Dealing With Difficult Parents

The holiday season is here, and that means that many of us will be spending time with our parents (or in-laws). My father-in-law will be joining us for Christmas, and I am seriously excited. But I know not everyone experiences that excitement when they are going to be around their parents. I was talking to a good friend and asked how her Thanksgiving was and she said something along the lines of, “Really hard because of my parent.” That just broke my heart. It can be exhausting and discouraging on the holidays when you find yourself dealing with difficult parents. I believe that God has a specific plan for dealing with tense parental situations. It can be difficult for adults to know how to interact with their parents, and vice versa. I have no idea what it will be like to interact with my children once they are all grown up, but I imagine the emotions I will feel will be complicated. I wanted to share this excerpt from my book, “The Truth About Godly Confidence.” I feel like this is one of the most important parts of the book, because so many people struggle to accept the fact that their parents are sinful and make mistakes. At the same time, that isn’t how God is, since He is sinless, and we need to remember that.

I pray that you would have a blessed Christmas with your family members, and that this post will help.

dealing with difficult parents

———————-

There is nothing that a small child desires more than the knowledge that they are loved. Over fifty years ago, in any town in any state in the United States, Satan thought he had won a very important battle. He made it a cultural stigma for fathers to tell their children that they loved them. Even the most loving men gave into the lie that it was shameful to verbally admit their parental love. Can you imagine what it would be like to grow up never hearing your father tell you that he loved you? I know that some of you experienced this horrible cultural phenomena, and I’m sorry. That was never God’s plan. Why would Satan wage such a battle? Damaged men and women, on their quest to feel some type of love and acceptance, embraced drugs, sex, and empty solutions to their soul problems. When parents, especially fathers, do not tell their children that they love and accept them, bad things happen. I don’t think Satan, with all his worldly knowledge, saw the Jesus movement coming in the 1970’s, but it did. The weapon God used to destroy Satan’s tactic was the love of Jesus Christ. This is was an interesting time in Christian history for the United States, and I think that it brings to light an interesting concept. We have already established in earlier chapters that God created us with the desire to feel loved. When individuals do not feel loved, broken hearts lead to bitter souls. Read more

Prolonged Waiting

“Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, ‘It’s all a lie’? When you are on the mountaintop, it’s easy to say, ‘Oh yes, I believe God can do it,’ but you have to come down from the mountain to the demon-possessed valley and face the realities that scoff at your Mount-of-Transfiguration belief.” -Oswald Chambers

The last few months have been really rough for me spiritually. If we’re being honest, I think we can all agree that seasons of prolonged waiting are no fun. The product is amazing (read James 1), but these seasons create plenty of growing pains, don’t they? Sometimes God tells us something, and it doesn’t happen in the timeline of when we assume it will happen, and it’s hard. It’s just hard to wait. I don’t know what else to say. There were so many verses that God gave me about waiting and trusting Him through this period, and while they made the waiting more bearable, I have still been struggling.

prolonged waiting

This weekend every member of my family had a nasty cold. I am still dealing with a cough and sinus headaches, but I’ve been able to function today, which I appreciate. When I get sick, I spend a lot of time praying. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because when you’re sick, you just need your parents. Yes, even as an adult. But my parents are thousands of miles away, so I spend a lot of time talking to my Heavenly Father. I actually think God caused the sickness on purpose to draw my husband and I closer to Him over the last few days. Our weekend had been jam packed, and slowly we canceled a few things and some other things got canceled until there was nothing to do but hang out as a sick family, and spend a lot of time praying once the kids were in bed. We also watched Star Trek TNG and Fixer Upper on Netflix, but there was definitely a lot of prayer mixed in.

I still don’t feel like going into all of the details about why we’re waiting and what we’re waiting for, and I don’t know if I ever will be, but I finally had this realization this morning. I trust God implicitly with the most important things in my life, my family. That was a lesson God taught me early in my marriage when my daughter had to have skull reconstruction surgery as a 3-month-old, but the things I learned back then still stick with me. If I can trust God with something so important, then why can’t I trust Him to take care of something I care about less? It doesn’t make sense. I know I can trust Him, and I just need to do it. Am I tired of waiting? Yes, I’m exhausted. I’m weary. I have no more strength. But God is the only One that never grows weary, so I know I can turn to Him to carry this for me until He gives us our answer. I have hope in Him. Here are a few verse chunks that God has used to encourage me lately. I pray they are an encouragement to you as well.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:28-31

“Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.” -Psalm 25:3

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” -Romans 5:5

“Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” -Isaiah 30:18

“Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” -Psalm 27:14

Sincerely Adorned,

Kristin

Kristin’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I reluctantly share this post with the hope that all my Greek friends will still let me make these for them now that they have this recipe 🙂 and can make them at home.

chocolate chip cookie recipe

I had a standard family recipe that I tried to use here in Greece, but the results were never the same as the cookies back in the States, so I worked out this recipe, which I now like even better. Sorry Mom! My mom does have the consolation, however, that her recipe was the one I used to steal my husband’s heart. Yes, cookies stole his heart. My children and I call him the Cookie Monster.

Without further delay, here is my recipe for American style Chocolate Chip Cookies in European measurements.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe_2

Kristin’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients –

-113 grams Butter (left out of the fridge to soften)

-150 grams Brown Sugar

-170 grams Granulated Sugar

-2 Eggs

-1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

-1 teaspoon Salt

-1 teaspoon Baking Soda

-2 teaspoons Baking Powder

-420 grams All-Purpose Flour

-200 grams Plain Chocolate Bars cut up into small pieces

Directions –

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (or 360 degrees F). If you have a fan option, use the fan (convection), because your cookies will turn out with a slightly crispy outside.

2. Cream butter until thoroughly smooth. You can do this in a stand mixer, with a hand mixer, or if you are old fashioned, a big fork.

3. Mix in both the brown and granulated sugar. Stir together well.

4. Add the 2 eggs and vanilla extract, mix again until all ingredients are combined well.

5. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt into flour and mix well. Add the flour mixture in three separate scoops. Mix after adding each scoop so that everything is mixed thoroughly.

6. Add chocolate chunks, mix again. By this point you should avoid using your hand mixer as the chocolate chunks make this pretty difficult to mix. This is great work out for your arms, though.

7. Use a medium sized spoon to scoop out individual cookies. You can plop them right onto your sheet pan (covered with parchment paper or a silpat), or you can roll them in your hands first then smash them down to make them look more finished. If you are going to roll them, it is easier if you put the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes first so it gets firm. Either way they will taste delicious. Leave about 5 cm between each cookie because they expand a little when they bake. I can usually fit 16 on a sheet.

8. Bake for 7 minutes (or 8 if you are not using a convection oven). Once you pull them out of the oven it is best to use a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack, but if you can skip this step for simplicity’s sake. Although they don’t stay as crispy on the edges if you don’t cool them on the rack.

9. Repeat until you have baked all your cookie dough.

Enjoy!

You can also make this dough ahead of time and store it wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 3 days safely.

A Love Note From My Heavenly Father

Let me preface this post by saying that today has been rough. My faith wavered for a moment and I had to remember that God is greater. My kids yelled at each other. My amazing husband and I had an argument (which we later resolved). In general it was a depressing day for me. But this post is not about today. This post is about yesterday, when God made sure that I know without a doubt that He loves me.

love notes from my heavenly father

Fresh Figs

There are some things I enjoy in life, that I simply cannot afford. One of those things is a batch of fresh green figs. They cost around 7 euros per pack at the grocery store, and those ones are not even that great. The good stuff comes from the village. Last year my neighbor brought me fresh figs and fig jam when she came back from her village. It was my first time tasting fresh figs from the village, and I was elated. I cannot begin to explain how amazing these things taste, but it is a sweet, fresh, and unique flavor that makes my mouth water. Plus they are healthy, an added bonus. I have to keep running back to the fridge to get more figs as I type this. Seriously, yum!

A Random Prayer

Earlier this summer I faced the sad fact that my neighbor would be gone until early September, and that meant no figs would be pleasuring my palate. I knew I was not going to pay over 7 euros for a six pack at the store. These figs are seasonal, and if you don’t get any in August, you won’t get any fresh for the rest of the year. So I prayed. I said, “God, if you could somehow send some village figs my way, I would love it.” I prayed it once, and stopped drooling over the idea of figs, until yesterday.

Our other neighbor, Sophia, an adorable and very active γιαγιά (grandmother), stopped by randomly yesterday to drop off 10 figs she brought me from her daughter’s village, two hours away! Travis answered the front door, and as soon as I heard the word “σύκα” (Greek for “figs”), I did a fist pump and said, “Yeesssss!” My daughter asked me what I was so excited about.

You need to understand that this blessing was specifically for me. No one else in my family likes figs. My kids could not understand why mommy was so excited and hopping around like a bunny in the living room. I even heard a, “Ew, I don’t like those!” from one of my little darlings.

So when you ask, “Does God really care about the little things in my life?” I respond with an emphatic, “Yes!” He really does. He sent figs from two hours away to my front door, just to bless me. God loves me, and yesterday He made sure I had a tasty reminder of that amazing and unfailing love.

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” -Psalm 103:6 (ESV)

He sent me a love note, if you will. He listens when I pray, and He cares about the little things that other people would forget. This is just one of many examples of these “love notes” in my life. Another time I prayed for God to heal the leather on my Dad’s old Bible that I use, because it was cracked and falling apart. That love note required the help from several other individuals, but God made it happen (and not the way I thought). But that’s a story for another post. For now, I’m going to go eat my figs. Thank You, Lord, for this delicious reminder of Your love for me personally.

Has God ever left you a love note? What was it?

Sincerely Adorned,

Kristin

The Truth About Godly Confidence

Today, August 1st, “The Truth About Godly Confidence,” will be free for Kindle on amazon.com. With that in mind, I thought today would be a good day to write about my first book, its origin story, and the general response to it so far. For your free copy, click here.

the truth about godly confidence kristin spencer

Quotes from readers:

“This book is going to help many women and perhaps men too in their walk with God.”

“She handles the topic so carefully and beautifully.”

I took two months off of blogging this year. I am constantly working on various writing projects, and one in particular had been under the working title, “The Gift of Godly Confidence.” The book was supposed to follow the first book in my youth fiction series about a girl named Olive. In fact, one of the most important scenes in the first Olive book will be based on a real life vision that God gave me about flowers.

Then, as my husband and I were planning for a 10-day team to come out last May, one of my friends from the Mommy fellowship I attend of asked if I would be willing to have the team help with a one day seminar. They would watch the kids while I would teach two sessions for some of the women that couldn’t afford to go to the Evangelical Women’s conference. Right away, I knew what I wanted to teach about. Godly confidence had been a recurring theme in my personal journey with God, and I knew that I should share about what He had shown me. God put it on my heart to collect everything I had written about this topic in preparation for the Olive books. I thought it would be great to have a booklet to go along with the teaching, as a gift for the women attending. Now that I look back, I find it humorous that what started as a booklet, turned into a full fledged book. God always has new ways of making me laugh.

In all of the feedback I have received about this book, there are two persistent comments. First, I hear the word honesty over and over again. Some people have said that in this book I am “painfully honest.” I think that is a fair description. My husband and I believe that transparency is one of the most important tools we have in ministry to others. The book follows that train of thought. I share about various experiences in my life including various deceptions, hurts, and the freedom that I finally found in godly confidence. The second thing I hear is that this book often produces tears. It seems to be touching people’s hearts in a particular way. On the back of the book, the heading for the description reads, “Have you ever felt worthless?” Well, people that have felt worthless are often in a great deal of pain, and the healing usually comes through much prayer, the learning of important biblical truths, and much weeping.

The Truth About Godly Confidence

Through the process of writing this book, I felt that God was leading me to dispel certain lies that Christians accept about self-esteem and confidence. Halfway through, I felt that God wanted me to change the name of the book to, “The Truth About Godly Confidence.” In my research on this topic I found many books, sermons, and articles that teach lies about confidence as if they were biblical truths. The point of this book is teach the truth, and set free those hearts which are enslaved by feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. God loves you, and He wants you to know the truth about His feelings for you. He also wants to warn you against the dangers of pride, which ensnare so many of us unknowingly.

This book is unfortunately serious, but for such a serious topic, it didn’t seem right to include any humorous anecdotes. I hope that doesn’t take away from it as a work, but there you have it, my major regret as far as this effort is concerned. That doesn’t mean there is a lack of happy writing, because God’s love for us is the best news, and I hope my sincere enthusiasm for that topic shines through the pain. I also hope that constant washing of forgiveness rather than bitterness will soothe you as you confront some of the most severe moments of my life, and yours.

I would love to hear any comments or questions that you have, and I hope that my recollection of these personal (and formerly private) struggles will encourage discussions about confidence for years to come.

Happy reading,

Kristin

The Basics: I’m a Selfish Sociopath that needs Self-Control

sociopath: noun 1. a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense or moral responsibility or social conscience.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23

I hope that you are starting to notice a pattern emerging from this series. I talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit an awful lot, and there is a good reason for that. A few months ago I wrote a post about love, the most important fruit we have, but today I want to focus on the key to being able to use the gifts of the Spirit at all times, even when we don’t feel like it. Today we are going to talk about self-control.

self control

The Makings of a Selfish Sociopath

If selfish ambitions have been the prison in my life, self-control has been the key that opened the door for my release. What does that mean? Well, if you look at the works of the flesh (found in Galatians 5:19-21), you will notice that self ambition is on the list. Self ambition, which means that you care more about yourself and your desires than others, will cause us to fail at every single one of the fruits of the spirit. But why? Well in our flesh, we are selfish. That means that we are capable of doing whatever it takes to get whatever we want. It means that I am capable of becoming a sociopath. That is in direct contrast with loving, being peaceful, being kind, being gentle, and so on and so forth — you get the idea. Apart from the Holy Spirit, every single one of us is capable of murder, molestation, rape, and adultery, just to name a few. This may shock you. If you believe that you are above committing any of these sins, you are being deceived. According to the Bible, our hearts are deceitfully wicked, and the works of the flesh are evident. Look at these two verses with me:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” -Jeremiah 17:9

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” -Galatians 5:19-21 Read more

In My Living Room

Hi friend! Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. I was writing a book (more news about that later), and having many wonderful guests that blessed me beyond anything I could put into words.

in my living room

“But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.” -Psalm 40:17

In My Living Room

Today I want to talk about my living room. I’m sitting here right now, and I spend a lot of time here. As far as ministry goes, I am behind the scenes. When my husband is out caring about others and spending time with them, I am sitting here. I could also be cooking, cleaning, helping one of my kids with homework, walking them to or from school, or changing a diaper. But I’m still here, and I’m praying. I pray for my husband and the guys he is discipling. I pray for people to realize that Jesus loves them and accept His free gift of Salvation. I pray for the other saints spread all of the place that mention they need prayer. Once my children go to sleep, there are many things I do, but the most important thing I do is spend time with my Lord. We talk, or He talks and I listen, or I talk and He listens. I’m at home while my husband is out being about God’s business and sometimes I get lonely.

From the Outside

The other day a friend said to me, “I really feel sorry for you. All you do is clean, do laundry, cook, take care of the kids, and deal with drama.” They were not trying to be condescending at all, and I was not offended, but after a few hours I thought, “I don’t feel sorry for me.” Listen, I understand that from the outside it may look like I’m a lonely wife and my husband doesn’t help me as much as he should. That’s just not true, though. Sometimes I do get lonely, and I always miss my husband, but he is a great help when he is home, and I am honored and privileged that I am able to take care of our home and children to make my husband more available to others. Maybe my ministry looks sad or depressing to others, but it isn’t depressing to me. I know that this is what God asked me to do. He didn’t force me; He asked me and I said yes. I am raising three children to know and love God, not just in the happy moments, but in the rough ones too. My kids understand that it is a privilege to have this opportunity to live our lives for Jesus. I am also being watched by everyone around me as Jesus guides me through this. “Why are you here?” is a question I hear every time I meet someone new. As for the drama aspect, what ministry is drama free? Jesus’ wasn’t.

From the Inside

I may spend a lot of time in my living room, seemingly alone, but I’m not alone. God is with me, and when I am in my living room, and my children are peacefully and adorably sleeping, I hang out with God. I hear from Him so clearly in these moments. I’m not saying that my life is easy; it is not. If we are completely honest with ourselves we will admit that no life worth living is easy. For me, a life worth living means that I obey and follow God. I know a lot of people think that being in ministry means that you have to be busy all of the time, but that simply is not true. Being successful in ministry means that you obey God’s instructions; for me right now that means being at home, guarding our children as they sleep, while my husband is out sharing the love of Christ with others through his actions.

So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” -1 Samuel 15:22

God gives me opportunities to show others His love as well, but my main responsibility is to show His love to three little people that He entrusted to my husband and I.

One of the Lonelies

Last night was one of the lonely ones. I haven’t gotten to spend my time with my best friend lately (aka my hubby), and I was missing him. I cried and I thought about how the ache in my heart wouldn’t go away. Tonight, however, I didn’t feel that way at all. I felt overwhelmed by God’s presence. I thought, “Where were You last night, God?” and the reply came instantly, “I was right here.” No matter how I feel, God is with me; whether I am overwhelmed by His presence or not.

So if you are thinking about how I am sitting in my living room alone, night after night, I hope you won’t feel sorry me. I’m not sorry for me. I’m with God, I’m obeying His will for my life, and He is faithful to meet me in this place. I’m never alone.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

Do Not Grow Weary…

Dear Friend,

Today I am struggling. There are so many distractions and temptations in my heart that I feel like I’ve been plunged deep into the ocean. I feel weighed down and alone. Have you ever felt that way? All morning I have been battling these thoughts that I know are not from the Lord. I have been praying for those that hate and despise me. I have been fighting against negative thoughts, attempting to bring my mind under control. I want to live Philippians 4:8 in my life every moment, but sometimes I fail.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are our, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” -Philippians 4:8

Instead of taking this biblical wisdom and applying it to my situation, all morning I have been wavering between feeling like God doesn’t see the suffering I am enduring, and knowing that He is refining me by the fire. I have had moments when I wanted to yell, “God, this isn’t fair,” and throw a proper toddler tantrum. I have also had thoughts like this, “Lord, I know You won’t force people to do the right thing, and I wouldn’t want You to do that, but have you forgotten about me?”

do not grow weary galatians 6

When I go through these seasons I think of the song, “Ba55” by Switchfoot. The chorus is, “I believe You’re the fire that could burn me clean.” It sounds painful, doesn’t it? No one likes getting burned. But through the burning away of our old man (Colossians 3:9-10), we are made clean. It is such an excruciating process. We also see this in the Bible (which is where I’m sure Switchfoot got the idea).

“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap.” -Malachi 3:2

This verse is talking about Jesus’ coming in the future, when He sits on His throne in Jerusalem and judges the people on the Earth as our righteous King.

Going through the process of being refined is painful, but that is the only way to get the gross stuff out. And being refined doesn’t always mean that you sin and are going through some type of discipline. Sometimes it is an obstacle that God sets before us. One of my favorite authors and past missionaries put it this way.

“If this obstacle is from Thee, Lord, I accept it; but if it is from Satan, I refuse him and all his works in the name of Calvary.” -Isobel Kuhn

Then other times this purification process means being unjustly accused, reviled, and persecuted, just like Jesus was. I can’t imagine a more powerful process to help us conform more to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).

There are also satanic forces, as Isobel mentioned. Something that keeps happening to me recently is Satan attacking me about my physical appearance. I’m currently writing a book about godly confidence where I dispel common psychological ideas that Christians have wrongfully adopted, so this makes perfect sense. I’ve painted a target on my back. The other day I was getting ready and when I looked in the mirror I heard, “Look at you (insert tones of disgust), can you really say you are confident in the way God made you?” It was so demonic!! Thankfully, I have been hiding verses about this topic in my heart and was quickly able to argue against this satanic insinuation. “Yes, I am.” I thought, “God cannot lie. God does not make mistakes. I am not a mistake. The Lord rebuke you.” (Jude 1:9)

I hope my openness encourages you that we all struggle at different points in our lives. We are all going through a refining process in Christ Jesus. We all experience spiritual warfare. With that in mind let me share these verses with you,

“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” -Galatians 6:8-9

Doing good, sowing to the Spirit, is exhausting. Sometimes I just want to quit. I want to give into my flesh and throw myself a pity party. I’m tempted to write a nasty letter to the person that has been persecuting me. I’m tempted to yell at my kids and husband and crawl into some cave into the distance. I’m tempted to complain against God and give up. But I can’t afford to grow weary in doing good. That isn’t God’s will for me, and I know that He alone will help me persevere. I want to reap!! I want to reap so badly, because my Heavenly Father first loved me, and I want to do everything I can to be close to Him and please Him. I pray that your loving relationship with God would also keep you pressing toward the goal (Philippians 3:14), determined not to grow weary in doing good.

And if you think about it, I humbly ask you to please say a prayer for me. I need prayer right now in all the different refining processes I’m going through.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin Spencer

Unrealistic Expectations And Your Husband

This post is part of the “Becoming A Better Wife” series.

One of the most fundamental problems in any marriage today is the problem of unrealistic expectations. We have unrealistic expectations for our husbands. Women all over the world are battling with the same problem, they desire to feel loved. When I first got married, I thought that I would finally feel loved and desired. I thought that all the issues from my past would melt away. Daddy problems, bam, gone. Insecurities, boom, permanently dissolved. Low self-esteem, p’wned (that is a gaming term for owned, or defeated). Loneliness, forget about it, I would never feel lonely again. But I was very wrong, and these insane expectations I thought my husband should meet put horrible stress on our marriage.

Jesus Understands

Sinful People Cannot Be Perfect

I am not saying that your husband shouldn’t cherish you, or love you the way that Christ loves the church. What I am saying is that your husband is not Jesus. Your husband could never take the place of Jesus in your heart. Not only that, but your husband is a human, made up of sinful flesh, just like you and I. That means that you cannot expect him to be perfect. Husbands make mistakes. Wives make mistakes. Jesus does not make any mistakes. Some of the most lonely moments in my life have been right next to my husband. I was lonely because I turned to my husband to help me through a situation where he did not understand how I was feeling. He could not understand. But the reason I was really lonely is because I wasn’t taking my problems to Jesus, the only One that truly understands every situation I go through. He is the only One that can love me the way I need to be loved.

My Husband Failed, Let’s Have Some Kids

A lot of times, women realize that their husband will not be able to fill this void in their life, so they decide to take the next step. Surely, having children will fill that void. It will give my life purpose and guarantee that there will be someone that loves me unconditionally. First of all, this is a huge mistake, because you are going from placing unrealistic expectations on your husband to placing them on your unborn child. Secondly, your quest to fill the void in your life will fail again and you will start to become bitter. Children of parents that expect them to be their, “everything,” will always tell you that they felt trapped and unequipped to meet the demands of this emotionally dependent parent.

The Return Of Mrs. Thirsty

Remember Mrs. Thirsty from John chapter 4? We talked about her in this post from the self-esteem series. She was looking to be satisfied, to have that same void filled in her life, but a string of unsuccessful marriages and living with her most recent boyfriend did not even come close to filling that void. She needed Jesus. He told her that if she drank the water He had, she would never thirst again. She would never feel that void again.

“but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14

Not only would she never thirst again, but she also would have eternal life. That is an awesome deal, if you ask me.

Changing The Pattern

So how can we free ourselves, our marriages, and our children from the heavy unrealistic expectations that we place on people to give our lives meaning and make us feel loved? The short answer is, we can’t. Only Jesus can. But we have to allow Him to do this work. We need to accept that Jesus is the only One that will be able to understand everything we go through. We need to find our worth in His love for us as individuals. We need to believe God when He says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We need to acknowledge that we have made our husband and children into idols, and put their acceptance and understanding of us above God’s acceptance and understanding of us. We need to repent, and apologize to our family members. Only when we see our pattern of sin and repent, can we have victory in our walk with God.

A Place To Start

If you are experiencing the unnecessary stress and pressure of placing unrealistic expectations on your spouse the first thing you need to do is acknowledge this pattern of behavior. The second thing to do is start a new pattern of behavior, and look to Jesus to fill this void in your life. He is the only one that can truly make you feel loved. He is the only one in your life that can heal the hurts that are still buried deep down inside of your heart. He is the only one that can satisfy the longings you have been passing onto to your husband. This is something that I had to start doing in my own, every day life. Whenever something upsetting happens, or I remember a past hurt that threatens to fill my heart with bitterness, I pray. I tell Jesus what is bothering me. I ask Him to help me see my sin, if there are any specific sins that need to be addressed regarding this issue. I ask Him to help me through this, to comfort me, and to give me His overwhelming sense of peace.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

See, it says right there, let your requests be made known to God, not to anyone else. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk to other people, like your husband, about things that are bothering you. In fact, you should frequently share with your husband, because that creates intimacy, which is God’s desire for your marriage. But you should go to God first. Your husband cannot give you that sense of peace that God can, no matter how hard he tries.

Husbands Like To Fix Things

If you do take all of your problems to your husband first, without taking them to God, you are putting your husband in a horrible position. Men like to fix things, and when their wives expect them to fix problems they are not capable of fixing, they end up in this infinite loop of frustration. This is not an equation for a happy, God-centered marriage.

How Your Husband Can Help

One of the best ways to allow God to do a work of healing from past hurts is to talk about them with and pray about them with someone you love and trust. This is a great opportunity for your husband to co-labor with you towards you being fulfilled and healed in Jesus Christ. Some husbands are great at listening and offering loving and biblical advice, but not all men are created the same (which is a good thing if you ask me). Your husband may not know how to navigate through these types of hurts, so if you need to, ask your husband to attend counseling with you. This way he can be there for you, but the pressure is off of him if he does not know how to respond, or what questions to ask you in order to move your healing process in the best direction.

Let’s Pray

Dear Jesus,

Help us to be the wives that You want us to be. Help us to find our complete fulfillment in You. Help us not to thirst ever again. Help us to take these impossible burdens off of our husband’s shoulders and give them to You. You are more than capable of carrying them, and helping us get rid of them forever. Heal our broken hearts the way only You can. Help us to know that You love us, and that really is enough.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

There is a lot more I could say about accepting God’s love for you and understanding you are a beautiful creation, but I think we have covered enough for today. Please feel free to write any questions or concerns you have about this post below, or email me at kristin.n.spencer [at] gmail.com.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin Spencer

The Basics: Prayer 101

This post is part of “The Basics” series, a series all about the basics of being a follower of Jesus Christ.

We talked about the word of God (at length) in the last post. Today I want to talk about the other half of the conversation. In “Trusting God” I introduced the idea of an ongoing conversation with God, the goal being a more intimate relationship with our Creator. Now that we know that God speaks through His word, we also need to consider how we can talk to Him.

Before I get started, I know this is Prayer 101, so I will not go into prayer too much as a spiritual weapon (that  will be for another post), but I do want to say that prayer is the #1 most underrated weapon in our arsenal against ungodly influences. Now back to prayer basics.

prayer 101

When People in the Bible Prayed

“Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD.” –2 Kings 20:5

This is an interesting read in the bible. Hezekiah is sick, really sick. He is dying. Isaiah the prophet comes to him and tells him that God says to put his house in order, because he is going to die. Hezekiah is heartbroken. We don’t know all the details, but for some compelling reason, Hezekiah wants to live longer. So he prays and begs for God to remember how he has served God in truth with a loyal heart. God’s response is that he will add fifteen years to his life and deliver the city from the king of Assyria. All good news, right? But what I want to point out in this scripture (one that is not often quoted in a lesson about prayer 101), is the intimacy that prayer displays and creates. There is no way you can read this verse without recognizing the relationship between God and Hezekiah. It was a relationship that went both ways. You can see that they care about each other. That is the same relationship God desires with you and I. He wants to have this same closeness with us.

“But certainly God has heard me;

He has attended to the voice of my prayer.”

Psalm 66:19

We also see throughout the book of Psalms how close David is to God through his repeatedly mentioned prayer life. David was serious about prayer, and through these prayers and psalms, we can see how this one aspect of David’s life created a friendship with and dependency on his Lord.

“For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit in Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” –Philippians 1:19-20

The Apostle Paul knew how vital prayer is, and he literally looked at the prayers of others for him as a life line, spiritually speaking. Read more