Friday, November 21, 2014

Are You Depriving Your Husband?

"For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." (1 Cor. 7:4-5)

When you got married you signed over your body to your husband. Yet another reason for you single ladies to be VERY PICKY about who you say "Till death do we part" to. When you said "I do" to your husband you were also saying: I give you authority over my body. Single ladies, be warned, who you marry will have authority over your body. This verse can be scary for some women no matter who they married. But regardless, you are called to satisfy your husband sexually.

The passage goes on to say: "Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a LIMITED TIME, that you may devote yourselves to prayer...." Let's dissect that a bit. Notice the first part which pertains to the title of this post: "Do not deprive one another". More often than not, this is an issue for the man feeling deprived and not the woman (I do know of some cases personally where it's the other way around, but by and large men feel deprived more often than women). The bible COMMANDS US to not deprive our husbands "except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer." I have yet to see this lived out in my 8 years of ministry/marriage counseling. Usually it's just the wife depriving her husband because she doesn't want to give of herself to him sexually. I have not heard of a married couple coming to an "agreement for a limited time" so that they devote themselves to prayer. But those are God's instruction for choosing to not be sexually active with your spouse.

When we as wives choose to deprive our husbands sexually by telling them no or giving them the cold shoulder or another excuse, we are depriving them of a very really need and in so doing Satan tempts them because of a lack of self control! Our husbands will stand before God accountable for their actions but do you want to be the one that contributed to Satan tempting them?! When we deprive our husbands their lack of self control grows.

Think of it this way: "
Just as your body tells you when you're hungry, thirsty, or tired, your husband's body tells him when he needs a sexual release. Your husband's sexual desire is impacted by what's around him but it is also determined by biological factors, specifically the presence of testosterone in his body.

Immediately after sexual release, men are physically satisfied. But as their sexual clock ticks on, sexual thoughts become more prevalent, and they are more easily aroused. The physical need for sexual release intensifies as sperm builds up...

The best way for a woman to understand this dynamic is to relate it to another physiological need. If you've had a baby, you may relate to the experience of milk building up in your breasts a few days after giving birth. The buildup of breast milk becomes annoying (and even painful) until the milk is expressed." (a quote from Focus on the family)

When you turn your husband down time and time again you are depriving him of a very real, physical need. Married men should not have to tell themselves no because their wives are too selfish to give of themselves physically. We are setting our husbands up as bait for Satan to tempt in all sorts of ways when we deprive them.

If this post has convicted you because of your lack of response to your husband's needs (or because of your outright rebellion to these verses) please respond to that conviction and recognize that you no longer have full authority over your body. Your body is a gift to your husband. Don't deprive him of it any longer. Bless him in a way that only his wife can knowing full well that God is pleased with what you can give him!

Lastly, sexual issues can play a very significant part in the marriage relationship. Don't be ashamed! Seek out godly counsel. Contact your church and let them know you would like counsel if you are not sure how to deal with the different issues that are involved in your sexual relationship with your husband. There is nothing to be ashamed of. God created sex as a blessing for the marriage relationship!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are You Too Messed Up To Be Used By God?

Are you feeling "too messed up" to be used by God? Feeling like you never "measure up"? Well, that's a good place to be. God uses people like that the most! It's the prideful and the "I've got it all figured out" folks that are difficult to use.

"And He has said to me (and He says the same to YOU), 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'"
(2 Cor. 12:9)

Think about what God is really saying there. He is saying WHEN YOU ARE WEAK YOU ARE STRONG. When you feel strong and confident in yourself you are really weak. Your strength is to be found in Him alone. He works best in weakness and He uses those who are desperate for Him not independent of Him.

Our Creator doesn't choose the powerful and wise and perfect. He chooses the weak and the messed up so that they have nothing to boast about except Him!

"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" (1 Cor. 1:26-31)

Thank the Lord that He chooses the foolish! Thank Him that it is only because of Christ Jesus that we have any wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption!
He is able to take fallen men and women like you and I and turn us into men and women of God not because of our own doing but because of what He has done and can do.

He is able. Are you willing?

Oh that believers could be like Isaiah and say: “Here I am! Send me.” I love the section of scripture in Isaiah 6 where this quote comes from! First Isaiah sees the Lord, then he recognizes how unclean he is, next his guilt is taken away and his sin atoned for and he is able to say: "Send me."

That should be the process that takes place with every believer.
We all must come to the end of ourselves, recognizing how unclean we are, look to Christ to remove our guilt and atone for our sin and then we are able to say: "Send me."

Don't wallow around in your guilt and shame. Don't whine and complain about all your weaknesses. Don't find your confidence or lack of confidence in your ability, personality or skills but find your confidence in God's ability to work in and through you.

If His work in our lives were dependent on us we would be in big trouble, but His work is always dependent on Him.

"...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith."
(Hebrews 12:2)

"God—not humanity—is always the Hero." -Preston Sprinkle

Thank God that you don't have to be the hero, you just have to be willing like Isaiah... David... Abraham... Paul...

Don't wait until you are "worthy" to be used. If you are in Christ, then you are already worthy.

Get over yourself and let God use you today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our Family's Daily Routine

This is a simple version of our family's daily routine. We are a homeschooling family with four kids seven and under and we have a little one due at the end of the month.

Between 7:30 & 8:00 a.m.-
Get up and have breakfast. I usually read my bible while kiddos eat. We eat the same thing: oatmeal or cereal.

Around 8:30 a.m.-Scott usually leads us in a family devotional before going to work. 

9:30 a.m.-I head downstairs with all four kids. Our cardio machine is in the same room as the kids school room and toys so while I do cardio (for 30 min) Ricky and Rhea work on some schoolwork that they don't need my help with and Johnny and Charis play with toys. After I finish cardio I finish up school work with Ricky and Rhea.

11:30 a.m.- Go upstairs and have lunch. Ricky and Rhea do their piano practice after lunch.

12:30 p.m.-"Clean up parties" in different rooms in the house. My goal is to have each room picked up before naptime at 2. After all the rooms are cleaned up I let the kids go outside and play or read books until naptime.

2:00 p.m.- All four kids are down for naptime (even my seven year old, who falls asleep every day!). Sometimes Charis only makes it to 1:30 p.m. I much prefer having a mid day break like this than having my kids go to bed early. It is a great way to break the day up, it also helps with our schedule since we do a lot of things in the evening and an early bed time would be inconvenient. I also think it keeps my children's immunity stronger because I have noticed on certain days when they are fighting a cold they nap a lot longer and they rarely get sick. I often lay down for about 20-30 min. with them. After that I shower and get dressed. This is also a great time for me to do blogging, facebook and reading or extra clean up.

4:30 p.m.-Kids are up and I am getting dinner started.

5:30 or 6:00 p.m.-We eat dinner.

6-10 p.m. We often do ministry stuff in the evenings (this week we have something planned 5 nights out of 7). On the nights that we don't have ministry/an event we do more school work downstairs to make up for the days and weeks when we can't (because of sickness, vacations etc.) About once a week we have family movie night where we will watch an episode of Little House on the Prarie and eat popcorn. My kids go to bed between 9:30 and 10 and Scott and I go to bed around 11.

How about you? What does your routine look like? Do you have any questions about the details of our day? Leave them in the comment and I will answer them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

8 Practical Ways To Beat the Winter Blues


Winter is coming. Some people are stressing about the inevitable "winter blues". I hope this practical post gives you some ideas to implement into your winter agenda that will help beat the blues! Maybe this list is overwhelming? Try to implement one a week and see how much each one helps rather than trying to do it all at once.

#1 Clean. Sound weird? It's not. A messy house and clutter are linked to depression. The more you sit around in your mess the more likely you will feel the affects of it on your mood. GET UP and CLEAN UP! The cleaning will distract you and the finished product will be much more enjoyable to be in. Since we spend a lot more time inside during the winter doesn't it just make sense that the cleaner your surroundings the less likely you will feel down?

#2 Listen to Christian Music and Audio Bible. While you're cleaning (or doing anything really) be sure to listen to Christian music AND SING WITH IT. Nothing fixes the blues for me like singing to the King of kings! We are constantly thinking all day and singing forces our minds to think about something else. If you are singing worship music it takes your eyes off your self and onto Him and thinking about Him and praising Him is a natural anti-depressant."fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:2) Listening to the bible is also a great way to fix your eyes on Jesus and think about spiritual things rather than temporal things. 

#3 MOVE. Your body was made to move. Winter time can leave us wanting to hibernate and lay around all day. Not good for the blues. Your body releases natural "happy brain chemicals" called endorphins when you move. The less you move the worse you feel. I am only doing 30 min. a day 4-5 times a week and I see it make a tremendous difference. Look for some piece of simple exercise equipment (used!) and save up to get it and then most importantly use it. Maybe you already have a piece of equipment? Dust it off and use it! OR you can get different workout videos through your library for free to change it up a bit! Get the kids involved and have PE every day. They'll enjoy it too! And on the days when it's not raining, GET OUTSIDE. Being outside, even when it's overcast, is a great mood booster.

#4 Get enough rest. I take a nap about 5 times a week on top of going to bed around 11 and getting up at 7! This may seem excessive but I think it helps me greatly in fighting depression. I see a direct link between me being "overly emotional" and not getting enough sleep. There are so many things that tempt us these days to not get enough rest but by saying no to those (and yourself) you are doing yourself a big favor! 

#5 Take Care of Yourself! #3, #4 and #5 kind of go together. Part of taking care of yourself is getting enough rest and exercise. Another part to taking care of yourself is: Eating well, drinking well and supplementing well.

*First, eating well. To put it simply, I think the best way to eat is to refrain from too many carbs (especially simple carbs like white bread), eliminate as much sugar as possible and consume lots of vegetables. I do think that the Trim Healthy Mama diet is good not only for weight loss but for mood as well! One reason I think that it is good for our moods is because blood sugar is directly related to how we feel. People who eat lots of carbs/foods high on the glycemic index often ride a roller coaster of emotions as their blood sugar fluctuates through out the day. The Trim Healthy Mama diet really helps to keep your blood sugar levels consistent without that roller coaster effect.

*Drinking well. Believe it or not, getting enough water influences how you feel emotionally as well as physically! I try and keep my mason jars with ice and water full all day for me to sip on. Drink water. Also, you can try out a couple of my "energy drinks" and see if they help with your mood!

*Supplementing well. In addition to eating and drinking there are so many things you can supplement to your diet to help with your mood! There are many herbs, vitamins and minerals that are conveniently ready for us to consume to help us attain optimal health and mood! The basic ones that I take every day are: Emergen-C (which if you do subscribe and save is only 23 cents a day and I also split one package up between my four kiddos during the winter in their smoothies), Iron (again, I do the subscribe and save to save money) and vitamin d. These are the only three that I supplement with but they seem to work for me! I take 200% of my daily value of iron a day and 300% daily when I am struggling with postpartum depression. Keeping up your immunity is also a natural way to combat depression. In fact, the next time you are "feeling down" take note and see if you get a cold in the next day or two. When your immunity is down so is your mood. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

#6 Create a Schedule/Routine. This is especially applicable for stay at home moms. The more "out of sorts" you feel or the more chaos around you the more out of control you feel and the more out of control you feel the more your mood feels out of control. Create a daily routine and/or schedule and stick to it. Children thrive off of routine and so does your mood. When you lay around a lot because you "aren't sure what to do next" this may feed your feelings of hopelessness. Sit with your husband and kiddos and figure out a daily routine. This is also very important if you are like our family and limiting the television and electronic gadgets, you need to have a plan for what you are going to do with your day. Children need direction. The less direction they have the more likely they are to drive you and your mood crazy.

Here is a sneak peek into our family's daily routine.

#7 Think about others. One of the best ways to "get over yourself" is to think about others. Who do you know that is in the hospital? Who do you know that is struggling in their marriage? Who do you know that has children who have strayed from the Lord? Who do you know that is struggling financially? Pray for these people and write them a note. The act of praying and writing them will help you to focus on other people's problems rather than your own.

#8 The best way to beat the blues is to keep an eternal perspective.
No matter your mood, remind yourself that it's temporary. This life is but a blink of the eye compared to the eternal glory that awaits us.
"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.…" Col. 3:2-3 Always remember true happiness is found in Christ. Seek Him in the Word and set your mind on things above.