Friday, March 17, 2017

Wifestylin: A Wife's Secret to Happiness

What kind of wife are you?  Are you frayed or braided?  Are you doubtful or decided?  Do you duel with your husband, or dance with him?  Are you an MVP seeking all the attention for your self, or are you part of a Dream Team that edifies your husband and his goals and wishes, as well as your own?  


Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reading my way through A Wife's Secret to Happiness: Receiving, Honoring, & Celebrating God's Role for You in Your Marriage by Jen Weaver.  I have loved this book, y'all!  (Just had to throw in one y'all since Jen is from Texas.)   I found this book easy to read as it feels like Jen is just sitting across the table from me, coffee in hand, and sharing her stories and stories of those she knows.  Her perspective is genuine.  She shares her victories and her places where she has fallen short as a wife.  Yet this book is also difficult to read.  At the end of each chapter, I have a lot to process and think through about how I am handling all the blessings that God has given to me in my marriage.

Jen Weaver covers many difficult topics that we don't always like to talk about.  Discussing submission in a relevant way or sexuality in a godly way is not easy.  But she dives right in and makes it feel okay to discuss those topics.  Every page is seamlessly woven with Scripture.  I loved recognizing how she tied critical Scripture points together all in the same paragraph.  That speaks to me of a woman who knows God's Word very well and has earned the right to give a few pointers to other married women.

At the end of each chapter, she offers a brief quiz about how you relate to the concept she presented.  There is no judgment--just a simple tool for self-evaluation.  It gave me a lot to think about and some new goals in how I relate to my husband.  When I look at the "Wifestylin" quizzes, I realize there are some areas where I have gotten lazy or didn't even realize I was doing something that may turn my husband off.  But there are also some areas where I do feel like I have it right.

The whole premise of being a happy wife is communication with God and with your husband.  You are free to be who God created you to be, but you have to know Him.  Be familiar with Scripture--not just familiar with it but KNOW it at a heart level.  Know the role that God created for you as a wife so you can operate within that, not outside of it.  Talk to your husband about everything.  Let him lead and embrace the role that God created for him.  Be a part of his Dream Team, not his competition.

I love the way Jen Weaver said this.  "The blueprint for building a safe haven in our relationship relies on Christ as the cornerstone."  This just really stuck with me, and I thought it summed up everything pretty well.

I highly recommend reading this book and using it as a stepping stone for building your relationship with your husband.  Being married can be difficult sometimes, and it takes a continual renewal to make sure you are traveling down the same path as a team, and not veering apart.

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."  Ecclesiastes 4:12



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Peace in the Stillness

Peace.  It's my word for 2017.  For the last two years, I have asked God for a focus word for each year.  I also try to find a verse that corresponds to the word I have received.  In 2015, my word was "Now."  Ephesians 3:20-21 perfectly corresponds to that: "Now, to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than you can ask or even imagine...."  Now is the time to be obedient; now is the time to rely on God's power and not my own.  Last year I had "Renew."  Renew yourself each day and find the joy.  Reconnect with God, and enjoy your life.  "Create in my a clean heart, O God, and renew in me a right spirit" (Psalm 51:10).

This year it's "Peace."  That is. My word for 2017.  I know that it is the middle-end of February, but I am just now starting to put this together in my mind.  I had trouble finding a verse that really spoke to me.  One didn't immediately come to me that seemed to convey exactly what I was feeling.  I took off on a journey to search out a verse on peace.  There are no shortage of verses on peace.  So many that it is a bit overwhelming.  I started writing them all out hand, looking for the one that really spoke to me.  I love John 14:27 and John 16:33, and even a simple "Peace be with you."  But none of those seemed to be quite right for my personal focus verse for this year.

Meanwhile, Holy Spirit Keeps putting another verse in front of me.  I see it in books that I am reading.  I go to pick out a card for a friend and there it is.  Someone sends me a text and there it is again.  After many times of this happening in a short period of time, It finally dawns on me.  This.  This is the verse that best speaks peace over my life in 2017.  

"Be still and know that I am God."  (Psalms 46:10)

But it doesn't say the word peace, right?  I got hung up on this for a while.  My word and my verse in the last two years matched.  But focusing on that little detail makes me miss what God is really trying to tell me.  Be still, and know that I am God.

What are you worried about?  What is making you anxious?  Know that He is God.  He has it under control.  There is no problem that He can't handle.  He created the whole universe and everything in it. He parted the Red Seas.  He even conquered death on a cross.  Don't you think He can handle your bad day?

Haven't talked to God in a while?  Just be still, and feel His presence.  He is right there with you always, even to the very end of the age.

Are you feeling stressed, hurried, rushed, overwhelmed?  Just be still a moment.  God is there too.  He can help you.  Take a moment to be still and reconnect with Him.  Sometimes it can be simple as just saying,  "Jesus, I need you right now."     

Do ├┐ou feel like you are being attacked, either by other people or by other forces that want to pull you away from God?  The LORD will fight for you; you have only to be still.  If it worked for the Israelites at the Red Sea, then it could surely work for us too.

As I think through all these different situations, these are all areas where I feel my peace being threatened and attacked.  Some of them are my own creation, and some of them are natural reactions to what is happening around me.  But there is one way to combat all this negativity...


Be still, and know that I am God.  



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Start Where You Are

Start where you are.

This phrase keeps reverberating through my heads the last couple of weeks.  Through a conversation with a good friend, she told me just to start where I am.  Don't worry about trying to catch up; just start where I am.  Boy, those were the exact right words at the exact right time.  This lets me out of some guilt and other feelings of negativity.  Just start where I am right now.

Where am I right now?  I haven't written anything in months.  Haven't even thought about it much.  Does that mean God hasn't been working in my life?  Of course not.  That means I have just been focused on some other areas of my life.  But start where I am.  I am going to take five minutes right now and write.  Five minutes to start where I am.  This has been in my head so much lately that I thought I needed to share.

When I am feeling overwhelmed by clutter at home or on my desk at school, start where I am.  Can I just put away five things that are out of place?  Can I just file these ten papers right here?  It is so easy for the piles to overtake me, for I have never been a naturally organized person.  When I walk into classrooms and I see teachers' desks that are completely and totally cleaned off, I feel a pang of jealousy.  How do they do that?  How do they just know where everything goes?  How do they find the time to keep it that way?  But I can't focus on that.  What I can focus on is where I am right now and put a thing or two away.

Where I am right now is experiencing an explosion in my crochet business.  I am so thankful for that.  God continues to not only keep my little side business going, but he is blessing it in big and new ways.  With the increase in projects has also come the explosion of the yarn room.  Finish one project and move on to the next-throw the extra yarn on the bed.  Some people have gifted me some yarn they have cleaned out.  I will deal with that later.  Piles, bags, and boxes of yarn everywhere.  It was getting overwhelming to even walk in that room.  So I told myself not to freak out.  Just start where I am.  Start where I am.  Just put a way a little right now.  A little another time.  With that philosophy now, I have been able to (almost) get that room straightened back out.

I have fifty thousand things to do .  Where do I start?  With just one thing.  Get it done, and then move on to the next.  What I am doing may not be the biggest on my list, but I am going to start where I am.  Focus on one at a time so I can start to clear the clutter of my mind too.

So where are you?  Are you stressed, worried, overwhelmed?  Start where you are right now.  This very moment.  Take a deep breath.  Ask Jesus to help for we know that we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.  And start where you are right now.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Plug In

A few weeks ago I went to Branson with my best friend from high school.  In this season of our lives, it is hard to find time to spend together, especially since we live two hours apart.  So we had it all figured out that we could get away just the two of us for one weekend.  About thirty minutes after I left my house, I discovered that I didn't have my phone charger.  I thought about returning home to get it, but that would have added a whole hour to an already long trip.  I decided I would just stop at Walmart and get another one.  Well, I ended up at two different walmarts that weekend, and no one had even heard of the kind of charger that I needed.




I turned my phone off for the remainder of the weekend in order to conserve the battery for the part of the trip on Sunday when I would be driving by myself down country roads without much of anything around.


It was a weird feeling.  Here I was three hours away, and I couldn't even check on my kids.  I wouldn't have thought as much about it if they were with Todd, but he was hunting all weekend.  Now I completely trust the two friends who had my children in their care, but still it was odd to not be able to check in.


 As a result, I felt disconnected and lost and a little anxious all weekend.  I could just never completely relax…  All because of my phone charger!  I bet I don't forget my phone charger again for a good long while!


With this fresh in my mind, I ran into an analogy recently that really hit home.  I have been studying Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God for the last couple of weeks.  I am finding it to be a really powerful look at how the enemy is at work all around us.  Let me just read the paragraph that jumped out at me:


“But then Paul describes how we put ourselves in position to receive this strength: ‘Put on the full armor of God.’  By putting on the armor, we activate the strengthening process.  It’s like plugging in your phone charger.  You can count on your phone to hold a charge, but only if you’ve taken the initiative to plug it in.  We will never realize the fullness of God’s strength in our lives if we ignore the spiritual protection He offers.  It’s always available, but we must ‘plug in’ if we want to access it.”


Well.  I fully know now what it is like to not plug in my phone for two or three days, and the emotions I experience with that.  But how often do I forget to plug in my life charger?  How often do I neglect to ask for God's strength to protect me throughout the day?  How many times do I go a whole day or two or three without even talking to God?  Don't you think that could be why I sometimes walk around feeling disconnected, lost, or anxious, like I can never completely relax?  What if I plugged into God through prayer as faithfully as I plug in my phone each day?


I realize this is not a traditional Christmas message, but I think it fits.  It's the season for hustle and bustle, shopping, holiday parties, baking, wrapping presents, making merry, and creating or continuing special family traditions.  All of these are great, but I think we can sometimes get so busy or distracted doing all the things of the Christmas season, trying to make everything perfect for everyone that we forget to talk to the One who is perfect.


I think the enemy can use all of this against us too.  If he can keep us focused on our activities and To Do lists and feeling stressed and busy and overwhelmed, then we are not focused on Christ the Saviour.  Even though everything might be good, it can still take focus off celebrating the birth of God’s Son.


So I encourage you this season, to keep doing the good that you are doing, but not to let it overtake your relationship with Jesus.  Put on your full armor of God each day to protect yourself from attack, and make sure you “plug in” to the source of life each day.




Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sky

Sky.

A purple streak of lightning flashes across the inky black sky.  Here comes the storm.  The dark clouds roll in.  The thunder shakes the house.

I love a good storm.  Well, as long as I am safely snuggled up in my house and all my people are accounted for.   At times, the storms make me anxious, but at times I find comfort in knowing that all that commotion out there is done at the hand of God.

Storms like that remind me of a favorite childhood memory.  Each year when we gathered at my grandparents' house for Thanksgiving, there were always a lot of people there.  My grandma went all out for Thanksgiving dinner and the day-after fish fry.  What an amazing cook she was, and what a great hostess.  The way I remember it, she invited everyone from three counties to spend the day with us.  I am sure it wasn't quite that many people, but the house was definitely full and a little crowded.  

When it got to be a little much for all the grandkids, we would sneak upstairs to the bedroom in the attic.  It always seemed like a special treat to be up there because it was the boys' bedroom.  My cousin Amy and I always had to sleep downstairs wherever we could find.  Anyway, I had memories of all of us being piled and heaped together onto one tiny feather bed.  We would watch out the window at the big storm rolling its way in.  I know we did this many times.  It seemed like there was always a big storm at just the right time.  And what a way to observe God's tremendous power than snuggled up all together with a bunch of cousins!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thanks

Thanks.

I don't know who picked this prompt, but it is pretty amazing that it coincides with my birthday.  I have so much to give thanks for today.

Thanks to my parents who raised me to love others and to be respectful.  Thanks to my parents for drawing a line when I was difficult.

Thanks to my older brother who gave me the ability to be tough and resilient.

Thanks to my dad and uncles and their endless teasing that taught me to laugh at myself when it is needed.

Thanks to all my extended family who have always loved and accepted for me who I am.

Thanks to my husband for loving me each and every day.  For putting up with me when I am a grouch, for helping me when I am stressed or worried, for being my best good friend.

Thanks to all the Tellmans for always making me feel like I belong.

Thanks to my children who teach me to be a better person both as a role model and by their big hearts.  Thanks to my children for the way that they teach me about God.

Thanks to my many, many sweet friends who took time out of their day to wish me a happy birthday either in person, a phone call, a text or Facebook message, or a card.

Thanks to my dear friends who spoiled me today.  What a blessing you are in my life.

Thanks to my thoughtful daughter who keep a birthday secret for well over a month.  Impressive for someone who once said, "But I'm a good secret teller."

Thanks to my son with the big, big heart for people who sometimes don't get included.

Thanks to the teachers and students at school who made a point to say happy birthday every time they saw me.

Thanks to my two birthday buddies at school who make it fun to have a special day to share.

Thanks to the fifth graders who spontaneously burst into song when I walked into the room.

Thanks to the polite kids who said "Thank you" when I shared birthday treats with them.

Thanks to Mrs. Campbell and her students who wrote me the best letters today.  "Thaks for mking me reb bedr."  (I can translate that for you if you don't speak first grade writing.)

Thanks to my Bible study girls who keep me on my toes, who pray for me, and who help me grow in the Holy Spirit.

Thanks to Laura, Julie, and Debbie for always being there when I need you.

Thanks to all the people who read these blog posts and offer me encouraging words that help me keep writing.

Thank YOU to everyone for making today a fantastic and amazing day.

Thank you to The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit for all over the above.  I am tremendously blessed!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Unknown

Unknown.

There are a lot of unknowns in our world today.  As we face down the month leading up to the presidential election, it seems like everyone has an opinion.  There is little middle ground to be found between those who want one candidate and those who want the other.  There are questions about ethics and morality on both sides, and questions about who can we really trust.

While I think those issues are certainly important, I think there are some other perspectives that also be considered.  My faith comes from trusting in the One True King, the Creator and Sovereign of the world.  

When I start to fret about the political leader and climate of our nation at its current state, I have to remind myself that no one can come to power without it being part of God's perfect plan.

When Jesus was facing Pilate, the ruler said, "Don't you realize that I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"  Jesus replied, "You would have no power over me if it were not given you from above" (John 19:10-11).  If that were true of Pilate back two thousand years ago, I have to think that it is still true today.

Even if the outcome of the presidential election does not turn out like I hope, it is still part of God's perfect plan.  His sovereignty placed the candidate there for a purpose, and that purpose is to further advance the kingdom of God--even when that doesn't look at all like we think it should.

So, of course, I have a candidate that I support in the election.  But if not...

God is still the one who is really in charge.