Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chivalry is Dead

Chivalry is dead . . .  and women killed it.

Several decades ago there was a feminist movement. Women (in general, not the entire population) decided that we can do everything men can do AND have babies. In passing, this statement is funny. Down deep, where it matters, this kind of thinking has stripped men of their masculinity. We have told men that we don't need them.

Men used to hold the door open for women. We told them we could do it ourselves.
Men used to lay their coats over a puddle of water so their woman could walk across without getting her feet wet. We told them this was demeaning to women.
Men used to help unload groceries from the car and move furniture so their woman wouldn't have to do the heavy work. We told them we didn't need their help.
Men used to sit at the dinner table with the family and have manners and polite, meaningful conversation. Unfortunately, we pushed them away. We decided it was sexist for women to be in the home and we traded all of this for jobs outside the home, for Girl's Night Out, for losing ourselves in our hobbies.

What did we get in return?

We have men who don't think twice before walking through a door and never look back to see if there is a woman they can hold it open for.
We have men who are so engrossed in their phones and other technology that they don't even notice if a car drives past and sprays water all over their woman from head to toe!
We have men who sit and play video games while their wives unload groceries and move furniture and they never even offer to lend a hand.
We have men who, if they join the family at the table instead of eating in the other room in front of the tv, burp and fart and can't hold a conversation to save their lives.

We complain that our men don't help us. We have pushed them to this lifestyle.

It's time for a change.

It's time to teach our boys that they have a responsibility to take care of women, those they know and complete strangers (giving up their seat, holding open doors, etc). It's time we instill in them the desire to be men and teach them how to do it.

It's time to teach our daughters that, though she can move furniture alone, though she can open doors herself, though she may be able to do everything a man can do and have babies, she is feeding his masculinity when she allows him to help her with these things.

It's time for men to step up and learn how to be a gentleman, even if they were never taught. It's time for men to humble themselves and to take pride in helping a woman. It's time for them to see it as the most manly thing they can do. It's time for them to realize that being a "knight in shining armor" isn't just about saving "the damsel in distress" but also about helping her in the calm, quiet times.

It's time for women to stop being so offended by men that are trying to be gentleman. Instead of pushing them away and calling it demeaning, we should encourage it. They are being kind, mannerly, friendly, and helpful. If a woman offered to help us with those things, we wouldn't think twice about it. We would welcome the help. Why is it so different if it's a man offering?

When I was younger, my parents told me something that has stuck with me all these years. "If you want a man to act like a gentleman, you have to expect it of him." Basically, don't get into or out of the car until he comes and opens the door for you. When entering or leaving a building, stand by the door until he opens it for you. When you arrive home with a car full of groceries, carry an armload in. Then just tell him, "I'm gonna go ahead and put these away while you bring in the rest." Expect it of him. Pretend like there is no other way of doing things. He may grumble at first. He'll probably complain a little. Continue expecting it of him. Allow him to regain his masculinity and  to see the joy in helping his woman.

I've had this topic on my mind for some time now. It's saddened me greatly to think that chivalry is dead. What do my daughters have to look forward to? How am I going to convince my son it's the high road when none of the other guys are doing it? And then, I got a little ray of hope.

I was out with my 4 year old, 3 year old, 2 year old, and 1 year old buying two weeks worth of groceries. Visiting three different stores to get the best prices and enjoying lunch out with my kids at McDonald's . . . well, this is an all day affair. It usually takes 5 hours to get it all done. It's hard work. When leaving McDonald's trying to get the girls all headed in the correct direction, while carrying CJ, the diaper bag, my purse, and my drink, getting doors open wasn't easy. Of course, I do this every other Friday so I'm used to it and have my system figured out. It would be very easy for me to deny help and do things the way I always do.

So, to the little boy who patiently held open the door of the Playplace while we were leaving and smiled the entire time, THANK YOU!!! You put aside your wants of food and play to help out a lady in need. You slowed down long enough to realize that there are other people in this life and not just you. You took time to notice those around you. You were mature enough, at your (approx) 10 years of age to realize that life does not revolve around you. I pray that my "thank you" and "you're such a gentleman" were encouraging to you. I pray that they caused you to feel like a man. I pray that they helped you to see that you were doing the right thing.

To the man in the Aldi parking lot. THANK YOU! I was loading kids and groceries in my car as you drove up. You parked in the space adjacent to mine. With no one else around, it wasn't difficult to see you, especially with my 2 year old waving at you. You went in and bought your few items. When you came out I was still loading, though almost finished. You put your things in your car and then you slowed down your life. You took the time to come over, hand me the rest of my groceries as I put them in the car, return my baskets to the front of the store (all the way across the parking lot), and return my quarters to me. You smiled and carried on a polite, friendly, UNflirtatious conversation the entire time. You were clearly not in it for anything except the privilege of helping someone in need. Truthfully, you could have gotten in your car and driven away, and I would have been just fine. I had already done that three times that day at Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, and McDonald's. I didn't need you. You didn't care. You were a true gentleman. I wish I had more to offer than a simple "thank you" and so, just like with the little boy, I pray that you were encouraged by being able to help. I pray that, just as I received a blessing from being helped, you received an even bigger blessing from being a help. I pray that it showed you that you made the right decision and that you will continue offering your help to people in need. I pray that your masculinity was affirmed through that act of kindness.

Both of you restored my faith in humanity and made me realize that, though chivalry is dying, it has not been completely snuffed out. Maybe, just maybe, chivalry isn't dead.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A First!!!

Wow! I knew it had been a while since I've posted anything, but I didn't realize it has been almost a month! I have time each day to get on here, but with a 4 year old, a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and two 1 year olds, I don't have time to think! So, I tend to put it off even though I have tons of things I feel God is wanting me to share.

Anyway, I have a few rare moments of quiet, and I did my very first DIY project yesterday! I'm so excited that I just had to share.

Right now, CJ doesn't have a dresser for his clothes. They are just stacked on a bookshelf. That works great . . . until they're old enough to pull everything off the shelves and unfold all of the clothes! Then, it can be a pretty big mess. I knew I was going to need to do something pretty soon since he is getting mobile, but dressers can be pretty pricey. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what to do to save myself from some unnecessary stress in the very near future.

A couple of months ago our neighbors moved out and were taking some furniture to the dumpster that they didn't want anymore. In apartment life, it is common to leave unwanted items next to the dumpster as "free game" for anyone who wants it. Before she took it down there, she asked if I wanted it (two small dressers and one large dresser). She told me they were pink, and I thought they'd look adorable in my girls' room so I told her yes. Then she brought them to me . . . YIKES!!!

She failed to mention that her daughters had colored all over them, the handles (I already removed them before taking the pic.) were broken, and the paint was peeling. I didn't want to hurt her feelings by taking them to the dumpster so I just stuck them in the corner and used them to stack stuff on. When I was looking for a resolution for CJ's room, I remembered these small dressers.

Now, I've never painted anything before . . . in my life - besides t-shirts, using fabric paint. I had no idea where to start. Thankfully, my sister is a DIYer and is full of advice. I don't know what I'd do without her. She talked me through everything I would need, while she was on a date with her husband. He's a good man for sharing her!

All of that said, here is the project:

My first task was finding a place to spray paint. If I was in my own home, I'd do it in the grass and let it wear off eventually. But I'm not. And that gets frowned on in an apartment. So, inside, by the back door was my option. I used shower curtains from Dollar Tree and packaging tape to block everything off. (I also have a baby gate between the living room and kitchen where a certain 2 year old and 1 year old stood screaming for me to let them in!)

CJ's room is done in a Texas Rangers theme so I wanted the dressers to match. These are the colors I used. It only took one can for each dresser. I got them at Wal-Mart for $3.77 a can. 

I wanted knobs that looked like baseballs, but Terrell doesn't have much to choose from, so I got these white knobs from McCoy's. They were $1.19 each. Not cheap but my only choice, and I supported my husband's store, so it's a win either way.

 With such a limited space, I had to wait for the first dresser to dry before being able to paint the second, so it was an all day project. After they were both dry enough to handle, I removed the drawers and painted the edges. A few more hours passed, and they were ready for knobs and to be put back in the dressers.

All I have to do now is carry them upstairs   :-/   and fill them with little boy clothes!!! They're not beautiful, but they're my first ever project, so I'm excited about them anyway.

Now to find something else to put in the corner by the front door to stack stuff on . . . 

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Calling

Salvation is a free gift. The Bible says so in Romans 6:23. It is a free gift. It does not depend on anything we can say, do, or think. Jesus offered His life on the cross in exchange for our salvation. That's what it took. Because of God's grace, He accepted that sacrifice. Because of God's grace, we can spend eternity with Him. Because of God's grace there is forgiveness for everything we have done. I am so thankful for God's grace. Where would I be without it? I am totally dependent on His grace.

But what if I told you that isn't the end of the story? What if I told you that His salvation isn't all there is to it? We don't just "get saved" and that's it. No. There is much more to it than that.

**God's salvation comes at a high price. Don't believe me? Check out these verses from Luke 14:
"A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, "If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison - your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
"But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, 'There's the person who started that building and couldn't afford to finish it!'
"Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can't, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.""

Jesus Himself told us to count the cost and see if the price is worth paying before committing to Him. How many of us did that before we "got saved"?

**Salvation doesn't just come at a high price. It also comes with a calling. 2 Timothy 1:9 says, "For God saved us and called us to live a holy life." What does it mean to be holy? R.C. Sproul explains it this way in his book The Holiness of God: "The primary meaning of holy is 'separate'. It comes from an ancient word that meant, 'to cut' or 'to separate'. Perhaps even more accurate would be the phrase 'a cut above something'. When we find a garment or another piece of merchandise that is outstanding, that has superior excellence, we use the expression that it is 'a cut above the rest'.

We have also been called to live like Christ. 1 John 2:6 says this exactly. "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did."

But that's impossible. Jesus was perfect. He was sinless. I can't do that. I was born with a sin nature.

I know this is already a long post, but God showed me something today. Please stay with me as I try to explain it.The first thing He said to me was that that excuse is a lie from the pit of hell. Satan has twisted Scripture in such a way as to make us think we can't live life like Jesus.

Romans 8:12 says, "Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do."

After we receive God's salvation, through grace, because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, we receive a new nature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 puts it this way, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; all things are become new." ALL things. That includes our sinful nature. We have been made a new creation. We have a new nature.

In our new nature we will have the desire to live as Christ lived. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there." (Galatians 5:24)

We will also have the ability to live as Christ lived. "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves."

God has offered us salvation. It is a free gift. The Christian life is not free though. It comes at a price. It has a high cost. Salvation required death, the death of Jesus. The cost of living the Christian life requires death as well. Death on our part. "So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you." (Colossians 3:5)

It is time for us to stop using excuses about our sinful nature and realize we no longer have a sinful nature. It's time for us to start living a holy, set apart life. It's time our lives start mirroring that of Jesus. It's time we begin striving for the same perfection that Jesus had. It's time we realized that because He is living in us, it is possible. It's time we realized that God offered His grace because we couldn't attain salvation on our own. It's time we realized that God requires His people to live differently instead of using His grace as an excuse to continue living like we have a sinful nature. It's time we realize that God has called us to live in freedom but to stop using that freedom as a license to sin. (Galatians 5:13).

Will you join me on this journey of living life the way Christ did? Not just reaching the lost by going to the ends of the earth, but showing them He has made a difference in our lives by living totally, completely opposite of the way the world lives? Remember, you don't have to sin. You have a new nature.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Is God Really Good?

I hear all the time "if God is so good, why do bad things happen?" I think there is a HUGE problem with our view of God. We paint Him as this loving, kind, good, gracious God. He is. God is all of these things. However, God is MUCH, MUCH more.

Did you know that God is jealous?
(Exodus 20:5, 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, 6:15; Joshua 24:19)

Did you now that God gets angry?
(Isaiah 30:27-28; Exodus 32:9-10)

Did you know that God knows He is the best thing for us? Did you know that because of that, He requires that He be our number 1? Did you know that when He isn't our number 1, He will do whatever it takes to draw us back to Him, because He loves us that much?

God doesn't need us. He is self-sufficient (Acts 17:25). Just because He doesn't need us, doesn't change the fact that we need Him. Desperately. He knows that. He knows that we can't survive without Him.

God longs for us to "remain in [Him]" because He knows He is the best. He knows He is the only One. This is not egotistical. This is not a puffed up pride. This is simply because He is the only One. Because He is the only One, He knows it. Because He knows it, He would NOT be loving if He didn't do everything in His power to draw us to Him. He would be unloving if He left us to ourselves, if He didn't show us the error of our ways and require our complete and total devotion.

Why do bad things happen? Maybe, just maybe it is BECAUSE God is good and not in spite of that fact. Maybe we give Satan too much credit for the "bad" things that take place. Instead of saying, "it's just the evil world we live in", maybe we should say "Have I wandered away from God, even slightly?" Maybe the bad things that are happening are because God is trying to get our attention.

Please, please, please hear me! God does not WANT bad things to happen to us. Psalm 56:8 says, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." God grieves when we grieve.

He doesn't WANT bad things to happen to us. He does cause them though. Lamentations 3:31-33 says, "For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion according to the greatness of His unfailing love. For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow." To the world, to most Christians, that doesn't sound like a good God. To me, that sounds like a great God!

The death of a child, losing a home in a fire, terminal illness . . . those are terrible, horrible, painful, life-altering things. But are they bad? Seen in and of themselves, yes. Seen in light of God trying to draw us to Himself, no. See, God knows that though the pain of these things is immense, unbearable, it is nothing compared to the pain of life and eternity without Him.

Though God grieves when we grieve, though it hurts Him to cause us pain, He is willing because He is a kind and loving God. He doesn't want to "send" anyone to hell. (Btw, God doesn't send anyone to hell, but that is another post for another day!) He causes these circumstances in our lives because He is "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

*Sometimes bad things happen because of the evil world we live in. Sometimes they happen because God wants to remind us that He is in control of all things. Sometimes they happen so we can be a witness to someone we will come into contact with. Just because bad things happen doesn't mean we have wandered from Him. However, sometimes that is the case, and I think we've turned a bind eye to that in order to "prove" that God is good. I think it's time we looked at this side of our God. He is oh so much more!*

Yes, God is good. A thousand times, yes! It just doesn't always look the way our definition of "good" says it should.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Day by Day

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best - 
Lovingly, it's part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure",
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting, 
Till I reach the promised land.

I Sing Because

I've been singing about my Lord for many years.
I've sung when I was happy.
I've sung through lots of tears.
Some folks have even questioned if it was just a show.
Well, the reason that I'm singing, I want the world to know.

I sing because there is an empty grave.
I sing because there is a power that saves.
I sing because His grace is real to me.
I sing because I know I'm not alone.
I sing because someday I'm going home
Where I'll sing for all eternity.

I've sung to those who were walking through the fiery trial.
I've seen their saddened faces turn to happy smiles.
I've bowed my head and whispered, "Please do the same for me".
I'm glad that I can tell you, He gave me victory.

I sing because there is an empty grave.
I sing because there is a power that saves.
I sing because His grace is real to me.
I sing because I know I'm not alone.
I sing because some day I'm going home
Where I'll sing for all eternity.

I sing because I know I'm not alone.
I sing because some day I'm going home
Where I'll sing for all eternity.