Fighting God

DSC_0552.JPGShe threw down her pencil, tears in her eyes. “I can’t do it!” she wailed.

“Yes you can,” I replied calmly.

“No. I don’t get it! It’s too hard!”

I looked at her sternly. “No, it’s not. You can do it. You just have to follow the steps I’ve shown you.”

Her voice rose higher, “I DID! It didn’t work!”

“No. You didn’t. You’ve not listened and keep doing it your way. If you would listen it would work.” I responded with agitation in my voice.

“I did!” she insisted.

“Nope. You didn’t and until you do, we will keep going over this concept until you listen, get it, and do it the right way. You HAVE to do it the same way each time to get the right result so you don’t get confused and frustrated.”

This is a struggle I encounter a LOT with my children. It feels like every day one of them is fighting me about something I know for a fact is true. One of my favorite arguments is when I tell them they are playing a wrong note on the piano and they insist that they are playing the right note even though I have taught and played the piano for over 20 years. While washing dishes today, a great time for reflection, I was pondering the thought of why is it that my kids fight ME about things, but will listen to other people telling them the exact same thing? (like how Grandma can show them the same exact math problem and suddenly they can do it.)

God impressed upon me that it is because they are just like their Mama. I continually fight God and insist that my way is best. (It never is, by the way) Just this past month He has been impressing upon me that I have been trying to change everyone and everything, but myself. In this recent case, I was sure I was right and that if I kept doing the same thing eventually things would change … because I was right and they were wrong. The saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” comes to mind.

So many times I am like my kids and fight God about truths that have ALWAYS worked. For instance, “love thy neighbor as thyself,” submitting to my husband, quiet words turning away wrath, or trust God and let Him have control. I sit and pout and say, “I did!” and “It didn’t work!” Or I stub up and won’t even try it God’s way because “It’s too hard,” or because I’m lazy and “I shouldn’t have to do all those steps.”

One day though, after doing what I’m supposed to, it finally “clicks.” Things may go right after the first day, or it might take 2 weeks of doing the same “problems.” A lot of the time when God is trying to make a point that I am particularly stubborn about He uses people, books, sermons, and radio to bang it over my head like a song on a broken record. Each day gets easier though when I actually TRY instead of whining.

That’s the other thing, the more my kids fight me, the longer we stay at the same spot until they learn how to solve the lesson correctly. Sometimes we might even stay extra time on that concept just so they learn to trust me next time and lose their attitude. Also, sometimes I must remind them who is in charge. If they TRY to have an open attitude I’m a LOT more willing to help them, and they learn so much faster. I’m sure God feels the same way about me and my attitude.

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When God “Loses” Something

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Several years ago, I lost one of the matching dresses I had made for my girls. I had spent a lot of time, money, and energy making these dresses and I was proud of the final product. One Sunday I went to put them on the girls, however, when I looked for the dresses I found that one was missing. Puzzled I racked my brain, as to where the dress might be, but it wasn’t anywhere I looked. I looked all the places it should have or could have been, and when it wasn’t there, it bothered me even more. I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a dress but these dresses were special, I had created them in love for my girls

It bothered me all day, and I had a lot of trouble concentrating on anything else. The missing dress was ALWAYS in the back of my mind. I called up my mother and mother in law and asked them if they had seen it, and would they look for it. You may think I’m crazy, but I also asked if they would pray that the dress would be found. I can’t tell you how many times I have lost something and stopped my frantic searching for a moment while taking a deep breath and asking God to help me find it. I know some people think that we shouldn’t bother God with such trivial things, but so often after I pray, He leads me right to it. It’s one thing He often does for me, I believe, to show that He cares.

It took awhile but I finally remembered that I had entered it into the fair a couple months back and could not remember seeing it since then.  Thankfully, the lady in charge of the fair thought it looked like an item someone would come back and claim and kept it. When I finally found the dress, I was SO excited! I could have thrown a party.…or at least hugged the woman for not getting rid of it when it wasn’t claimed after the fair right away.

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I can’t help but think of Jesus’s parable of the lost coin every time I lose something and find it. The woman lost a lot of money, she searched high and low, and when she found it, she wanted everyone to rejoice with her. I know that feeling all too well!

It got me to thinking that that must be what it is like for God when one of his own is “lost” or away from him. He created us and spent a lot of time on us. When you invest in something – or when it’s worth something – you don’t give up easily trying to find it. The more value assigned– the harder you look for what is lost. No matter our worth in the eyes of others, we are irreplaceable to God. He may have a whole “fold” full of children, but just like the shepherd in Luke 15, He doesn’t rest until we are back in His “fold” and following His voice.

When we are “lost” he diligently searches for us. He enlists other Christians to pray to try to help “find” us. When he does “find” us, we may be dirty, messed up, even damaged. In fact, the longer we are missing…The more likely the damage. However He find us though, He still rejoices when we are found or return home, just like the father in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15.

Not only does He rejoice, but if we are dirty, He gets right to work cleaning us up. He sets to work on repairing us and to make us usable again if we are damaged. When something gets repaired there are often scars. In fact, sometimes the damage is irreparable, and He must use us for something else. For instance, take a dress that has holes in it being made into a quilt. It wasn’t the plan for the dress, it’s not as glorious, but it’s still useable and worth something, it just cannot be used for the original intended purpose or as beautiful. Think of a pastor who has had an affair, he may not be able to ever lead a church again like he once did, but it doesn’t mean that God can’t use him in a different way. Also, think of someone who has gone to jail, they can use their mistake to portray God’s forgiveness in the worst of circumstances, but I’m sure God’s original plan for them did not involve being behind bars.

Let’s take it a step further, what about those who are in God’s will, those He is not searching for? God is like a parent asking for help to find His lost children in the woods. I would gladly help someone who lost their child…yet am I willing to let God use me to recover one who is lost?  Do I share the gospel with a lost and dying world? Do I pray for others who are not walking right with God, or do I talk behind their backs? Do encourage them, or do I judge them? When God does find them, do I rejoice with Him or am I like the prodigal’s brother and resent them because of His attention on them (Luke 15)?

We are all precious. We are all valuable. I find it so comforting to know that if I am lost I am worth diligently seeking for to God. I don’t know about you, but I am thankful He is not content to let me stay lost, even if He already has a purseful of other “coins.” I will continue to lose things and ask God’s help in finding whatever it is, but maybe now I will use it as a reminder to not forget to also help God in His search for those lost, just like He helps me in my search.

Have you ever lost something that upset you to the point of distraction until you found it? How did you feel when you found it?

Mommy Triage

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Mommy Triage: when you have a crisis moment and have to figure out which fire to put out first – always chose your child. It’s just a math lesson. It’s only a writing assignment. Nothing more.”

I took the picture above as a reminder.

At the end of this past school year, we had a bad day. One of my children was in tears over an English/writing assignment. They were convinced it was too hard and would take “forever.” Normally I would plow through and insist they did it, along with me raising my voice and them eventually crying. However, that day I remembered the above quote from a book I had read at the beginning of the school year, “Teaching from Rest.” Instead of insisting we complete the lesson and my to-do list I said, “Okay. We are going to take a break and come back to it tomorrow.” The next day without a tear or complaint, the child sat down and wrote the report. Was it perfect? No. Precious reminder? Yes.

It showed me that sometimes we all need a day of grace. A chance to hit the reset button with no yelling or judgment. Sometimes I am so intent on completing my list that I don’t see the child in front of me.

Yes, there are times I lay down the law and deal with attitudes. In fact, I did it just the other day when a math lesson drug on for four hours amidst sighs and whining. Somedays though, with some lessons, it’s best to lay it down for a day. However, that is super hard for my type A, love for lists, personality.

Teaching from Rest also points out:

How we interact with our children while using the material matters far more than whether or not we get through it… Can you hit the pause button on your frustration long enough to realize that people rank infinitely higher than anything else on the list? Have you considered that God may have scooted these people into view for the very purpose of slowing you down?”

Ouch.

I don’t handle interruptions very well, but it’s getting better since I’ve said yes to less and have more time and margin to use. It still is so hard though; so, I keep that picture as a reminder. If I had insisted that day that we continue the lesson, we would have completed a page, but not learned much. My checklist would have been complete, but we wouldn’t have gained useful knowledge. What’s more, my child and I would have probably have had a rift between us.

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Whenever I see butterflies, I can’t help but think of children. Just like butterflies, they spread beauty and joy wherever they go. They are stronger than they look, yet still so fragile. They need just the right conditions to thrive. Butterflies need the sun and to constantly be eating…just like my kids need the light of God and a steady diet of his word.

So, as we start this new school year, I am trying to restructure my priorities. My goal this year is to make sure that my focus is on my children, and not whether we can read the word “bag” or know how to calculate 1457 x 3488. I believe if I focus on them and not as much on the lesson plan, we will truly learn and grow closer to each other and God. When I focus on them, I will be entuned with their needs and not on what books say they need.

You may not homeschool, a lot of people don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply the above thought. Even if you don’t homeschool, you can still give someone grace who is having a bad day. Maybe you’re not even a mom, but you still get interrupted by people. God puts all kind of people into our paths who need help. In fact, we probably see them as an interruption at first; however, instead of seeing them as an interruption, we should view them as an opportunity from God to help others.

How about you? Are your priorities to complete your tasks, or is it to help others grow mentally or spiritually? Let me know, what steps you take to focus on individuals instead of the task.

Making the Most of What Comes and the Least of What Goes

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When I was a girl, I thought couples who had never spent a night apart were so romantic. However, this is a dream that reality laughed at from the beginning of my relationship with my husband. We had a long-distance courtship, and we learned fast how to make the most of the time we received. I naively thought that once we married everything would change and that saying goodbye continually would be a thing of the past. While it is true that I get to see him most days, we have spent more time apart than most couples do.

I had no idea that even from the very beginning of our relationship God was preparing me for a marriage full of goodbyes and time alone. In our first year of marriage, my husband found a job building log homes that would keep him away for nights at a time. When he was hired a year later at his current job, I had to get used to him working many long shifts (sometimes not seeing him from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed), working night shift, being subject to call-in, and going away for days or weeks of training. This included 9 weeks away to go through the academy, and also just days after our 3rd child was born for further training.

The first year I fought against him being away by showing attitude, resentment, and was generally a disagreeable person. Thankfully, God brought some good books into my life that showed me that I was just hurting the situation instead of helping. My husband wasn’t trying to be mean to me, nor was he relishing being away from me. In fact, he was providing for me. He was the one working hard, and I was acting ungrateful and showed him no respect. He didn’t want to be away from me and was doing what he thought was best for our future. I realized how I would feel if I worked industriously on cleaning the house and all he ever did was complain about what wasn’t done. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Men especially need to feel respected, to feel loved, and a lot of that relates to their jobs.

There are women who have it far worse, like women who husbands are in the army and are gone for months at a time. I am grateful for this and am in awe of the women who survive that type of separation. For example, David Livingstone, a missionary to Africa, left his wife for months at a time, and on two separate occasions, he was gone for five years. Five years! I can’t imagine not seeing or hearing from my husband for that long. Thankfully God has not asked that of me so far.

Regardless, I still struggle, especially now that we have children and taking care of them falls solely on my shoulders when he isn’t home. I tend to think I have it a lot harder than I should. Maybe it’s because as John W. Gardener pointed out:

Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure, and separates the victim from reality.

Also, The Act of Marriage points out:

 “To engage in self-pity is to make an idol out of our self-absorbed viewpoint. When we give more weight to our perspective of our spouse and our marriage than we do the promises God’s we make an idol out of what we THINK WE KNOW.”

One of the best pieces of advice that I read that first year of marriage was a quote by Billy Graham’s wife. “Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.” Her husband was traveling constantly, and she inspired me to take on her philosophy. So, what did I do? I started by having a list of things I could do when my husband is gone to “make the least of all that goes”.

Activities like:

  • Watching Chick Flicks…or any program I like, and he doesn’t.
  • Having friends over.
  • If he is away for a long trip, I go see my Mom in Florida, family, or friends.
  • I have a Girl’s Night Out.
  • I check out books from the Library and read for hours.
  • I call up friends and chat for a while.
  • The kids and I do something fun like a field trip, play at the park, go out for ice cream, etc.
  • I cook very little….and if I do cook it is simple meals or things he doesn’t like.
  • I don’t clean as hard…until the day before he comes home.

 

I don’t forget about him though. “Christ-like love isn’t giving what is deserved, but needed.” I have been known to:

  • Send him texts to let him know I’m missing him.
  • Put love notes in his bags.
  • When he went to the academy, I had someone take some nice pictures of me to put on his desk.
  • Make him cookies and take up to his work.
  • Stop and get him lunch when he doesn’t have time to pick something up.
  • Swing by a milkshake to brighten his day.
  • Make sure I’m home when he gets to come home.

 

Things I try to avoid:

  • A lot of alone time.
  • Crime shows if he is going to be away for overnight.
  • Pity Parties. I am really good at these if I am not careful.

 

How do I make the most of our time together (“all that comes”)?

  • When he is home I try to be home. I’m not saying that I never leave (he is great to let me have my freedom), but if he is home I try hard to make sure I am too unless it is something we have discussed.
  • I spoil him on his “Monday” like I wrote about before in “Man Crush Monday”.
  • Backrubs after particularly long, hard days at work.
  • Remembering to pick up the treat I heard him mention would be nice.
  • Plates of food he can warm up if he gets home after I’ve gone to bed.

 

 “For every problem in life, there is a provision available from God; for every curse, there is a corresponding blessing appointed for me.” – Graham Cooke.

While it is easy to focus on the negative of our spouse being away, let’s see if we can figure out ways to turn the “bad” into something “good”. We can’t change our situation, but we can change our attitude. So, if your spouse works tirelessly can I encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of another and not complain? Instead, thank God that you have a hard-working man and thank your husband for his hard work.

How about you? Is your husband away a lot? If so, what do you do to help you make it through?

The Strange Woman – Part 2

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These are my concluding points about “The Strange Woman” from last week. If you didn’t have a chance to read the first 7 points please go back here and start first.

9. She told him she desired him (Proverbs 7:15)
A. Our kids are always desperately longing for approval. If they don’t receive it from us they will go elsewhere to find it. As moms, we need to make sure that we praise our children as much as we criticize them. Are we their biggest cheerleader? Their love tanks should be full so they don’t look elsewhere to fill them.

B. “Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face and I have found thee.” (Proverbs 7:15) The definition of the word ‘seek’ in this verse fascinated me: dawn, to be up early at any task with the implication of earnestness, to painstakingly search for, see diligently early in the morning. Everyone wants to feel desired… Men, boys, girls, women… All of us. It’s flattering to feel wanted, however, do we make our husbands feel desired? If we don’t, I believe another woman will. I once heard a woman speak who had been on the verge of divorce. She watched her husband dote on their little girl and wanted him to do the same to her. She said she started watching her daughter. When her husband came through the door their daughter came running and squealing and ran into his arms. She decided to start doing it as well and admitted that it was the first step in her winning her husband over again.


10. Made her bed desirable
(Proverbs 7:16)
A. What was this woman telling this young man? “I’ve laid out the best for you!” We need to admit to our kids that sin is desirable and that it is fun – for a season. We also need to make sure that our kids are not getting our left overs. Are we too busy to pay them the attention they need?

B. This could be a touchy subject as well. I know how easy is it to throw all the laundry in our room (and it stays in the corner for days) and to leave projects laying around the room. After all, the master bedroom is normally the biggest. It also is the one company goes in the least so we hide things in there. My husband is VERY possessive of our room. No toys are allowed, the kids are only allowed in there if we are in there, or with permission. However, after a decade of marriage things started to look a little worn.I began project “master bedroom” and slowly I started changing things. We didn’t have a lot of money so I did a little at a time and started small. We over time we bought a new mattress, new sheets, and a comforter. (and I didn’t scrimp, I bought us the good stuff) The next year we splurged and bought a bedroom suite that we both liked.  It hasn’t been overnight, and it still isn’t done, but our bedroom is becoming an oasis that we both love and look forward to going in. I want us to love our bedroom over any other place. Let’s make sure our best is for our husband.


11. Smelled nice.
(Proverbs 7:17)
A. The devil uses all our senses to tempt us. We need to warn our kids that it is not just our eyes that can get us into trouble, even though they are a big contributor. Their ears can with the music they listen to or be listening to the lies the world tells them, sweet things someone whispers in their ears, or advice they take from friends. Also, our tongue can cause us problems by what we say or even by what we drink. We need to let them know how nice it feels to be touched by someone and how they will crave more if they start down that path. Even how nice someone smells can all be things that cause us to take a second look at a sin we might not have before.

B. One thing I must admit is that this has never been a strong suit of mine. I take a shower every day and use deodorant, but because of my allergies I had always used the excuse it would give me a headache to wear anything else. While that is true for a lot of smells, one day after a pedicure the technician had rubbed Bath and Body Works Vanilla Sugar on my legs. All that evening my boys kept going “What’s that smell? It smells so good!” They couldn’t believe their mommy smelled like that, and it got me to thinking. If my kids noticed and enjoyed me smelling sweet, why wouldn’t the same be true for my husband? I wanted my family to be able to smell a certain smell and think of me … and I didn’t want it to be deodorant. So, I asked my husband to go perfume shopping with me. It took several hours but we both ended up finding one that we both liked for me and for him. Men like things that smell nice, why not have a certain spray you wear just for him – especially on date nights and when your “in the mood?”

12. Offered to pleasure him All. Night. Long. (Proverbs 7:18)
A. “Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves in loves.” (Proverbs 7:18) The root of many of these words fascinated me. Especially the ‘solace’ which meant to leap for joy, wave joyously, peacock.  To me this verse is her telling the man “Come on! Let’s have sex all night long until both of us can’t go anymore and have stories to tell everyone about all the crazy things we did.” Like I have said several times, sin is fun. We need to make sure we don’t lie about that part, but we really need to emphasize the consequences of a moment of pleasure compared to a lifetime of joy. When we ask our kids which one they would pick I’m pretty sure they would all pick the life time.

B. I am tired. A lot. Homeschooling four kids, teaching 15 piano students, and doing photography on top of ordinary housework wears me down. I have learned if I look wore out my husband notices and won’t even bring up the subject of being intimate. It is in my court to make sure that I get enough sleep and am not too tired for him. Now I’m not saying that we should make love to our husbands all night long every night, but hear me out. Lately, have we taken the time to focus solely on him and be available to his wants and desires? Is there something new he would like to try? Have you ever tried waking up your husband in the middle of the night for a quickie? At least one time a year do you focus on the intimate side of your marriage? Maybe by going away for a day, or sending the kids to grandma’s overnight?

13. Made it sound naughty. (Proverbs 7:19)
A
. The more we make something sound forbidden the more people want it. Case in point: The Garden of Eden. For teens, I think we need to make it sound natural and totally to be desired IN MARRIAGE. We do a horrible job of making marriage sound like something our kids should hold out for.

B. Have you ever talked spicy to your husband? Granted, in marriage it is not naughty, but there are ways to still make it sound that way. My husband and I sometimes send messages back and forth letting the other one know that we are thinking about them. I believe it is important to still flirt with our husbands and make them feel desired.


14. Much fair speech
(Proverbs 7:21)
A. Proverbs 7:21 says, “…With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him…” This verse doesn’t just say “fair speech” it says, “MUCH fair speech.” Much in the original Greek meant “abundance, plenty, multitude.” Fair Speech means “in an active and sinister sense inveiglement.” I wasn’t for sure what inveiglement meant so I googled a definition from Dictionary.com: “to entice, lure, or ensnare by flattery or artful talk or inducements.” Merriam-Webster put it: to win over by wiles. The verse goes on to say she caused him to “yield” which means “bow down.” In other words, the poor guy couldn’t help but listen to all the lovely things she was saying about him, he wanted to hear more and more. “Flattering” meant “smoothness of the tongue like oil.”

B. There are so many verses in Proverbs about the mouth. It has the power to build and it has the power to destroy. Men need praise and respect. How do we show them these things? Well, with our speech. In other words, men need us to praise them all the time. Again, if we don’t’ someone else will. Would our husband say our words are sweet or like vinegar? I am not saying that we aren’t allowed to be mad, but maybe we can hold our tongue until we are cooled down and can discuss it calmly. We don’t want to be called contentious, angry, or brawling like the women described in Proverbs 21:9, 25:24, and 27:15. Would our husband rather dwell in the woods than put up with us? Do we lived in a large home and he still tries to retreat somewhere far away from us? Are we as annoying as a dripping faucet? Do we make everything a contest or quarrel? Do we sow discord and love drama and strife? Do we give them a reason to have vexation, grief, indignation, or provocation? Are we spiteful, provoking, and hateful? Proverbs 30:21-23 says “For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:22 For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;23 For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.” Odious means: to hate, hateful, enemy, foe. We should be his biggest cheerleader, however normally after “I do” we are his biggest critic. I’m preaching to the choir here people as I am as guilty in doing this as anybody. We should still flirt with our husband. We should still tell him he is the best-looking guy ever. Do we gush over him in front of others? Sometimes I admit I go a little over board. We still laugh about the time when I told someone he ran a minute mile.

15. Forsakes the guide of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God. (Proverbs 2:17)
A. ‘Forsake’ means to loosen, relinquish, forsake, leave, refuse. ‘Guide’ means a gentle friend. What this verse tells me is that even if we teach our kids everything we should in the right way they still have a free will and can choose not to listen. However, our job is to make sure that they understood right path.

B. What does this verse tell me? That even though I am saved, it can happen to me, and to fall all I must do is forget about God. Start by skipping out of church, then being too busy to pray, and forgetting to read my Bible. Each is a step in not keeping God at the forefront of my mind. If God is not at the forefront, then I am focusing on myself and I can get into all kinds of trouble on my own.

“Never fear to suffer, but oh! Fear to sin. If you must choose between them, prefer the greatest suffering to the smallest sin.” Thomas Guthrie

We need to remember that none of us are above becoming the “strange woman.” For example, the woman in Proverbs was married. Even if we know to do right and have ever since we were young, and even if we grew up in church, and had the best parents we are a one decision away from falling. I can’t help but think of Sampson and David.

David was a man committed to the reality of prayer. He prayed over nearly everything – except never once in the Bible do you find David praying about His love life. Not once – it was perhaps the on area of his life he never yielded, and it almost crushed him.
– Beth Moore.

16. Thinks no one will ever find out (Proverbs 7:20)
A. She convinced the young man that there would be no consequences. We need to continually remind our kids that you reap what you sow. My mom always reminded me before I was married that if I had sex before I got married there would be no big wedding. This married woman chased after a young man we need to protect our kids from not only kids their own ages, but also Adults. Are we being diligent to make sure they are not alone with the opposite sex no matter the age or relation? This day and age, sadly, it just isn’t safe.

B. Proverbs 5:21 says, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings. For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.” Even if we think no one will ever find out, we need to remember God is always watching us. He sees where we go, who we flirt with, who we are talking to online, or what pictures we send on our phone. So, in summary, what steps can we take to keep from becoming a strange woman?

  1. Stay far away from compromising situations
  2. If you find yourself in a compromising situation – FLEE
  3. Dress modestly
  4. Get rest
  5. Think before you speak
  6. Strive for a quiet spirit
  7. Love and Listen to instruction
  8. Obey
  9. Be content with home
  10. Watch how you touch/ treat the opposite sex
  11. Be honest and open with your husband
  12. Be available to your husband and have fun together
  13. Listen to gentle teachers
  14. Remember who you belong to.

One last thing, but I believe most important because if we follow if the list above will come naturally, Proverbs 5:1-4 talks solely about reading God’s word and memorizing it. When God’s word takes preeminence in our life, it helps us keep all the above list and gives us wisdom and understanding. Resisting temptation isn’t just about running away – it is about what we should be running towards: God.

The Strange Woman – Part 1

looper wedding K 247The strange woman in the Bible has always fascinated me. Proverbs devotes multiple chapters in warning men of her woes….and only one to the Prov. 31 women. I find it interesting that the Bible says we can’t figure her out (Proverbs 5:6).
“Lest thou shouldest ponder (weigh mentally) her path (manner, well-trodden road) of life, her way (track) are moveable (scatter, to and fro) that thou cannast not know (to properly to ascertain by seeing, comprehend) them. “

I think mainly God doesn’t want us studying the wrong woman, but the right one. Just like the FBI doesn’t have their men study counterfeit bills, they study the right one. Plus, like fire, her ways are so changeable you can’t. She is always going on to the elusive next ‘fix’ where ever it may be. However, since there are so many verses in the Bible about the strange woman I also think God wants us to realize several things about her.

Why? Because the first thing I noticed is the Bible talks about how the young men are “…void of understanding.” (Proverbs 7:7) After looking up the root meaning my summary of this verse is that he is a silly, foolish, seducible son under the age of 20 who has little to no understanding. I assume he hasn’t been taught to beware. Case in point – he was out late, alone, and somewhere he shouldn’t be.

It is our job as mothers to teach our sons what to watch out for and remind them what the consequences will be. Proverbs 5 is full of them: bitterness eating at you like a poison, a disappointing future, discontentment, losing your honor and good name, years of your life with cruel people, bondage, losing all your money to strangers, depression, diseases, and death. One verse even says “…her steps take hold on hell.” While thinking about the consequences I could help but think how some of the consequences sounded an awful lot like prison, losing a job, child support, divorce, STDs, AIDS, and pregnancy. Those are some very heavy consequences, with such high stakes why are we leaving our children’s futures in other’s hands?

We need to make sure our kids have someone watching out for them and keep themselves out of in compromising situations. Are we teaching our kids how to react like Joseph if they find themselves in a compromising situation despite their best efforts? FLEE!
Proverbs 5:8 says, “Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:” This verse says to stay far away from her. That they shouldn’t be anywhere near her door. That isn’t what the young man did in Proverbs 7:8 though, “Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:”

So many times, kids ask, “How far is too far?” I have been reading “The Talk” by Jonathan McKee and he gave a great allegory to share with kids:
Fact: Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. How many of you are going to store your tooth brush just five feet away? It’s only a foot shorter than the dentist recommends. Maybe only a few urine particles will splash onto your toothbrush. How many of you are going to store it right next to the toilet by the toilet paper roll? You could build a little shelf right there. How many of you want to hang it by a string in the toilet bowl so that it is practically rinsed every time you flush?
We need to make sure we are continually encouraging our kids not to see just how close they can get to fire without being burned, but how far they can stay away from it. A lot of the verses talk about ignorant youths falling to the strange woman. Even small boys notice women, so we should be pointing out when our sons are young what to watch for and to our daughters how not to be one.

Second, as a wife, I should want to know what does she does to get his attention. Why? Because as a wife I believe I should be working diligently to keep my husband’s attention. If it works for her, that means men find it desirable. What I have tried to figure out is why so many STRONG men fall by her.

For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.” (Proverbs 7:26)

At the risk of making a lot of women mad, I believe a good deal of it is because they aren’t getting anything at home. Am I saying it’s not the man’s fault if he goes astray? Absolutely not. He is a grown man, and God places his decisions on his shoulders. However, I made a pact with myself as a bride that if my husband ever did cheat on me, it wasn’t going to be my fault. With that being said, I can assure you that after 14 years of marriage every encounter together does not sizzle, especially with four kids. My husband had some complaints, and we have worked hard together to change things. I think the main point is we need to keep trying to seduce our man. She does, so shouldn’t we work equally hard to keep his attention?

So, I decided to do a study on the things the strange woman does. I wanted to know how to prepare my sons, warn my daughters, and what things draw men so I could work on my own family and marriage. I came up with a list of 16 aspects to consider and a two. Point A will focus on our children, while Point B will focus on ourselves and marriage.

What are some things the strange woman does?

1.Dress like a harlot.
(Proverbs 7:10)
A. We all know that sex filled images bombard our children everywhere they look. This is a subject that should be easy to bring up with them since it is everywhere. Every family has their own personal standards and I think it is vital that we share with our kids the “why.” When my boys comment that a lady is pretty my husband will ask them why they think that. We also emphasize to our kids how they should be focusing inward beauty instead of physical attractiveness. I have tried to start sharing with them how some things are “good, some things are better, and some things are best.” …including clothes.

B
. How does this relate to me as a wife? Do I still dress attractively? Men notice what women wear. Don’t let your husband be around nice-looking women all day and come home to yoga pants and bed hair. I believe it is important to try to be attractive to your husband, especially at bedtime since that may be the only time alone with him you get for the day. I bought me some nice pajamas and wear them every night and not just when I’m “in the mood.” I liked it so much that now on my birthday I request new nightclothes just so they never get ratty again, and my husband has something pretty to look at. Go to the mall and try on appealing pajamas until you find one that makes you feel attractive and wear it often.

2. Get him at night while he’s tired.
(Proverbs 7:9)
A. Rest. This is something our culture is sadly lacking. I think a lot of our energy problems and health issues stem significantly from not getting enough rest. It’s our jobs as mothers to make sure our kids are rested. In fact, when we are tired our defenses are down and our self-control is lacking. The story of the strange women is why it is important for kids to have curfews and yes, even bedtimes. The young man in Proverbs 7:9 was out: “…In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night…” Even as a teenager I was made to go to bed when my parents did. Frankly, it is likely that most kids just get into trouble after 10:00 pm. With possibly little to no supervision, kids today stay up extremely late watching TV, playing on phones, texting. I hope if my children ever get a cell phone that I take the phones up at night. Children probably aren’t going to get the rest they need without us making them; additionally, this includes making sure their schedules aren’t overly full. There are so many opportunities in life, we need to make sure the ones we participate in are what is BEST for them.
B. Even as adults it is difficult to stay strong when we are tired and our self-control is lacking. I know my babies could get me to do about anything at night. We need to make sure rest is a top priority for us and our family. If bedtime is a priority in your family both you and your spouse will have more energy to be intimate plus chances are both of your moods will be better throughout the day because you have had fewer fights since you’re both aren’t as snappy.

3. Subtle of heart. (Proverbs 7:10)
A. Subtle means to guard in a bad sense, to conceal, to keep something hidden. We need to warn our sons that women are great at hiding things. Think just of social media alone, how perfect people can make themselves look. We need to warn our kids to know what is important to them in a potential spouse before they start dating. That just because someone is okay with something now, they may be doing it just to get you and won’t after your married.

B. Do we hide what we do from our husband? Are we open with him? The Proverbs 31 woman’s husband has “no need of spoil” … in other words, he doesn’t worry about her. Marriage is built on trust, and being subtle is the opposite of that.

4. Loud (Proverbs 7:11)
A. My husband always says one of the first things he noticed about me when we first met is that I wasn’t giggly and loud like most girls. He also faithfully reminds me of the one night I got that way after not enough sleep and about lost him. Funny thing is sitcoms and the world teaches girls that this is what guys like and that it’s the only way to get their attention. We also need to remind our sons that if you marry someone who is loud before you say ‘I Do’, chances are she will act the same way when you’re married.

B. If I told you to name me one loud woman, you could probably same a name without blinking…maybe even more than one. Now think about what makes them fit that description. Chances are they are constantly trying to steal the attention from others and redirect it to themselves. They probably are a one-upper, flirt constantly, talk loudly, wear excessive makeup and attention gaining clothes. They will do or say anything to get attention, even if it is the wrong kind of attention. We don’t want to be like that. Proverbs 9:13 says, “A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.”

5. Stubborn (Proverbs 7:11)
A
. Pretty much this means she won’t quit going after him, and she will do whatever it takes to get him. Think of the example in the Bible of Joseph and when his boss, Potiphar’s, wife pursued him relentlessly until he had to run away from her. We need to warn our sons that there are certain women that just won’t take no for an answer.

B. We need to be determined too but in a good way. Marriage takes being stubborn and going after our guy even when we don’t feel like it. When my husband is stressed he likes to build what I lovingly refer to as “a wall.” I kid him all the time that I have a hammer and he can just keep laying them bricks because I will just keep smashing them down. I know there are many days that I must work hard to get my husband in a good mood after a particularly stressful day. There are days that I am tired too and would rather just go read a book, but marriage takes grit and determination. We need to have the same mind set of “whatever it takes” to make our marriage work. It might be less time playing on our phones, watching what he wants to watch, less sleep to we have more time with him, doing what it takes to get us in ‘the mood,’ and saying ‘yes’ to sex even if we are tired, etc.

6. Not content at home (Proverbs 7:11-12)
A. So many kids want to be anywhere except home, is that our fault though? Are we willing to have their friends over and feed them? Do we make our homes a fun filled atmosphere? Even if we aren’t at our house, are we doing fun things as a family or are they always hanging out with friends? I can honestly say as a teen I liked being home because my Mom and Dad took us fun places and did things with us that we enjoyed.

B. So many women today want to be everywhere BUT at home. I love going places, a lot, but I try to show my husband that our home is my first priority. I at least try to be home before him, but I will admit that this is an area I struggle in. We should work harder at not filling up our schedules so we have more time to devote to our home like the Proverbs 31 woman. Are we content with where God has us or do we want more?

7. She caught him. (Proverbs 7:13)
A. This seems especially true today. Girls now chase after the guys, instead of guys after the girls. They are bold and use their bodies to get what they want. We need to teach our sons that some girls are just out to conquer him. The more forbidden he seems or unattainable, the more she will chase after him. Girls love to touch guys…the playful slap, rubbing their back, surprise piggy back rides. I think this is one reason the Bible says, “it is GOOD for a man not to touch a woman.” It doesn’t say you can’t, but it can lay the foundation for more.

B. How about us as wives? Does my husband know that I want him? Does he know that I like being married to him? Guys sometimes like to be the one pursued – especially in the bedroom. Sometimes I text my husband during the day to let him know I’m thinking of him. Other times if he is at home I might smack his butt or just come up and lay a good kiss on him. Don’t make him beg for sex.

8. She kissed him (Proverbs 7:13)
A. I find it interesting that the definition here for kissing is: to catch fire, burn, kindle, to cling to, to delight in, have a desire, to set in love. I think as Mom’s we may not do a good enough job warning our kids about the dangers of kissing. I once read as a teenager that kissing ignites a flame, so I decided that I wouldn’t kiss anyone but my husband. Goodness, I’ll admit it was super hard, but I stayed true to my conviction. I wanted to kiss my husband so bad while we were dating, but I knew that if I did then I would start to focus on other things I would like to do. It’s a progression that I really believe starts with kissing. Am I saying that it’s a sin to kiss a boyfriend? No. I’m just saying it lights a flame that we need to warn our kids about. If it’s a kiss they would be comfortable doing in front of their grandma, they are probably okay.

B. I don’t know about you, but I am ashamed to admit there have been many days that I have gone all day without kissing my husband. At first it wasn’t like that; in fact, after no kisses while dating we made up for lost time. However, after 4 kids and my husband working a demanding job, it just became easier and easier to forget. I have tried to do better after reading that one of the characteristics all marriages that lasted have versus ones that have divorced is that the couples kissed longer than 30 seconds a day. I guess it’s hard to stay upset with someone you’re making out with. Try it. Well, don’t let your husband know you’re going “One Mississippi…Two Mississippi…”, but you’ll be surprised how long 30 seconds is and how it does make you feel closer and notice each other.

I didn’t want to make this post too long so stay tuned next week and I will conclude the final seven points!

Matching Underwear

To be perfectly honest I have debating about whether or not to write this post. I decided to though just in case there is someone out there who is like me 15 years ago. Before marriage, my underwear was very boring. Honestly, I never even thought about it before I got married. I had no one to be sexy for, so why did it matter? However, after marriage, I had friends who informed me that pretty underwear makes you feel better about yourself. They convinced me to buy my first pair of pretty panties. I fell in love and from then on, I have not worn boring underwear. I still wouldn’t have called the ones I bought that day ‘sexy,’ more like ‘cute.’

Fast-forward 10 years, four kids, a different body size, and a 30th birthday. I went to the mall while my mom was babysitting my children. On a whim, I decide to go into an underwear store. To be honest, it was to prove my friend wrong who had been on me the past three years about how I needed to go there because you just “couldn’t beat their underwear” and that “you can wear frumpy clothes but still feel sexy if your underwear matches and is sexy.” Blah, blah, blah. I had informed her I had been in the store before and she was crazy to spend that amount of money. I am a super cheap person and about had a heart attack… Such exorbitant prices for so little cloth! Talk about sticker shock.

Uh…

No thank you!

However, this store was having a sale, and just to prove her wrong I went in. I tried on a bra, and to my dismay, I had to eat crow. I even called her and tried to get her to talk me out of buying the 5 bras and 10 pairs of matching panties I had in my hand. She tried, bless her, but I still went ahead and bought them for $190.00.

$190.00!

I had NEVER spent that much on underwear in my life. In fact, I had rarely spent that much money period. But, the sales lady kept on raving at what a great deal I was getting, and it was when you consider their normal prices. Meanwhile, I was standing numb from the sticker shock.

However, when I got back home and looked at all my matching pretty underwear, it made me happy, and I couldn’t wait to show my husband. I thought he would kill me for spending that amount, but he didn’t. That’s the nice thing about pretty underwear; they tend to make men very forgiving.

My friends were right; matching, pretty underwear does help me feel sexier for my husband. Women are mostly mental sexually, unlike men who are mainly visual. How we feel really affects our sexual relationship with our husbands. In marriage, it is very important for women to feel desirable, especially, after the spit up, snot, and numerous touches in the day of a mother who has a different body image than she did when first married. Matching underwear will not make the stretch marks go away or those extra pounds of baby weight disappear, but it does help brighten my mood.  We have the same body with or without the sexy underwear, I just believe it is important for us to feel pretty to ourselves and invest in those things.

My friend was also right about the quality. Over the years I have bought lots of underwear from several different stores, normally off the clearance rack. However, as much as I hated to admit it, the underwear I bought that day fit better. In fact, they still fit good AND look nice. I make sure I wash them in a separate, hand wash cycle which helps them last a lot longer. Am I saying you should only buy expensive underwear and that you are not a good wife if you don’t? No, of course not. I know all about tight budgets. What I am saying is that there was a difference and if you can save up your pennies that I thought it was worth the extra money.

How about you? Do you struggle with guilt over spending a lot of money on underwear? What do you do to help you feel sexy throughout the day?

Consider doing the following:

  1. Go through your underwear drawer. Throw out anything stained, has holes, or looks…yucky.
  2. Wear the sexiest pair of underwear you own today. Bonus points if it matches a bra or is daring.
  3. Spend $100 on new underwear. You deserve it… Your husband deserves it. I know, some of you are saying, I don’t have the money.” I bet your hubby FINDS money if you tell him what it’s for. It doesn’t have to be a whole $100 if you’re currently on a tight budget. Still, you could at least buy a new matching set of underwear, ask for money for your birthday, or maybe skip buying that latte for a few weeks till you save up.

 

To be honest I have been very nervous writing about this topic. I’ve been on both sides. My goal is not to make anyone feel uncomfortable or offend them. It’s just with all the distractions in life, marriage has a tendency to suffer. Something as simple as sexy underwear may be the spark needed to reignite the passion in your marriage. Give it a try!