Friday, March 10, 2017

Keeping My Mouth Shut, And My Disposition Sweet

     One of the most important things I have learned, in my over-a-decade-marriage, is learning to be quiet:  You know, not always saying what is on my mind.  Another important lesson has been listening to hear my husband, not to give my opinion, or some witty comeback.  Yet, all too often, I find myself doing the very things God has taught me not to do.

     Whether or not I disagree with my man, I am to submit to him.  (I want to state the obvious:  if my husband is wanting me to submit unto him in a way that would cause me to sin against God, that is a big, fat, NO.  I.e., have an abortion; lie; steal; commit adultery.)  That submission is greatly evident in our communication with one another.  Not only should I practice a zipped lip when he is speaking, and open ears, but I should actually care about what it is he is sharing with me.

     Sure, sometimes we are simply discussing mundane matters; that ought not do away with my deference to him.  Yes, there are times interruptions need to be made.  Honestly, though, they are the exception, and not the rule.

     Now, I realize that even discussing submission to one's husband creates a stir.  Understandably, when a person has experienced abuse, especially under a misuse of scripture, hearing the term "submission" causes a shudder.  Having experienced men who have perverted God's words for their own benefit, I can empathize.

     Nevertheless, we are not to allow the wrongdoing of others to nullify the clearly expressed will of our Heavenly Father.  Being His precious daughter, if truly born again, we are to allow His word to be our guide.  In fact, in my heart, I would want it to be so!

     Therefore, if God tells married women to "...Submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord..."--Ephesians 5:22, guess what we are to do?  I know, looking at it from a modern-day lens, that this commandment is repugnant.  Many women, who are Biblically-ignorant, self-centered, and/or scorners of God and His word, are utterly disgusted or shocked at the idea of this command.   They are equally, if not more so, aghast at the fact that there are women who seek to adhere to it.

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     Yet, for the born-again lady, this command, (like so many others pertaining to a God-fearing marriage), is one that is cherished.  Yes, cherished.  When you realize that God gives it to us for our benefit, and His glory; when you have a heart to glorify Him, and are grateful for the opportunity to do so; when you realize He will be the one to enable you to do something contrary to the sinful nature of your flesh...Yes, you find His way one to be cherished.

     So, out of respect to my Heavenly Father, and to my husband, I seek to allow him to discuss things with me, uninterrupted.  Speaking to him, when it is my turn to speak.  Speaking to him, in a respectful manner.

     These are all basic manners.  We teach our children how to do these very things with their authority figures, as well as any other person.  The best way, as everyone can attest, to teach someone something, is to live it out before them.  If I am not exemplifying submission, how can I reasonably expect those I teach to do so?

     A willing heart is paramount to submission.  If I am defiant on the inside, am I truly submitting?  Does my face depict love, or scorn?  Do I exude respect, or disdain?  When I defer to my husband, what does my body language say about my heart?

 The Bible has much to say about listening:

"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."
Proverbs 10:19

"He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."
Proverbs 17:27-28

"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
Proverbs 29:11

"Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him."
Proverbs 29:20

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"
James 1:19

     Something as simple as listening to our husbands, rather than always interrupting as the mood suits us, (as well as only listening so we have some great response), does a great deal at strengthening our marriages!  As I put my own advice to practice, I have seen before my very own eyes the blessings of which I speak!  What, exactly, have I experienced, when keeping my mouth shut, and my disposition sweet?

     I have seen a solidifying of our friendship.  As he sees that I genuinely care about him, he feels safer to share his thoughts with me.  Not only does he know that I am sincerely interested in his opinion, but he knows I am not seeking ammunition for later use.  He knows I am not trying to lord over him in speech.  Due to my true respect and submission, it also opens him up to want to listen to me.

     Even if I have legitimate concerns, I have learned (and, am continuing in application) that I need to use my words wisely.  If I "fly off the handle" at him, for whatever the reason, that will do no good in getting across my concern.  What is much better, is prayerfully prepare to speak unto him:  ask the Lord to guide my speech, that it is done appropriately, kindly, and understood clearly.

     I have learned that when he sees my genuine respect for him as a fellow believer, as my husband, as a father, and as a man, it only strengthens our relationship.  From the scriptures, and observations, it makes sense.  A man was inherently designed to be energized by the respect he receives: from wherever he gets it.  So, if I am purposeful in being respectful to my man, of course our relationship gets better!  He will feel like the strong, competent, handsome, witty, intelligent man I see, know, and love!

     In return, his love for me propels my service to/for him, and our family.  They go hand-in-hand.  Have you ever tried serving a cantankerous fellow?  Yeah, that is one difficult job!  However, when that same man lovingly bestows praises upon you, genuinely, for a job well done...Talk about fuel to the fire!  You are more apt to get more accomplished in one day, than you did all week with a sour puss!

     Oh, how I could say that I am no longer erring in these regards, though!  I am still finding myself falling short of God's will in these things.  Thank God, though, that when He looks at my account, it is covered by Christ's righteousness!

     Do I find it easier to be negligent, because of Christ's righteousness applied to me?  No.  I find it all the more sobering, to be honest.  Remembering all He has done for me propels me to obey Him, which is loving Him:  "If ye love me, keep my commandments."--John 14:15

     If you are curious as to where in the Bible it shows that our respect unto our menfolk, and their love unto us, go hand-in-hand, I am about to share with you some verses that show it.  I love these set of verses, because they are so clear-cut and powerful.  I hope it encourages and emboldens you in your pursuit of a listening heart and sweet disposition!

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."
Ephesians 5:22-33

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Make Him Breakfast

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     I will be honest, I did not always make my man breakfast.  I still do not always make him breakfast.  I have also struggled, through the years, with making him lunches and dinners.  Sometimes, it is due to illness.  Other times, it is because I am out of town.  There is the rare occasion, wherein I am truly too busy to do so.  However, most of the time, it is due to lack of proper use of my time.

     Yet, when I have purposed to fulfill my calling as his help meet, and, specifically, ensuring he has a good meal in him, there is such a sense of satisfaction that is a blessing all its own!  The delight and pleasure Dear shows is just a bonus!

     I know.  Someone reading will think I am oppressed, antiquated, and actually promoting a wife to serve her man.  You would be correct, on two of those points.

     I am promoting a servant's heart amongst God-fearing women.  In this day of "our rights," even we believers have forgotten, or even eschewed, seeking to bless others by putting their needs above our own.  We have forgotten the blessed Saviour's example, His commands, and His blessings for obeying Him.  We talk a great deal about the woman in Proverbs 31, especially her commendation in the last verses.  Yet, those praises did not just spring up overnight.  They came after all those previous works mentioned earlier in the chapter.

     There is also much discussion about being women described in Titus 2 and 1 Peter 3.  However, what does it mean to love our husbands, and our children (if you have any)?  What does love look like?  1 Corinthians gives a great example of love in action; a.k.a., charity. 

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
1 Corinthians 13
     Another great set of verses, that help us truly consider what is coming issuing forth from our hearts, is found in here:  

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Galatians 5:22-23 

If we (I include myself, here) scoff at the idea of serving our husband, our families, and fill-in-the-blank, we ought to really examine our hearts.

     I have struggled, at times, with keeping a heart of service:  of putting others before myself.  I have found that when I expect gratitude, and do not receive it; or, have any expectation (s) dashed, I can become bitter.  It deflates me.  Yet, I also realize that when I keep my focus on my Saviour:  seeing my service to others as unto Him, then I have the strength and resilience needed to "keep on keepin' on," regardless of recognition!

     I know it can be an incredibly difficult burden, if you are not blessed with a saved husband.  I know that there can be incredible difficulties, with a Christian man.  Difficulties or no, we should be actively seeking to love our Lord, by obeying Him.

     So, I seek to make Dear his breakfast, as I am able.  Getting up before the crack of dawn has been a tad more difficult, now that we have a little blessing dependent upon his mama.  However, the times wherein I am able to get up that early, I do.

     I love that I can bless my man, with a hearty breakfast, a cheerful countenance, a kiss as he walks out the door.  If I wanted, I could crawl back into my comfy bed.  He cannot.  He is toiling his laborious job, to care for us.

     I love that when he comes home for lunch, I am able to give him another hearty meal, to keep him going.  He is blessed with the squeals of delight as our li'l man sees his papa pull into the driveway, and walks up to the door.  He is blessed to have us excitedly awaiting his entrance, and, later, his return after work is done.

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     I love that he can arrive home, and know that dinner is ready; or, about to be.  He can take a shower to clean off the muck from a hard day's work.  He can have a piping hot cup of coffee, savoring every drip.  He can sit down to the table, ready to enjoy whatever his wife made for him.    He can go rest a bit in bed, if he has had an especially tiring day.  He can enjoy family and home, because I purpose to give that gift to him.

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     But, you know what?  It has become reciprocal.  I was not looking for it to be so; but, it did.  He gladly will help me with our son, whenever I need it.  He will gladly give me a helping hand, wherever I need it.

     And, it all started by putting him before me.
     Am I being antiquated?  If gladly cooking him meals is antiquated, then, yes.  If trying to raise our son to love his father, then, yes.  If seeking to put him first, (after the Lord), then, yes.

     Am I oppressed?  Well, according to Webster's 1828 definition of oppress, I do not see it.  I do not see my husband being unreasonable with me.  In fact, I do not recall him ever asking me to get up to make his breakfast. He has asked about lunches and dinners, but, really, who would not ask such a thing:  especially when hungry?

     Sure, someone may say that he needs to make it himself.  Why?  I have been home all day.  It is my duty, and my honor, to do so.  It only appears grievous when looked upon with a selfish heart.

     If we, as women who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, can get our eyes back onto HIM, when we start feeling overwhelmed, irritated, lazy, etc., in our roles as wives and mothers, we will soon sense our strength to continue in those good works!  So, if you are able, make your man breakfast, and see what starts happening:  in you, and in him!

 "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;"
Romans 12:10

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."
Ephesians 5:22-24

P.S.  A little food for thought:  If we were to have a job/career outside the home, wherein we received monetary benefits for our service, would we not seek to do the very best of our abilities?  If we were in the hospitality field, customer relations field, or worked in any variety of stores, would we not seek to excel in customer service, pleasing our superiors, and teamwork?  Why then, could we not apply the same attitude, if not even more so, to our families?

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