Financial struggles

Our First Giveaway Final Post (last chance to enter)

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Today is the 5th and final post in our 7 Day Supply of Cloth Pantiliner GIVEAWAY!!! A LOT of information has been shared, and there is so much more out there, but our final post is dedicated to user testimonies and feedback, ending with my own ūüėÄ ¬†The pantiliners below are made by me, and were completed and delivered to a customer on Friday evening. ¬†She is a 50+ year old woman, who was extremely pleased to have learned about these products, and beyond extremely excited to purchase them for herself. ¬†Here is what she had to say after wearing them for a couple of days;

“I LOVE them!!! They are soooo comfortable and feminine! I am talking them up like crazy and I can’t wait for the women¬†in my family and my friends to begin using these!! Thank You for sharing this with me!!!” ¬†~Felecia (social worker)

Felecia is a woman who, prior to 2 weeks ago, had never even heard of cloth pads/pantiliners and now she is a very satisfied user:D The items pictured are her order and were taken before being delivered to her!

wpid-20130118_185425.jpg
These are size L-XL (14+) and are made of a combination flannel/flannel and flannel/fleece.

Our second user testimony comes from a long-time user of cloth feminine products, if you consider one year a long-time. ūüėÄ

“I started using reusable menstrual pads about a year ago. I had been interested in trying them for about 12 years, but it was just something I put on the back burner. When I finally got them, I was hesitant to try them at first because of the “ick” factor, but pressed ahead because I had¬†purposefully let my¬†disposable pads run out the previous month so I had no choice! I LOVE THEM! I don’t feel like I am wearing a pad at all! Also, the reusable pads seem to be more absorbent. They are so easy to take care of as well. ¬†I just toss them in the washing machine with whatever load I happen to be putting in and I’m done!” ¬†~ Zakiyyah (SAHM)

 

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These pantiliners as well as the S-M ones fold for easy transport.

Now for the last product testimony…mine ūüėÄ

Let me just tell you that I am a very satisfied user of these products. ¬†I received a message on Facebook from a friend who knew I loved to sew and was sewing/making things for the purpose of selling. ¬†She sent me a link to a site and I was hooked almost immediately!! I began to research these products and the reasons so many hundreds of thousands of women use them. And before I knew it, I was making them and developing a customer base! I truly am my best customer :D. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pantiliners and wear them everyday. ¬†They are incredibly comfortable and soft, and very absorbant. ¬†They have proven to be reliable for daily use, including the occasional ‘Oops” when a sneeze or cough causes…you know the rest :P.¬†They have also replaced the need for me to purchase disposable pantiliners ever again. ¬†Paying for these once has benefits for years. Look at the first Giveaway post to see the cost comparisons. The reason I chose pantiliners for the giveaway is because I have found that they are the easiest for women to make the switch to. There’s very little apprehension or “GROSS!!!” comments when it comes to something used for daily protection. Once these are experienced, the next step in a majority of cases are to the cloth pads. ¬†These are definite introductions to a knew experience in feminine care.

I had a customer recently ask me what I hoped to gain by making these and sharing information. I responded that I want to raise awareness, particularly in the African American Community where there is very little if anything known about alternatives to carcinogen laced feminine products. ¬†This giveaway and the past weeks blog posts are just the beginning. As we learn to love the Lord with ALL our hearts, ALL our minds, and ALL our souls, and love our neighbor (yes, our husbands are our neighbors as well) as ourselves, I pray that we could learn to take information like what’s being shared and begin to apply it to our lives and make wise decisions. ¬†We will be changing and making changes for the rest of our lives…and then in the end we will experience the ULTIMATE change…

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,¬†In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be ch anged.For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.¬†So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.¬†O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?¬†The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.¬†But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.¬†Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

So what in the world do these verse have to do with menstrual pads??? EVERYTHING!!!! ¬†All of the changes we experience in life are preparing us for something GREAT!!! We can never get complacent…we have to keep growing and moving and learning…One day we will be permanently changed!!! But until that glorious day we are charged by God to take care of His temple…and we are that temple!!! We have the responsibility to do the things that will care for this body and not to do the tings that will destroy it!! There are many things that are harmful that we do not know, but when we learn about them, and still do them, we will be held accountable. Now, I am not saying that using plastic pads and tampons and pantiliners will send any of us to Hell, but I am saying that because of the extremely dangerous chemicals involved, we may hasten our face to face meeting with the Lord by using them. And while that appeals to some, it is not the way any of us want to see Him. I implore you to make the HEALTHY choice..even if you choose to buy them from a well known manufacturer instead of me, just get them…and let other women know that we have choices!!! And they are good ones!!! I find myself telling women about these everywhere I go. I pray you will too ‚̧

You have one more chance to enter the drawing to receive a 7 Day Supply of Cloth Pantiliners FREE ($63 value), and one more chance to spread the word about the Giveaway. ¬†Don’t waste it…take all of what you learned last week and make good use of it ūüėÄ God Bless ALL of you!!! Click the link below…

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Why Use Cloth Feminine Products (FIRST GIVEAWAY DAY 2)

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 pantiliners

First of all, let me say how SUPER EXCITED I am to be offerring these in our FIRST GIVEAWAY!! ¬†There are Sooooooo many reasons why you would want to use these AMAZING items, and add them to your life that I will not be able to name, but I will name a few. ¬†Before I go any further, be sure to enter the FREE GIVEAWAY for a 7 DAY SUPPLY OF CLOTH PANTILINERS at the end of this post! ¬† Alright…here we go!!

STATISTICAL FACTS via Lunapads.com

Approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are sent to North American landfills annually.

            On an individual level, each of the approximately 73 million menstruating people in North America will throw away 125 to 150kg or approximately 16,800 disposable pads or tampons in their lifetime.

            Disposable pads and tampons are made primarily of bleached kraft pulp or viscose rayon, the origin of which is wood cellulose from trees. What makes these products perform so effectively is the use of high tech chemicals such as super-absorbent acrylic polymers (SAPs) surfactant-laced gels and leak-proof plastic backings. The long-term health and environmental impact of these ingredients is contentious and largely unknown.

            In 1991, the Landbank Consultancy report reviewed the environmental impact of disposable diapers and concluded that compared to cloth diapers, throwaway diapers used 20 times more raw materials, three times more energy and twice as much water; overall they generated 60 times more waste . Disposable menstrual pads are made from substantially equivalent materials and ingredients as disposable diapers.

         [Cloth Pads} will last well over 5 years with recommended use and care, as opposed to 3 or 4 hours in the case of disposable products. While individual use may vary, we estimate that a single Lunapad replaces 120 disposable pads or tampons.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The cost of reusable products is significantly less than disposables ‚Äď you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over time.

            1,000,000 disposable pads and tampons are now being diverted from landfills monthly thanks to [Cloth Pad customers] having made the switch to reusable products, and tens of thousands worldwide are feeling more connected to themselves and at peace with their consumer choices.

Cost Savings Analysis

Reusable menstrual products present an opportunity for real financial savings, as demonstrated by the table below. We have chosen not to include two ancillary costs: utilities and detergent used to clean washable pads and the portion of property taxes used to finance garbage pickup of used disposable products and landfill maintenance.

DISPOSABLE PADS VS. CLOTH PADS SAVINGS CALCULATION

DISPOSABLE PADS

Price @ Drugstore.com

# Per Pack

Cost Per Pad

Pads per Period

Cost per 5 Years

Always Flexiwing Maxi Pads

$7.99

36

$0.22

20

$266.33

Stayfree Maxi Pads with Wings

$6.79

36

$0.19

20

$226.33

Seventh Generation Ultra Thin Maxi Pads

$4.29

14

$0.31

20

$367.71

Natracare Organic Cotton Maxi Pads

$5.49

14

$0.39

20

$470.57

U by Kotex Ultra Thin Maxi Pads

$7.99

36

$0.22

20

$266.33

U by Kotex Nite Pads with Wings

$4.49

14

$0.32

20

$384.86

 CLOTH PADS DELUXE KIT
Cost per 5 Years: $129.99
Whats Included:
2 Mini Pads
2 Basic Mini Liners, 2 Mini Wing Liners
3 Maxi Pads
2 Maxi Liners, 2 Maxi Wing Liners
2 Long Pads
2 Basic Long Liners, 2 Long Wing Liners

OVERALL SAVINGS

Average Cost of Disposable Pads (5 Years) $330.36
Cost of AVG. CLOTH PAD Deluxe Kit (5 Years) $129.99
Average Savings Using [CLOTH PADS] $200.37
DISPOSABLE TAMPONS & MENSTRUAL CUPS

Price @ Drugstore.com

# per Pack

Cost per Tampon

Tampons per Period

Cost per 5 Years

Playtex Regular Tampons

$9.99

36

$0.28

20

$333.00

Tampax Pearl Tampons with Applicator

$8.99

36

$0.25

20

$299.67

OB Non Applicator Tampons

$4.49

18

$0.25

20

$299.33

Seventh Generation Tampons

$5.19

20

$0.26

20

$311.40

Instead Cup

$9.49

24

$0.40

20

$474.50

U by Kotex Tampons

$8.29

36

$0.23

20

$276.33

TAMPONS VS. DIVACUP SAVINGS CALCULATION   

REUSABLE MENSTRUAL CUP

Unit Cost 

Life (Years)

Cost Per 5 Years

The DivaCup

$35.00

2

$87.50

OVERALL SAVINGS

Average Cost of Disposable Tampons or Cups (5 Years) $332.37
Cost of The DivaCup (5 Years) $87.50
Average Savings Using The DivaCup $244.87

The above charts are used compliments of Lunapads.com, a leading company in the manufacturing of cloth feminine products. As you can see the cost savings is HUGE. ¬†Be sure to read the info and even if you have NEVER heard of these or only slighty considering theses as an option, ENTER THE GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a weeks supply FREE. ¬†Click the link below and come back daily for updates and new information…and to enter again! ūüėÄ

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Is It Possible to be Godly Without Being Content? Thoughts inspired by looking back on a Sunday afternoon

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“But godliness with contentment is great gain.¬†For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.¬†But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that…. But you,… flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” ¬†Timothy 6:6-11

We Want More

I never thought of myself as a greedy, selfish or materialistic person. But recently I realized that while I may not have been all of those things, I was not a content one either.

Dictionary.com defines content as;

“satisfied¬†with¬†what¬†one¬†is¬†or¬†has;¬†not¬†wanting¬†more¬†or anything¬†else.”

Not only did that definiton fail to describe me, I couldn’t think of anyone I knew that it did describe. I mean really, who doesn’t want more? Who is really satisfied with what they have? Who do you know that looks at their life and can honestly say that they don’t want anything else…absolutely nothing? We live in a country where wanting more is the norm. And debt is how we achieve it. ¬†Take a look at some recent statistics that were posted on Creditcards.com.

  • Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $15,799*
  • 609.8 million credit cards held by U.S. consumers.¬†(Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Average number of credit cards held by cardholders: 3.5, as of yearend 2008¬†(Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Average APR on new credit card offer: 14.89 percent¬†(Source:¬†CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report, July 20,¬†2011.)
  • Average APR on credit card with a balance on it: 13.10 percent, as of May 2011¬†(Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, released July 2011)
  • Total U.S. revolving debt (98 percent of which is made up of credit card debt): $793.1 billion, as of May 2011¬†(Source:¬†Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, released July 2011)
  • Total U.S. consumer debt: $2.43 trillion, as of May 2011¬†(Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, released July 2011)
  • U.S. credit card 30-day delinquency rate: 3.3 percent.¬†(Source: Moody’s, May 2011)

With the mortgage and debt crisis that hit our nations economy in recent years, and has so greatly impacted the American people I truly believe that the bell that calls us all to contentment is ringing loud and clear. ¬†There is nothing like losing ‘everything’ to cause you to be thankful for anything.

The year we almost lost everything…

In 2002, my family found themselves on the wrong side of a foreclosure. Barely 30 years old, four children, a mortgage, 2 vehicles, and a rental property to boot, it appeared we were finally living the American Dream. But there were things going on that we couldn’t see; we were unaware of predatory lending practices and in 2002 there were no laws against them. ¬†We had been allowed to gain a mortgage that had an adjustable rate attached to it and from one month to the next we saw the interest jump 10% and our payment followed. At that point we couldn’t figure out why this was happening to us. ¬†We weren’t just products of the American culture, we were victims of a lot of the false teachings in the American church. We had done everything right, hadn’t we? We were faithful in fellowship with other believers and in our giving. So according to the church world, God promised to take give us everything we wanted…the cars, the dream house, the ‘life’ that others envied…right?

But it wasn’t right. We, like so many others had believed the lie of the world. ¬†We were christians…my husband was a senior pastor at the time…and we taught the congregation the importance of being/becoming debt-free, but we were not living it. ¬†Oh, we had cut up our credit cards and paid them off, but credit card debt is not the only debt. And for quite a few of us¬†(not all) we have accepted the world’s definition of what’s acceptable over the Word’s definition. ¬†And we pursue stuff and don’t even realize it…I know I didn’t.

“Owe nothing to anyone‚ÄĒexcept for your obligation to love one another.” Romans 13:8¬†

When our home was foreclosed on, and the car that was not paid off was repossessed, we were devastated! But why? Why did the loss of these material things matter so much. ¬†Why did we experience grief, and tears and what was perceived as public humiliation over the loss of stuff? Why were we ostracised by certain people as if foreclosure and loss were contagious? Because in America it’s more than just stuff. Those things have come to be symbols of blessings, and symbols of God’s favor on our lives. But really? Things obtained largely through debt are a symbol, or the symbol of God’s favor or His approval on our lives? So then, the loss of these things meant what? That God was no longer with us…that we had somehow fallen out of His good graces. ¬†This is so well believed in our communities that we have spawned an entire generation that will steal and murder just to get someone elses stuff. ¬†We just want more…

Now am I saying that every person that buys a new house or a new car is greedy? Absolutely not. But I am saying that if you remove the false indoctrination that we have been exposed to in this culture, most of us would agree that our needs are more than met. So when does contentment enter in? Contentment enters in when we realize that while this stuff amounts to everything in the world’s economy, it amounts to nothing in God’s economy. ¬†It’s just stuff. It carries no eternal value. but our souls do, and we have been taught to sell our souls to this world in exchange for the stuff the world offers. We are trying to gain it all. This is particularly evident with feminist personalities. ¬†Women are encouraged to resist marriage and children for the pursuit of a career (Genesis 1:28), the dream car, the travel, the stuff (“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3).¬†¬†We have been taught to place greater value on things than on people. ¬†We are taught that the life of the unborn is worthless when that life puts the attainment of our worldly pursuits at risk. Who needs a baby when you have a job? Our desire for more, in essence, is our refusal to be content. ¬†We have yard sales, and give aways, and we give so much away to charities and drives…we waste so much of what we pay for…but then we go buy more stuff.

Even after we lost our home and our car, I still didn’t get it. (I also didn’t get that those things were not ours…they were owned by the bank!! Which was evidenced by their willingness to claim their property when we could no longer pay the ‘rental’ fee)…My motives were so wrong. ¬†Rather than simply appreciating the fact that my family had a roof over our heads and food and heat and water and clothing and shoes …. I was still focused on more… I wanted the bigger house and another car…these were not needs. God had met my needs. But my pursuit of more was me telling God that his provision was sadly not enough. ¬†And my pressuring my husband to work harder…to be away from us more and for longer periods of time…and then being angry because he wasn’t around more…simply communicated to him that his provision was not enough, and that I valued the things he provided more than I valued him!! I wanted what the world offered, and I wanted God to provide miraculously while I ‘encouraged’ my husband to work for more of it, and even got into more debt to gain it. ¬†So many of my faulty views and misunderstandings of God and His will for His children break my heart when I think about them, not just for me, but because I know that there are still so many people who are still victims of a faulty ideology…so many women who are still slaves to a mindset that promised an illusive freedom…and stole their souls in return.

Today we live in the first home we ever owned. ¬†All but one of our four children were born while we lived here, and there are a million and one memories…and endless repairs. ¬† It is not the house of my dreams…I don’t have my dream kitchen with the island in the middle…there are six of us and ONE bathroom… and it’s home. We have one car, one house, fewer bills, less debt…and so much more time together. ¬†My husband asked me last year if I wanted him to put in more hours at work so that we could afford to move to a bigger house and nicer neighborhood. I didn’t even have to think about my answer! ABSOLUTELY NOT!! I quickly told him that having time with him as well as him being able to spend time with the kids was so much more valuable to me than any big house or another car. Not that I don’t want those things, but I don’t value them more than I value time with him. ¬†Where are your priorities? Would you be willing to consider a simpler life if it meant having more time with the ones you love? If money troubles are a key factor in most divorces, isn’t that a sign that our priorities are out of order?

Tomorrow we’ll be back to focusing on Submission…I just wanted to share what was on my heart today….

The loss of ‘stuff’ draws us closer to The Lord

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I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:1-2

It is the end of a long day, and almost the start of a new one, and I am the only one awake. While I desperately need to get some sleep, I enjoy these quiet evenings and the quiet time that I am able to spend reflecting on the day and sharing the goings on of our family and our lives with the Lord. ¬†As I sit here I am reminded of a night much like this one, when we were going through a particularly difficult time as a family. ¬†My husband was the senior pastor of a small inner-city church and had devoted himself full-time to that vocation. ¬†Things were more than a little ‘tight’ financially, and we had made cut-backs every where that we could in order to ensure that our family was provided for as well as the people of God. ¬†We were young…and somewhat naively ¬†(I’m being nice) believed that if we took care of the ‘church’ and all of its responsibilities, that God would miraculously take care of us as well. ¬†And while we weren’t wrong, we weren’t right either. ¬†In our thinking back then, the church that we were taking care of was the building, and it’s utilities first, and then the people who came to worship and fellowship, and their needs. On this particular night, I was awake very late at night, pouring my heart out to the Lord. My car had just been repossessed, and my home was being foreclosed on…and I didn’t understand why…or how. ¬†Oh, I understood that if you don’t pay your bills, this is what happens. ¬†But I didn’t understand that you could truly believe that you were serving the Lord to the best of your ability by the power of His Spirit, and this is what happens. And I was hurt. ¬†Why was God allowing us to suffer loss when our lives were committed to Him? So that night, I prayed…fervently, passionately, tearfully, heart-wrenchingly…and quietly…in a whisper… My kids and my husband were sleeping upstairs and I didn’t want to wake them up. ¬†But I wanted God to hear me!!!! And I cried and prayed and groaned and moaned….and whispered. ¬†Had someone been spying on me, they would have definitely thought I was crazy…but I knew…I knew He would hear me…if I yelled, if I wailed, if I screamed, if I cried…if I whispered…and even if I wrapped my arms around myself and never uttered a sound. I knew the He would know, and more than know, I was confident, even in my loss, that He cared about the things that were hurting me.

As I cried that night, I thought that losing those things was almost more than I could bear. ¬†For some reason, I had bought into the lie that so many have fallen for in today’s church, that ‘stuff’ is the sign that the Lord loves you and has received you as His own. ¬†I wasn’t hurt because of the house and the car. ¬†I was hurt because of what I believed they represented…and because of what I believed losing them meant. I was hurt because I erroneously believed that God had withdrawn His blessings from my family, and He had done it publicly. I shake my head as I look back on that time. ¬†Understand, God had not withdrawn His Spirit. ¬†We had only lost a house…and a car. ¬†That’s all. ¬†But the joy comes in as I look back because even though I grieved the loss of these material, replaceable things, God still listened to my prayers!!!! He still comforted me as I lamented and moaned because I didn’t understand. ¬†He still walked with us when other pastors treated us as if loss was contagious…as rumors started and it was said we must have sinned against the Lord to suffer loss ike that. ¬†God, who knows our beginning from our end, never wavered. ¬†He never closed his ears to our prayers. ¬†But as our patient father, He comforted us, and let us cry. ¬†When I was all cried out, then I was able to find peace in His word. ¬†I was lovingly reminded that material things are not the sign of His acceptance, but it is His Holy Spirit. ¬†We had suffered the loss of things that could be replaced…and we grieved…I grieved…but God remained Faithful…even though our perspective was wrong and immature…He remained patient. ¬†And he knew something we didn’t know yet; He knew we would learn from this. ¬†He knew that we would come out of that situation better people…more committed believers…more compassionate servants…more humble children…He knew. And He waited. ¬†And that night, like so many others, He wiped my tears…And I grew up.

If you have gone through difficult times and experienced the loss of some of the material things that we amass on this earth, know that God’s plan for your life is bigger than a house. ¬†It’s bigger than a car. ¬†It’s bigger than a job. his plan in your life is to work in such a way that everything that we have placed before him in our hearts or minds is brought down. His plan is to bring all of us to a place where when we look up, we see only Him. ¬†He truly desires to be the object of our affection…the One who we adore. ¬†Things are just that…things. ¬†And there is no thing that you have right now that can’t be replace. ¬†But the presence of God…the joy and peace that is only found when we are in right relationship with Him…if we were to lose that, then we would have reason to grieve.

I haven’t sat up late at night and cried to the Lord for the things I have lost in a long time. ¬†Not because I haven’t lost anything since then, but because my perspective had changed through my losses. ¬†I have learned that God is Faithful! And that everything that we go through, every loss that we suffer, is an opportunity to thank Him and show gratitude for what we have and for the person we are becoming as a result of that trial.

When I look back, every loss in my life has drawn me closer and closer to the Lord. ¬†I encourage you to allow your losses to do the same. ¬†Decide to outlaw bitterness and anger from your heart. ¬†Those evils only make your ‘growing up’ take longer. ¬†In other words, they are growth retardants in your life. ¬†Instead choose joy…choose peace. ¬†And let God be God. ¬†He truly knows what He’s doing in you. ¬†When you sit quietly to talk to Him, thank Him for every loss. As we lose our grip on the things of this world, we gain a firmer grip on the things that matter to Him most. Find rest in Him no matter what you are going through. ¬†His goodness in our lives isn’t dependant on what we have, but on who He is.

Are we ungodly influences?

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What fruit are we presenting to our husbands?… our sons…our daughters…our friends…our enemies? Genesis 3:6

The question of the type of influence I am in the lives of my husband and my children has been rolling around my heart and mind for some time now. ¬†As we spend our mornings reading, and digging deeply in to the timeless Wisdom of Proverbs, I become increasingly more aware of so many things I want for them…and so many things I don’t. ¬†The desire of my heart is to be the kind of mother whose instructions they can listen to with full confidence, knowing it to be rooted in God’s Word. ¬†But as much as I want this, I know that this is not the case all of the time. ¬†It may be when I am speaking to them directly, but what about in my conversations with others? ¬†Do they hear me consistently repeating the perspective found in Gods Word, or am I occasionally spouting off my own faulty opinions? ¬†Are my sons able to look at my life and see and hear an example of a godly wife and mother by my conversation and deeds? ¬†Are my daughters able to look and listen to me and see an examle of a godly wife and mother? Or are they being given mixed messages from a heart still stuck between feminism and femininity…unsettled between fighting for my rights instead of following Christ’s example (“Though he was God,¬†he did not think of equality with God¬†as something to cling to.)? ¬†Am I a Godly influence? A lot of time is spent encouraging them in their discipleship process, but do I also spend a lot of time grumbling and complaining about the church, or speaking negatively about their father to others when I don’t think they can hear me? It took me a long time to find joy in a life of submission, and now that I found that, ¬†I can look back and see how far the Lord has brought me. I am ashamed to say that, during the early years of my marriage, and just the younger years of my life, I was guilty of being an ungodly influence in the lives of others through the venue of gosipping…or complaining…or self-centeredness…and I was a Christian. ¬†I do not want to continue that and I know that choosing to influence others for Christ is not something we do on accident! We must choose to everyday.

The first wife who proved to be an ungodly influence in the life of the one she was created to love was Eve. ¬†We see her using her God given influence to dishonor the Lord, ¬†and lead her husband into sin. ¬†Her decision to use her influence negatively not only impacted her future, but the future of all who would ever be born. ¬†As a mother four times over, I believe I can speak confidently when I say that the greatest horror a mother will ever face is the death of her child(ren). ¬†That is an almost inconceivable level of pain and heartache. ¬†Now imagine that you not only lose one of your sons, but that his life was ended by the hands of your other son, his brother ¬†All of your dreams for him and hopes for his future are gone in one moment! ¬†No grandchildren with his eyes, or his smile. ¬†No little person running up to you who, from a distance, transports you back in time to a day when he was just a little boy. ¬†No oopses that have you laughing inside as you shake your head thinking, “You are just like your father”. ¬†That life is forever gone, and though you have other children, maybe even 1,000 of them, not one can erase the pain of the loss of Abel. ¬†As your other beloved boy, the murderer, is sent away from you forever, you are left to live with an eternal ache in your heart that reminds you with every beat, ¬†that all of this could have been avoided if you had used the influence God gave you for good and not for evil.

Good influence or bad, our actions have consequences, and those consequences are often our pain and sorrow as we witness the ones we love live their lives or make decisions based on our influence or guidance. ¬†This is why it is so omportant to know our motives and submit them to the Lord. ¬†Proverbs 24:12 says, “Don‚Äôt excuse yourself by saying, ‚ÄúLook, we didn‚Äôt know.‚Ä̬†For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.¬†He who guards your soul knows you knew.¬†He will repay all people as their actions deserve.”¬† For some of us, being a negative influence isn’t something we think about. ¬†The subtle manipulations we engage in are simply learned patterns of behavior and interaction. ¬†They’re not overt or blatant acts of control, and who notices anyway? Simple answer, God does, and so do our children. ¬†We must remember that behaviors are learned…even subtle ones.

¬†“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won‚Äôt be doing what your sinful nature craves.¬†The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.¬†…¬†When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,¬†idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,¬†envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,¬†gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!¬†Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” ¬†Galatians 5:16-25

As women, God has given us a natural influence in the lives of our husbands, our children, and those that we care about and interact with. ¬†Let’s ask ourselves how are we using that influence. ¬†Are we using it to draw others closer to the Lord and to make His name famous in the earth, or are we using it to bring about our own will and plans for our lives? ¬†Let’s purpose in our hearts to be God-like influences in the lives of those closest to us. ¬†Don’t follow the example of Eve who led her husband into sin, and who is a woman forever remembered for her contribution to the sinful state of the world. “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit‚Äôs leading in every part of our lives.”

Submission: A Perspective on God’s Love For Us

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“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.¬†For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.¬†For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.¬†As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.¬†For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her¬†to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God‚Äôs word.¬†He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.¬†In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.¬†No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.¬†And we are members of his body.”

Ephesians 5:21-30

How many of us have ever actually thought of our husbands as THE greatest gift, outside of salvation, that the Lord in his providence saw fit to bless us with? I am sure that a lot of us don’t think of them that way, because if we did,we would treat them better than we do. ¬†Look at the way we treat gifts that we place a high value on; we package them with bubble wrap, or foam to ensure that they don’t get broken, or we put them away in a protected place where our children and any other potentially harmful elements can’t get a hold of them. When they get dirty or dusty we don’t display them to the world in that state, but we polish or wash them clean before we put them on display…and if they are injured, broken in a place, or cracked, we turn that part away from the gaze of any onlookers, so that in the eyes of others their value will not be diminished. ¬†We love and take care of our gifts, and we want everyone to know what our thoughts are about them…who gave them to us…how much they cost…and how heartbroken we would be if something happened to them. ¬†We communicate all of this, sometimes, without saying a word. ¬†But what do our lives and attitudes…and even our words, communicate about the gift…the prize that God gave us to demonstrate to us how much he loved us? It breaks my heart when I hear women destroying their husbands, their gift, with their words. ¬†It breaks my heart when I see women treat their husbands coldly or indifferently, because he had the audacity not to follow one of her commands, or to do things other than the way she suggested. ¬†It breaks my heart to see the pain and humiliation in a mans eyes, masked by a laugh or a smile, after his wife has shared a story that communicates how vast his baffoon skills have become. ¬†It breaks my heart to see the look on a mans face when he has been cut off at the knees, in front of family, his children, or in the company of friends, by the words of the woman chosen by him to be his helper. It breaks my heart when I see how the relationship changes when Adam realizes that his helper has helped to cause him more pain and despair than he ever imagined possible… even to the point of negatively impacting his relationship with his father…Does it break your heart????

And I know ladies…I know…He’s NOT perfect! And he doesn’t treat me the way I should be treated…and he can’t keep a job…and he’s angry all of the time…and he doesn’t spend any time with me…and when he comes home all he ever wants to do is watch sports or hang out with his friends…and I don’t know if I still even love him…or like him… And I think I would have been better off if I had married _________________! And the list goes on!! But guess what? We’re NOT perfect! And we don’t treat him the way he should be treated…and we may not be able to keep a job…and we may be angry all the time…and we may not spend any time with him…and when we are home all we ever want to do is watch our shows, talk to our friends, stay on the computer (facebook)…and they may not know if they still loves us…or likes us…and they may think that they would have been better off married to ____________! ….

That last one hit a nerve I am sure, because we allow ourselves the freedom to think whatever we want to think, but are ready to do a “drive by” if we even think that they are thinking the same things!!! But let’s take a minute and think about something; What if the only way for our marriages to change is for us to change? What if the only way our husbands hearts towards us will change is for us to change our hearts towards them? ¬†And what if the only way for us to change our hearts towards our husbands is for us to change our hearts towards God! And what if the only way for us to change our perspective on God was to open the Book he left on record for us and read the Word of God as opposed to listening to the world and what it say about our marriage?

Genesis chapter 1 tells us that God spoke EVERYTHING into existence except man. ¬†For with Adam God took his time and made (to¬†construct,¬†build,¬†assemble,¬†put together,¬†manufacture,¬†produce, create,¬†form,¬†fashion,¬†model) him! And then from the rib of man he made woman!!! Did you get that??? He spoke EVERYTHING ELSE INTO EXISTENCE but he MADE US WITH HIS VERY OWN HANDS!!!! ¬†And then he gifted us to eachother!!! Adam was God’s greatest creation and made to have genuine fellowship…relationship with the God of the Universe!!! And Eve…. Eve was woman…also hancrafted by God…but made differently than man, because part of her man was used to help make her!!!! She would be unmade without him!!! And ladies, so would we today! Think of it this way; Eve was the FIRST and BEST gift Adam was ever given…given specifically to HELP him live out the lives God had commanded him to live by walking beside him and learning with him, and looking at him with the same wonder that she saw when he looked at her. ¬†We are designed to look ‘up’ to him in honor and respect…to be the reminders always of the man God created…HANDCRAFTED them to be!!!!!! And he is commanded to be the vessel that God would always be able to love us through…. But something went wrong… and the place we just talked about is the place we are constantly fighting to get back to… Adam is raging for battling with Eve because when he looks at her, he no longer sees the respect due him simply by being handcrafted in the image of God. And Eve is crying out in the way she walks, and talks, and dresses…and controls and demands…for Adam to notice…to attend to…to love her the way her creator promised she would always be…. But our starting points are wrong…our perspectives have been skewed by the Fall…. ¬†