Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do NOT sympathize. Encourage!

Many women LOVE to be told "I know how you feel" or have people reassure them that what they are going through "is tough". It may be the case many times. And it does feel good to have someone understand what you are going through and agree with you on the difficulty of the matter. Sometimes we need that.

However, more than often it causes more harm than help. If done the wrong way. That is: "Oh gosh! I know what you mean. It is hard, people don't understand. The same happened to me when Sussy asked me to do all this things on top of taking care of my children and keeping the house clean. - I know it must be awful! who does these people think they are to tell you what to do? - They are wrong and can not ask so much from you! - You don't need to show excitement when you see them if you really didn't want to go there on the first place." You can add more of the same. I have used many of those lines and many more thousand times.

We tend to see things first with our feelings and then with reason (if lucky!). As Christians, we make the same mistakes. We see with our worldly eyes that tell us that "we deserve better".  Our worldly eyes (and hearts of flesh) keep saying that we do not need advice, that we know it all - and if not, we can figure it out by playing martyr on "how tough it is"(you may not even realize that that is what you are doing).

I am not denying the difficulty of life and different circumstances. I know there are things and stages in life that are harder than others and that we feel overwhelmed. But that is why we have Jesus!! our godly eyes should take us back to the cross!! THAT WAS TOUGH!!! Jesus was the only one who "deserved better". He was the only one who did not have to smile if he did not want to. He was the one who did not need ANY kind of advice. He was the only one who could figure things out on his own!! He was the real martyr. YET, he did not behave as such. He was surrounded by people- He did not have his "personal space" or "privacy". He did not hesitate to smile and hug others. He showed loved 24/7. He obeyed his mother and I am sure he listened to her advice (which, she being a woman, she inevitability might have given him some!). He was a martyr and yet did not behave or thought of himself as such.

As wives many times we can be dangerous to our husbands if we are not careful. We can sympathize too much. Maybe your husband doesn't like the people in your small group and wants to leave because of that. Well, that is his given earthly right. You do not have to hang out with people you do not enjoy being around. However, we need to be wise and encourage him to look inside his heart and find why he doesn't like them. Make him think about his attitudes. Maybe he hasn't even tried to start a conversation with that person(s). How can he not like somebody he doesn't really know? Avoid speaking against people he doesn't like. In fact, speak kindly of them. Help him look at them through Jesus' eyes. I am sure Jesus could have found MANY excuses not to like somebody.

Maybe your husband is holding grudges against somebody. Maybe against his boss, his parents, his siblings, the neighbor. I don't know. The bible encourages us to step forward and forgive or ask for forgiveness, even when it is NOT our fault. Do not sympathize with your husband, encourage him to seek reconciliation. It may take that you go with him as moral support. Encourage him to talk about those things. Guys can be very stubborn and try to "just forget about it". That is pride mixed with cowardice. Encourage him with loving words, do not keep saying "I know it is hard". You already said it many times, and he knows it very well. Help him gather the strength instead and face it.

Last but not least, do not just encourage him with words, do it with your actions. Show him that it is not the end of the world. Life goes on. Everybody has problems, but he has Jesus! Love him dearly. Pray for him, pray with him. Encourage him!!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just one question: what can I do for you today?

I would like to help you in any way I possibly can. It may be with prayers only, a listening ear or something practical I can do for you. I may not be able to help you exactly in the way you want me to, but you never know. You might be surprised. If you dont ask, how will you get? Leave pride aside. We all need something. Allow me to pass on to you the blessings God has given me. Not gold or silver, but of what I have I want to give you.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blessed Weekend.

It continues to amaze me how faithful God's word is.
So I am still finishing the book "Created to be His Help Meet" by Debi Pearl. I absolutely love it. I am also being more disciplined with my quiet times. I am reading the bible from Genesis-Revelations and I am on Numbers by now. At the same time I am reading Proverbs. God speaks to me through those three different readings.

I have been learning to be the wife God created me to be. Battling each day to submit, respect, love, encourage and of course, help Jon. I am learning to find my joy in Christ and in fulfilling the wonderful role He has given me. Part of that role ( in this time in our lives) is to support and encourage Jon in his studies (for the new readers, my husband is in medical school). As easy as it sounds, I must say it is not!

School takes up a lot of his time. It is not like a job where once your day is over there is no homework to bring home. Jon gets home around 5 for dinner and around 7 he is back with his books in the other room till 9:30 on regular days and 11:30 during exams. That makes him tire or so overwhelmed that he just wants to sleep or watch tv - anything but talk.

I complain a lot. Or at least I used to. Among the things I have been learning is to truly be that suitable helper that Jon needs. To have food ready when he gets home (or almost!). To get up in the morning and at least put his cereal in a bowl with milk and make his coffee. I try not to be an extra load on his shoulders by being "needy". I need him, yes! and he knows that. But being a nagging wife will not give me quality time with him. I fact, it will make him waste time arguing with me and the spend more time trying to get his studying done! So I decided to, once again, listen to my Lord and Savior and believe in Him. I decided to seek God's attention, not Jon's. I decided to be Jon's help meet.

Funny enough, Jon has been more caring than usual and is getting most of his studying done at school so that when he comes home he only spends an extra half hour to an hour reading and then is free to spend time with me. Last weekend, he went to school on Saturday morning and when he came back home around 6 he was ALL MINE! we went out for a walk to the park and sat down under the moon light and talked our hearts away! :) It was so much fun to have my best friend back! Then on Sunday after church we went for a hike and had lunch out. We talked the whole time. I even had an opportunity to put my respect in practice when he did something I thought was inappropriate but it was just a guys thing. We wives sometimes treat our husbands like children and with our nagging tell them that they are "not mature enough" or "men don't know how raise children because they are a bad example". I did it that day and almost ruined our happy hiking. God reminded me though to show Jon some respect and let him lead me. Jon is VERY forgiving, so he forgave me when I asked for it. After that, I realized how blessed I was. I am. God's word is faithful. I was the wife He created me to be, and he blessed me with free time to spend with my husband.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What is your Idol?

So this week at church we are doing the study on Idolatry.
It has been great, specially after spending the weekend with family in IL, and suffering the loss of my grandma on that same weekend.

I have many idols. Just like you. It sometimes presents itself as work, friendships, desire for control, power, beauty, comfort, approval, etc. But among those idols I have found out that family was one of them too.
One of my worst nightmares is to loose a family member. Now, many of you probably have experienced that. I have, more than once. It is hard. We cry, we are sad and depressed, we get scared easily and overprotect. That is all OK. And it is NOT.

It is OK because God created us with feelings and emotions. He, more than anybody knows and understands suffering. Jesus too wept. However, He moved on and refocused on what is ahead, forgetting what was left behind. He looked at the Father again. That is what the Lord wants us to do. Any loss in this world does not mean life can not go on. Any loss that we suffer in this life does not mean we can no longer rejoice and live. When something holds us back...whatever it is, then it is because we have placed that in the throne of our hearts and we are saying that Jesus is not enough. It becomes our idol because our life and feelings depend on it.

What about the family that is still alive? well, they too can be our idol when our world revolves around them. Many times I did not want to make plans until I knew I would be able to spend a great part of my day with my husband. I love him and could not picture my life without him. I know I would not want to live if something happened to him. However, that means I am making him my idol. Everything I said is true and even sounds noble and faithful. But I am not called to be noble and faithful to my husband more than I have to be to my Savior and Lord. My worst nightmare should not be loosing a family member. It should be spending eternity separated from God. Easier said than done. I know.

 The problem is that if we do not take this seriously, little by little, things/people other than Jesus will be sitting on the throne of our hearts. We if don't stop and ask the Lord to examine our hearts and show us if there is any wicked ways (Psalm 139:23-24), then it will catch us unguarded. An idol is not only made of wood. It doesn't take one night  to turn our spouse, children, parents, or anything into our idols. The devil is smart, he knows our weaknesses. He is the father of lies. Therefore, he will know how to trick us into sin. He does it every day. It is up to us, in our free will, to choose who to listen to: The devil or Our Savior, God.

I encourage you to stop and examine your own heart. Be honest with yourself. Pray for God to show you if there is anything wicked in your heart. It may seem as a noble thing, but remember that what looks good to this world, doesn't always look good before God. And finally, I encourage you  to find an accountability partner outside of your spouse (if you are married) or boyfriend. Sometimes the people who love us most are also blinded and can't see our sins.

May the Lord God Almighty be your everything. May you be found righteous before Him, not men.