Keep it simple.

It all began in the shower.

Scrubbing away at my 5 day layer of grease in my hair one night, processing through the day, planning for tomorrow, la la la, scrub scrub scrub.

“Pray for your husband.” The thought just pops into my mind.

“Oh yeah, okay. That’s super important. I should block out some time one night this week, sit down with my journal and Bible, and write out a prayer letter. That’ll be awesome… I really should make a War Room… I really should make praying for my husband part of my daily routine in general…”

Then it occurred to me.

No.

I don’t need to make it an eloquent event, I need to pray for my husband. Right here, right now. Doesn’t need to be a half hour of my time and undivided attention. I will pray for him as I shower. As the Lord told me.

That’s when I realized I was over-complicating a lot of things, and consequently putting them off because I don’t have time for an over-complicated, elaborate new routine.

I realized I was being disobedient because I had an expectation of myself that was not of God.

Here’s another example.

The Lord told me to start teaching my daughter about the promises of God.

“Cool! I’ll start gathering scripture, preparing which promise to talk about which day. Maybe sit down together after school to go over some scripture together! That’ll be sah-weeeet!!”

Wait, no.

That’s very complicated and I don’t have time to prepare curriculum for these conversations with my daughter.

That’s when I just started having authentic, real conversations with my daughter in the car, on the way to wherever it was we had to be. She started reminding me, “Remember you were going to teach me something about Jesus every day?” That’s when I knew she was getting hungry. And that’s because the Spirit must have been speaking through me and into her. God didn’t need me to prepare some great speech or Bible study. He just wanted me to be obedient and trust that He would move.

So, lesson learned. Don’t over-complicate. Keep it simple. Don’t put an unrealistic expectation on part of your spiritual walk or else you may never even be able to start.

Thanking the Lord for this revelation He gave to me, and thrilled that one more lie has been revealed and pruned from my life!!!

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Learning My True Identity In Christ by Rick Warren

I’m going through a bit of a Rick Warren binge. He is an incredible speaker. I love listening to his messages while washing the dishes, driving in the car, cleaning… God has really been speaking to me through his messages.

I have never thought about an identity through Christ in the way that he describes it. He qualifies and quantifies it. He explains this idea through tangible examples.

My revelation during this message:

While I was listening to this message for myself, God spoke into my heart not about my value, worth, and identity in Christ – but that of my husband. We have been going through some tough times in our marriage lately, and the enemy has been filling my head with all sorts of doubts, fears, and insecurities as well as criticisms of my husband. There was a growing rift between us as we started to pull further and further away out of mistrust and disappointment in each other.

When I listened to this message, God was quantifying my husbands worth verbally to me. He was telling me just how valuable he is to Him. He was telling me that he was worth dying on the cross for, that he is valuable because he is a child of God, who created him thoughtfully and purposefully. He did not create him to be anybody but who he is. He did not create him to be anywhere but where he is in his faith walk. God is not surprised, God understands how He created him, He did so intentionally and for an awesome reason. All I have to do is trust that He is working and value, honor, uplift, and show my husband the unconditional love he deserves. He is a brother in Christ first and foremost. And that really changes my view of him and silences those criticisms.

I love the part where he talks about unconditional love. Ethan and I used to say to each other all the time, “I love you because (fill in the blank).” But it’s in these times, while we are going through periods of change and evolution of character that we need unconditional love. We need to receive it and we need to give it. To say, “I love you. Period.” Love is a choice, and love is also a feeling. I think we are capable of unconditionally loving (in our imperfect, human way) when we first choose to love somebody in spite of themselves, and after that choice is made, the feeling of love ensues.

Making it my goal to continue to see others through this lens when my flesh wants to say otherwise. There is a greater purpose for everybody, there is an awesome Creator at the root of everybody, and they are loved unconditionally by the One we try to reflect.

How to Deal with Difficult People in our Lives

I listened to this sermon by Rick Warren yesterday and it truly blessed my heart. He talks about the different types of “crazy-makers” in our lives and how to deal with them and the strain they put on our lives in a Godly way. So much awesome truth in this message!

“God wants us to have tender hearts and tough hides.” – Rick Warren

Where the Insecurities Hide

1

Over the Thanksgiving break, I was able to go up north and visit my mother’s side of the family. Some of these folks I haven’t seen in person since I was ten years old, and our contact has been limited to Facebook updates. Some of these people also are very openly critical of and even oppose Christianity. And by oppose, I mean strongly oppose. From making a mockery of it to taking every opposing political stance in hopes of limiting it… They have everything to lose if Christianity were true, so it cannot and will not be true in their book.

I was so nervous while I was there. Like bologna-ring-pit-stain nervous. I felt like I had something major to prove the entire time I was there. That I’m funny. That I’m down to earth. That I’m wise and also book smart. That I’m clever. That I’m humble. That I care about the lives of others. That I am kind and compassionate. That I’m beautiful. That I’m a good mom, despite my age. That I’m making a difference. That I’m a person worth knowing and talking to.

So.

Much.

PRESSURE!

I felt pressure to show them that a Christian is a real person worth knowing. I felt pressure to be living proof that Jesus is more than a religious belief, but a fulfilling relationship that gives purpose, meaning, joy, and peace that surpasses all understanding.

Important side note: my face had broken out severely, and no amount of makeup could cover it up.

Well, when I finally left, I felt entirely defeated. I felt like not only had I not represented the Lord like I’d hoped due to my overwhelming nerves, but I also wasn’t physically beautiful, so I didn’t have that going for me either. No matter how much time I tried to cover up those pesky flaws, both big and small, I couldn’t. I felt self-conscious the entire time. Inside and out.

Huh… Inside and out…

Inside…

I had this realization on the 4 hour drive home once my daughter had fallen into a peaceful sleep in the back seat and I had real time to process.

I realized that I’ve been focusing a lot on my physical appearance lately. Before the skin breakout, I was watching makeup tutorials and putting more and more time into my morning routine, and less and less time into the Word until it dwindled down to none. After the breakout I spent more time fixing the flaws on the face rather than examining the ones in my heart. I spent more time gazing into the mirror than gazing at the Lord.

So with my physical beauty out of the picture, I felt insecure in every way. I had no confidence in my flesh to hide behind, which revealed an insecure heart.

When I do not spend enough time seeking the Lord, I lose touch with who I am because my true identity comes through Him. Without Him, I start to look to the left or right or into a mirror to find myself. When I lose touch with Him, I also lose touch with myself.

At the end of the day, no matter how much time, effort, or money you spend on your physical appearance, if you do not know who you are at the core of your being, you will feel insecure.

Putting effort into your appearance is not wrong, it is simply celebrating God’s beautiful creation in my book, and even being creative ourselves! It’s when our priorities shift from our identity in Christ to our physical bodies that gets us into trouble.

Beauty fades with time, but who we are should not. Physical beauty is not guaranteed, but our identity and worth, which is determined by the Lord, is constant. It is in the beauty of our hearts that our testimony holds power and truth. No amount of physical beauty can portray the love of Christ. No amount of physical beauty can lead a person to healing, or freedom from addiction, or joy even in hardship, but Christ sure can. And that love of Christ is the most beautiful gift we can give to people.

UPDATE:

The night I wrote this, I got into bed at about 12:04am. I wanted to read the Word so badly but my husband was ready to sleep. So I dimmed my phone and went into my Bible Gateway app and I couldn’t believe what the verse of the day was.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

– John 15:5

It spoke deep to my heart. I read the rest of the chapter and the next few chapters after that and the Lord revealed Himself in so many ways. He convicted me, opened my eyes, and reconnected me to my identity in Him. It amazes me that the Lord loves us enough to pursue us, even when we have strayed for the thousandth time. He is faithful, gracious, and merciful.

Question: Suicidal and I Just Hate Myself

An amazing response to an authentic cry for help. Please read the article below by J.S. Park if you struggle with suicide, depression, or self harm.

When that broken record starts to play in your head (“I hate myself” I’m so stupid” “I don’t deserve happiness” “I’m so ugly” OR “you’re so ugly” “you’re so messed up” “you’re not worth saving”) try speaking the Word OUT LOUD. Stand on the truth of the Word. Find scripture that directly combats the lies you struggle with most and put satan in his place! It’s awkward at first, but that’s one way Jesus handled it (in the desert), so this is how we can fight too.

Love this video of Joyce Meyer – “How do you talk back to the devil?”

J.S. Park

Anonymous asked:

There are times where I just want to die, sometimes I just want to hurt myself, sometimes I curse myself, sometimes I cannot look straight in the mirror because I hate how i look, sometimes I call myself names so that I would never feel good about myself. I am a Christian and I tried so hard to tell this to my churchmates but no one really cared.

Dear beloved friend,

I totally applaud your bravery and honesty in writing this. As much as you might not hear this right now, please know you are loved, we care about you, and many of us have struggled with the same exact self-doubts. You are NOT alone, and I will pray for you. I am praying for you now and I did before writing this.

To feel this way does NOT make you a bad person. You have a worth…

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6 Ways to Become a Submissive & Respectful Wife

I have pondered a great deal on what it means to be a submissive wife. Ever since I gave my life to the Lord and began preparing my heart for my husband, I wondered at the concept. Now I’m well into the thick of marriage (over one year!) and God told me it’s time to stop wondering and start doing the work.

My husband and I have finally started learning afresh what God’s design is for the dynamic between a husband & wife, why He designed it that way, and how to live it out. I have relied on revelations from the Lord to show me how to take on this challenge of renewing my mind on these roles day by day. Both of our mothers grew up in broken, abusive homes, where their mothers lead out of necessity more than anything, so neither me, nor my husband, grew up seeing an example what this looks like.

Keep in mind as you embark on this journey – sometimes revelations come before mistakes are made, sometimes after. Be patient and keep one ear up to the Lord through it all and be sure to deal out plenty of grace!

Let’s start with scripture.

I had heard this one at least one million times, but it only sank in very recently:

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” – Ephesians 5:22-24

Yeah, yeah. Read it before, give me something new... Right? That’s what I would’ve thought!

6 ways to be a submissive and respectful wife2

But let me rephrase and begin with the first strategy:


ONE: Submit your life daily to the Lord and you will be a submissive wife.

God designed marriage, therefore He wants you to be a submissive wife. If you seek the Lord first, He will prompt you on HOW to be a submissive wife. Let the creator coach you! Consider asking Him some questions throughout your day. Like: “What can I do to make my husband feel honored today?” “What can I do to show respect to my husband?” “How can I serve my husband right now?” “What does my husband need from me right now?”

It was also extremely helpful for me to think of it in these terms because it gives me something more tangible to go off of, something that I do have experience with, having been a believer for years now. I have been practicing submitting my life to the Lord since that first day I surrendered! So I ask myself, “What does my submission to the Lord look like?”

  1. I ask Him what He wants me to do. After He tells me, obedience is the submissive way.
  2. I trust Him with scary decisions, that He knows my heart’s desires, and that He knows what is best. Then, once again, obedience to His will is the submissive way.
  3. I trust Him with small decisions and trust that He cares when I ask.
  4. I lean on Him when I feel drained, confused, or too weak to continue on my own.
  5. I am honest with Him about my mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Then I seek wisdom from Him on how I can fix it.
  6. I try to bring Him honor and glory with my actions and words.
  7. I try to honor him with my body and my sexuality.

Now, just as the scripture says, let’s apply these things to my husband.

  1. I ask him what he needs from me – that day or bigger picture. “Is there anything you would like me to get done around the house today?” “How can I be a better wife for you?” “How are we doing?” “What would you like to do today?”
  2. I trust him with big-decision situations. If I disagree with him, I will lovingly and respectfully share my concerns, trust that he hears them, and trust that he is taking them into consideration because of his love for me and our family. After he decides what is best, I respect his decision by supporting him in it. If it goes wrong, I will not gloat or belittle him, but continue to show him respect and give him encouragement and, most importantly, grace.
  3. If he is asks me, “How are you?” or “What’s the matter?” I will answer honestly in a respectful way. If he has upset me, I will answer without casting blame or condemnation for something he has done wrong, but share openly how I feel. I will confide in him so that our conversations can be real, authentic, and relationship building.
  4. I will let him know when I need him. I will ask him for help and swallow my pride. Men need to feel needed. I will honor my husband by asking him to step in and be my knight in shining armor.
  5. I will admit my mistakes and genuinely ask him for his forgiveness. I will honor him by accepting it and promising him that I will work on that part of my flesh.
  6. When I speak of my husband to others, it will be words of respect and admiration. My words will honor my husband in that they will speak life over him to others so that they have no reason to look at him in a negative light. I will speak of his good qualities or hold my tongue. I will not give into temptation when surrounded by other women complaining about their husbands. I have realized this is incredibly important, but not a commonly shared belief in the world. As a wife, you will see his deep-rooted character flaws, and he will see yours. Just because those truths are found does not give you permission to speak of them publicly. If you need to vent, I encourage you to go to the Lord before anybody else. He is an amazing listener. There have been countless days where He has completely satisfied my need to talk about some struggle in my marriage.
  7. I put effort into my appearance out of love and respect for my husband. I dress in a beautiful, modest way when in public. I dress sexy for him at home. I show interest in sex with my husband, and even initiate intimacy. I try to keep my eyes and thoughts for him and him alone.

How do you submit to the Lord? Write it out and use that as a guideline for some tangible ways on how to submit to your husband!

Notice that all of the ways one can submit to the Lord (see above) are closely tied to an act of obedience. Which brings me to…


TWO: Be obedient to the Lord and you will be a submissive wife.

Scary or difficult though it may be at times to be obedient to the Lord, it always bears fruit. Whether the Lord is telling me to drop the subject, not say anything at all (because it’s not a big deal), do the dishes, or put more effort into my appearance, if you are obedient to the Lord, your actions will honor your husband.

“God, do I keep fighting for my way or let him make the choice?”“God, I don’t feel like he’s listening to me, do I keep pushing or back off?” “God, how can I submit to him when I think he’s making the wrong choice?” “God, what do you want me to do, right now, in this moment, to be a submissive wife?”

Don’t be afraid to be honest with the Lord about how you’re feeling. There have been many moments where I feel intensely upset, because I feel like my feelings are being swept under the rug. I told God exactly how I felt in that moment, how frustrated I was, how I felt like I had to stick up for myself to be heard, then asked the Lord what He thinks. In most cases, he told me I was the one not listening, that I was actually being selfish, to trust Him with it and let it go, etc. Then I would find out later on that the Lord was working on my husbands heart in amazing ways behind the scenes the whole time.

God knows what He is doing!!

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Sometimes, your husband will make mistakes. Sometimes, if you are being obedient and prayerful in those moments of do-i-submit-or-do-I-fight, God will ask you to let him make those mistakes. I know I certainly learn from my mistakes! Remember – he is on his own journey with the Lord, too!

If, however, your husband is asking you to do something that is morally wrong or something that the Lord is pressing on your heart as wrong, remember that you are to submit to the Lord first, before your husband. That means that you choose to please the Lord before your husband. Always.


THREE: Have a servant’s heart.

You need to be ready and willing to serve the Lord to serve your husband (see scripture above). A lot of days, there aren’t any family decisions that need to be made, so how best do I show that love and respect to my husband then?

A lot of the time, the Lord will put tasks on my heart. A lot of times, they’re menial – tasks that can wait till tomorrow and tasks that I don’t often feel like taking care of. Sometimes they are tasks that are cumbersome, highly inconvenient, or force me out of my comfort zone. That’s where obedience comes back into play.

Selfishness is my greatest enemy in my quest to be a servant and a submissive wife. Oh, how many times I think “later” or “tomorrow” or “wow, I really don’t feel like doing that right now… I’d rather just blah blah blah.” So we have to choose whether we are going to obey the Lord or obey our flesh.

Also, these “menial” tasks mean so much to our family. My husband has texted me multiple times in the last month saying how much he appreciates that when he gets home, he doesn’t have to worry about dishes or picking up, and that he loves that I take care of the home for our family. (Granted, I am working part time, so I can’t speak into this too much for full-time workers, but that is all the more reason to explore this with the Lord, and what serving looks like for you in your home!)

Don’t get me wrong, there have been tasks that I’ve completed that I never got verbal appreciation for – that’s okay! I was obedient and submissive to the Lord. He saw and He appreciates it.


FOUR: Keep your husband’s role in perspective.

God’s design for marriage is for the husband to be the head of the household. He is responsible for the well-being of the family.

It is his job to lead with a servant’s heart, to make decisions out of love and consideration for his family over himself, to be deferential to his family, to protect with his life, to raise his family in the Lord, to show his wife that she is loved and cherished and beautiful, and more, as is explained in the rest of Ephesians 5.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are all members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5: 25-33

As one of my mentors told me: “At the end of the day, it’s his head on the chopping block. Everybody will hold him responsible for a lot of what happens to your family. That’s a lot of pressure!” It is a truly noble and difficult role – one God designed men to shoulder for His perfect reasons.

Ask God to renew your mind about what your husband’s role truly looks like.


FIVE: The only part of your marriage you can work on is you. SUBMIT the rest to God.

If you feel your husband is not doing one or any of those jobs listed in the previous strategy correctly/whole-heartedly/at all, that is something you need to submit to the Lord. Give it to Him to work on, pray for your husband, and then do your part. Just because your husband is not leading the way you would like does not give you the go-ahead to not be a submissive wife.

In “Captivating” by Stasi Elderedge, it talks about how the sin tendency of women is to control, and the sin tendency of men is to become passive. You don’t want to live a life being deceived by the enemy that you have to run the home for it to be done well or correctly. Dig into that with the Lord.

The more I’ve submitted to the Lord, and therefore my husband, the healthier our relationship has been, and the more my husband’s leadership role has developed and strengthened. Trust that whatever steps God asks you to take, He knows your heart, He hears your needs, and He is working on it in ways that you cannot see. So focus on your part and what God is asking you to do, give your husband grace, pray for him, and watch God work!


SIX: Work on unconditionally respecting your husband.

Whoa, wait. What?

In the book “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs, it talks about how a woman’s greatest desire is to be loved, and a man’s greatest desire is to be respected. It also talks about how women expect their husbands to love them unconditionally, but laughed when asked if they could unconditionally respect their husbands. They said that respect was something to be earned by them, and that they often did not earn it.

Ironic, isn’t it? When I read this, my jaw dropped. I had never thought about how unbalanced I was in my expectations from my husband vs. my output to my husband.

We expect our husbands to speak to us in a loving way during disagreements – even when they think we are wrong or when they are upset or hurt. They deserve to be spoken to with respect in that same situation.

We expect our husbands to love us after a heated fight. They deserve to be treated with respect and honor after a heated fight.

We expect our husbands to talk about us to others with love in his words and voice. Our husbands deserve for us to talk about them with respect and honor to others. That means you speak life over each other or you hold your tongue.

We should try to unconditionally respect our husbands, just like we want them to try to unconditionally love us.


It’s been about a month now, and the Lord has already begun to change my heart and behaviors in major ways. He has shed light on my tone of voice, my argumentative attitude that would flare up, my struggle with procrastination, our sex life, letting my anger get to the point of a digging comment, being slow to anger in general, trying to protect my husband by asking him to not do dangerous things, where I struggle most with selfishness, and on, and on, and on… It has been truly an amazing transformation already. Because of all these things, my relationship with my husband has drastically improved, and he has noticed and thanked me for it. We argue far less, he feels more loved, respected, and appreciated, there is less stress in our home, our marriage is healthier than ever, I am feeling closer to and more in love with him, I am bringing glory to the Lord and strengthening my relationship with Jesus, I am becoming more and more the woman he designed me to be, and on, and on, and on… The benefits are endless!

Though embarking on this journey was intimidating, scary at times, and occasionally overwhelming, I am overcome with excitement about it. I am seeing God’s transformative and redemptive power in a whole new way! I am witnessing Him working daily in my relationship with my husband and in our family dynamic. And, I’m overjoyed to say, because my mother found Christ and because she did the work to get healing from her past through Jesus, I can now explore this new concept with her, and I get to witness the fruit of this labor in a marriage outside of my own, that I have observed my whole life. This journey has greatly strengthened my faith and brought me closer to the Lord! I’m so thankful to serve a God that cares so deeply about every one of us, our husbands, our marriages, and the legacies we are creating for our families. Praise God, who gives wisdom generously and freely to those that seek Him!!