Tuesday, November 29, 2011

a trifling thing. . .

. . .the foolish woman tears down her house with her own hands.
I've noticed how the temptation to disrespect my husband inches in by way of petty annoyances-like where he parks his bike or stores his tools . . .whether he drapes his shirts or closes the closets . . .when he looses his keys. . .
Petty: of trivial importance, a trifling thing. . . in a heart beat, in our minds, a trifling thing grows huge.
Early one morning I stepped out of the shower and caught a lovely wave of classical music, then pound-pound booming from the kitchen; it was my husband, attacking the block of Mexican brown sugar with an ice pick, sugar for his hot cocoa. . .a petty annoyance, noise in the morning, irritating, disturbing my peace (and where? I wondered, did those little chips of brown sugar fly off to?)
Today- identify a petty annoyance that provokes you to think a disrespectful thought about your husband-then repent.
1 Corinthians 13:7 whispers. . .love does not insist on its own way, love bears all things.

and of course, there's more. . .

Friday, November 25, 2011

At bedtime on Thanksgiving I read to Julia, An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (Louisa May Alcott).
. . .Down among the embers, saucepans simmered, suggestive of an approaching feast.
"That's what we had today-a feast!" she exclaimed.
I'm not suprised, since Julia was the girl narrating dinner, "Oh, the turkey is so good, the mashed potatoes so good . . ."
Sometimes you plan a feast-plan, invite, shop, prepare; then maybe everything and everybody is ready but the turkey is undercooked-
Tilly, whatever made you put wormwood and catnip in your stuffing? asked Ma.
-the stuffing, overcooked, sticks to the pan-
The pudding was an utter failure-as hard and heavy as one of the stone balls on a great gate.
And the pies, so lovely to look at, aren't so perfect afterall. . .
but the guests are gracious, grateful--and it's still a feast.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For as a woman thinks. . .

The wise woman builds her house but the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands (Pro 14:1)
What a graphic word picture! And it's about women, imagine that?
Let's consider the destructive affects of disrespect: the wife who disrepects her husband tears down her house one board at a time with her own hands-the more she disrespects, the more she sees to disrespect.
So, what does disrespect look like? Sometimes disrespect bellows, but most often it sneaks. . . disrespect belittles, cut downs, talks down to, criticizes, nags, ignores; disrespect is sarcastic, impatient, rude. . .
Recently my 4 year old grandaughter sent me an email, dictated to her mom, "Gran, I hope you are not being rude to your Papi!" Ahh, I love it-I can hear her mother say to her, "Selma, love is not rude!" Selma's question makes me think of the connection between rudeness and disrespect.
Disrespect begins in the mind. . ."For as a man thinks within himself, so he is" (Pro 23:7)
Do you notice the arrows of disrespect that zing through your mind? (this is not my job. . .he makes more work for me.)
So, here's a challenge: Listen to how you talk to yourself about your husband. Catch and put off the subconscious thoughts that lead to disrespect.
And don't daydream! Daydreaming leads our minds down the path of disrespect; we're tempted to replay old offenses; we're tempted to compare. . .
Disrespect begins in the mind. God has given us criteria as to how we should think about our husbands; my pastor calls Philippians 4:8 the leash law for the mind. . .Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I like to envision the leash, reigning in my wayward thoughts.
enough for now. . .but there's more

Saturday, November 19, 2011

remembering. . .

Last week my siblings and I exchanged a flurry of emails, memories of our mother; it's been a year since she went to heaven.
So, the other day I lost one of my favorite earrings. I poked around my little box and choose some pearls to wear instead; my mother wore pearl earrings- often she lost one, and then she would buy another pair, pearls again.
So, I have a pair of Mom's earrings-I think they match. I'm not a pearl earring girl, really-but I've been wearing these all week, and thinking about Mom. . .
Then Reader's Digest came in my mailbox. . .Mom sent the subscription (or was it Dad?). Reader's Digest isn't my reading preference-it's still coming to my mailbox. Last week I browsed the pages and thought about Mom. . .
And last Friday we hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner for our Bible study; I made the coffee, set out cups, sugar, spoons to stir, and I filled the little pitcher with cream, Royal Copenhagen china, and I thought about Mom-good remembering, indeed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the problem

. . .and let the wife see to it that she respects her husband.
When I struggle to respect my husband, the root of the problem is my own sin, really-
Scripture doesn't give me permission to make the sins of my husband my first priority-but I'm tempted. . ."God, give me the desire and strength to obey you; make me attentive to my own sin."
Now then, attentiveness to my own sin will create humility in me, and that's a good thing. At the heart of my struggle to respect my husband is my pride-I think more highly of myself than I ought; God tells me to think of myself with sound judgement. (Rom 12:3)
In his book, When Sinners Say I Do, Dave Harvey writes, "Cultivate a healthy suspicion of your own heart motives."
hmm, sinful heart motives-like pride, selfishness, lack of love, desire to control, discontent, speck focused. . .speck focused? "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" (Matt 7:3-5)

"An excellent wife is a crown to her husband, she who shames him is rottenness to his bones" (Prov 12:4)
Think for a moment about a rotten thing, you know-how a rotting thing looks, feels, smells. Disrespect rots! when I disrespect my husband, I dishonor God (who purchased me with his blood) and I shame my husband.
So-all this is sobering, my own sin problem, the rottenness of disrespect. . . and while sin erodes and destroys relationships on a horizontal level, sin impacts our relationship with God.
Sin is wrong not because of what it does to me or to my spouse or child or neighbor, but because it is an act of rebellion against the infinately majestic God. (Jerry Bridges)

enough for now. . .but there's more.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Last month when I was in New York John drove to Bastrop to meet our sons and their families. He called me, "I'm in Texas holding Gwyneth and Adalyn!"
"I'm in New York holding Florence." I said.
"You are the gold star grandmother and I am the silver star grandfather," he said.
"How can that be?" I questioned, "You're holding two sweet grandaughters and I have one."
"You are the gold star grandmother. . . because I miss you."
Always good to be home-

Thursday, November 10, 2011

when it's hard. . .

And let the wife see to it that she respects her husband.
"Do you think this is such a struggle for all wives?" a woman asked me recently.
Well, yes-a struggle for all wives, because to obey God is to go against our nature.
But, no-not such a struggle, for some the struggle is less arduous, for others more, and frankly, some husbands are more difficult to respect (and some wives more difficult to love!)

Perhaps you are that wife in a particularly difficult situation; perhaps it seems asthough your husband is actively working against your efforts to obey God's command.
It's hard. . . looking through a biblical lense then, I know this is true:
1) God's command in Ephesians 5: 33 is true for all wives, without exception. And God is on the throne, his sovereignty rules over all. God doesn't get off the throne, stop ruling, when life is hard-so I remind myself. A firm reliance on God's sovereignty will help you and me to obey God.
2) Focus on God's glory. While pleasing God must always be my motive, a wife's conduct can impact her husband.
"Wives be subject to your own husbands so that even if some do not obey the Word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives when they see your respectful and pure conduct." (1 Pet 3:1-2)
What an amazing passage-God says here that a wife's respectful conduct has influence. It doesn't mean that she never says a word; we're told in other parts of Scripture to speak the truth in love, to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us, and a biblical reproof may be the most loving response to a husband who is sinning. However, this wife doesn't preach at her husband-she speaks fewer words and her respectful behavior is a powerful influence in her husband's life.
3) Trust God. . . Ah, yes, trust God. Scripture tells us how the holy women of old trusted God. Sarah respected her husband, calling him Lord; she hoped in God not being frightened by any fearful thing (1 Pet 3:5-6). That example is for you and me.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. . .we can do that, even when it's hard, because of Jesus-
because we know that Jesus is the author and perfecter of faith. . . (Heb 12:2)
Aye, sorry so long-enough for now, but there's more. . .

Monday, November 7, 2011

orange things. . .

On Wednesday, Luke and Gabrielle returned from their trip and we returned their children. For an entire week two sets of grandparents divided the grandchildren, half-n-half. . .
Saturday at our house we read Molly's Pilgrim (Barbara Cohen) and talked about it; then we ate orange things-baby carrots, cheddar cheese cubes, gumey pumpkins, tart and sweet pumpkin candies, orange juice. The next day we made pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting. We ate them- and drank Pumpkin Pie Soda. I couldn't resist, the label and packaging were amazing (surpassing the taste.)
What's a grandmother to do?
And the thoughtful parents brought gifts for the grandmothers, blue for Martha, orange for me; I can't wait to fill it with salsa or guacamole-and I can't wait for the next time (now that I've cleaned up and rested a bit). . .the grandchildren come to stay.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

thinking biblically about respect-a command

A few weeks ago I wrote some thoughts about thinking biblically and about focus-about where I choose to focus the lense of my mind. I was preparing for a teaching opportunity. . .Thinking Biblically- Respecting Your Husband. So, I prepared it-and last Thursday I taught it. . .
Respect: to be in awe of, to honor, to treat as someone special, to esteem, to admire, to pay proper attention to (not ignore!), to show consideration for, to treat courteously, to heed (to listen to).

Ahh, a worthy pursuit, a huge topic, and no, I don't have it all figured out- but truth challenges my heart.
So, first the command: ". . .and let the wife see to it that she respects her husband."(Ephesians 5:33). Sometimes I chafe, imagining that God's commands just dangle, unattached. . . Soul, remember His character- our God is holy, not harsh-loving, not capricious nor fickle; every command He gives is meant for my good and assuredly, He gives the means and grace to obey. When I'm tempted to doubt God's goodness in this command, I remember. . ."He Himself bore our sins in his body on the cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness." (1 Peter 2:24)
The wise will give heed. . .consider the loving kindness of the Lord (Ps 107:43)
God's command in Ephesians 5:33 is addressed to wives-all wives, without exception.
Wives are commanded to see to it that they respect-the command is worded in such a way as to lay the responsibility squarely on the wife's shoulders. (Have you ever noticed that as wives we see to it that alot gets done-errands, bills, meals, car pool, coffee, laundry, knitting, reading. . .?)
In Ephesians 5:33 respect is a verb, something we do or show. We know that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks- so, respect begins in our hearts and is displayed in our words, attitudes, actions. . .toward our husbands.
"I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the wife is her husband. . ." (1 Cor 11:33)
It's about God, about His design; He has set the husband as head, and He calls the wife to honor that postion. I've been thinking about it, focusing my biblical lense. . .respect is to be rendered to my husband because God has required it, not because my husband has earned it. Respecting my husband is a decision I make to obey God's Word. It's really all about God-and me.
Enough for now. . .but there's more.