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

Saying, “I Love You.”

I pray that all of you have had an amazing holiday season with loved ones. I personally was ill on Christmas and New Years (and my birthday), but it was a welcome time of rest for my body and refreshing for my spirit as well. I spent a lot of time reading. But I also spent quite a bit of time thinking about this post. It has been on my heart to write a post about this for a while, and I finally feel like I understand what God wants me to say.

saying i love you

I Just Can’t Say It

When I was a teenager, I was looking for someone to love me. I didn’t understand God’s love for me, and I felt distanced from my family due to different circumstances. The lack of love I felt finally led me to have difficulty saying, “I love you,” back when people said it to me. There was too much at risk when I said it. I became dramatically aware of this problem when one of my close friend’s mothers told me she loved me before their family was getting ready to move away. I was shocked that she said it, even though I had so desperately wanted to hear it, that I just stood there and said nothing. I remember thinking, “What is wrong with me? I’m supposed to be a Christian, an ambassador of Jesus’ love, and I can’t even tell this woman that I actually do love, that I love her too.”

The Risk

If you are self conscious, you will understand me when I say that saying, “I love you,” was a risky phrase. Every time I said it was volunteering for rejection. Thoughts like, “What if they don’t say it back?” “Will they stop being my friend if I say this?” “Why should I make myself vulnerable?” raced through my head constantly. I reserved these three words for family and a few select friends. I was not willing to risk anymore of my already dwindling confidence. No matter how much I wanted to show people the unconditional love of Christ, I wouldn’t make myself be that open.

When Things Started To Change

Over the last few years, God helped me to deal with my insecurities (read this series all about it) and to replace my deceitful pride with godly confidence. Once I realized that God’s love and acceptance for me is all that I need, I was able to sacrifice my own feelings on His altar in a very open way. I started to realize that since I don’t look at other people or myself to give my life value, that I’m not risking anything I can’t afford to risk. Do my feelings still get hurt? Of course, but now I don’t see, “I love you,” as an opening for an eternal wound.

Unconditional and Selfless Love

The purpose of love is to show someone that you care for them in such a way that nothing they do can change how you care for them. Something I tell my kids often is, “I may not always like the choices that you make, but I will always love you no matter what.” This is the love that Jesus inspired by dying on the cross for our sins. He showed us His love by sacrificing His life. I believe that Jesus was also clear when He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

We are commanded to love each other. The verse doesn’t say, “weigh out the pros and cons of loving someone and then decide if you should.” This verse specifically addresses the love between believers, but it also tells us that the testimony of loving others will identify us as followers of Jesus Christ.

What Is Love?

… baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more. Just kidding. I couldn’t help myself. But in all seriousness, what does biblical love look like? It is a choice that we make, whether or not we are going to care for someone, no matter how they treat us. Everyone will point to 1 Corinthians 13 at this point, because it is true. Not because it is some cheesy poem about love. This chunk of scripture challenges us to do the most difficult thing any person can do, choose to love in extremely difficult circumstances. Read more

Fudgy Brownies Recipe

I have been sick (again) so I haven’t really been in the state to update the podcast, but I thought it would be a shame to leave all my readers empty handed during Christmas. So today I wanted to share this brownie recipe with you. After many attempts to make a perfect fudgy brownie recipe, this is the one that finally made my husband ask me to make brownies again, and he just made them for me last night for my birthday.

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This recipe uses plenty of chocolate!
This recipe uses plenty of chocolate!

This one bowl batch of brownies is easy to prepare, transport, and delicious to eat. It makes 9 medium sized brownies, and can be easily doubled if you need more than that. If you double the recipe, make sure to use a larger pan.

60 grams milk chocolate

60 grams dark chocolate

(or you can use 120 grams of kouverta/semi-sweet chocolate)

115 (1/2 cup) grams butter

90 grams (3/4 cup) flour

200 grams (1 cup) granulated white sugar

1 tsp salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 medium eggs

Preheat your oven to 325 F (165 C) on the convection bake setting.

Cut the butter into small pieces and melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave on low, or on the stovetop on a low heat.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl including the melted chocolate and butter mixture. Stir the flour in last.

To prepare your 8×8 inch pan, rub butter or oil on every inch of the pan with a paper towel, put a few teaspoons of flour into the pan and shake the pan around to distribute the flour as a thin layer all over the pan. Or you could use parchment paper to line the pan, or a teflon non stick oven liner (they are black and can be found at any Lidl during the month of November or you can purchase one on Amazon here).

You will bake them for 15 minutes on convection to get the top crispy and then switch it to normal bake for 15 minutes so the brownies don’t get over baked. Bake for 20 minutes on convection and 17 on normal if you double the recipe.

This recipe is perfect for having a few ladies or gents over for fellowship. Make sure you allow it to cool completely before you eat it, the longer you wait the better it will taste.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

Things Missionaries Do: Thinking Creatively

God Will Make A Way

Before our furlough over the summer, we were starting to look at bigger flats (aka apartments) to live in. There are five of us, and with a living space of around 680 square feet, sometimes it can feel crowded. But God made it very clear when we got home in early September that we shouldn’t move. So we started asking God to help us make our place easier to live in. Through prayer, and many “Tiny House” pinterest boards, we started to see some small changes we could make that would yield significant rewards in space and use in our home. God even gave us some original ideas that have had Travis working tirelessly (or actually the opposite) in our friend’s man cave making space saving furniture.

Not (Just) A Bunch Of Weirdos

Have you ever visited the home of a missionary and thought, “Why do they do things that way?” I can confidently say on behalf of many missionaries, we don’t do things strangely without reason. There is a lot of time and thought that goes into everything we do in our homes. Missionaries need to think creatively. We have to be efficient with our time and money. We need to be able to comfortably smash as many people into our homes as we can. We also have to be able to host people in a way that they can get what they need without worrying about their small children spilling hot coffee on themselves. Many times we can’t afford new things so we buy used things and try to make them fit into our lives. If you want to be a missionary, you need to accept that your house isn’t going to be normal by any cultural standard. Our house would seem strange to an American, but to a Greek it isn’t quite right either.

Making A Home With Ministry In Mind

Our goals are to fill our home with love, to make people feel welcome when they are in it, and missed when they leave.

The kids room has to serve as a play room for visiting children while their parents spend time with us in the living room doing marriage counseling, or just hanging out. Our rug has to be clean at all times in case a friend with a crawling infant stops by. The rug is very important, because culturally it is important to Greeks. Our living room has to double as a guest bedroom. We have it so our television (which someone else purchased for us) is able to disappear. It is on a hinge that folds against the wall, because sometimes our house also serves as a place for bible studies or discipling sessions and we don’t want it to be a distraction.

We don’t have curtains because they are not that high on our priority list as far as finances for fabric. Things like that used to bother me, but I honestly don’t mind anymore.

I have learned how to repurpose clothes, to the point that people donate clothes to me, knowing I will take them apart and make something completely different out of them. If I’m being honest with myself, if I still lived in the US, I wouldn’t bother learning to repurpose clothes. I would still order them used online and alter them though. My mother taught me how to find the best deal possible, and that is a skill I still use on a daily basis.

missionary hack dryer and chair storage

Let me leave you with one more example of why missionaries tend to be strange and creative. In Greece many people do not have dryers. We are among that majority. In the winter it gets very cold and line drying can take days. We could lay a few clothes on our radiator, but then it doesn’t efficiently heat our room. So here is the solution my husband came up with after looking at this “portable closet” on a Tiny House Pinterest board. There is a hook on the wall to hang up an extra chair (the more seating the better in a missionary house), which also serves as a drying rack during the winter when it is opened.

I love our home, and I love our lives. Fitting as many people in our home and our hearts as we can is a blessing. In Greek there is a saying that I feel perfectly explains the role our home should play as Christians and especially missionaries, “όλοι οι καλοί χωράνε,” which means all the good [people] fit. In other words, what is a little crowding among friends.

Sincerely Adorned,

Kristin

The Basics: Trusting God

If You Don’t Know Him, You Won’t Believe Him

This is the second post in the series, “The Basics,” which goes through the basic things we believe as Christians.

Today I wanted to talk more about why it is important to know God. In the last post, “Getting To Know God,” I talked about why it is important to know what the bible is, how to use it, and why we all need to let our relationship with the Lord get way more serious. I quoted many bible verses. The next thing we need to talk about is trusting God.

Trusting God_2 the bible is a love letter

As a Christian there are certain perks (or advantages) that we have, because we know Someone that has inside information into everything. God knows everything that has happened in the past, and He knows everything that will happen in the future. He is all knowing (or omnipotent). In fact He created everything, so He knows exactly how things are supposed to work. Not only does He know, but He gave us the bible, which is a love letter that contains details about how everything in our lives should be approached for maximum joy, growth, and fruitfulness.

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you had a friend that knew literally everything (let’s also try to imagine that this person isn’t extremely arrogant. I know, unlikely, but stay with me). Wouldn’t you ask their advice before you made decisions? Wouldn’t the fact that you knew someone with access to any type of information change the way you live your life? Let me throw one more factor into this hypothetical situation. Imagine you have not known this person for very long and you don’t know if you can trust them. Wouldn’t your ability to trust that person shape the way you behave when they give you advice or information? Read more

Withholding Sex & Biblical Attitudes Toward Love Making

Author’s note: Before you read or listen to this article, please keep in mind that this is written for people that are not currently experiencing spousal abuse, or going through counseling for sexual abuse. There are times when it is reasonable for people healing from abuse to go through an agreed time of breaks from sexual activity with their spouse. Please understand that this article is written for women that feel emotionally neglected by their husbands, and are seeking to solve this problem by withholding sex. That is not a biblical approach to this problem. However, anytime a woman feels she has been forced to have sex, even with her husband, that qualifies as abuse. For more information on what qualifies as sexual abuse within marriage please see this article by Leslie Vernick.

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This is the first post in a series titled, “Becoming a Better Wife.” Before you get too deep into this post, if you are single, it is God’s will for your to abstain from sex. Why? Go read my personal testimony and you can learn from my mistakes.

This post has been on my heart to write for a while now. I counsel married women on a regular basis, and lately my husband and I have even been doing marriage counseling. It’s not something we were looking to do, but I guess God thought we were qualified because He brought people to us. I really hate to say this, but it seems like there are several issues we hear over and over and over again. It seems to me like satan has convinced quite a few Christian women that certain behaviors towards their husbands are ok, even though what the bible says is clearly opposite. I’m not saying that women are the only ones to blame for painful marriage relationships, but I’m a woman so I am going to speak to other women. Before we start talking about this very sensitive subject, I want to say that I’m not the perfect wife, by any means. I’m a sinner just like everyone on this planet. However, as a wife, I feel like there are some things God has shown me in the last few years so that I can be a better helper against (that is what the Hebrew says) for my husband. I want to honestly and openly share them with you. In fact, let’s start this conversation out with prayer. It’s that important.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for creating marriage. Please help us to be better wives to our husbands. Help us to follow Your word and Your will for our lives, especially when it will cost us something. Heal our broken hearts and help us to follow Your model for marriage, instead of whatever culturally acceptable picture the world gives us. Help us to be selfless, just like You are.

In Your holy name,

Amen

We Withhold Intimacy From Our Husbands

Yes, I am going to talk about sex. Please don’t stop reading. This is so important. I feel like if we could just become aware of the impact of this one area in our marriages, we would be so much more effective as children of God! When women come to me in marital distress there is always one question I ask first. It helps me understand how much damage has been done in the relationship.

“How often are you having sex?”

I usually get some puzzled look from the woman I’m talking to. In her mind this is not the first thing we should be talking about. The first thing women want to talk about in relation to marital distress is emotional neglect. I want to talk about emotional neglect as well, but first I need to know where things are on the husband’s end. For men, emotional care is linked with physical intimacy. I hate to give the devil so much credit, but to me it seems like he has figured out the beautiful circle that maintains marital relationships, and found a way to break the chain. I am a visual person, so I feel like a few images will help illustrate how this whole things works. Let’s take a look.

Men and woman intimacy_1

You can see that for women, emotional care and stimulation lead to sexual desire. But you already knew that. However, I would like to introduce a piece of information that may be news to you (it was to me!). Sexual satisfaction in men is the main connecting factor. It is the glue that holds you together in their minds and hearts. If you are physically intimate with your husband you will unlock his emotions towards you! Sexual satisfaction and fulfillment lead to the emotional response and intimacy you are looking for. That is why I ask this question first. I want to know if withholding physical intimacy is a factor in the emotional neglect a wife might be feeling.

Men and woman intimacy_2

You can see in the next illustration that God has perfectly balanced these two desires which are mutually fulfilled when sexual intimacy happens. By taking away physical intimacy from our husbands, we are making the situation worse, not getting the emotional intimacy that we so desire. Read more

The Basicis: Getting To Know God

This is the first part of a new series called, “The Basics” which I hope will lead you through a journey to understanding the basic ideas behind Christianity and your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Even if you have been walking with the Lord for many years, I hope that this series will be a time of refreshing your faith as we walk through God’s word together.

Getting to know God

The first thing we need to do is talk about Jesus. Who is Jesus? Well historically we know that He lived over 2,000 years ago in the middle east. He is acknowledged as an insightful and wise teacher among most religions in the world today, but He is so much more than that. We can learn everything we need to know about Jesus in God’s word, an inspired book, written about God, Jesus, and their relationship with sinful people.

The Bible is the only living book that has ever existed, and it continues to be a very important tool in our journey of getting to know God better. If you live in the Americas or Europe, you are very blessed to be able to get ahold of a Bible and read it whenever and wherever you want. Not all Christians have this blessing. In some countries in the world, the Bible is banned and illegal to own. That is how powerful this book is.

Read more