Last night, in the middle of a parenting class, I left.
My 10 year old called me. “Mommy, I’m getting a migraine.”
I make it a point to not be “the only one” who can do what we do in ministry, and so because the team didn’t need my help with the class (they’re quite talented J) I knew the most important place I could be was with my daughter.
So I got her from the neighbor’s house, and as soon as we were outside, she burst into tears.
After getting her some medicine and water, I sat with her in her dark bedroom, providing acupressure to help her feel better. She looked at me and said, “I am important to you. You walked out of your class to be with me. I’m sorry I have a headache.”
“There’s no other place I’d rather be right now, honey.” And that was 100% true. And I had zero stress about the decision.
Earlier in the day a friend shared with me about an open house she went to. “It was beautiful, and just the right size for us. And in a better school district. But Bill will just have to get another job for us to afford it – he’s still stuck at the same level he was five years ago. I don’t know why he can’t get promoted…” she rolled her eyes.
I watched her husband, standing next to her, physically manifest “spirit sag” with slumped shoulders and a small sigh. And the saddest thing is, he works really hard. Research would label him as “typical” in that most American men, regardless of whether their wives work or not, are “wired” and “motivated” to provide for their families. They feel it’s how they show love – by working hard, for us. It’s confusing to them when we want more stuff, then complain about them being gone so much!
What is it with us American wives? If we have a 2 bedroom trailer with a car, we have more than 95% of the world. We don’t see it, though, and all too common, fall prey to the lies of this world, and worship at the altars of consumption and acquisitions. Idolatry.
And we leave a path of destruction of our family relationships in our pursuit of “more.”
“Honey, I know you are working hard to provide us with what we have, but I still just want more.” How often are we communicating that?
If you live modestly, within your means, and are both working to eat and pay the electric, I’m not talking to you. Well done. J Amen.
But, like the majority of our American population who lives on credit, if we are spending more than we take in, and still justifying an expensive coffee shop experience (think about that for a second), or yet but another pair of shoes we don’t need (how many pairs of black shoes are in our closets, ladies? Be honest…) we have a problem.
No wonder experts are calling stress and anxiety in our country an “epidemic.”
As the relationship architects in our homes, we need to realize there are better things…
Proverbs 14:1 continues to speak volumes to me: The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
Today, I’m issuing a “Thanksgiving Challenge” to all of our dare takers. As you read the following Scriptures, think about them within the context of your marriage:
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
So don’t “tear down” with words, but build up. The opposite of Proverbs 14:1.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
If we are focusing on what is wrong, we are being critical and judgmental – this destroys relationships by hardening our hearts. This is sinful.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The fuel for relationships is TIME. Spend some. Daily.
We can measure what’s important to us by evaluating how we spend our time. God has done some serious maturing in my life in this area, and not that I don’t still have a long way to go, He’s taught me some really valuable lessons, and helped me make some good decisions about the only thing I really can control – the choices I make about how I spend my time.
- I spend most of mine with my God and my family.
My husband spends most of his providing for us – and when he’s not doing that, he spends his time with us, doing things we like to do.
This man, who I thought for the last 25 years hated horses, just offered to go riding with me. He’s still a man of intrigue… J
I have intentional time with the Lord, time where I study, pray, and listen. I seek His thoughts on what I’m doing throughout the day – and I look for Him in the midst of every day circumstances. You might think I’m completely nuts, but I see God in the middle of everything, and do not believe in “coincidences.” Experiencing Him daily is like breathing to me, and I seriously think I understand just a tiny bit of what “relationship with God” is really all about.
I date my husband weekly because he’s the most important human in my life. He’s my best friend, even if things are stinky at the moment (they aren’t now, just saying we date even when we’re going through a rough spot). We have to work through things because of a commitment we made to each other and to God.
I homeschool my kids (it’s way easier than you think, especially if you start when they are little, and totally worth it, but that’s another discussion) so I can be with them and know them intimately. So far, that’s been the absolute best choice our family has made with regards to our kiddos. And I’m noticing a shift – other people used to immediately respond with, “Oh, I could never do that!” when I tell them we homeschool. Now, for some reason, I’m hearing, “I wish I could do that,” or, “Good for you, I wish we could do that.” I’m not a homeschool nazi, but I am tremendously thankful we are doing it.
And I would live in a hovel to continue to do so before I would even consider going back to work to keep our house, if it came to that.
So, for the rest of November, I want to challenge us to be thankful people – to focus on what we have, not on what we don’t. To be a light to this messed up world. And then, as important as it is to SEE what is good, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, excellent (Phil 4:8), actually give voice to those things to be a source of encouragement to those around us. Build up others with our words, stop being judgmental and critical, which hardens our own hearts, making us believe we’re surrounded by losers (more lies that destroy) and then spend time with people – instead of buying them things, or hauling them to the next activity as our primary interaction.
How else will our kids be able to hear God’s still, small voice, if we keep them moving all the time?
Help them learn to listen. And yes, they will balk and complain at first. It’s okay. Let them. Listen to their complaining. Validate their feelings, then say, “If you think I don’t love you,” or, “If you think I want to make you miserable,” …. Then, “I can understand why you are frustrated about the reduction in tv time/busyness/computer time/whatever. Do you think my motive is to harm you? What do you think I really want for you? J” Share your own struggles in learning to hear His voice, and encourage your people to move forward in their relationship with Him.
Dare ya. J
Double dog dare you to “subscribe” via email, share with a friend, or comment about what you are doing to “build” today. J
So thankful to be on this journey with you.