman had sinned, but with God there is life after sin. There is hope. Life does go on giving us another opportunity to make better choices. Up until the fall, man had no need of hope because of the intimate relationship he had with God. There was nothing separating them, but when sin occurred a chasm, a great divide was placed between God and man that would only be bridged by a cross 2000 years later.

Thank you, God, for the hope we have in you because of the cross. Thank you, God, for knowing each of our names; for loving us so much you have our days numbered, steps ordained and hairs numbered. Thank you, God, for life and for redemption. I’m so thankful my name is “Child of God.”

(1) Patterson, Dorothy Kelly and Kelley, Rhonda Harrington. Women’s Evangelical Commentary Old Testament. Holman Reference. Nashville, TN. Pg 15

Friday, February 3, 2012

Being Second Doesn't Mean You're a Loser

Get up at 5:30 AM. Brush my teeth. Wash my face. Take a shower. Get dressed. Wake the children and husband by 6 AM. Put on my makeup. Check on the kids’ progress. Blow dry hair. Check on kids’ progress. Flat iron, tease and spray. Check on kids’ progress. Put on jewelry and shoes. Get kids moving to the kitchen for breakfast. Breakfast. Make sure all items for school are located in the cubbie. Make lunch. Go to work. Pick up children. Go to grocery store/library/etc. Start supper. Work on kids’ homework with them. Start a load of laundry. Review assignment pad with kids. Eat supper. One kid in tub. One kid helps to clean up. I clean up the kitchen. Transfer laundry. Swap kids in tub. Sit (maybe) for a moment. Then bedtime routine for kids. Fold laundry. Make list for the next day. Prepare for bed. Goodnight. Remember the commercial from the 70s – “I can get up in the mornin’, fry bacon in a pan, get the children to school, and be at work from 9 to 5 ‘cause I’m a woman. Enjoli.” (We bought that hook, line and sinker, didn’t we?)

Barring any unusual circumstances that is my typical day out of any particular sport season. You throw in sports or any type of enrichment, and that typical day has additional elements.

Wife. Mother. Employee. Sister. Daughter. Friend. Cook. Housekeeper. Taxicab driver. Financial manager. Pharmacist. Dishwasher. Conflict strategist (aka referee). Educator. Stylist. Organizer. Nutritionist. Counselor. Protector. The list could go on of all the roles I play, but you get the picture because you are a mom or you have a mom and have seen how hard she works. She doesn’t have a 9 to 5 job. I have a 16 hour days, 7 days a week. How many hats do you wear? How many plates do you keep spinning at one time?

And it’s not easy to be a woman in this day and age much less a godly woman. It’s not easy being a Christian mom, but I’m thankful because I had a good role model. I have resources and people whom I can call when I need guidance, assistance or support. But what about Eve? She was the first woman. No role model. No one she can call for the 411 on fixing a healthy meal out of vegetables only. No one to call 411 for when she didn’t understand her husband. No one to give a shout out when junior hits the terrible twos. You may have felt like that yourself at some point in your life. When I was going through fertility treatments and then the adoption process, I didn’t know a soul who had done either. I would have loved to have had a godly woman walk beside me through that, but God didn’t provide it. Instead, He was my source of comfort and strength and wisdom. He is after all the One who made this crazy body of mine. He knew what was going to happen. Why wouldn’t I have consulted Him first?

I want to look at Eve. I want to study her. Put myself in her shoes…I guess she really didn’t wear shoes. Put myself in her designer, fig leaf dress. Care to join me?

In Genesis 2, we see God made Adam from the dust of the field. We also see that God doesn’t make Eve right away. Say what? Nope. God parades the animals in front of Adam. God already knows that Adam needs a helper, but Adam doesn’t know he needs a helper. Adam sees males and females of the beasts of the field and birds of the air. He names them, but none are suitable to be his mate. Sometimes people have to be shown they do have a need. God performs the first surgery. He puts Adam to sleep and takes a rib.

A while back I read something that said God did not take a piece of Adam’s skull because God didn’t want the woman to rule over man. God did not take the bone from Adam’s foot because God didn’t want the woman to walked on. Rather, God took a rib. The rib is protected by the man’s arm, and the rib protects the man’s lungs (his breath, his life). AND the rib is close to the man’s heart. Kinda gives us how man and wife are to relate to one another…doesn’t it?

Eve, womankind, was made special. Adam was made from dirt. Other animals were spoken into existence or created in mass (birds of the air, beast of the field). But woman…God took Adam’s rib and formed Eve. When Adam would see Eve, he would know that he was part of her. They were joined…connected. God made woman special.

I saw something on Facebook or maybe Pinterest. It was a saying, and I wish I would have written it down, but the gist of the quote was this…If somebody tells you, you aren’t worth anything. If some boy says you aren’t worth fighting for. If some boy says you aren’t worth chasing, then you tell that person that there is someone who pursues you every day of your life and that He loves you so much that He died for you. He is the one from whom you get your value and not some snotty nose boy. (I added that last part. I plan on using that with Erin.)

The point is this…God didn’t make women second to be second class citizens. He didn’t make them second rate either with left over parts. He created each individual as He sees fit. Psalm 139 says He knits you together in your mother’s womb. Women are precious to God. We are daughters of the King of Kings. So when you don’t know what to do with the strong-willed child God gave you, cry out to Him. When your marriage is strained, call on God. When you don’t know what is going on with your health, reach for Him. He is pursuing you.

(PS More on Eve is to come…I’m just struggling with it…that’s all)