grace

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’s 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….  

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Today was a rough day

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Let’s just say that my day did not go as planned… Car troubles that seemed to multiply as the day went on (when you are a one car family, ANY car trouble is major trouble). Add to that the money troubles that seem to accompany car troubles, and all of the stress that develops as a result, and other ‘things’ I simply will not name and you have a recipe for drama, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, the need to repent for something when it’s all over, and kids who just don’t know what to do other than get away!  Sound familiar?  There was a time when stress would arise in response to negative situations and our whole family would be affected.  I realized a little while ago that our family wasn’t negatively impacted by the actual stressful situation, but by how we handled the stressful situation… I realized that I was not ‘casting my cares upon th Lord”, and I wasn’t trusting that “He (actually) cared for me”, as displayed by my negative response to issues that arose.  If you’ll notice with me, the beginning of this particular passage begins with the words, “So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…”. Have you ever noticed a the striking relationship between humility and stress?  We would be amazed at the impact that humility has on our stress levels!!! Most times, our stress levels can be reduces drastically by simply stepping back and, instead of focusing on how a stressful situation is affecting us, we can ask ourselves, “What can I do to help relieve stress for others (husband, kids, friends)?” It’s amazing!!! Simply by humbling myself and not thinking only about how things were impacting me, even while great levels of stress swarmed all around, nothing erupted and had to be cleaned up later.  I didn’t pout, or get angry, or get snappy…I found myself growing quiet…and prayerful… Oh, don’t get me wrong, I felt stress!!! I simply chose…decided…opted not to let the stress I was feeling control how I behaved! Instead, I found myself trying earnestly to do what I am suggesting to you…I focused on the next part of that verse; “…under the mighty POWER of God…” … and when I did that I wanted to shout praises to God, instead of shout or scream at my children or my husband…I wanted to raise my hands in worship, instead of covering my face with my hands and weeping.  The thought of humbling myself under the MIGHTY power of God….Did you hear that??? His POWER is MIGHTY!!! … Mighty!!!! And He is SOOOOOOOOOOO much more than able to take care of me when I get out of the way!!!

HUMBLE:  having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance

In other words, It’s not all about me!!! And a lot of times, our stress comes because we make everything ALL ABOUT US!!!! And it’s not!! “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3b  To be humble…to have a low estimate of your own importance…thinking of others as more important than yourself.” How often do we truly do that?

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As I watch my exhausted husband dosing in his recliner that he rarely gets to enjoy, I thank God that today I did not add to his stress.  I could have…very easily…and I almost did, but I am thankful that I did not.  The issues that we faced today as a family, and the issues we have faced in recent months and weeks, are stressful enough without adding a selfish, argumentative wife to the equation… My heart and prayers go out to him…he won’t sleep through the night…he has paperwork due for work in the morning…but he was so worn out after the days episodes, and after doing all he could do to deal with difficult situation after difficult situation… and even though there were several instances where the old me could have reappeared, today I thank God that she has been put to death by God’s Spirit….

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Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.” Romans 6:3-8

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So my sweetie sleeps…I will wake him shortly so that he can work through the night, get maybe a couple of hours of sleep, and get up and go to work in the morning. He does that often for us, and tonight I thank God I was not a source of stress for him today.  I am learning everyday to live out this new life Christ died to give me.  I am learning every day to put the needs of my husband before myself.  I am learning daily that the world does not revolve around me and what I want…or what I need in the moment.  I thank God that a very stressful day did not escalate due to my immaturity and refusal to humble myself and trust God to take care of us…Today, as his stress level mounted, I praise God I chose to respond with quietness, instead of quibbling.  I chose to respond with prayer instead of nitpicking.  I chose to see his needs and his struggles instead of his… This is not the voice of pride talking.  I am not a fan of the word “I” appearing too frequently…and I want you to know that it was not always this way…but today it was, and  I am so thankful to God for that. What  did you choose today?  What will you choose tomorrow…the next day? It’s not too late to choose the way of submission…the joys over here are too many to number…and more are discovered daily…

Please read the entire passage in the image above, and see how it all ties in to humility, and let me know how you plan to apply these verses to your life.   Did you know that “Heaven is [Gods] throne, and the earth is [his] footstool.” Isaiah 66:1 Think about it for a moment…how’s that for perspective! God is AMAZING!!! Praise Him on your knees! He is worthy 😀

Inspired by what I’m hearing from women from all over

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How do you pray

When at the end of each day

Your prayers from before

Have not come to pass?

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How do you believe

When all that you want to achieve

Is so hard that you don’t think

That your shrinking faith will last?

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How do you stand

Not realy knowing His plan

And the next step to take

Is an overwhelming mystery?

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How do you stay strong

And no matter what, hold on

When the place He’s leading you to

You just cannot see?

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I know why you cry

Hot tears streaming from your eyes

When the cry of your heart

You’re unsure if it passes the ceiling?

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I know why you wait

Walking a path that is narrow and straight

Even when you don’t know

If He will ever draw near

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I know why you trust

Believing in Him! That’s an absolute must

Though the truth of His existence

To your heartbroken eye has not been revealed

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I know why you groan

In your heart, deeply moan…

You know that He holds your future

And you are hidden in Him!

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I just want you to know that you are not alone.  There are women who love God and love you and are committed to praying for you and with you, even when your heart hurts so badly that you can’t pray for yourself.  Even though i was not able to finish the ‘Submission’ conversation this week (my phenomenal sweetie wanted a little more of my time spent with him and less on the computer…I’ll write about that later :D), just know that I prayed for you, and I will continue to pray!   ❤ Selena

Let’s Talk About Submission (Intro)

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Praise God that this video was finally able to be successfully uploaded at 12:45am!!!!!  If you read yesterdays post, or saw some of the things I said on Facebook yesterday, you know that this was a thorn in my flesh yesterday… but there is something to be said about not giving up when God has given you a task or a command.  After more than 12 hours laboring with this and enlisting my children to help, I am awake and my strength has been renewed!!!…Well, actually, I am tired and can’t wait to go to bed :D, but you know what I mean.  You’ll definitely want to take a look at the video below. It officially kicks off this discussion on the topic/issue of submission with an introduction to the discussion and an overview of the upcoming month!

 

 

 

Every woman I know struggles with submission.We are all feminists at heart, clear back to Eve.  We want to be independent.  It’s just the way we are.  It’s not the way God made us, but it is the way we are as a result of the fall…Some people think submission implies weakness, doormat-ishn-ess.  Actually, the reverse is true: submission is difficult and takes great strength of character. It’s not weak women who submit respectfully; it’s strong ones.”      

Victoria Botkin, wife of Geoffrey Botkin, mother of seven and author of She Shall Be Called Woman

I agree with Victoria… every woman I know struggles with submission.  Not because we want to, but because our flesh demands that we do.  Our struggle to submit is larger than just in the area of our marriages.  We struggle to submit to God daily… because we have not let go of our sinful hearts.  We still want to do things our way, and we want to make our way Gods way…but it doesn’t work like that.  His ways must become our ways or nothing else works. Not our marriages, not our parenting, not our friendships…it will all be a struggle unless we conform to His will and submit to His Word.  Submission is not the four letter word we have believed it to be.  It is a grace-filled word that will bless your life once you make the choice to embrace it.

Your heart will be broken…

Your head will bow down…

Your hands will lift in worship…

When the grace of God comes down..

To fill your heart with Strength

And overwhelm you with His love

This happens only in submission

To the God of Heaven above

Don’t forget to read 1 Peter 3:8-12 in the context of marriage and relationships.  I will look forward to talking to you later today!!! I am sooo glad this worked out… Oh! And please don’t forget to connect with me here or over on Facebook.  I can’t wait to get to know you and hear your story!  See you soon!!

October Conversation of the Month: SUBMISSION

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As we prepare our hearts to dip our big toes…then our feet, then our legs, then our hands…and arms…and ultimately to immerse our entire selves into the waters of Biblical Submission for the entire month of October, I want us to begin to prepare for the amazing journey ahead by…you guessed it! Praying for our husbands.  Let’s not even begin this process with our focus on us, but let’s begin with our love of God filling our hearts, and thoughts of how best to please and serve Him filling our thoughts. You say, “What does pleasing and serving God have to do with praying for my husband?”, and to that I say EVERYTHING!!! 😀

Genesis 2:18, 21-23

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.“At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh!”

She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’”

Simply put, we were created from Adam, to help him accomplish all that God had placed him here to do.  We were not placed here to pursue our own vision, our own ministry, our own dreams and goals… We were created from him and for him…He needs our prayers, and he needs our hearts to be fully present for the battles that are ahead.  The following prayer is a FREE download from http://www.reneeswope.com.  As we prepare to cross over into the month of October, will you commit with me to praying for our husbands from head to toe for the next month? Even when you do not ‘feel’ like it (especially then), or when you are hurt or angry…or disappointed or disillusioned…I guarantee you will see a change…in you 😀 Did I tell you how EXCITED I am about spending the next month with you? I pray you are excited too!! Be sure to tell a friend 😀

image courtesy of http://www.dandelionseeds.com/?page_id=783674

Praying for My Husband from Head to Toe 

Head Father, I ask that You would continually renew my husband’s mind, resulting in a transformed life. Help him bring every thought to Christ and make it obedient to You. Give him a greater understanding of Your Word. Help him to think on things that are pure and right and worthy of praise.” (Psalm 119:15, Rom 12:2, 2 Cor.10:5)

Eyes Lord, keep open my husband’s eyes to spiritual truths that You have for him. Help him to see things as You see them. Please guard his eyes from things that make his heart wander away from you and me. (Psalm 119:18, Psalm 119:37)

Ears Father, help my husband to hear Your voice clearly. Give him wisdom to recognize your voice with certainty. Protect him from listening to those who aren’t seeking or walking with You. Guard him from negativity of what others say, and help him discern between good and evil. Thank you for giving him the ability to determine what is of You and what is not. (Is 30:21, 1 Kings 3:9, 1 John 4:1)

Mouth Jesus, help my husband to speak the truth in love. Your desire is for him to be quick to listen and slow to speak – so I pray that you would make that his desire too. Give him courage to lovingly confront when necessary. Let the words he speaks be Yours, not his own. Help him speak words that bring grace and truth to the hearers. Thank you that You want to help him grow in his ability and desire to communicate with you and others. (Psalm 19:14, 119:13, 41:3; Eph 4:15, 4:29; James 1:19)

Heart Lord, instill in my husband’s heart a desire to seek passionately after You. Teach him to guard his heart with diligence and wisdom. Help him deal with anything in his heart that is not pleasing to You or that separates him from You. Create in him a pure heart, O Lord. Thank you that You are enabling him to lead our family with integrity and honor. (Psalm 78:72, 119:10-11; Prov 4:23; 1 Thes 3:13)

Hands Lord, I pray everything my husband does would be done with his whole heart, serving You rather than man. Seeking to please You alone. I pray You will increase his skills and his abilities so that he might bring honor and glory to you – and feel like a good provider for our family. Thank You for blessing everything he puts his hands to. (Psalm 24:3-4, Col 3:23)

Feet Jesus, I pray my husband would love Your Words and walk in Your ways. Help him walk in a manner that is worthy of You, bearing fruit in every good work. I pray You’d show him how to creatively share your truth with our kids as he does life with them each day. Father, when he walks through the valley of the shadow of doubt and difficulties, I pray he would fear no evil because He knows that you are with him. Thank you for loving and leading Him. (Deut 6:7, 8:6, Col 1:10, Psalm 23:4

Handle With Care

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This picture is being shared compliments of greathomeschoolconventions.com.  I read this today and just had to share!