Friday, May 29, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
If you are married, surely you face conflict on a regular basis. Daily we are given opportunity for arguments and strife. I put together a list of things to consider before your conflict grows to the point of no return.
1. Avoid the words "you" and use "I" instead.
When we point the finger at someone it immediately makes them feel accused and they will automatically respond defensively.
2. Don't use the words "always" and "never" while having a heated discussion with your spouse.
Chances are, it won't be a truthful statement, and it will bring a sense of hopelessness to the situation.
3. Think before you speak!
Sounds simple, but it is so easy to blurt out a statement without thinking through the possible reprocussions of it. Boy do I know this one!
4. Apply this verse during a disagreement:
A gentle answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger.
It is amazing how just softening your tone can change the atmosphere in a room.
Think about it like a fire...you can either pour gasoline on it or water. A gentle answer is like pouring water on a fire. A harsh response is like gasoline.
5. One of my favorite sayings, look in the mirror first.
What do I need to change? How have I escalated this situation? What can I do differently?
6. Deal with bitterness and unforgiveness.
Many times the argument at hand is just a symptom of a deeper issue that is unresolved. Sometimes we hold on to things for years and never deal with the hurt and anger than lie beneath.
Get alone and pray about it. Ask the Lord to heal your broken heart.
Forgiveness with most likely be involved in this process.
Here is an article I wrote about my story of a broken heart:
Bring God Your Broken Heart
Put yourself in your spouses shoes and try to see things from their perspective- especially considering their personality type...etc.
8. If you can't resolve things, please talk to someone who will give you Godly advice.
This is a short list, so feel free to add more in the comments!
I am praying for our marriages,
Thursday, May 21, 2009
This article today is in honor of my very dear friend, R.C. She is the coupon clipper of all coupon clippers. She finds deals I didn’t know were findable. Do you have a friend like this? R.C. could outdo them! She is quiet and sane and has a lovely personality but don’t mess with her coupons. Recently, she went shopping for her super great deals of the week and in the process of getting her goodies, her son, her purse (girls, you know how it goes when we go out) she left her coupon book behind.
She was lost and devastated.
She had spent hours clipping and sorting and finding the best deals and had just forgotten the whole manifest behind in a small, squeaky cart. She called the store repeatedly but no one ever turned them in.
I felt so bad for her. I am always amazed at her grocery shopping victories. I go to the store when I must, for the shortest time possible and load up on anything I may need for the next month so I don’t have to go again. She ENJOYS shopping. She gets way more out of it and her family eats good fresh fruit out of season and mine eats whatever is quickly worth cooking from the deep freezer – or cookies. We eat a lot of home made cookies here. But when asparagus season starts, we eat asparagus every single day - no exaggeration – from our field. I think that makes up for home made cookies every day! J
So, I was thinking of her today and her lost coupons and how I had to go to the store and thought, maybe, I should actually look at the flyer she told me to this week because of the great deals. I looked, I clipped a few coupons – just a few – went to the store and I had to admit, it was a lot more fun. We ate fresh fruit for dinner, fruit on sale, no less. It’s amazing what a little planning can do.
Like, when I am getting ready to go to Bible study. Some girls at church started a new Bible study I am now attending. If I sit down, actually do my study, read the scripture, answer the questions, and think on the questions a few days BEFORE I go I get so much more out of the study. However, I usually read it hurriedly as I am getting dinner on the table so I can clear the dinner, make it to the study, get a little out of it and repeat for next week…not a lot unlike my grocery shopping. I get what I need to get by, but not anything to savor and enjoy.
I always say that I would be all about making out a list of groceries someone would deliver to my door. Easy, simple, no travel or long lines. But R.C. encourages me to go for the gusto, the satisfaction is more. Like the difference of checking Bible study off the list rather than actually studying and growing in Bible study.
I imagine that the more I put to practice these skills the more likely I would be to miss them if I lost them, if I shoved them to the side. I imagine I would feel lost and devastated, like R.C. when she lost her coupon manifesto.
And just like life is so much better around our home if the food is ready on the table when my husband gets home, the boys lunches are packed and ready to go with fun treats and good nutrition it makes our family life so much smoother and happier. Wouldn’t it be the same with Bible study? Wouldn’t it be the more time I spent with my Heavenly Father, savoring the moment, I would learn more and appreciate him more? Yah, I think so to.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I've been thinking alot lately about how my role in respecting my husband influences our whole family and those around us. I know that seems like a no-brainer, but I feel so strongly about the significance of respect and forgiveness in marriage. It really does make a difference in yours and your children's lives. Between life and tv/movies, I am grieved by the attitudes of people towards their spouse.
I was recently with some people and the wife completely embarrassed and tore down her husband right there in front of me. It was an unprovoked attack that left me very uncomfortable (as I'm sure he was too) so I stepped out of the room.
And there is nothing like the look on the face of a child whose parents are fighting. It breaks my heart. I've been there. I've been that child. It is a horrible feeling. Parents are a child's security blanket, they need us to be stable and strong together. I don't care how many of their friends parents divorce...it hurts a child to see Mom and Dad not getting along. It's unsettling and it will show up in all different ways in their lives.
I know there are men who are very hard to respect. They don't live honestly or respond to us lovingly, but we are called to be helpmates. We are called to honor their postition in the family.
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as 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.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-
30 for we are members of his body.
31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."
32 This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church.
33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Notice there are no "ifs" in front of this verse.
No "if" he deserves it.
No "if" he is a Christian (or at least your version of one).
No "if" he does all the things around the house that I've asked him to for 2 years!
God made us a team. He wants us to live like a team...not like competitors.
Seeing who can be right and how we can make our spouse look foolish and ourselves seem like the honorable one.
NO ONE wins that way.
Marriage is not a competition, it is a commitment.
A commitment to love.
A commitment to care.
A commitment to serve.
A commitment to lift up.
A commitment to uphold.
I guess what I am ranting about is...be thankful for the husband that God brought into your life. Whatever the situation that brought you together, God can make a beautiful thing out of your marriage if you let Him.
However, He is going to require some things of you...#1- your life.
I've heard it said that many women who struggle with honoring and serving their husbands have to picture Jesus standing behind him and imagine they are serving their Savior instead.
I've been there, I understand that, and if that helps you through the bitterness, that is great. But I want to tell you that if you will lay down your life, truly forgive your husband and respect him...you will no longer need to have that picture in your mind.
I can remember praying after a much "heated discussion" with Mark early in our marriage. I prayed with tears in my eyes and anger in my heart-
"God, I know I have to forgive but I don't want to, he hurt me...he was wrong! God HOW can I forgive THAT?!!"
The response came so quickly to my heart...forgive him like Jesus forgave.
Then I thought of Jesus on that cross when He said...
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Ok....I said it in my heart...but what does that look like? How do I act when I get home? (I had left after our argument to go to the store). And His response to my heart was, if you will forgive him, you can go home and act as if you would if he had never said those things to you.
I have to tell you...our marriage was forever changed from that moment.
It was not "happily ever after" but it was different. I was different and because I was different, he changed too.
There was no longer a power struggle in our home. We became partners and have been growing together as partners ever since. Making plenty of mistakes along the way...but with a commitment that is solid as the Rock it is built on.
I am incredibly thankful for my husband, he is my best friend.
EDITED TO ADD:
In light of some recent conversations and questions I've been asked, I want to say something about women in ministry.
If God's called you to minister, praise God. But don't put that in front of your calling as a wife and mother- that would be rebellion. Make sure that your husband is in agreement and standing with you. You were created to be a helpmeet first.
I'm praying for our marriages,
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Yup, I cried...again.
Friday, May 15, 2009
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."
7 Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."
8 The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.
What a beautiful example of leadership.
1. First, the centurion soldier came to Jesus for the sake of his servant. A beautiful picture of how we should care for others, especially those who serve us.
It can be assumed that by this example, the servant probably served his leader well out of response to the way he was taken care of by his leader.
When we are treated well by leaders, we will serve them honorably.
2. Then note the humility of this leader. He says to Jesus, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.
This is a man of great authority, a centurion soldier, but he acknowledges that Jesus was much greater than he.
No matter how much authority we have on this earth, we need to recognize our need for God and that we are but servants to Him first.
3. This leader also had great faith. He had confidence in Christ and a great assurance that He could heal him.
And not only that He could heal him, but that Jesus could heal the servant with just His word.
These are just a few points from this amazing story. How can we learn from this for ourselves as wives, mothers, employees, bosses, ministry leaders etc?
Leadership is not just position, in fact it has little to do with position. Leadership is influence and the more you care about others and help them, you will gain influence. I believe the centurion soldier shows how much he cares and how wise he is by his words and actions. I’m sure his men would give their lives for him if needed and that is because of how he cared for them.
Lead out of a heart that cares. Help those you lead and if you need to, bring their plight before Jesus, He is more than able to take care of them! We are not to be the answers to their prayers, but we should be bringing them to the One who is.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Symptoms of Inner Peace
by Saskia Davis
Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace!
The hearts of a great many have already been expose to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions.
This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.
Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:
· A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
· An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
· A loss of interest in judging other people.
· A loss of interest in judging self.
· A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
· A loss of interest in conflict.
· A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
· Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
· Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
· Frequent attacks of smiling.
· An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than (try to) make them happen.
· An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only at your own risk.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Cristi at Jesus Is !!!!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Lately it seems that every time I turn around I'm talking with a woman whose family is hurting and it is a result in many ways of this struggling economy.
Ladies, our men were created to be providers, and when things beyond their control happen that leave them unable to do that. it greatly affects them.
Depression is affecting men in ways it never has in the past. Many of them are feeling hopeless with the current financial situations they are in. Feeling unable to provide for their families as they have in the past is destroying their confidence and making them angry.
I've spoken with many women lately who are frustrated, wanting their husbands to stop being so harsh with the kids and even withdrawing from the family.
Here is a very alarming article that explains the desperation some men are feeling.
Do Suicides Go Up When the Economy Heads South?
Ladies, we cannot forget that our highest calling is being a helpmeet to our husbands, it is the reason we were first created:
So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.
22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
If someone or something else could be a "suitable helper" there would not have been reason to create us.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our busyness and daily life with the kids that we forget the reason we were first put on this earth.
Our husband's today need us to be a strong and suitable helper, to be an encourager and show our husbands the respect they so desperately need from us.
You may be feeling that they are not deserving, that they have been is such a horrible mood lately- that THEY need to shape up. Maybe you are right, but that's not how God wants you to look at it. We as wives need to look in the mirror and ask what we can do to stop the vicious cycle of anger/resentment/disrespect in our homes.
Here is a reminder of the reasons God brought us into our husbands life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life.
4 A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
1 Peter 3:1
1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that,
if any of them do not believe the word,
they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives
I searched and searched but couldn't find anywhere that said our husband would fill us with joy or make all our dreams come true....but there was this other man...Jesus
11 You have made known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
The Lord will give us the strength to do what He's called us to do IF we go to Him for it.
Be a wise woman:
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
I know it isn't easy girls...but our families are at stake.
I'm praying for our marriages and especially for our husbands.
Much love, Sue
Saturday, May 9, 2009
The link for my blog talk radio interview is in the sidebar.
Now I need to let you know a couple of things.
1. Half way through the broadcast, my son (the comedian-who doesn't know I'm doing a live interview) sneaks up to my office window and scares the daylights out of me by making strange animal sounds. So that would explain why I completely lost my train of thought and the absolutely ridiculous order of the words I began to speak.
2. The other half of the radio show is an interview of an actress ~ I haven't listened to her portion yet...but I must say...never in a million-gazillion years did I imagine myself sharing a radio show with a woman who did the "V*gina Monologues"...if you don't know what that is...never mind.
Anywoooo, moving on....
I have a wonderful time at the Girls Night Out to cut domestic abuse. What a wonderful cause, I plan to have Praise and Coffee Nights more involved in helping them.
So, have a wonderful weekend. Give your babies (young and old) a hug!!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Just want to let you know that I'll be at the Plainwell Coffee Mill tonight for the Girl's Night Out to Cut Domestic Abuse, then I have to get home for a Blog Talk Radio interview, and I'm a bit confused about when it will play but I'll have a direct link for you tomorrow.
But here is a guest post from my girlfriend Denise (click on picture to visit her blog):
A Not So Fun Run
James 4:2B “You do not have, because you do not ask God.”
The school our boys attend has a fund raiser in the spring for the school. The kids ask for donations and then run a mile in a “Fun Run”. The kids get really excited about it and I think all the donors (ie, mom and dad! J) are happy to have the money go right to the school. If the kids get $10 in donations, they get a free t-shirt. All the kids get to then wear the shirts when they run. The t-shirts are all important, they are THE fashion statement for the day and the students sign their names on each others shirts. It’s great fun…thus the FUN RUN.
Last year I didn’t go. It was the first year and I didn’t see what the big deal was. Our kindergartner won. Big time. And I missed it. For a full year I have heard about how I missed this great moment in history and yes, I have kicked myself for not going. I had thought it best to stay home with the two littler ones but, I should have ventured out.
When the donations paper came home this year, our now first grader was all about asking for donations and making sure I knew what day it was and so on and so forth. It was ALL he talked about.
Our oldest son never said a word.
He would talk with his brother about the race but he never handed me the donation list, I found it in a pile of papers he just laid on the table one night. He never asked for donations.
This really made me mad. I am not sure why. I had the money for him. My parents gave me money to give him too. As my Mom said “he hasn’t asked me but I am sure he will and here is the money now.” We were happy to give it to him, it was just sitting there in an envelope with his name on it, but he never asked.
The morning of the Fun Run, we were running late. This happens regularly. Try getting four boys out the door in the morning; it should be an Olympic event! I’m not saying I’d get gold, but I’d like to think I would be good competition! Anyhow, we are leaving the driveway and our oldest says quietly in a very Eeyore voice “I decided to save money this year and not ask for money for the Fun Run. That way, you can just keep money and, well, it’ll be fine. I don’t mind not having a shirt.”
Our first grader had turned in donations days ago and I had decided to not give our oldest any money if he didn’t ask. But this response put me over the edge. “If you had just asked, you could have gotten as much as your brother!” I snapped. And then, even though we would be even later, I ran back to the house, got his donation page and put the minimum ten dollars in for him.
On my way home to make cheer signs for my boys before the run ( I was going all out this year!) this verse kept echoing in my head….
“You do not have, because you do not ask God.”
I don’t ever remember reading that God was peeved or irritated. I have read He was angry and that he was over flowing with loving kindness but not ever just irritated.
And I had to wonder, what do I not have because I do not ask? I thought of Solomon asking for wisdom. I don’t know why I thought of that so prevalently, I suppose just because as a Mom, I constantly am wondering if I have made the right decisions.
But then this thought struck me. If I have never read God was irritated that means He would just be angry. I thought of my irritation with our oldest over that minor thing and thought of God being angry and it made me shudder. How often have I “Eeyored” about something, bemoaning the fact that I did not have what I needed for the moment… patience, love, wisdom. Had I asked? I felt shame as I thought how little I do often ask God for help. And I have a card above my sink to remember the persistent widow in Luke 18. I have no excuse!
And then this thought came to me. Does God have much stored for me, blessings to bestow, sitting in an ‘envelope’ all ready for me that I have just not gotten around to asking for?
It’s a humbling thought.
And how much has God blessed me with just because He loves me? Something I have never asked for but because I am His child He loves me so much he just gives me a gift?
I was suddenly not so irritated with my son. Yes, he missed out on more money for the school but as he finished that race that day with his bright yellow Fun Run shirt, I wondered who had gained the better gift that day, he or I?
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Created in August 2006, Girls Night Out to Cut Out Domestic Abuse™ is a nationwide movement to celebrate domestic abuse survivors and the power of women to band together to Break the Silence, Break the Cycle and Save Lives.
Hosted by partnering salons and spas from coast to coast, Girls Night Out to Cut Out Domestic Abuse™ emerged from a domestic abuse survivor’s realization that she needed to break her own silence and her moment of obligation to mobilize other survivors for a strength in numbers campaign to Support, Benefit and Empower women, children and families touched by domestic abuse and domestic homicide.
May 7, 2009
Plainwell Coffee Mill
$15 general admission
Appetizers and desserts.
Special guest Trinity ftL !!!
Register online or at the door.
More information about our local event can be found HERE .
Make a date with friends, wear your purple and join us as we celebrate
domestic abuse survivors and the power of women and communities to band
together to Break the Silence, Break the Cycle and Save Lives!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Have you ever just suddenly heard the tone of your voice and realize that you might be speaking a little below the line of "sweet"?
Yeh, me too.
Why is it that we act the worst around the ones we love the most?
Sometimes I think that I should have my family stand in front of a mirror when I speak to them so I can see myself and the reality of what they have to deal with!
Unless you are one of these people that has the hallelujah chorus following you around, you know what I'm talking about.
Moods, they not just for breakfast anymore.
If we let them get the best of us, it can be a real downward spiral. One minute we're laughing with our girlfriend on the phone, then crying at the story of the mom on TV who finally got pregnant after 10 years, then yelling at the kids to hush up while we watch the program~bless the Lord.
This week's message is nothing too deep, just a reminder to pay attention to how we speak to the ones we love.
Is it gentle or harsh?
Would they know how much we love them by the way we speak to them?
Have we been too short with them?
Here is a good barometer for us, not only as Christian's but also as wives and mothers:
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Now that's a verse that will preach, amen?!
Don't get mad at me, my toes are bloody too!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Thank you for all the prayers and encouragment about my speaking engagement this past weekend at the First Congregational Church in Otsego. I had such a nice time and met some precious women of God. They were so gracious and welcoming, they put on a beautiful tea. And for those you that may have guessed, I am a coffee drinker...but the tea was incredible!
I talked about Rahab, the prostitute who proved that no matter what your past is, you can become known for being a woman of great faith!
Don't let the shame and scorn of others determine your future!
Your future lies in the hands of the Lord...IF you'll place it there.
I'm looking forward to meeting with the ladies of North Point Church at the 747 Bistro on May 19th.
My topic will be: "The Key to Freedom"
I am so excited about this message because it is one that truly set me free (hence the catchy title)!
Also, want to let you all know that our next Praise and Coffee Night will be June 18th at the Plainwell Coffee Mill from 7-9.
It will be a little different than the past ones have been,
it's going to be a night of Praise and Worship!
I will be leading worship with Trinity ftL .
I can't wait to spend time worshipping our Lord with all you ladies.
There is nothing like a room full of women, pouring their hearts out to their God!!
Check out PraiseandCoffeeNights.com
I also want to introduce a couple of friends who have recently started blogging:
Jaime at The Word in Worship writes simple studies from God's Word centered around worship songs.
And Debi at Between the Two of Us is a MOPS leader that has a passion to help women of all ages and stages.
Check them out!
I hope you are enjoying your spring!
Don't forget to enter the May Praise and Coffee Giveaway!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
It's May! Oops, I totally missed it! May 1st, it's my sons birthday...then I was speaking for a Ladies Tea on May 2nd...and~ oh enough with the excuses~ I completely forget about this month's giveaway!!!!But not because I was unprepared...oh no, I have an awesome treat for you this month!!!
The praise this month is: Kari Jobe!!!!
And, our famous, "Praise and Coffee" label coffee!!
You're going to love it!
PLUS, our good friends at Bayview Cards are giving you a beautifully handmade box of cards!
~> To enter the drawing, just post a comment to THIS post telling me the first name of ONE (or more) of your favorite girlfriends to hang out with!
~> Please make sure that I have a way to contact you-PLEASE!
~> If you have one of my "Praise and Coffee Giveaway" buttons on your blog, let me know and you will be entered twice.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
I'd love it if you'd come on over and drop me a comment!
Here is a direct link: What is your body language saying?