Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Taking a Break... for His Glory

Do you love to serve?
Do you look for opportunities to help others?
Do you seek to help your spouse, and submit to your role as a Keeper of the Home, all for God's glory?

Wonderful!  Praise God that He has given us such desires to serve Him!

But do you ever have seasons where you don't have as much to give?
Do you ever feel like your works aren't adequate?
Do you ever wish for a day off, but feel guilty as you try to do nothing?
Do you ever feel worn and exhausted, but you're afraid that stepping out of roles will be letting too many down?

May I just say, you are by no means alone.

As women growing up in a church, many of us feel a great desire to embrace the role of 'helper'.  We have certain responsibilities in that role, and many women seek to embody the servant's heart and feel that serving is one of the greatest gifts they can give God on this Earth.  Many women are naturally endowed with skills and enjoyment of, what I like to call, the "domestic arts"; cooking, baking, cleaning, organizing, hosting, planning, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking... many women are naturally drawn to these areas.  These hobbies can be well utilized to serve others, and many a housewife has made a reputation for herself by always having ample food and space for everyone, and making everyone feel at home. 

But perhaps the harder part, for many women seeking to live for God, is how to serve God when we aren't physically partaking in 'service'. 
Many of those housewives with the great reputation become convinced that their worth lies in their service.  These women have demonstrated a servant's heart for decades - cooking for sick neighbours, watching over children, being on every committee and at every prayer meeting.  But what happens when they need a break?  Are they allowed to?  Does rest have its place in the life of a servant-hearted woman?  What if you can't be on a committee for a season?  Does it mean you're letting people down?
The reality is, people need to rest.  Different seasons bring different struggles, and some seasons seem to bring as many struggles as they can fit in.  God desires us to serve Him out of love, but He also desires us to rest in Him.  We should want to serve in our church and in our cities as an act of love to God, but it's not beneficial to God's kingdom if we literally work ourselves to death.  It is honestly okay to say that you can't serve in some capacity because you have other priorities (health, your marriage, your family).  You aren't letting anyone down by taking care of your own well-being.  You're not letting anyone down when you say that you're going to take a sabbatical for a season to focus on your relationship with your spouse.  These seasons of rest will strengthen you for future service, and ensure that your relationships are strong, as God intended them to be.

So take a break when you need one, but do it to God's glory. 

What the Bible tells us about rest is essentially this: everything in moderation. God set the example for us by resting on the Seventh day of Creation (Gen. 2). Christ is shown reclining at the table (Matthew 26:7) and enjoying the company of his friends. The Sabbath, which is a day of rest and observation of God's grace and blessings, was established as one of the 10 Commandments.  Sitting back and admiring God's works, fellowshiping with friends and resting in God's promises are all examples of resting to God's glory. 
But the Bible also cautions against eating the bread of idleness.  It draws a direct line between idleness and gossip (2 Thess. 3:11), says that those who do no work should not get to eat (2 Thess. 3:10) and says that laziness leads to poverty (Proverbs 10:4).

So how does it look to take a break to God's glory?  Well, first off, consider how many 'breaks' you allot to yourself.  If you notice a trend of more breaks than service, perhaps your desire for rest is rooted in idleness? 
Sometimes all you need is a day on the couch where you do nothing but watch TV and recover from everything that's been going on, perhaps while you even recover your health.  Don't let your break from serving be a break from fellowship with God.  You can still fellowship with God while you watch TV, but guard your heart and mind against the filth of the world.  Don't consider your downtime as an allowance to indulge in guilty pleasures; if you watch reality TV and find yourself judging the characters, find a new show.  If you criticize people for their fashion choices or looks while watching entertainment news, perhaps that channel isn't for you.  And if you sit comfortably watching shows that encourage promiscuity, and even cheer for a couple to 'hook up' on your favorite sitcom, you are probably a little too comfortable.  Watch shows that are edifying, not vulgar and promoting sinful lifestyles.  Granted, such shows might be harder to find than otherwise; when in doubt, check out The Food Network.
Check your attitude while you take your break.  Are you constantly angry with your kids for disrupting you?  Are you focusing on everything your husband isn't doing for you, instead of everything that he is doing?  Is it the whole world's fault that someone cut you off while you were driving to Starbucks?  Don't sin in your anger, remind yourself that while you have a break, things change for everyone and it might be a hard change for kiddos to adjust to, and remember that your husband can't actually read your mind (or sometimes your tone of voice, or your short answers, or your body language...) If you need something, ask him for it.  And then be sincerely appreciative of his help and thank God that you have such a wonderful husband. 
Use your break to refresh your weary soul.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in service, that it can seem as though we've forgotten why we started serving in the first place.  Here's the short answer: It's all for Him.  If life's gotten away from you, you feel legalistic in your service and you need to take a break to refocus, make sure you set your sights on where you truly need to be focused.  Don't follow the worldly example which tells us we need to focus on ourselves, but instead, set your sights on Him.  As you recover from your weariness, if you have already determined your end goal as being a closer relationship with Him, it will help determine the road you need to take to get there.  But remember, takinng care of yourself is still glorifying to God. 

If we love God, we should desire to serve Him, in our churches, our communities and in our every day lives, but we need to remember that our works by no means dictate our value, or the depth of God's love for us.  If you need a break, go on and take it, all to the glory of God!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


You may have noticed that there can occassionally be quite the timespan between posts on here!  The reason is simple: we want to make sure that what we post is true, edifying, uplifting and Biblically accurate.  By claiming this as a teaching platform for women, we're putting ourselves in a position of great scrutiny and judgement, and not merely from Earthly sources.  If we say things are true, we want to make sure they are first!
That being said, we've had multiple posts in the works for weeks that remain unfinished until such a time that we feel they appropriately reflect a Biblical aspect in all areas.  It's tough work.  And while we had scheduled to post a new entry a few days ago, it has now become one such 'unfinished work'. 
But praise God for the Internet and the resources it brings!

Here is a fantastic link to an article called "Complementarianism for Dummies."  The City Well holds to a Complementarian view, and this wonderfully explains, not only what it is, but also what it is not. 

So read through, even if you already 'know' what Complementarianism means, because it has some wonderful insight from one of the men involved in coining the term! 

And hopefully we'll get one of those unfinished posts finished soon!  God bless and have a great week!

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Teaching our Children

It's back to school time! For many, this will be a child's first year. For many others, your young ones aren't quite old enough to go yet, but this time of year gives you a slight chill thinking about the day when they will be!
Living in Canada, we are blessed to have excellent schools, which are affordable, that teach our children the skills necessary to find work, and that encourage interest in extracurricular options and foster our children's natural abilities, wherever they may lie.
But given the ease with which we can drop off our children with their teachers, we can look within the school for additional help for our children, or even hire a tutor if they are having difficulties, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain the position of 'teacher' in our child's life. And 'teacher' is indeed a role that we are meant to hold. The Bible speaks repeatedly to parents, appealing them to teach their children well, and to remember to tell them about God. The book of Proverbs is essentially a letter to a son from his father, with deference to his mother, teaching him in the ways he should go.
The Bible does not reference Math, or Social, or English, or Science. Society discovered a long time ago that it made more sense to train up select individuals in certain fields and to have them pass along their wealth of knowledge, rather than hope that each family would know how to teach their children multiplication tables. But there is a danger in that method, and that's when we forget how quickly and deeply the world pollutes.

Within our children's education, they will be taught that it is wrong to say that homosexuality is a sin. They will be taught that it is fantastical to believe in a Divine Creator. They will be told that it is not acceptable to believe that some people will go to hell because they believe differently. And this will all be taught to them within our current public school system. It will creep up in science when they discuss evolution. It will creep up in social and english, and I daresay in extracurricular programs. And this is why we need to uphold our position of the primary teacher to our children.

It's about headship. The way a husband is responsible for the affairs of his household, or an elder holds a responsibilty for the affairs of the church. As parents, we do not have to be the only ones teaching our children for their entire education, but when you get down to the bottom line, we do have to be the ones to help our children filter the lies that they will hear, and we absolutely need to be the ones to affirm them in their faith, and to help them hold fast in the face of persecution. If our children stumble because of things they are taught in school, we are not guilty of having taught it to them, but we are responsible for how we address it, and how we guide our children. And the worst thing that we can do is ignore their education, assuming that it's taken care of, and forgetting to involve ourselves so that we are really aware of what our children are being taught.

Now what about Sunday School? Can we not draw the same conclusions from there? Actually, we should be drawing more! The one thing the Bible makes clear as the responsibility for parents to teach their children, is about God and His promises.
And yet, how many of us fail to actively teach our children about God? It's a plague in most churches right now that parents are dropping their kids off to Sunday School, hoping that the program will 'straighten them out' and then not talking about God or church with their families all week until the next time they go to Sunday School. And the way that most Sunday School programs are dealing with this less-involved level of committment and study is by over-simplifying their programs and never digging deeper. So while parents are increasingly relying on Sunday School programs to teach their children everything they need to know about God, the programs are failing by focusing more on keeping kids entertained than teaching them what it means to live for God's glory.
Sunday School, at it's best, can only do so much for your children. It's one morning a week. Once you factor in games and snack (even if they are on theme), it's only really an hour of teaching that your kids receive. We should know by now that an hour on Sunday, unaided by our own efforts, will do little to guide us through a whole week. As adults we devote ourselves to personal study, devotions, prayer times, life groups and accountability groups. We see these as beneficial and even essential to maintaining our heart for God and our desire for Him. Our faith is like a fire that needs to be fed, or else it will burn up too quickly and go out long before we walk back into church the next Sunday.
But how are our children to do this for themselves? Our little ones, some of whom can't even read, rely on us, their parents and teachers, to help them feed the fire. If on Sunday we teach them that God is their ever-present help and that He is everywhere, and in charge of everything, yet we fail to acknowledge Him through the week, are we affirming that message? And as our children grow older, to a point where they can engage in private study, how are they to know what some scriptures mean if they don't have guidance?

We need to embrace, defend and practice our role as the primary teachers in our children's lives. But how?

Deuteronomy 11:19 says, "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
We need to take every opportunity to teach our children about God and His ways. When you're sitting around at home, ask your child what they want to hear about from the Bible. You might be surprised with what they come up with!
On the road, make sure you pray before each journey, discuss how we rely on God for our safety and that our lives are in His hands, and how He made the things we see out the window.
Read a Bible story and say prayers at night, encouraging your kids to remember that God is watching over them and thanking Him for everything that day. I highly suggest reading the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. She helps illustrate how every story points to Jesus and how the Bible isn't about us, but it's all about Him.
Greet your kids in the morning with a reminder of how God gave this day to us. Teach them to look to Him in all situations.
After school, ask your kids what they learned and make a point to ask if there was anything they heard that they didn't think was quite right. Ask them about what other kids said, as well as the teachers. Lots of times kids have troubles processing things that their peers say, and assume that it's acceptable to act or talk another way because Mommy and Daddy might not have specifically said, "Make sure you don't say _________"

Take time as a family to worship God, either through service or praise. Do random acts of kindness together to help the kids understand practically showing God's love. Check out this blog post for some great ideas!
And don't forget to demonstrate God's love to them by how you deal with them daily. We have a perfect model of the perfect parent in God. And one of the roles that God actively embraces as our Father, is being our teacher.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Loving our Children

As mothers, we have a natural tendency and desire to love and serve our children.  Those precious little babes that we brought into this world fill up our hearts with such joy that we can’t help but want to shower them with love and attention.


Then there are other times when those ‘precious little babes’ are throwing a record-breaking fit all because you said, “No, we’re not going to have a snack right now,” and suddenly you are the biggest villain in the world, and it’s 9:30 in the morning and this is their third massive blow-out today and you’re ready to go back to bed and call it a day already.

Titus 2:4 talks about, “train[ing] the younger women to love their husbands and children.”  There’s a reason that we need to be ‘trained’ how to love our husbands and children: it’s hard work!  While we are naturally gifted in some degree to love them, in our fallen state there’s something lacking.  We are sinners, trying to love other sinners, and that’s a messy situation.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier to be a model Mom if your kids always obeyed and never fought with you?  But the reality is, it never really works out like that, and that’s why we need to be trained to love even those whom we naturally feel most compelled to love. 
While one of our best sources of this training is intended to be older, more experienced women (see Titus 2:3), our primary sources should be the instruction found in scripture itself, and the grace poured out by our Heavenly Father. 
Referring to scripture, James 1:19-20 says, “Take note of this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the kind of righteous living that God desires.”  This is an excellent reminder for Mothers!  While we may be justified in how we are upset that our children are disobeying, is our reaction justified?  Or is it sinful?  And even our anger  – anger is not a bad thing in and of itself, but the bible instructs us to be slow to get there.   Consider: am I upset because I’m focused on my own schedule and things I feel I need to get done?  Or am I really focused on serving my child and helping him when he/she needs it?  I think a lot of the time we’ll find that our frustration is actually rooted in selfish motives.  We can’t get something done because our kids keep bugging us.  We just cleaned the house and now the kids want to play.  We want the kids to sleep so we can get our nightly chores done.  While cleaning our house and getting things done is not wrong, our priorities may be and our kids may be voicing a justified desire for us to engage more actively with them.  A fresh perspective can open up storehouses of patience.  Another such perspective which can help, particularly during seasons of illness or teething, is to ask yourself if you would rather have another woman watching your children, comforting them and caring for them at all hours.  I don’t know a single mother who would rather have another woman in their place, inconvenient as it may be.  And when all else fails, God will not.  If we are trying to glorify Him by serving our children, we can have faith that He will sustain us.  The natural affection we have for our children may occasionally be tried by the demands of the practical application, but what is lacking in our fallen nature God can and will perfect according to His will. 

Scripture also reveals to us the perfect example of God the Father.  While older women may occasionally give bad advice (over-indulgence to the children, overly-strict households, self-centered parenting, etc), the perfect parenting model has always been shown to us in the Bible; a Father who exhibits undying love and unsurpassed patience with His people, who will rebuke, restore, refine and redeem them without an unjust harshness or a momentary-lapse in judgement.  Watch a toddler stubbornly go his own way repeatedly and disobey time and time again, and ask yourself if you haven’t acted the same towards your Heavenly Father.  And yet God has never dealt unfairly, or over-indulged us simply to keep us appeased, or desired us to just go away so the He could get something done.  He disciplines, but He does so for our benefit.  He rebukes, but He does it through love.  He takes away, but He is never unjust. 

And when we feel like crying foul about our life situation and complaining to God about our lack of things or the difficulties we are going through, perhaps we need to remember then, too, that we are just like the screaming, angry, unaware toddler that can’t see that his parents are working to do their best for him.

We’re praying this week:
That we can see the example of God the Father and apply it to our household.
That we can realize how our children can serve as a mirror of our own relationship with God, and that we’ll pray for grace to improve and mature in His sight. 
For patience and perspective as we deal with our children.
To be reminded that “man’s anger does not bring about the kind of righteous living that God desires,” as we deal with our children and husbands. 

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

50 Shades of Filth

There's a new phenomenon circulating in literary circles right now, and it's called 50 Shades of Grey. 
At first I was unaware of what this trilogy of books was about, but that's why we have Wikipedia.
I was informed this series centers on the growing relationship between an initially innocent college graduate, and a wealthy businessman who convinces her to sign a contract stating that he can have complete control over her.  In the words of Wikipedia, "It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism.

Now, what makes this book a phenomenon is not the caliber of the writing, or the intricacy of the plot, but rather how quickly it made it to the top of the best-selling lists.  In fact, it has now become the world's fastest-selling paperback of all time. 

The primary target audience?  Women.  Women who are unhappy with their relationships, women who hope to meet Mr. Right, women who hope to add some spice to their love life, women who think that it's harmless to read some erotica...

The media has gone so far as to label it "Mommy Porn."  Coupled with the recent release of Magic Mike, a film focusing on the life of male strippers, women everywhere are filling themselves up with unrealistic, and unhealthy, sexual fantasies. 

What is a God-fearing woman to do?

Today we're linking to an outside source again for our answer.  And I think it covers it well.  The post is titled, "A Black and White Choice NOT to Read 50 Shades of Grey," and I daresay that many of the arguements hold true for Magic Mike. 

The world will try to sell us many things, but if it doesn't build up our relationship with our spouse, promote a life built on God's truths, and glorify our Creator, we'll have none of it thank-you-very-much.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Worldly Wisdom

As a Christian woman, the messages we receive from the Bible and from the world are often very conflicting. 

The world tells us that we need to be successful, ambitious, pursuing our own dreams and empowered to understand our true value. The world tells us that we are entitled to overthrow the authority of our husbands and become the leaders of our households, while simultaneously demanding that they bring us flowers, open doors for us, 'spoil us' with shopping sprees and remember every possible excuse to lavish gifts on us.  During pregnancy the ante is raised even more, as we are encouraged that the men are responsible for running out at all hours to get us our hearts' desires, be it pickles, slurpees or onion rings.  And if the men fail to do any of these things for us we are taught to punish them by withholding affection from them, building up barriers and refusing to communicate with them, and inviting the girls over for a session of 'husband bashing' where we talk about all the ways our husbands are letting us down. 
Granted, in most church circles, it's clear to see that most of the examples I listed above are not reasonable and are unbecoming for a Christian woman, but I think many times we don't realize how rapidly the poison of this world spreads and taints our perspectives. 

Picture this: it's Mother's Day.  You got up early to make breakfast because you all had places that you needed to be, you rushed to get the the kids ready and out the door, your husband says "Happy Mother's Day" but because times are tight there's no card or flowers.  You go through your day like any other day - cleaning, taking care of screaming kids (who seem much crankier than normal), making supper, and even doing all the dishes after you eat.  It's about this time that you sit down, look around at how your day went and think, "I deserve better on my special day," and suddenly you're angry with your husband for not pampering you more and you remind him about how men are supposed to make their wives breakfast and do all the dishes and help out with the kids more on Mother's Day.

Is it understandable that you feel like that?  Yes.  Is it reasonable to feel that way?  Perhaps. 
Does it reflect a true heart of selflessness and servitude that is focused solely on God's glory?  Not quite. 

Now, it's not bad to be frustrated in these circumstances.  It's the sense of entitlement we feel that's the issue, and how our desire to imitate Christ can be overpowered by our own desire to be served.
We feel entitled to being pampered on Mother's Day, and when that doesn't happen to our standards, we feel let down, neglected and hurt.  But I've never seen anything in the Bible that talks about, "Set aside one day a year where you are justified in your desire to be served and where selfish expectations are acceptable.  Don't worry about having a servant's heart on that day."  But I have seen parts that say things like, "Who is wise and understanding in you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  If you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."  James 3:13-17
The 'wisdom' of the world tells us that on Mother's Day, and Valentines Day, or any other such day, that we are entitled to being served and we should expect it.  But that's the world's 'wisdom'. 
Again, to go over things that I am not saying, I am not saying that it is bad to get flowers on Mother's Day.  I am not saying that it is bad to be served by your husband.  But what the Bible teaches is that "even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28)  We are always to have a servant's heart.  If your husband failed to observe a special day because he was inwardly focused instead of concerning himself about serving you, it is sinful, but our husband's sin does not justify our own.   And to take your eyes off of God's glory, and to shift our focus onto our own pride and desires is idolatry.

We will always be serving a god.  Every little thing we do, every action we perform, is serving someone or something.  The real question is: who/what are we serving?  Who/what is our god?  What are we making into an idol?  And if the answer is anything other than 'God', it's wrong. 

In Martha Peace's book, The Excellent Wife, Martha provides a List of Common Idols ("False Gods") that are stumbling blocks for wives:
1. Good health
2. Physical appearance
3. Having a Christian marriage
4. Being treated fairly
5. Having a hurt-free/pain-free life
6. Worldly pleasures (drugs, alcohol, sex)
7. A child or children
8. Another person
9. A material thing
10. An ideal ("pro-life movement", "peace movement")
11. Money
12. Success
13. Others' approval
14. Being in control
15. Having your "needs" met

The funny thing about look over this list is that there are lots of good things on there.  We should desire to have a Christian marriage, and we should pursue good health... but those things should never be our primary purpose.  Things like being appreciated, being right, loving your husband, volunteering, helping others... these should never supersede our top priority of glorifying God and loving Him.  We can never abandon our chief end, even for a moment, or we become guilty of idolatry - even if we a pursuing a 'righteous' goal. 

How does this look practically?  It's serving your husband and submitting to him even when he lets you down.  It's always working, not for our own gain, but for other's, to God's glory.  It means not ever excusing sin because you are working towards a goal other than God (you can be right in an arguement and wrong in a fight when your 'god' shifts).  It's realizing that some of the desires we have actually conflict with what God desires for our hearts and lives, and submitting to His way, and desire to follow the example set by His Son.

How do we do this practically?  Well, it begins by shedding the worldly "wisdom" we have acquired and replacing it in our hearts with God's wisdom and love of His word.  We need to realize that the only person whose obedience to God we have any real control over is ourselves, and while we may be right in thinking our husbands should be doing something differently, or better, we should always work to serve God in how we respond to them - not ourselves. 

What are some things that can be idols in your life?

What are some pieces of "wordly wisdom" that you have been deceived into believing?

How can you practically glorify God as you serve your husband and children this week?

We're praying for God's grace to open our eyes to the things in our hearts and lives that aren't of Him, and thanking Him for a better way than what the world has to offer us!

To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen!

The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective, by Martha Peace.  FOCUS Publishing Incorporated  Copyright 1995, 1999, 2005  pgs. 60-61

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Our First Love

Do you remember when you were dating your husband?  Many of us were quite young then, and more than a little twitter-pated.  We'd stay up until all hours talking on the phone, take any opportunity to spend time with eachother and think about them all the time.  If you had a long-distance relationship you probably spent more weekends visiting him than was strictly advisable and you probably spent a pretty penny getting there.  You knew that you loved him, you knew that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with him, and you couldn't wait until you could finally do that.
Fast-forward to present times.  We love our husbands - we know that they are good men, we value them and we trust them.  They have their flaws, granted, but we know that they are a blessing in our lives and we really do love them. 

But is it the same as our first love for them?

In Revelation 2:4, Jesus rebukes the church in Ephesus for, "abandon[ing] the love you had at first."  These were people who were doing all the right things: they toiled, they endured, they tested and did not grow weary.  But, they forgot the first love that they had for Christ.  It was like a wife who did all the housework, and watched the kids, who volunteered in the church and brought meals to sick people, but who did it all without her husband in mind, or at heart. 

Do you see where I'm going with this? 

It's easy to get caught up in life.  It's easy to let our day-to-day regime get so intense that our efforts are focused on merely getting through the day.  It's easy to get comfortable once we have a routine, where we can do the same thing over and over again without much deviation and think that we are being successful because our house is clean and our kids are well-mannered.  But our hearts have to be in it, or all that we do is for naught.  And where should our hearts be, exactly?  First with our God, and then with our husbands. 

If you're in a rut, if you've lost your first love, here is your call to snap out of it.  Pursue God.  Fellowship with Him and spend time in His presence.  Serve Him and worship Him in all you do. 

Likewise, pursue your husband.  Regardless of whether or not you deem your marriage to be 'healthy' or otherwise, pursue him.  If you feel like the first love has gone out in your marriage, you can wait bitterly for him to pursue you, or you can begin to break down walls by taking the first step by serving him.  If there aren't walls built up in your marriage, still pursue him, and build him up by your love and affection. 

Here are some practical ideas for how to serve your husband and demonstrate your love for him.  But don't treat these things like a To Do list, where once you've done them you'll have a better marriage; treat these things like tools to help you refocus your priorities - first on God and His holy commands, and then on your husband.  Do them prayerfully, selflessly and for the joy of your husband and the glory of God - and always remember the first love you had for them

1) Do his chores: Mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, painting the fence, whatever job is usually assigned to him - get it done before he gets home and it will be a pleasant surprise for him and will help him know you desire to give him joy and peace.  (side note: make sure your husband knows this was not a way of showing your displeasure at a task not getting done soon enough!  If you can't do it without bitterness, pick another job!!)

2) Make his favorite food: Yes, even if it's boxed Mac and Cheese.  If he's not a 'favorites' kind of guy, make something that you haven't had in a really long time, or that you know he likes but you've never made it at home!  This will show him that you're thinking of him through the day and will help you to demonstrate that you don't just do housework because it's your 'job' - you do it because you love him!

3) Make him breakfast: Lots of women do this regularly, and it's a great habit to have.  Starting your day out together enforces your united front, gives you some time to connect before you face the world, and will show him that he's worth getting up for, even if you could have slept in a half hour longer otherwise!

4) Invite his family over: Grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents, siblings - pick someone you don't see regularly but you know he enjoys.  Make a point of inviting them and setting time aside for them.  He'll know it's all for him and he'll appreciate the opportunity to see them.

5) Go with his opinion: We all do it... "Which of these do you like best???"  He answers (wrong) and you go with the one you wanted all along.  Trust his judgement once, even if it's not the way you would have gone.  He'll be flattered that you trust his taste, and pleased that he could be helpful.  And next time - don't bother asking if you're not actually indifferent!

6) Have a day that's all about him:  Listen to his radio station, eat at his favorite restaurant, take part in his hobbies and enjoy the time together!  He'll appreciate your interest, or at very least your attempt!

7) Give him a scalp/foot/back massage:  And this time, no trades - just don't expect him to be awake at the end! 

8) Wear that dress/shirt/necklace that you don't like, but that he picked out for you, to a high-visibility event.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, and love everything he's ever given you - compliment his taste and tell him how much you appreciate all the wonderful things he's given you!

9) Say 'yes' to something you usually say 'no' to: whether it's watching a war movie, going on a hike or fishing - if there's something that he really enjoys, but feels like he can't enjoy it with you, he may not get to partake in that pastime as often as he would like to.  Surprise him the next time he brings it up and let him know that you'd love to spend the time with him, even if you don't love the activity. 

10) Keep your bedroom clean as a place that you can relax in together: for those of us who don't have the gift of cleaning (right here!) it can be easy to clean for company, and to focus more on parts of the house that are visible to a wider range of people.  However, our priority should not be on pleasing the visitors we welcome into our home nearly as much as it should be on pleasing and serving our husbands.  Your bedroom is your space together, and it can be hard to unwind and rest in a messy space that reminds you of how much you still have to do.  Keep paperwork out of your bedroom, and ensure that it isn't a place of stress, but of peace.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen!

Monday, 28 May 2012

An Excellent (Godly) Wife

In our last post, we discussed priorities.  God is, and always should be, our number one priority, but what comes next?  The answer for wives is, "our husbands."  As we pursue God and desire His will for our lives, we'll see that He desires oneness in our marriages and for us to become "excellent wives" for the good of our husbands, and for His ultimate glory.

Grace Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle did a great job of breaking down what it practically looks like to work towards becoming an excellent wife, and respecting our husbands.

Check out her post, and then pray through these questions!

#1 - Do I bring my husband "good, not harm, all the days of his life"?

#2 - Do I respect my husband, not just outwardly, but in my head and my heart as well?

#3 - How can I demonstrate to my husband that I desire to respect and honor him daily?

What are some of the ways you try to show your husband that you desire to honor and respect him?  Share them in our comments section!  And don't forget to signup as a follower to receive notifications of new posts here at The City Well!

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Friday, 18 May 2012


What is most important in your life right now? 

This is a tricky little question - one that might prompt a different answer from many people than would actually be true.  It's actually a question that is worded many different ways: "What are your priorities?", "Where are you focused?" and "What is the meaning of your life?" all come to mind.  But the reality is, these are all rooted in the same question: What is most important to you? 

There is a very obvious answer:  God.  The Westminster Catechism states, "The chief end of man is to glorify God by loving Him forever."  The entire reason for our being is to glorify and love God. 

But it isn't so easy as reading that and going on our way, is it?

Things easily distract us in this feeble, fallen state.  Money, possessions, dreams and aspirations, self-improvement, careers, children, husbands... all of these things can creep up as the 'most important' in our lives.  And that's nothing short of idolatry. 

And while we know what the right answer should be, the actual answer for each of us can be revealed through the fruit of our lives.  We may say that God is the most important thing in our life, but how much time do we spend with Him?  Are we consciously working to glorify Him in all that we do?  Is He simply what helps us get through the day, or is He the very reason we get up at all?

The fruit produced from a life of idolatry is rotten and toxic.
Caring for our children is a wonderful duty, that we should delight in, and that we are taught to do by God's instruction.  But if our children become the most important things in our lives, other things will suffer: our health and well-being may decline as we constantly give of ourselves without yielding for the sake of our precious children, our relationships with our husbands will suffer as they feel neglected and we fail to serve them and submit to them lovingly, and even our children will be negatively affected, as their relationship with their mothers will become a burden, because they can tell how much is riding on them and the weight of such a charge can smother them. 
Likewise, if our husbands are the most important thing in our lives, when they fall short of perfection it can be devastating to marriages, because the foundation they were built upon was not solid.

But if God is truly the most important thing in our life, the fruit produced by our life will be sweet and precious.  God's desire for our life is unity in our marriage, that our children would be taught to walk in His ways, and that our lives would be blessed, according to His glorious will.  When our eyes are fixed on God, and our whole lives are about glorifying Him, our conduct, our relationships and our hearts will not go untouched; the good work He will do in us will show through to every facet of our lives - and it will all be for the better. 

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

When our eyes are fixed on God, we will learn how to serve, how to persevere, how to work hard, how to steward our money, how to submit, and how to truly love - because these are all aspects of His good, pleasing and perfect will for our lives.  God instructs us to love our husbands, and to take care of our children, and we should do both of those to the best of our ability for His glory

Many of us try so hard to please God and to follow His commands - we work so hard to try to be good wives, good mothers, good servants... but all too often, our priority is not on glorifying God, but merely on "doing good".  If we want to truly honor God through our actions, and show our love for Him by following His commands, we must first seek Him with our whole hearts, and obedience will follow through our gratitude and through His grace.  And as it says above, everything we need for life and godliness will be given to us through knowledge of Him, and that includes instruction on how to be a good wife! 

What is your #1 priority?

Does the fruit of your life reflect that?

Are you seeking God's glory, through your love for Him, in all you do?

Our prayers are with each of you this week as we each look at our priorities and pray for God's grace, and that He may, "bind my wandering heart to Thee!"

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!