Thursday, January 30, 2014

To the Men

Men. Men. Men.

We were created to be your helpmeet. We were created because "it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). God has made it clear that you need us! God is our first priority. You are our second priority. (Well, you should be. That's another topic for another day. Don't worry though. I will cover that! It's a burden that's been on my heart recently.)

We were created to be your helper. Women have taken that and used it to say that we can do everything you can do AND have babies! Women have used that as an excuse to say "I don't need a man."

Please don't believe that. We need you too. We know you go to work for MANY hours each day. We know you work hard while you're there. We know you want to unwind when you get home. We know you need some quietness. We know you need peace. We know you need some personal space. We know that. We respect that. We want nothing more than to give you that.

I'm not gonna sit here and try to convince you that we (as stay-at-home moms/women or as working moms/women) work just as hard as you. I'm not gonna try to point out our job description and everything we think and feel and do in a single day. We are not in a competition. Whether you work harder or we do does not matter. If God is our first priority, we will each be doing what He has called us to do. There is no comparison. We each follow God, and do His work.

That doesn't change the fact that just as you need us, we need you. You are our protector. I don't know what the technical definition is for that word, but as a woman, I can tell you it's not just a physical protection.

It's emotional. We need to be able to be wrapped in your arms, lean our head on your chest, and cry. We need to be able to talk to you about our fears and sorrows. We need to be able to share our joys. We don't just need to know that we can share with you. We need to know you care about what we're sharing.

It's mental. We need to know you're present and available for your family. Just because you're in the room doesn't mean you're here with us. We need you to unplug - from the TV, from the phone, from the internet, from the video games, from the books, from etc, etc, etc.

We need to know that you're willing to do things you don't particularly enjoy because you know it is something that is important to us. We need you to invest in us. There would probably be a lot fewer women complaining about having to endure sports with their husbands if there were more husband willing to "unplug" from all distractions and play a board game or go for a walk or browse antique stores.

It's spiritual. We need you to lead us closer to God. We need you to initiate Bible reading and praying together. Not just when times are tough but when they're good as well. We need you to remind us that God 1.) is in control of all things and 2.) has given us much to be thankful for.

It's financial. When we're freaking out about how we're gonna pay the bills and fix the car and take the kids to the doctor and eat dinner, we need you to remind us that it's okay, necessary even, to relax and spend a dollar to rent a movie. When we're on a spending spree, spending every penny in sight, we need you to remind us that we need to be more responsible with our money. We need you to remind us that there are things that need to be taken care of. When you're freaked out about money and how to pay the bills, etc, we need you to remember that sometimes even a 50 cent candle goes a long way to removing depression. When you're on a spending spree, we need you to remember that we are trying to figure out how to pay for school supplies and provide clothing for that child that won't stop growing.

Of course, it is physical. We need you to remember that while we were home all day and may not have taken a shower or gotten dressed until 5 minutes before you walked in the door, we weren't being lazy all day. We need you to remember that we have been working non-stop all day. When we are 8 months pregnant and weigh 1,000 pounds we need you to make us sit down and rest. (We might need you to put us on a diet too!!!) When we have 500 kids running around the house all day, we need you to read the weariness in our eyes, like we do for you, and help us fill plates or put laundry in the dryer. We need you understand that bed time goes a lot smoother for everyone involved when you help tuck kids in bed. They haven't been with you all day. They need you. We need you.

We look up to you. We honor you. We respect you. We don't talk bad about you to our friends and family. We remain faithful to you. We pray for you. We help you. Help us to help you. We need your protection. We need you. We want you. We love you.


Guess this refers to the paperwork I'm drowning in as we speak!!


My heart is so extremely burdened. It has been for quite a while. I have trouble sleeping. I walk through my days with sadness. For months now I've done my chores throughout the day while going over these issues in my head. God has been after me to write this blog. I've put it off . . . intentionally.


Well, for starters, I simply don't know where to start. I'm overwhelmed.

Secondly, I know that it'll require some changes on my part, and I haven't been ready to surrender those things. Selfish, I know. God has been dealing with me.

Tonight, the third night of not being able to fall asleep because of these thoughts swirling in my head, I'm surrendering. I'm sharing. I'm emptying my heart onto "paper". There is so much here though. I don't know how many posts it will cover. I don't know how long it will take me to write each one. All I do know is that God has called me, and it's time to respond. So here goes . . .

*I am not bringing up specific titles/people to start an argument. I'm simply sharing the events that God used to speak to me over these past months.*

Movies. Books. Music.

Our entertainment industry has recently been dominated by things that stepped up the game; that have lowered, even more, those standards that were already well below what God calls holy.

*First, "Magic Mike" made an appearance. Christians all over the country were appalled over this. There were many blog posts and articles written about this. Many pastors and teachers subtly slipped it into their sermons and lessons as they began covering topics of pornography and purity. A question was posed to me during this time as I joined the voices speaking out against this movie. I remained silent to that question. Why? I had already made it clear I wasn't in agreement, so why did I remain silent? Well, it caused me to go deeper in my thinking, and I knew it would make people angry. I wasn't ready for that.

*Very shortly after that time, "50 Shades of Grey" popped up on bookstore shelves all over the nation. It became available in hard copy, as an ebook, in audio format. It was advertised on numerous websites all over the internet. Again, people all over the world were speaking out against this type of literature. People were confronting it head-on. I read blogs about it, but I didn't join my voice in with the thousands of others. The question I had been asked during the Magic Mike "era" came resonating back into my head, and I knew I needed to answer it. Instead, I became a coward and sealed my lips.

*Not too long later, a young girl named Miley Cyrus got on stage, and well, there's no need for me to spell out what happened there. Even non-Christians were outraged at the spectacle she made. Negative comments shot up from every direction. A link to the video that was taken of that performance began circling the internet. It was almost impossible to get online without seeing a reference to and link for that video. I knew that if I spoke out on that topic, no one would argue with me. I knew I would have full support in any comment against it. I also "knew" though that it was so picked over that probably no one would read what I had to say anyway. In that moment, I listened to the lies of Satan and chose silence.

I truly believe that my heavy heart and the burden I've been carrying are not so much from the situations that have infiltrated our entertainment industry as they are from my choice of silence when God was telling me to speak. My silence put a distance between God and me. And now, I'm breaking that silence and filling in the gap I've created.

So, what is the infamous question I was asked? Well, it was posed to me as a statement: "This is only a movie and [there are] lots of movies out there kinda like this one and for some reason this is getting a lot of attention." My first thought was anger. "It doesn't matter what else is out there. This is still wrong."

Then I calmed down and realized this person was right. Why were we paying so much attention to this movie? Why did that book get so much of our attention? Why did that girl cause us all to freak out? There are plenty of other things out there that are just as bad, if not worse, than those things that caused us all so much grief.

Though this person's goal was to get me to realize that we need to stop picking on the entertainment, it had quiet the opposite effect. My question became "why didn't we start fighting this crap a long time ago?"

I'm not very much into recent movies and shows. Though there are a few I enjoy, most of them are just not very interesting to me. I like older movies. Black and whites. Dean Martin. Jerry Lewis. Fred Astaire. Bing Crosby. Doris Day. Someone was always singing and/or dancing in those movies. It was entertaining. They have always seemed so innocent to me . . . until this question was brought to me.

Shortly after this conversation took place, I was watching the ever-popular "White Christmas", and my eyes were opened to the truth. Then I watched a Doris Day movie (the title of which escapes my memory at the moment), and I was saddened. How had I been so blind all this time? In "White Christmas" the songs are wonderful, the talent is amazing, the dancing . . . well, it could have been awesome. They had to add in inappropriate, immodest clothing. The outfits the girls wear in that movie leave very little to the imagination of the men in the audience. The Doris Day movie I referred to, well, there is more than one scene of a woman in the bathtub. Though she has bubbles up to her neck, it's still not appropriate.

Listen, I know all the ideas of "well, just fast-forward through that scene" and all that. That's good. That is wise. I'm concerned though about where that train of thought has brought us. We accepted it back then, and just "skipped over" that part. We supported it then when we should have avoided it at all costs. Women in inappropriate clothing back in the 50's was accepted, and now we have movies of people without ANY clothes! What did we truly expect to happen? The old adage "what one generation allows in moderation, the next will allow in excess" has proven true. I know Christians fought against these three particular things, but while we were doing that, we were still supporting other books, movies, and music that are just as ungodly. I mean, I can't speak for everyone else here, but I can speak for myself. And I can tell you that though I have been criticized for how strict my standards are, I was still supporting ungodly things (like the two movies I just mentioned).

I can't - AND WON'T - tell you what specific movies you should watch. I can't - AND WON'T - tell you what books to read or music to listen to. I can give some advice though. I can help steer you in the right direction. I'm "authorized" to do that because it comes from the Bible.

Ephesians 5:3-4 - "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." (bold added)

Ephesians 5:11-12 - "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret." (bold added)

I can't speak for you, but my "strict" movie, music,  and book choices don't follow the guidelines set forth in Scripture. I'm sorry to fellow Christians for being a bad witness, to non-Christians for possibly leading you astray, and to my LORD and Savior for not being holy in my walk. I love you all, and I pray you'll join me on this journey of purifying our walks with Him.

(Sidenote: There is still more burdening my heart, but this is all I feel compelled to share right now. Please pray for me as God shows me more and more. Pray for me to have courage to share what I've been shown. Pray for me to have kind, loving words to gently lead others to the truth.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Because HE Lives!

They just don't write 'em like this anymore! Miss singing hymns like this in church.

God sent His Son; they called Him Jesus.
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon.
An empty grave is there to prove:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still, the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day, I'll cross the river.
I'll fight life's final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory, 
I'll see the lights of glory, and
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not in Vain

In my sickened state I lounged on the couch with two children sleeping, one playing cheerfully on the floor beside me, two happily coloring on chalkboards at the table, and Rapunzel playing quietly on the television in the background. In spite of the contentment in my home on this gorgeous day, I couldn't help feeling overwhelmed.

In the past I've always been afraid to mention the stresses that go along with motherhood. I've kept quiet and pretended everything is always easy. Why did I do this? Well, I chose this life. I wanted these children. I chose to have them so close together. What right do I have to complain?

The truth is, I'm not complaining. I love my life. I wouldn't change it for ANYthing! If I could do it all again, knowing what I know now, I'd do it all again exactly the same way. That doesn't change the fact that it's hard. It's difficult. Most days I feel like I'm living life in the trenches. And if I am, who else is feeling this way?

We prayed for these children, we must keep quiet about how difficult they are. We are pressured to enjoy the grass stains on the clothes. We are encouraged to be thankful for the piles of laundry, the dirty floors, the fingerprints on the windows, and all the dishes in the sink. Really????

My sister said to me the other day, "Everyone says we'll look back on these days and miss it. I'm sure they're right, but today, I don't miss it. At this particular moment I don't think I'll ever miss this stuff."

She's right of course. When I hear people reminisce about the past, I don't ever hear them sad about the fact that they don't have millions of loads of laundry. I don't hear them wishing to have back all the dishes and clothes that need mending and etc, etc, etc.

What they do miss is their children being small. They miss being able to hold their children and rock them to sleep. They miss being able to stand over their child's bed and listen to them breathing quietly in the darkness of the night.

They don't miss that other stuff. Why? Because it's hard work. Because it's the battle. It's the race. It's the sweat and tears and difficulties of life. And it's okay to mention those in real life. It's okay to admit that life with children is hard. It's okay to share our experiences and as for prayer. It's okay to join with other moms and admit that sometimes these little people that God calls blessings feel like anything but that!

It was with these thoughts swirling around in my head that I got on Facebook and found a link to this blog post. It changed me. It opened my eyes to the truth. I don't know the author. I can't vouch for any of her previous posts. All I know is that this one is spot on. I encourage you to read it. Even if you're not a parent, please read it. We all face discouragement in the life we chose (job, spouse, children) and her post, while directed at mothers, is true for all of us.

I pray it encourages you as much as it did me!