Little Hope

Crystal had come to the end of her ropes. She was crying frequently and expressed little hope that she could overcome her depression. She had become extremely disillusioned because her fairy tale marriage of sixteen years hadn’t turned out happily ever after. Rod wasn’t abusive or unloving, but he also wasn’t the nurturing, attentive husband she fell in love with.

It was four years after Crystal received a promotion at work and they bought a house. Both of the new changes required extra work and longer hours at the office for Crystal. She assumed Rod would understand and step up to help carry the load with household chores, after all, they discussed the extra responsibilities it would require before signing the papers. She quickly became disappointed and frustrated by his selfishness and insensitivity. He wasn’t able to understand but focused on the things that were important to him.

One night, going to bed exhausted and alone, while Rod stayed up watching his sci-fi movie, Crystal cried her tears in the pillow, talking to God, “I hate my life.” “Ever since I was a girl, I struggled competing for love, trying to prove myself worthy. I’ve learned not to expect anything God because I will only set myself up for disappointment and pain.”

As a child, a teenager, a young mother, Crystal had experienced terror. Her emotions ran the roller coaster of hate, fear, confusion, anxiety. The abusive trauma became so emotionally overwhelming that she learned the secret of disassociating and for her defense, she would zone out; get small and run. To survive on earth in the world of cruelty and hypocrites, she learned to wear a mask. Crystal couldn’t ‘fake it’ forever so instead she became increasingly reclusive, and took no chances, becoming paralyzed, losing hope, feeling despair, and suicidal.

Being raised in a Catholic home where Crystal attended church weekly, she learned to fear God instead of understanding His love. If she was in trouble, her mother would say, “Pray harder, work harder because you did something wrong to deserve the punishment.”

Have you ever been depressed? If you’re human, of course you have. Have you ever been in despair and lost hope? We’ve all fallen short, doubted our faith and wondered in darkness. Maybe not as deep as Crystal, but we can relate to her losing hope in some form.

In times of despair, a great source of strength is our friends and family staying near us, giving us those gentle touches and looks that communicate their sorrow and care. When we face troubled times, we should never forget that God remains close by, ready to supply us with his love and comfort. This can give me the courage to go on. It takes courage to live on earth and pursue the treasure of eternity with My Father in heaven. Courage comes from faith in God. Our relationship to Him is forever. I know this in my heart, but honestly, sometimes I just want my husband’s strong arms to hold me close with a warm sincere heart, saying nothing, just comforting me like Jesus would. Let me know you’re on my side, protecting me in the darkness.

Fear of the unknown is like fear of the darkness, I am afraid because I can’t see what is ahead. God does throw light on my distant future. Psalm 27: 1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” God’s face is not always visible to me when I’m in the dark path, but I’m still in His care and He is guiding my final destination with a light onto my path.

God promises help in time of need. This should give me boldness to face the hard times. In 1 Corinthian 16:13 we’re told, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” Rely on God, our despair will turn to hope, and our hope will be courageous.

Encouragement Makes A Difference in Marriage

Thought: How embarrassing! We were bowling with friends and our families. I was showing off dance moves because I was hitting spares and strikes. On my tenth frame, I was tied in first place and was certain I was going to win. As I took control of my steps and approached the foul line to release my ball, I miss stepped and my entire body falls forward encroaching inside the lane. Game Over! Read more

What Motivates You to Give Thanks?

Scripture: “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18  

Thought: Thanksgiving is “a prayer expressing gratitude.” One of the beautiful things about the Thanksgiving holiday is that it motivates us to give a specific time to reflect on the wonderful blessings we all enjoy. While we may not have as many things as other people have, we can all be thankful for friends and family who love us and the life God has given us. As I look back and gratefully recount His faithfulness in my life, my confidence in Him grows. God provided what I needed, guided me through confusing situations, and delivered me from difficulty, hopelessness and temptation. As in Job, I didn’t always understand the tribulation, but I trusted His promise, He wouldn’t abandon me and He knew what He was doing. In all things, it is good to give thanks to the Lord. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show your gratitude to your loved ones as well as thank God for the divine blessings He has showered upon you.

Action: No matter our situation we can be thankful for what God has done with us this past year and for what He promises to do for us this coming year. Glorify Him in everything. What is your thanksgiving blessing? Restoration, family, health, job, relationships, unconditional love, freedom, forgiveness, second chance, recovery? Celebrate this festive occasion by giving thanks to everyone who’s been there for you, and express your gratitude to Our Almighty God with Thanksgiving prayers.

Prayer: Lord, in everything I give you thanks. I lift my hands in praise for all that you have done for me. Thank you for the splendor of your whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of your love. Thank you for the blessing of my family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds me every day. I also thank you for those disappointments and failures that led me to acknowledge my dependence upon Your mercies alone. Thank you for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to serve and make this country strong, they are models and an inspiration of your sacrificial love. Give me strength to live another day serving you and not to turn coward when difficulties transpire. Help me not to lose faith in other people but strengthen me and keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude and meanness. Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away my joy and gladness with You. Open wide the eyes of my heart that I may see good in all things and all people. Bless me with new vision of Your truth and give me the cup of strength to those that are hurting. May I see where you are calling me to share random acts of kindness, Your love to give away. Above all Father, thank you for your Son Jesus Christ, for the truth of his Word and the example of his life, for his steadfast obedience, which he overcame temptation, for his suffering and dying on the cross, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Thank you for the free gift of your Spirit, for my salvation. In the name of Our Strong Deliverer, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray with thanksgiving. Amen.

Maturity, Go the Extra Mile?

Scripture: Read Ephesians 5: 25-30 …a sacrificial, purifying, and steadfast love.

 Thought: Who’s the More Mature One in Your Marriage? Going the extra mile isn’t always easy. It might look reasonable and mature. But our flesh doesn’t always enjoy doing reasonable mature things. To get better in this area, it’s important to recognize:

  1. I am not the only one going the extra mile. Sometimes couples can take on a “victim attitude”. They recognize their individual sacrifices but completely fail to see where the other person continually steps up. For example in our marriage, I am the planner. It’s easy to get lost in my little details and all the things “I make happen”…and fail to see everything my husband does (especially because he carries his burdens and sacrifices with much more maturity and self-respect). I have realized it comes down to caring differently, not caring less.
  1. What is important to me? Strong couples dream Still the person with more clarity and passion in one area will sometimes need to step out of the boat first. I used to think that just because we share a common dream meant we have to devote the same amount of time and passion to get the dream accomplished. But that’s not always the case. Right now my husband has more free time than I do. I am able to devote more time to the things we need. In the past, I’d make a lot of noise (mostly mental) about his seeming absence and “day dreaming.” But as I’ve learned to listen to his heart, I’ve come to appreciate the proficiency of teamwork, leaning shoulder 2 shoulder and collaborating. Being a good team player means establishing what we care about and then moving on it… even if I am the first one.
  1. We are gifted differently. Sometimes it’s not that one spouse doesn’t want to do something or that they wouldn’t want to be a certain way. It’s just they are wired differently.What the other spouse likes will never be a natural fit for them. Our temperaments are different. God has a plan for your life that involves using your marriage partner to bring your life into balance and pull you towards the center to make you more like Jesus.  We must learn to be grateful for our spouses, just as they are and be willing to extend the same grace we ourselves received.

Action: Marriage is like a mirror, a reflection of the person we truly are. Not the person we wish we could be. Going the extra mile is all about the character of the person walking that mile. Someone said that “prayer changes things.” I know it changes me, because it’s not about me, it’s about the best interest of my spouse. Take the first step and do a duty for your spouse wash or fuel the car, excuse her from grocery shopping, allow him/her to sleep in, start the dream project and don’t mention it. Instead of playing a victim or raising a conflict, talk to Our Father.

Prayer: Dear God, help me to enjoy life with my spouse and submit to each other with sacrificial, purifying, and steadfast love. Grant me courage each day to invest in my marriage, accept the things I cannot change, and wisdom to hear my spouse’s heart. Change me God, help me put you and others first before I put my desires ahead of anything or anyone. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

The Good, Bad & Ugly of Marriage Counselors

Three Dangers in Marriage Counseling

#2   The Counselor is not Confident 

Why is this important?  Because you need someone who is not only competent but also someone who is confident.

1.  Confident in Themselves

Obviously, you don’t want to seek a counselor that is filled with conceit, but confident enough to speak directly to each of the participants and call people out when necessary.  Some counselors agree with everything to pacify or not upset the couple.  You sit there for fifty-five minutes and  basically the counselor listens and ask questions,  but they don’t give advice. Really? Clients are paying counselors to help them identify and resolve conflict.

I’ve heard couples repeatedly tell me, they tried counseling but their counselor would make impractical statements, “Well, I see your point” or “Hmmmm, that’s a good idea.”  I have several couples whom have tremendous issues with  borderline personality disorder. Understanding this illness takes certified medical professionals and a trained, certified counselor who is confident and specializes in identifying the root cause that has manifested into the personality disorder.

For example, in my practice, I see men that may be extremely manipulative, and the women may react with an explosive behavior.  In other cases,  a husband could be passive and let his wife do whatever she wants, even if he doesn’t approve, he agrees to keep the peace in the family. I have a few women that are extremely frustrated with their husbands apathetic approach and lack of leadership, because of their narcissistic behavior and the need for everything to be all about them. Once, I had a client that played and wrestled with his wife when they were first married, to his surprise, she would turn into “Mr. Hyde” and became someone he didn’t recognize. After much mental abuse, years later they learned of her mental illness and the dual personalities that surfaced when she felt threatened. It took medical doctors, prescriptions and professional counseling to help the two of them identify the origin of her pain and help them heal from the past wounds. Without confidence in my specialty of counseling, I could have caused more harm and empty the bank book.

The outcome of counseling is having a professional that will name the action for what it is and spell it out. Someone who will provide advice and tell you when your behavior is right or wrong.  You are entrusting them to provide a safe place for the two of you to talk and be expose your vulnerability.  Your looking for a professional that is confident and willing to step in when one is hurting. It’s like a football game. How long would it last if the five “officials” simply nodded their heads and said, “Well that was a good play.” Couples need to be flagged from time to time and a counselor who is confident will do this.

2.  Confident in God’s Spirit

Find a counselor that is confident in God’s Spirit.  Jesus gave us another Comforter just like Himself.  This Spirit is described as a Wonderful Counselor.  In my practice, I pray with my couples as we begin so that God may send His Spirit to lead us into Truth and again as we close so His Spirit will give them Freedom.

Confidence in the Spirit means to place my trust in Him and rely on Him. As a confident counselor, I will show you keys to God’s principles and give you tools and scripture to keep you accountable as you walk daily with Him every day.  I ask for you to journal daily because every single person indwelt by God’s Spirit, will begin to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to them. This helps us both see where you’re at in your walk, what progress or back steps are taking place.  I can see what you need and when you need it. Every week, I experience the amazing miracle of Father’s Heart being poured out in someone’s life in a way that causes me to be in awe of Father’s Grace. I had one experience with a women who was struggling with several trials all at once. I had been praying for her during the week. At our next session, I asked her to open in prayer, and she cried her heart out with the exact prayers God had laid on my heart that week. What makes prayer and God’s Spirit in our lives so special is when we begin to hear on their own from the Shepherd Who loves us deeply.

3.  Confident in Your Future

When I meet couples, I see them through the eyes of Father’s Heart.  I see them as they can and will be.  It was Michael Angelo who quoted when asked, “How did you create David?” He simply replied, “I waited till I saw David in the rock and then cut away everything that wasn’t David.”

What a superb answer!  I know with great confidence where a couple can go.  I have walked many trails with many hurting couples.  I have seen the hazards and the shadows, the valley’s, the mountains and the still waters.  I KNOW where Jesus will lead us if the couple will allow God’s Spirit to take control and entrust their pain in my confidence. I have sat opposite ends with marriage couples who proclaim, “We can’t make it one more week, you’re our last shot.”

So confidently, we trust the Lord, run the race with endurance and go to work cutting away everything that doesn’t look like David. Working on the differences that separate your marriage and keep you from living in unity like God designed you to be.  Communication, conflict, temperaments, languages all become tools to chisel away. Horizontal living is not of Christ, but plugging into Christ we get charged and learn to live a future life Vertically with Him.

I am confidence in Him and in those that are willing to walk through the rough days ahead. In my practice, couples will look to me with my hand on the tiller of their boat and hear my voice, “We can do this,” “We will make it,” “We will work it out,” “Be patient, God’s not finished.”

Get a good coach.  Someone who is Competent, and Confident.

Winners use Coaches

Dr.J

 

What Could Ever Come Between Us?

Scripture:  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.             Romans 8:31-39

Thought: Saturday, I awoke to my husband sitting in the living room crying. His hands covered his face as the tears so freely flowed with hopelessness. My heart ached with compassion as I sat next to him, not knowing why he was hurting with the deepest pit of despair. I tried to comfort him with physical touch as he grieved. After five minutes of uncontrollable weeping, he explained the wrath and judgment his spirit recoiled with thoughts of disappointments, failures, and bitterness towards his weakness and our world of hatred, condemnation, and competition.

During our marriage preparation, we discussed the mountains and valleys of married life we would encounter but we promised to take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poor, in sickness and in health until death do us apart. I knew as his wife, his burdens were my burdens. What could I say to support him? I thought, “Nothing could ever come between us.”

Looking at the cross hanging on our wall with the quotation “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound”, I was reminded that we are not of this world. (John 17:13-20) I imagined what Jesus felt when he prayed in Gethsemane when He was despaired and knew His time had come when He would be betrayed into the hands of sinners. He asked His disciples to stay alert and pray for him, but they fell asleep, their spirit was willing but their body was weak. (Matthew 26: 41) In the end was triumph and Our Father’s intent was to give us new life, hope and joy.

As a wife called to support my husband, I prayed and asked Jesus to lighten our burden. What should I say Lord? Please lead me, please walk beside me and lift this heavy burden from my husband. Then he gave me a verse that was engraved upon my heart, Proverbs 3: 5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Action: Are you pulling against the yoke of Jesus? Or are you following His lead? Being yoked to Jesus we can find rest and peace. Can you remember a time that you surrendered to your spouse and stood beside them to support and hold them up in a time of despair? Share it tonight, and watch how you will fall in love deeper as you lean together and humbly trust the lead of Our Lord.

Prayer: Lord, I will ask, seek and knock to let you be in control of my marriage. I want you to lead us in good times and in bad, my spirit is willing, but my body is week. Show me the areas that I need to repent, give me strength to surrender, encourage and support  my husband/wife. Please give me the wisdom of being yoked to you and bind our marriage together in unity. I believe in you God for great things. In Jesus name I pray with thanksgiving. Amen

Good & Bad Marriage Counselors #1

Three Dangers of Marriage Counseling

#1 The Counselor is not trained 

IT wasn’t long ago that a very credentialed professor from the University of Minnesota wrote an article on “Why Therapy can be Hazardous to your Marital Health”. Being a marriage therapist and mentor his title jerked my attention. He was sounding an alarm to couples about bad counselors. He states, “You’d be interested to know that, according to a national survey, 80 percent of all private practice therapists in the United States say they do marital therapy and only 12 percent of them are in a profession that requires only one course or any supervised experience. Only marriage and family therapy as a profession requires any coursework or supervised clinical experience in marital or couples therapy. So most people who say they’re doing this work picked it up on the side or not at all.”

I frequently experience this in my own practice. I’ll hear opening comments as, “Well, we’ve been to see four counselors and you’re number five.” It’s  a ‘buyer beware’ market, as is the choice of any coach. You can’t use a successful NFL coach to teach intricacies for a successful girls Olympic gymnastics. In the same way, we need to be watchful as to who we choose as a counselor.

I teach people to interview their counselor.

  • What training have you had? Get an idea of what they have done to learn, train, and improve themselves.
  • What strategy will you use? See if they even have a strategy, a plan, a format they follow because it tells you they are prepared.
  • What courses have you taught? Many of us teach seminars and it is a good way to check areas of competency.
  • What Biblical principles will you hold to?
  • What is your view on accountability?
  • What is your success rate with couples? Ask others about their experience with a certain counselor. Get recommendations
  • What do you do on a daily basis to walk with God?

Actually the first questions are great and they tell me much, but if you are a Christian and you believe in Biblical Guidance, then that last question is the deal breaker. If they don’t have a walk with God then what and how will they teach you?

I see so much of this in counselors. They think if they understand one concept they are experts in multiple areas. I have a lot of training and experience in Dysfunctional Family Origin, Attachment, Early Teen Development and Marriage Counseling, but when it comes to Drug and Alcohol or Addiction therapy, I’m in the back seat. I listen attentively to what they say and marvel at their expertise, but I wouldn’t coach in their specialty field.

For myself, I live, eat, and sleep in the areas God has called me to. If you are going to undergo heart surgery would you want someone who can’t stop thinking about your surgery or someone who can’t wait to get on the golf course?

I remember seeing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indiana Jones, famed adventurer and archaeologist acquires a diary that holds clues and a map to find the mysterious Holy Grail. Upon retrieving his father in Nazi territory, the rescue mission turns into a race to find the Holy Grail before the Nazis. It boils down to a final moment. They have passed the tests and found the cave where a 900 year old knight guards the water of eternal life. Before them is a table of cups, the guardians asks, “Which cup will you choose?” The Nazi runs forward to grab the most beautiful gold challis. Drinking the fountain water, he steps back in a grin…. Then changes from a smile, screams, his face melts, and he explodes. It’s pretty graphic. In the quiet that follows the shock of this man being reduced to a pile of dust, the guardian knight says matter of factly (which makes it ever more hilarious) “He chose poorly.”

Well duh… what do you think?

But bottom line life can be full of poor decisions, so do your homework and choose wisely; the choice is yours. Winners use Winning Coaches.

She shall be called “Eve”

Recently God has been speaking to my spirit, wrestling with me, deep in my heart.  It began with the review of a new book called Eve.  I am very suspicious of the author because though he writes with such flowing emotion the reader passes by the stop signs of his deception.  I have read some of the trusted reviewers such as Tim Challies.  His review of Eve is not a good one.  (http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/eve)  Challies frankly dis-recommends the book, as a net loss.  It’s intellectual integrity is that poor.

However in the course of review Challies writes:

“…God, in his creative work, assigned separate roles to men and women. In God’s world no role is better or greater or higher than another, but each is critical to the story he is telling.   God tells us that God created men to take positions of leadership within the church and family, and for women to joyfully submit themselves to this leadership. In this way God provides a much fuller display of who he is and what he is like. His image is shown not in uniformity but in complementarity. After all, the relationships within the Trinity display this very same pattern of leadership and submission. What is ultimately at stake here is not the relationship of man to woman, but our understanding of God as he displays himself in our relationships.

This phrase struck me.  Hard, loud, unexpected.   With the cross reference of Ephesians 5.33 ringing in my marriage counseling heart.

“FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.  This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.  Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”

For some time I have been fascinated by the history of Adam and Eve.  Their Hebrew names are actually Ish and Ishaw.  I have been so deeply impressed with this knowledge that in creation Ishaw was pulled from Ish.  She was not created from mud, she was shaped from flesh.  Negev Ezer, Father calls her.  A completing rescuer.  Yes Jerry MaGuire you were right, “You complete me.”  A woman is given a sense of beauty by Father’s Hands, a sense of beauty that draws the heart and the eyes of man to her.  One flesh refers to their unity, sexually, emotionally, physically.  Father created them to be one.

In their origin they were complementary.  They functioned as a team, together, with precision synchronicity, decisions were made, actions were undertaken, goals were achieved.  There was no conflict.  They were like Father and Son and Spirit.  It must have been just magic to watch them caring for each other’s needs, helping each others tasks.  She was his rescuer, his compliment.  He was strength and agility.  She was beauty and feeling.

The discussions they may have had,  “Oh I didn’t see that Ishaw, thank you”.  “I couldn’t have done that my Ish”.  So they named the animals, they tended Father’s Garden.  And they walk and talked with Father’s Presence.

Until it happened.  Yes we know about the fall, the sin.  But what has begun to shout so loudly at me is not the obvious consequences of this fall.

  • For the first time they knew fear.  “I heard you and I was afraid”
  • For the first time they knew shame.  “for I was naked”
  • For the first time they saw an animal killed in front of them.  “The Lord God clothed them in skins”
  • For the first time they played the blame game.  “The woman… YOU gave me”  “The serpent deceived…”
  • For the first time they were now at war.  “I will place an enimity between…”

But a deeper look.  A more tearing injury, not just in skin, but in the flesh of the relationship.  Man carried the curse of the decision as God said the ground was cursed.  No matter what a man may do, for most of us anyway, it just never really works out all that well.  The labor of our hands is cursed.

But the woman.  “I will greatly multiply, your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”  She is the key to the relational magnet.  She was from the beginning and she still is.  But now there is desire.  She always wants relationship.  She knows deep inside relationships are important.  They are eternal.  Man is busy trying to figure out thorns and weeds and ground.  She gives LIFE.

But before the complimentary hearts working synchronically is gone,  she deceives him and he blames her.  For the first time in this God reflecting unity there is something never felt before.  Betrayal.

Ish and Ishaw.  That’s what they used to be called.  Then something happens.  We skip right over it.  We are so accustomed to it.  The Man changes her name.  “you shall be called Eve because you are the mother of all living”.  Really?  We see it as a simple name but it is not.  For this man has reduced this woman to an animal.  HE NAMES HER.  I couldn’t believe it.  There it was.  What arrogance.

Two huge lessons here.  1) Ish was called to love and serve and protect and nurture and present her in beauty as the holy and blameless gift she was, back to God.  She was his precious gift.  Now she is just another thing.  Man now leads by power and control, by strength, by overpowering.  Yeah, it’s called abuse.  Men, allow God to call you back to Eden.  See the truth in the original blueprint.  Walk that out with your wife.  It doesn’t matter if you are angry, irritated, frustrated…. yes here is the word: resentment.

Ladies.  Become Ishaw again.  Now in this world you are taught to dis-regard, dis-respect, dis-approve.  “I’m gonna kick him to the curb”.  “I’m tired of trying”, “I can’t put up with this any longer”.  You aren’t called to that.  You are his negev ezer.  You complete him and you rescue him.

Why is it important?  “Because the mystery is great, I am speaking of Christ and the Church”   What is ultimately at stake here is not the relationship of man to woman, but our understanding of God as he displays himself in our relationships.

God is seen in our marriages.  point blank.  But as a counselor, I just see such a sadness.  Father’s Great Sadness.  That which was created in beauty has been reduced to chaos.

So here’s the lesson.  Do it different.  Do it according to design.  YOU BE DIFFERENT.  Make your marriage different.  Live like Ish or Ishaw.  Stop pointing fingers.

  1. PRAY for each other.
  2. PLAY your positions, find value in your role.
  3. PAY the price of success.  It isn’t easy.  Reject the Chaos and pay the price of success.  It’ll cost you…your ego.  Ask Father for help.  Get a mentor.  Work together.  Let Father show you your self agenda.  Become the complimentary team you were meant to be.  Get rid of the hardened heart.  Embrace hope.  You may be two people in wheel chairs emotionally but learn to help each other from the chair.

Are You Protecting Your Marriage?

Scripture: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 AND
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Thought: I will never forget when, many years ago, I traveled once a month to market the business I was working for. I would leave my husband for a week, and be on the road, away from home, while meeting new people, attending business meetings and dinner engagements with prospective buyers. There were ALWAYS temptations because of the worldly pressure, wealth and fame. Adultery is not normal in my world and unacceptable in my marriage. Nevertheless, my boss invited me to participate in deceit. I was told, I could” move to “the top of the company, if I slept my way to the top.” No one would know the truth but the man, God and myself.

When we are loyal, we reflect our faithfulness to God. When we are disloyal, we reflect the betrayal of Satan. We live in a fallen world—one that is increasingly indifferent to sexual sin. If we want to live and lead with intention, we can’t be naive. I boldly, yet simply with confidence replied, “If I have to sleep my way to the top and not earn it by my own merit, than I don’t need to be at the top with this company.” We must recognize the temptation adultery poses and protect ourselves accordingly. Nothing will destroy our influence and gifts faster than an affair.

My husband and I have policies in place to avoid danger and to protect our marriage:
 Pray together. We are invested in the relationship we have and we pray together before we leave the house. If you want your marriage to grow and flourish, you must invest in it. This means investing time—dreaming, laughing, listening, praying and crying together.
 Using old-fashioned, common sense. We set boundaries; Do not go out to eat alone with someone of the opposite sex; Do not travel anywhere alone with someone of the opposite sex, not to the library, a museum, or a business meeting. Do not flirt with someone of the opposite sex. Speak often and lovingly of each other, when out in public and around others.
 Consider what is at stake. Put the temptation in perspective. If Jesus walked in, would I be proud or embarrassed with my decision? How do I want others to remember me? What last impression do I want to leave as a legacy?

Action: Marriage is not merely between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God.
I truly believe with God all things are possible. Marriages that have not allowed God to be apart of the equation are truly missing out. He’s your biggest fan, and if anyone wants you to succeed and be happy, it is God! So don’t make your life even harder, allow Him to help! Character matters. We must take responsibility for our own actions. Our Father God is counting on us to use the Holy Spirit as our discernment. I believe God will rescue me from anything I ask for. I believe in Him for great things. Are you protecting your marriage?

If your marriage has fallen short or failed, know that God still adores you. His grace overflows upon you. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3: 3.

Prayer: Lord, I will ask, seek and knock. My desire is to fight for my marriage in all situations. I pray for your intervention at all times, so I may remain loyal to You and my husband. If we have a fight, please replace anger with love, and pain with forgiveness. Please restore peace to our relationship. It can happen. Give us rest knowing that Your power is made perfect in our weakness.

5 Languages that Communicate “I Love You”

Scripture: “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:8-10

Thought: Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a famous book on The Five Love Languages. Based on his book, here are the five languages that communicate love, actions, and things to avoid.
1. Words of Affirmation: Communicate with encouragement, affirm actions, appreciate efforts, empathize with compassion, and listen responsively. Actions to take: Send an unexpected note, text, or card, and encourage often with sincerity. Avoid non-constructive criticism, not recognizing and appreciating.
2. Physical Touch: Communicate through body language and touch to emphasize love; hug, kiss, hold hands, show physical affection regularly, make intimacy a thoughtful priority. Avoid physical neglect and long periods without intimacy. Avoid receiving love coldly.
3. Receiving Gifts: Communicate with thoughtfulness, kindness, patience, make your spouse a priority, and speak intentionally. Actions to take: Give thoughtful gifts and gestures, small things matter in a big way; flowers, dinner out, favorite candy or meal, video game or DVD movie, and express gratitude when receiving gift. Avoid forgetting special occasions, avoid being un-enthusiastic about receiving gift.
4. Quality Time: Communicate without interruptions and focus on conversation. Spend one-on-one time by way of date nights, quiet time after kids have gone to bed, sitting outside and observing the stars, take a walk together. Create those special moments and do small things together. Avoid distractions when spending time together; avoid long interludes without alone, quiet time together.
5. Acts of Service: Communicate that you are united with them as a partner and you want them to know that your are present to help serve; use action phrases, like, “I’ll help do this….” Do chores together or some other project improvement, make breakfast in bed, water plants, wash the car, fill the gas tank, go shopping for groceries or kids school supplies. Act anyway to alleviate the daily load. Avoid making the request of others a higher priority, avoid not following through or completing the task to the end, whether big or small tasks.

Action: Take this languages of love quiz together. Then re-center in Fathers Love and begin your date night with one another’s love language. For quiz go to http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=whats-your-love-langugae

Prayer: Lord, apart from you I desire nothing. I know that when I love you and use the special gift You have bestowed upon me that I can fill my spouse’s love tank. My desire is to do Your Will and I know and believe that you will fill my love tank in return. Teach me to communicate in the same way you so lovingly communicate with you. Please give me the motivation and commitment to take action and not just speak it or think about it. I need You, I want You, and I desire to center my love around You. Amen.