What does it mean to “help” my husband?

I was pondering my wifely skills and shortcomings (praying He will “cleanse me from my secret faults”) this morning and asked God the question:  What does it mean to “help” my husband.  I know this word (Genesis 2:18) comes from the same Hebrew root translated in Psalm 54:4 where is says “God is my helper.”  Being like God to my husband?  Lord, what does that look like?  God loves unconditionally and faithfully.  God always forgives, always hears and listens, guides and guards, and looks for ways to bless.  He helps.

Helps.  The Ministry of Helps, I’ve been learning, is simply that:  helping where help is needed.  It includes but is not limited to, Holy Spirit-led ministering via a hug, listening ear, kind word, thoughtful deed, card, letter, call, or even an e-mail that says, “You’ve been on my heart and I just want you to know I love you,” etc.  And all of that is best served with Word-based, Holy Spirit-led prayer.

Is that something Christians just know how to do?  Apparently not or they’d also know the joy of it, and do it more often.  And more effectually.  Listen:  No one needs a “woe are we, such worms who only deserve death” prayer.  No one needs our lies added to Satan’s because we’re scriptural illiterates who think God has good days and bad days, and it’s a roll of the dice, and He’s probably not going to help anyway, but it’s worth a shot.  We guess.  Maybe.

People need prayers of faith based on the truth of God’s Word about His great and never-ending love for us.  People need prayers from people who know what Jesus accomplished on the cross.  They need prayers from people whose hearts are actually filled with the very Spirit of God because they’ve accepted the gift of Jesus and what He accomplished at Calvary.  People need to be ministered to in the power of this Love.

I weep when I begin ministering like this at church.  My heart is so grieved as I pray for people and realize their desperate need of prayer and of a caring touch, that sometimes I can hardly speak through the slinging snot.  What a picture, right?  No one seems to care that I have to blow l my nose throughout the prayer.  What they care about is being cared about.  I realize as the Holy Spirit reveals hearts to me during prayer, that people are broken-hearted and disconnected.  They are weak, weary, and vulnerable to that ever-prevalent lie of the enemy:  No one cares a single thing about you.

I have learned that even my adult children, who have been taught from their very beginnings that they are more precious than words can say, are susceptible to this lie.  And since this lie comes at them continuously in some form or fashion, I must continuously speak and pray the truth.

The tendency is to see a problem in an adult child’s life and to lament it, pray that situation changed or certain influences removed, and to frown really hard in the meantime.  But those children need equipping.  “Equipping” sounds like tools and gear and rules and how-to instructions.  But those are physical things, and must be preceded by the spiritual.

Let me clarify. I’ve been considering the incredible pressures my children face right now.  I’ve been doing a little more worrying than I should (any worrying is more than I should worry) and a little less praying than I should, and a little more speaking the problem than I should (yep, ANY speaking the problem is more than I should speak).  My daughter, Hannah, for an example, is fighting numerous hard battles right now.  She wants to excel at all things, and let no one down ever (especially God) while in the midst of extreme responsibilities and demanding/needy people, but without extreme support.

Except for her parents.  We are extreme support.  We are equippers.  We don’t say, “Well, Hannah has her act together, Hannah reads the Word and prays more diligently than do her siblings, Hannah will be fine,” as we focus on the others.

No!  That should not be the reward for her efforts.  The squeaky wheels shouldn’t be the only ones getting the grease. When I sense there is a difficulty, and when I don’t, there is still a difficulty, or very possibly a host of difficulties.  It’s time, not only to pray for Hannah as usual, but to pray with her.  To let God use me to bless my child.

As He does.  It’s such a blessing when I call and say, “I want to pray for you,” and then to be used by God to speak things I had no idea about, but that bless and strengthen and help her.  I did this recently only after several days of prayer and consideration, and a two-hour quiet time with Jesus in the Word and in prayer.  This meant that through my prayers He was speaking to her heart, blessing her heart, strengthening and helping her, giving her perspective on things that were troubling her.  Bringing her peace, power and an undergirding for her day.  Equipping her.  It’s my job.

The Word talks about equipping the saints, and we’re all too ready to sign on for that:  Oh come all ye saints and listen unto me.  I shall equip you!!!  But we are to start where it all starts.  At home.  We come before the Throne of Grace for our personal equipping, putting on the full armor of God, hearing His voice, heeding His voice, seeking Him and basking in His goodness and grace.  Then, and only then are we equipped to equip.

We moms are also ready to sign on for equipping our kids first, and our husbands next, or last, or never.  But that essential time in the Word and prayer will straighten out all the crookedness in our thinking, and we will come to see the truth about “helping” our husbands:  We are acting as God’s most essential ambassadors, His equippers.

Just as the Queen of England has no need to drive the car, neither do we have to be front, center, and “in charge” when we know our true worth to God as Homemakers.  Let us embrace, accept, and occupy our thrones as He intends.

 

Create in Me (and especially in that other person) a Clean Heart, O God.

I recently heard two very different sermons – one was an admonition that if you don’t do what your pastor says you are in rebellion, and the other was a preacher accused of rebellion himself, because he was preaching not to do what the world does, or what anyone says, but to do what Jesus says: to trust, love, forgive, and to take dominion by faith-filled, absolutely fearless, uncompromising words and actions.

The sad thing is that the attempt to squelch and squash and force people into doing whatever they’re told, and saying if they don’t they’re rebellious, is a surefire, tried and true, works-every-time way to push people into rebellion.

Satan’s ways. They don’t work very well, folks.  We try to force our spouses into behaviors based on what our vision is.  Usually when we’re under that controlling spirit our vision amounts to this:  you agree with me on every single issue and we’ll all be happy as larks.  That controlling spirit is a spirit of rebellion, and so blinding it makes us think everyone else is in rebellion.  It walks hand in hand with pride, and therefore, goes before a fall.

That spirit comes after us when we give into fear – fear God can’t or won’t handle this, we must take it into our own hands, do it like some other book, certainly not THE BOOK, says to do it: Childrearing 101; Husband-fixing 101; Basic I know best; Making others behave so I don’t have to for dummies who think everyone else is a dummy.

Disrespect is what this amounts to.  Listen, if you’re gonna take that line you had better be the second perfect human. Of course you’re saying that you’re actually more perfect than that one perfect man, Jesus.  You’re ignoring Him, disrespecting and disregarding Him, and in His Name, Glory Hallelujah, you’re spouting Satan’s lies, and going his way.

But please don’t let us judge anyone else for doing this, because the more horrified we are about it, the more susceptible we are to going from a place of grief and prayer to a place of anger and judgement. And then we, too, will be easy prey.  All of a sudden no one will want to be around us, all of a sudden we’ll be lecturing our kids, and dishonoring our mates, and thinking no one is as smart and wise as are we – just like the behavior we so recently abhorred in someone else.

John Maxwell talks about this in How Successful People Win. He says it was hard for him not to buy into his own press, his own place of leadership, without becoming prideful and unwilling to listen to others’ gentle corrections.  The problem, as he said in so many words, is that once you disdain what someone prayerfully and carefully and in love, tries bringing to your attention, they’ll stop.

It’s an untenable position for the one wanting to help. There is only one answer and that is faith in God through prayer.  The flesh and every logical thought says, “Fine.  See if I try to help your know-it-all self again.”  But after prayer for this attacked and fragile human, remembrance of the real enemy comes, we get revelation about what the enemy is up to, and what’s going on in the precious heart of the one we love.

And, we are ready to fight again.  This time, however, we will let God handle it.  We will only speak if He says to speak (if you’re unsure and have no peace about it, keep still), and we will only say what He says to say.  And . . . we will do it under the anointing, the very love, of Jesus.

If you try and try and try again, and all you get is trampled for your efforts, as the one you love is acting less like a friend or lover, and more like a swine, you can remember two things: 1) God doesn’t expect you to get beat up and disrespected and disregarded; and 2)  He really can handle it.

And here’s where another fear must be faced and fought and brought DOWN.  It’s the fear that this person is going to have that promised fall that follows pride, and that the fall will be too great to be borne, the damage beyond repair.

But when all else fails, it is a clear sign that it’s time for the only thing that never fails: Be still and know that He is God.

About this time is when the object of your prayers starts asking you what’s wrong, what’s on your mind. But unless you know they’re in a place where they really want to know and to do the right thing, rather than in  a place where they simply don’t want the discomfort of you not being all about them, just keep still.

You can say, “I’ll tell you if you really think you want to know, and are ready to listen, and you promise not to get upset.” There’s a good chance here, and be ready for it, they will not respond well to this.  That’s OK.  It’s time to trust God, remember?  He is so much more than able.

What a difference 24 hours can make. You can pray and declare and do warfare, and it looks like it didn’t do a bit of good, and then one or two days later you find yourself trying to keep up with this person set free, and about to sail away to a higher place in Jesus.  Set free.  This is not the time to say, “Ha!  You’d still be acting like a pig in a pen if it weren’t for me, and my super-anointed, spiritual giant prayers!”

All this requires harnessing the tongue to the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Bible tells us in the Book of James that no man can tame the tongue.  But the Holy Spirit can not only tame it, He can make it a powerful weapon against the enemy of our souls.  I like to pray David’s words from Psalms: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

When we get too focused on the wrong spirits operating on and pressuring and having a high old time in other people, when all we can see is their stupidity and ignorance and stubbornness, it can mess up our own spirits. Not only that, it can make us prey (judgement does this) to those very same problems in our own sweet selves!

Let us not focus on what the enemy is doing, but on the Greater One who can whip him every single time. Amen!

P.S.  Love is Patient.  Love is Kind.  And Love is Fearless, which is why, as we know, Love never fails.

P.P.S.  Remember to get your copy of “The Maker’s Marriage” right here on homefrontshow.com just by clicking on the picture of the book! 

When I Write a Book . . .

I picked up Alice Hoffman’s The Third Angel because it was recommended in Fearless Writing.

I have a like/dislike relationship with this book, but I’m keeping on with it because it keeps redeeming itself, keeps pulling me along with unexpected delights.

I am not delighted with a woman who is marrying a man she knows to be selfish and flawed, but I am carried away with the answer to her own question:  How do you love such a person?  You just do it.

I am delighted when a book reminds me of the truths in my own life, how love is an act, a sacrifice, a looking like God.  Love is God and I am becoming more transformed into His image when I “just do it.”

Like the character in The Third Angel, I find myself unmoved by the flaws in those I love, even blind to them, when I get on that love train and we both start going places.  Life becomes an adventure of raw discovery, flaws become idiosyncrasies, differences become intriguing – even delightful, and life is good.

There is language in The Third Angel.  If not, the editors would probably say to the author, “This is London, you must have language, no one will believe it otherwise.”  But if I write a book, the strongest language will begin with “sh” and end with “it” even if the plane is crashing.

Wait.  No planes crashing in my book.  I will, as they say, write what I know.  Spaghetti sauce in a favorite antique bowl slipping out of my hand as I swipe it out of the fridge, breaking and splattering spaghetti sauce all over the kitchen.  Living and moving and breathing spaghetti sauce.  Everywhere.  Little faces astounded at the crash and even more at Mommy saying that word.

But then I would forget about a broken bowl and a messy kitchen because there is a much larger issue:  tender and bare feet.  I would shoo them away and clean every last speck – not perhaps every last speck of spaghetti sauce, which I will be finding this time next year, but every single last speck of glass.

Because I know these feet are going to be with me forever.  I know what is real and good, and that is the life of my children.  Life.

I don’t know if Alice Hoffman knows life is good, if her book will end as a good book must, with a satisfactory and victorious ending (a love ending).  I do know if I write a book, it will be filled top to bottom, end to end, and side to side with “Just do it” love.

Amen.

P.S.  Don’t miss The Homefront Show Fridays at 2:00 MTN.  Go to 1360am.co and join the fun!

 

 

No Reproach, Mrs. Bennett, I Beg You! ESPECIALLY on the 4th of July!

There are potatoes to be chopped and bacon to be crisped to go along with everything else already ready for potato salad.  There is a feast to be shared and great and glorious words to be heard this evening at church before the fireworks.

(No, this is not my potato salad, but I thought it looked appetizing.  Mine has potatoes, celery, dill pickles, green and sweet white onions, mustard, mayo, sea salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and bacon)

As usual, there is much to be done!  But first things first, regardless.  Communing with my Maker in His beautiful Word, in prayer. in praise and thanksgiving.

“Thank you, God, for America.  For freedom.  For bringing me from glory to glory, from freedom to freedom.”  A nation is only as free as its people, and people are only as free as they allow Jesus to indwell them.  Free indeed.

I was free this morning to become upset because my breakfast and git-er-done plans weren’t quite panning out.  The raisin bread was generously spread with organic salted butter, the applesauce in the serving bowl, bacon browning nicely in the oven, coffee in the French press, Rooibos in the teapot, milk in the cow creamer and heavy cream in the pitcher.

And then it was time to whip up the eggs for scrambling.  But alas!  It appears that last night someone ate almost all the remaining eggs in the fridge.  Four eggs to feed five people.  I asked a daughter to go after more eggs (in another fridge in another building) so we could have breakfast before another daughter had to leave for work.

But the speed of molasses was quite fast compared to the movements of my tribe this morning, and early-morning logic told my daughter that she had to look ready for a photo shoot in order to go after eggs.

Temptation to sabotage breakfast with my stress and upset set in.  Temptation to reproach my beloved for scrambling not one, not two, not three, but six eggs last night set in.  Temptation was after me, plaguing me – to vent about “slow and lazy” people, to put labels onto my children they need like a hole in the head.

Who has the hole in the head, anyway?  Why didn’t I simply invite the daughter who’s leaving early to join me on the balcony with baked peanut butter on raisin bread and a lovely cup of French roast with heavy cream in the cool and birdsong-blessed morning?

I plugged the hole with praise and prayer and DETERMINATION not to gripe or complain or in anyway ruin the joy and beauty of the morning for my beloveds, and all of a sudden they appeared, smiling, hugging, thanking me for breakfast, eager to partake (perhaps the power of the wafting smell of bacon?)..

So I scrambled those four eggs, and the going-to-work daughter (who doesn’t care for eggs anyway) happily put peanut butter and honey on her raisin toast, and had thick and crispy bacon slices with applesauce and tea and was happy as could be.  Between the other four of us the eggs were plenty.  Where is it written, I asked myself, that we all have to have two or three eggs every morning?  No wonder I’m a bit sluggish after breakfast sometimes!

SO GLAD I DIDN’T REPROACH JOHN FOR EATING THOSE EGGS LAST NIGHT.  I was less tempted by the lack of eggs, than by my disapproval of late-night eating.  Reproach, I know full well, never changed a husband.  Conviction by the Holy Spirit of our Creator, perhaps put in motion by my faith-filled prayers, has often worked wonders in the lives of my beloveds.

Reproach, not so much.  Reproach is very often also disdain, disapproval, censure, judgment, condemnation, and shaming.  Guilt, in other words.  Guilt, as we all know from experience, doesn’t lead to repentance, to a true turning in a new direction.

“Do not reproach your husband,” has been ringing through my mind for weeks now.  I am coming to see, in my forfeiting my “right” to even the slightest of complaints, that I am setting myself free.  I am placing myself in a right position to be in God’s blessing, and out of God’s way!

“No lace, Mrs. Bennett! No lace, I beg you!”  Mr. Bennett (Pride and Prejudice)vehemently commanded Mrs. Bennett to spare him, but she blithely ignored him.  “Respect, Mrs. Bennett,” was his heart’s cry, and silly and foolish woman that she was, she sought her own amusement at his expense.

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her,” about the Proverbs 31 woman, is a verse of continuing revelation for me. “Lord,” I ask, “Can John safely trust me?” Usually, perhaps because of the following line, “He has no lack of gain,” my thoughts turn to money. “How can I do better in this area?”

But as we pass the years together, I see that more and more what John’s heart needs from mine is simply to love him as he is, even as he changes and grows right along with me, unhindered (I pray) by my interference in his relationship with God.

 

Oh, Father, I thank you for your patience with me, and for growing patience in me. And I thank you for this wonderful child of yours, John, whose heart you have entrusted to my care.  May I be ever more skillful in that sacred trust.  Amen.

 

Hooray!  Freedom!  Especially on the 4th of July.

 

Skip to the Moms

I’m reading 100 CHRISTIAN WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE 20TH CENTURY by Helen Kooiman Hosier and I’ve skipped to the moms.  There are several categories into which the chosen women are divided:  speaking/writing; Bible study ministry/education; and categories including arts; missions, social change, etc.  The last category, and the one with the fewest women included is  Marriage/Motherhood.

I intend to read every category and no doubt be blessed and inspired by every woman’s story, but I began with the most important category and I was not disappointed.  I asked the question regarding these women, and indeed all women who do great things for God:  “Yes, but who was the mother?”  This book delivered.  Indeed, the first mother mentioned was Mary Lee Bright.  That’s right, the mother of Bill Bright (Vonette Bright is one of the women honored in this book).

We all know the saying, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” and we always think that is only his wife.  But it is also his mother, and if she does her job, she will be a key player in the success of his marriage, in the blessing and leading of his wife.  Naomi to Ruth is what we’re looking at here.

Skip to the mom.  Be the mom.  Bless the mom.   And then, whether or not you’re listed in a marvelous book such as 100 CHRISTIAN WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE 20TH CENTURY, you will nevertheless change the world.

Making the Hard Things Easy

radio-on-chairThe key to doing hard things is doing them well through preparation and prayer.

Yesterday I wanted NOTHING less than I wanted to do today’s radio broadcast (1360 AM , KHNC in Johnstown, CO).  I was dreading it and lamenting it, and wanting to give up on the whole thing – call in sick, ask John to do it for me, ANYTHING except get my act together and do the show.

Why?  Why would I feel this way about something I truly enjoy and believe to be important and valuable?  Because I was sitting around taking what the enemy was dishing out – distractions, headaches, negative thought patterns, grief I should have cast on Jesus, and fear.

I feared (irrationally, of course) the show wouldn’t be any good.  I had worked on it, but I was pretty sure (in other words, absolutely unsure about the whole thing) it wasn’t there, didn’t sparkle, WOULDN’T CHANGE ANYONE’S LIFE.

But . . . there is a man in my house who not only knows me, he knows my Maker.  And he took me to Him in prayer.  The heaviness and the torment and the grief that always accompany fear had to flee (“Resist the devil and he will flee” – James 4:7).  I went back to my Bible (Duh! with a capital “D”), listened to some beautiful music and grace-filled teaching, and then to bed.

wedding-couple

Awaking just before 5:00 a.m. my first thought was, Let there be no division among you.  It got better from there – thoughts on the ministry of reconciliation, including those of our Founding Fathers, famous women with identity theft issues and how knowing who we are in Christ changes our lives.

I was eloquent (the Holy Spirit was eloquent, I should say).  Before I could forget anything I went to my computer and took notes, which incorporated beautifully into what I had already planned for today’s Home Front Show.

God is good, the Holy Spirit speaks, and I pray He speaks through me today on the Home Front Show.  Join me, Friday at 2:00 Mountain Time, and thanks ahead of time for listening on 1360 am, KHNC the Lion, Johnstown, Colorado.

radio

Would you just be still?

The question:  Is it perseverance or pig-headedness, initiative or insanity?

The answer:  It depends on whose behavior I’m trying to change, whose revelation I’m trying to get.

yellow birds

The tried but not true way of living is to beat my head against a brick wall, yet again.  Maybe if I phrase it just right, wait for just the right opening, pick my timing – maybe this time that thick-headed soul will see the light!

But this morning I decided I just really didn’t want the resultant inevitable headache of the brick wall encounter.  And so . . . believe it or not . . . I kept still and silent.  When John finally asked me, “What are you thinking?” I didn’t jump at his throat like a hungry piranha.

piranha

How did this miracle occur?  Because I waited and prayed and thought of what truths I knew, beginning with:  Is this love or is this fear?  I know enough to know that when I’m fretting, frustrated, or consumed with some unpleasant thought pattern, I am in fear.

And so, as I thought of what revelations I wanted John to get, I was reminded that I need not fear, that even if John NEVER sees it my way, God is certainly big enough to get around that.  And so, when he asked me what I was thinking, I said, “I’m thinking that even when we make a mistake, it’s not a mistake.”

And then I went to be alone and pray.  I asked God for a specific word, and I opened my Bible up to Jonah.  I got lots out of that story that I never saw before, and I finished with God telling Jonah, in brief, “Don’t you think I know a few things you don’t know, don’t you know you can be wrong even when you’re absolutely sure your way is the only way?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In short, “Be still and know that I am God.”

I took that literally.  Sit still.  Don’t move.  Don’t be frustrated with the lie-abouts in your house.  Rather be glad they’re all still abed so you can have time and peace.  Stop trying to change others so God can change you.  So you can be still.  And know.  He is God.

woman sitting in grass