My Marriage is My Mirror

In the photo, I am styling my daughter’s hair on her wedding day. A wedding day is a happy day!

The Word of God is my mirror that lets me see myself. When I read God’s Word, I see myself falling very short of God’s holiness. I have the desire to be holy as He is holy. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

My marriage is also my mirror that lets me see myself.  I never realized how selfish I was until I got married.  Have you learned new things about yourself after getting married?

Years ago, I was visiting a friend who said with frustration, “I would be a good Christian, if it were not for my family!”

We laughed together as she realized what she was saying. Seriously though, have we ever thought something similar to this?

Leave and Cleave
Leave and Cleave

In my Quiet Time today, I read these profound words of Jesus: “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” Matthew 19:5

For what cause? The preceding Scripture has the answer; “he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.”

God’s plan from the beginning: 1 man + 1 woman = 1 Marriage for a lifetime!

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:6

We must commit our marriage to God. You might say, “I did this already.”  Well, today, let us recommit our marriage to God. We need to take our marriage vows to the ultimate extreme by taking them seriously! Wedding vows are the greatest promises to God we make! Let us not only commit our marriage to God, let us commit ourselves to our marriage.

Mirror mirror on the wall…It is easy to ignore our own reflection in the mirror of marriage and blame our husband.

My marriage is my mirror!
My marriage is my mirror!

It is easy to say, “Well, if he wouldn’t ________, then I wouldn’t ________.”

A long time ago, a movie’s famous line was, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  What? Amazing how such worldly words became famous. I think we can say in truth that “Pride means never having to say you’re sorry.”

In a marriage, “Love means having to say you’re sorry…over and over again!”

Both spouses need to learn these hard to say, but important words: “I was wrong for ___________ and I am sorry.  Will you forgive me?”

Love means having to say you're sorry...over and over again!
Love means having to say you’re sorry…over and over again!

I will be honest with you. I had to ask my husband for forgiveness today. I am writing this post for myself too. My preacher says, “I am preaching with one finger pointing at you, but with most fingers pointing back at me.” My marriage is my mirror.  Your marriage is your mirror. What is our marriage mirror reflecting?

I wanted to share my Bible notes with you.  These notes spoke to my heart, so maybe someone reading this post will be helped too.  This is why I write: If I can be of any help to one person, it is worth it. I pray abundant blessings to each of you reading these words. You may think you are just an ordinary person with just an ordinary marriage. God wants to use the ordinary for His good purpose. God transforms lives and marriages.

1. Keep a humble heart to stay sweet in your marriage. Hardness is never attractive.

Laugh Together
Laugh Together

2. Commit to growing together in your relationship with God. Pray together, minister together, go to church together and laugh together.  Yes, good-hearted laughter is a gift to us from God.

3. Commit to treating each other with respect and affection. One good marriage consists of two forgivers. Both my husband and I keep short accounts as we both seek forgiveness from one another when offended.

If our husband is at fault, two wrongs don’t make a right. How many times should we forgive our husband? How many times has God forgiven you and me? How many times has God been patient, merciful and tender towards you and me? That is the number of times we forgive our husband.

4.  Marriage was made to compliment each other; not duplicate each other.  If changes need to be made in your spouse, instead of trying to change him by your own means (and look mean in his eyes), pray for God to make the necessary changes in your spouse.

5. God’s original plan was that 2 lives merge together to become 1. Husbands and wives do not live separate lives.

6.  Marriage does not cause my problems. Marriage, like a mirror, reveals the real “me.”

If you see an ugly reflection in your mirror of marriage that needs His healing touch, run to God to get encouraged, instead of from Him. “I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.” Psalm 3:4
God is for marriage! God invented marriage, so tell Him all about your reflection in the marriage mirror. You will get a God hug, because He loves you with an everlasting love! After you tell the Lord all about it, remember to forgive yourself too! Live guilt free. What does God say about your confessed sin? “I remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12. Isn’t that beautiful? God does not forget our sin, He chooses to remember our sin no more.

mirror mirror on the wall~Things can change as fast as the blink of an eye, so keep short accounts. Forgive him fast. Seek forgiveness fast. Love your husband.

It’s a new day! Let us make the most of it! Mirror mirror on the wall, this marriage is the best of all.

10 Foxes that Gnaw at a Marriage

When teaching us about marriage, why does God say, “Take (Seize) us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”( Song of Solomon 2:15)

Abide~Ye are the Vine

Barry and I have grapevines on our property.  We enjoy walking out to the grapevines and seeing how much larger the grapes have grown each day.  I plan to can jelly when we harvest the grapes.

Our harvest of grapes will be ruined if little foxes destroy the vines. Little foxes sneak into the vineyard when no one suspects that anything is wrong. They cannot reach the grapes, so they chew away at the vine.  The vine falls and then the little foxes eat the tender grapes. While gnawing and gnawing at the vine, suddenly, the entire grapevine is destroyed.

What are some little foxes we should seize that sneak into our marriage and gnaw away at our marriage?

  1. Critical Spirit/ fault finding/negative attitude in general ~Solution: (Eph. 4:29) Speak wholesome words; be thankful; care more about the relationship than with whose fault it is; focus on the 75% positive in husband; never back-stab husband, but lift him up to others.
  2. Unkind spirit/harsh talking, rude facial and body language~ Solution: (Eph. 4:32) Be kind and tenderhearted.
  3. Wanting your way/ being inconsiderate ~Solution: (Acts 20:35) Decide foxto out-give him. Think: It is better to give to him than to receive. Serve him, as unto God, even when inconvenienced. Enjoy putting a smile on your husband’s face.
  4. Anger/playing tape in mind over and over ~Solution: (Eph. 4:32) Forgive and think on Phil. 4:8
  5. Bad Habit(s)~ Solution: (Phil. 4:13) Seek God; replace with good habit (takes about 30 days for a new habit to replace bad habit)
  6. Sarcastic Expressions/ “Not again!” “Oh, yeah, right!” “Whatever!” ~Solution: (Prov.31) Do him good. A spouse tends to live up to your praise of him.
  7. Unteachable  ~Solution: (Phil. 3:13) Keep learning.
  8. Coldness  ~Solution: (Eph. 5:18) Talk to God and get filled with the Spirit; then gently talk to your spouse about the problem.
  9. Nagging ~Solution: Kindly request the need; make an appointment with husband to discuss need. (See Esther) “Sweetie, can I tell you what I have a need for?”
  10. Dishonesty ~Solution: (Prov. 12:22) Confess and go the extra mile to establish trust.

The first step of ridding our marriage of gnawing foxes is to identify the fox(es) that we are allowing to eat up the good fruit of oneness and unity in our marriage. Humbly seek to solve the attitude or problem.

1. We need to expect the Lord, not our husband to meet our deep needs.  Only the Lord can give us abundant joy and inner peace.

2. We cannot fix our husband.

3. We can only fix ourselves.

4. The way I treat my Litttle foxes spoil vineshusband will affect my marriage for either good or bad.

To have oneness in our marriage, let us get rid of foxes in our lives.  There is one fox I am seizing right now! That little fox is a goner! Seize your fox today! You can do it! I want to be an irresistible wife. I know you want to be an irresistible wife to your husband too.

“Lord, I am in need of a humble heart.”

Marriage
The look of love~ Have you given your husband the look of love today?

A humble heart diffuses arguments, does not rehash hurts, learns from criticism, submits to God and husband, is grateful, is forgiving, seeks peace, asks for forgiveness and prays. As we pray, God gives us grace; the desire and power to be an overcomer.

Feel in the blank: “Right now I seize the fox of _________________ that is gnawing away at my marriage and I will meditate on the corresponding Scripture. I will take the proper steps to develop new habits and Godly character in order to seize the fox of _______________ and have a fruitful marriage. I will put off fleshly thinking and put on the mind of Christ.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25

Have you given hubby the look of love today that is reserved for his eyes only? Why not? The “look” is a great way to start the day. Seize the gnawing fox today and become a new and irresistible you.

Mad At Husband = Meaningless Prayers and Much More (Part 2)

Rule # 1: Don’t turn out those lights if you are still mad at your husband!

“Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26,27

Turning out the lights on our wrath comes with a stern warning from God. God loves us so much that He gives us boundaries. We have a choice. If we don’t deal with our anger by forgiving, we need to prepare for the worst.

We have to remember who is whispering in our ear when we are tempted to stay at odds with our husband. If we turn out those lights when we are mad, Satan will get a hold on us, which is a thousand times worse than a bad dream.

  • Satan has a plan: Divide and Conquer the marriage.
  • Satan has a strategy: He chooses the most vulnerable time, place and mood when he whispers in our ear.

In Genesis 3:3 it gives a characteristic of Satan as being subtle. In the Hebrew, the definition of subtle means “cunning and crafty in a bad sense.”

snakeSatan cunningly takes on different forms in order to tempt us and deceive us.

He takes on the form of beauty. In the Garden of Eden, Satan took on the form of a beautiful snake.

Before the fall in the Garden of Eden, it was much different. The snake was in harmony with people and talked. The snake did not crawl on its belly. Before the fall, the snake was very alluring and beautiful. Satan came in the form of the alluring beautiful snake, because he knew Eve probably would not listen to him in the form of a hippopotamus.

Satan studies us and knows what form to take in order to deceive each of us. For Eve, it was the form of the stunning and cunning snake. What form is Satan taking to tempt you? What form is Satan taking to tempt me? 

Unresolved anger distorts thinking, so the devil may get a hold on the marriage through moral failure. Anger breaks our decision Kiss and make upmaker…the remedy is forgive, forgive again, and keep on forgiving.  When God said to let not the sun go down upon our wrath, He was warning us to keep short accounts… or else. 

When we stay angry, we self-destruct; instead, kiss and make up.

Satan comes as an angel of light.  “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) In this context, Satan comes in the form of false teachers. We need to beware of being swayed by the words of those who twist truths of the Bible. False teachers preach a false prosperity gospel. Let us not get caught up in false teachings. The Bible says “and no marvel” so we should not be surprised at this form of Satan.

When I think of Satan coming as an angel of light, I also think of advertisements with the attractive ladies who are dressed immodestly in bars. Satan is in these advertisements trying to sway our children to drink, smoke, to be immodest and indecent. Who would have ever thought that young people (and some “not-so-young” people) would get so caught up in tattoos and body piercings? Satan has blinded their eyes into thinking that marring and scarring their bodies is beautiful. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:28

For the Christian: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

updated home
Be content and not a stuff-a-holic~

Back to marriage and Satan’s cunning tactics to entice us by taking on the form of beauty: I think of the glamorous people in advertisements wearing stunning clothes and having gorgeous stuff. How about the rich and famous and their palatial homes? Are we causing problems in our marriage by wanting material things that are beyond our income level? What about the pressures of upgrades?

Let us not put our husband under pressure because of our wants. A husband hopes to please his wife. Wives must be careful not to be stuff-a-holics. Wives can purchase and collect things for the rest of their lives and still not be satisfied. A husband is more important than possessions. We need to remind ourselves:  “I have enough.”

Financial issues are one of the top problems in marriages. Let us be satisfied with what God has provided and not be enticed by the gorgeous and the glamorous. Remember ”who” comes in the form of an angel of light and remember “who” wants to conquer and divide our marriages. When people are on their death beds, they do not want to surround themselves with glamorous stuff. They want to be surrounded by their loved ones. Satan will take on any appearance necessary in order to deceive and wreck a marriage.

I am a person who remembers things best with visuals. In the last post I went

Don't Hold onto Things Tight: Let Go!
Don’t Hold onto Things Tight: Let Go!

through a hand motion that helps me conquer “holding grudges” by forgiving. I have a hand motion that helps me when it comes to finances, stuff and wants. I close my hand and then I open it to give it all back to the Lord.  It is God’s anyway. I am a manager of what belongs to God. I find more pleasure in giving than getting. Plus, I am realizing the truth in “Less is more.” The way to conquer any greed in our lives is to give generously. (Matthew 5:42)

Satan cunningly whispers lies to us about God. He wants us to lose our trust in God. Satan came to Eve and tried to get Eve to believe that God was keeping His best from Eve.

Remember this truth: God always wants what is best for you.  Let us say this truth together: God always wants what is best for me! It is against God’s nature to want otherwise. I am His child, and He loves me with an everlasting love.

It is a fact that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. That is one of his titles. He wanted to divide Adam and Eve, the first married couple, through the temptation, and Satan succeeded.

They started playing the childish blame game. Adam blamed Eve for his sin. Genesis 3:12 is the first marital spat ever. I think Eve got a bit upset at Adam blaming her for his sin. It now came very natural for Adam and Eve to squabble. Sin may seem alright, but sin ultimately divides. Satan will magnify our husband’s faults to us.

Sour Notes
Sour Notes

We each know our husband well. If we continually think on his faults, they will stand out to us like sour notes that keep grating on our nerves.

No matter what course our lives take, let us make the choice to live in harmony with our husband.  For one thing, harmony is much more pleasant than disharmony. Instead of focusing on our husband’s faults, let us remember the fault finder is the problem. The fault finder is the devil. He is the one whispering in our ears. Our ears should be sensitive to Satan’s off key whispers.

I know you and I want our prayers answered. I pray for our children and grandchildren, and I want my prayers to reach higher than the ceiling. If we are mad at our husband, our prayers are meaningless. If we think about it, we usually get mad for the same reason our children get mad: we are not getting our way. If we are discontent and putting pressure on our husband, we are causing disharmony in our marriage.

My friend, Annette shared her favorite poem and I loved it. I changed the word, “other’s” to the word, “hubby’s,” because marriage is under such attack.

By grace one day I came to see

that it would wiser be

to cease from finding hubby’s fault

and right what’s wrong with me.

harmony~
Harmony~Our daughter, Melinda and her husband, Jeremy

1.  Let us agree that having our prayers answered is reason enough to do whatever it takes to have a harmonious marriage.

2.  Lord, let it begin with me. Change me!

3.  Right now, let us magnify our husband’s good qualities in our thoughts.

4. Let us tell our husband specifically what we love about him.

I want to be an irresistible wife, and I know you do too! Today, think of yourself as an irresistible wife, and let us generously give our husband what he needs: acceptance, respect and forgiveness.

Mad at Husband = Meaningless Prayers (Part 1)

Even when a wife rises up at 5:00 am, gets on her knees and prays fervently, if she is at odds with her husband, her prayers are not reaching higher than the ceiling.

Why? Religion is not needed; repentance is needed. The only prayer that reaches the heavens when she is mad at her husband is the prayer of confession and repentance.

The Lord will hear my prayers when I am in right standing with my husband.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” 1Peter 3:7

This is one of the scariest verses in the Bible to me. 1 Peter 3:7 is super good for me, because it puts the fear of God in me. When I say, “fear of God,” I am referring to “shaking in my boots” fear. It means everything to me, for God to answer my prayers.

Do all you can to be in harmony!
Do all you can to be in harmony!

To have my prayers answered, I must be in harmony with my husband. Even though this Scripture is written to the husband, admonishing him to be understanding of his wife, the wife must do her part.  For prayers to be unblocked, the wife needs to do all she can to encourage harmony in the marriage. I didn’t want my prayers for my children to just reach the ceiling.  I wanted God to answer my prayers.

1.  The mature believer will be more concerned with harmony than with being right all the time. The mature believer will be the first to apologize. Backing down when things get tense is not weakness but humbleness. God blesses the humble believer.

2.  When a husband and wife do not see eye to eye, the wife has an incredible opportunity to show God how much she loves Him by how she humbly handles the situation. Respond instead of reacting.

3.  Usually, when the wife responds in kindness, the husband will follow suit. You know the saying, “What goes around comes around.” It is a Biblical Principle. “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” Ecclesiastes 11:1

Remember: God commanded husbands and wives to forgive one another before going to bed. Why? He warned that if we go to bed mad, we will give place to the devil. God said it, so it will happen. (See Ephesians 4:26,27)

A leading M.D. states that holding grudges is the number one reason for depression. I don’t know if that is true, but I have personally seen people, who held grudges, fall into depression.

When upset at one’s spouse, discuss it like adults. Let us not sweep the issue under the rug and try to suppress it. Examine the criticism from our best friend. Let us be mindful that marriage is not to make us happy, but to make us holy. (More on

Nail the hurt to the cross!
Nail your hurt to the cross! It is forgiven!

discussing problems later.)

After a “discussion,” I privately picture the cross. I actually do the hand motion of nailing “the hurt” to the cross saying, “It is finished and all is forgiven.” Yes, I do this action…and I have a pretend hammer.

If the devil comes back and tempts me with the issue (and he does), I say, “No, my mind is not going there.  It was nailed to the cross, dealt with, and all is forgiven.”

Let us be committed to keeping short accounts.

Light~Let us not turn out the light if we are mad.

I want my prayers answered, don’t you?  Plus, harmony is so much more pleasant in a marriage than disharmony.

Do I hear an Amen? To be continued in next post~

My Love Story (Written by Our Daughter, Melinda)

Melinda and JeremyA few months ago, someone asked me to share my love story to encourage her teen daughter.  It is always a pleasure for me to tell our love story!

First, I would like to give the glory to God for His grace in my life. I am evidence that He truly sees the heart. Even through countless mistakes and failures I made, His grace and forgiveness was, and is, sufficient. I will forever worship Him!  I’d also like to give credit to my parents.  Their prayers for me truly made a difference.

In 2008 (age 22), I took a mission trip to Mexico.  While I was there, I spent some time with an amazing missionary lady, named Cindy. She has a huge heart to tell people about the Gospel and also visits the orphanage regularly to play games with the kids and teach them the Bible.

I returned home and connected with my new friend, Cindy, on Facebook.

Later that same year, Jeremy, who lived in Virginia, connected with Cindy on Facebook.  Jeremy had grown up in Mexico since the

The photo Jeremy saw on facebook
The photo Jeremy saw on facebook

age of nine, because his family served as missionaries there. They have been missionaries to Mexico for over 21 years now.  Ironically, Cindy was one of Jeremy’s grade school teachers in a small schoolhouse in the heart of Mexico.  As Jeremy reconnected with Cindy, he noticed a picture of the two of us together.

Meanwhile in Louisiana, I received an e-mail from Jeremy.  It was very casual… just a simple question as to how I knew Cindy. Not knowing who he was, I almost did not respond to the e-mail, but instead felt compelled to answer.  Shortly after, I received a friend request from him and saw a picture of this mystery man — he was really good looking!

Jeremy and I wrote each other for several weeks.  It was a different relationship than I had ever experienced before. There was no pressure, simply two people getting to know each other by writing about their passions in life and their dreams.  Even though I had not met or spoken with him in person, through the letters I felt like I had known him for years.  We had so many similarities that it was almost unbelievable.Jeremy and Melinda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day in his letter, he asked if he could speak with me over the phone.  I was so nervous as I waited for his call!  I can’t remember why, but for some reason I had to make a quick run to the library. Of course, that’s when he tried to call. So, his first attempt to call me quickly ended by me hanging up on him in the middle of the library!   We finally touched base, and for the first time, I got to hear his voice.  We talked on the phone just like we did through our correspondence: like long-lost friends catching up with each other.  It was amazing and I’ll never forget it!

We continued to write and talk on the phone.  Jeremy asked if he could speak to my dad about pursuing a relationship with me on a deeper level.  They had a great talk on the phone; my dad instantly liked him.  It worked out that my family was going to visit my sister’s family in Virginia, about six hours south of where Jeremy lived.  We made plans to meet each other in person. By now it had been close to three months of corresponding with each other.

Jeremy ~ MelindaI’ll never forget the day that we met each other in person.  I had butterflies galore in my stomach!  I couldn’t stop smiling.  He was so sweet and amazing.  He spent several days with my family and me. During that time, my dad had the “dad-speaks-to-man-who-wants-to-date-my-daughter” talk. Jeremy asked my dad if he could officially court me, and my dad gave him his blessing.  When it was time to say goodbye, Jeremy asked me (officially) to be his girlfriend. I was more than happy to say, “Yes!”

Over the next few months we tried to see each other as much as possible, even though we were long distance.Jeremy + Melinda~

In May of 2009, Jeremy’s family was visiting in Virginia, so I flew there to spend some time with all of them.  I was hoping by the end of the trip I’d have a ring on my finger, but a girl can never be too sure when he’s going to ask the question!  Wonderfully enough, my hope turned to reality…I not only got a ring on my finger but also was given the most amazing proposal of a lifetime!

During the proposal, Jeremy told me for the first time that he loved me. He then asked me to love him unconditionally as Christ has loved us.  I told him I would.  I had it in the back of my mind that I wasn’t going to answer his first ‘I love you’ with a quick rhetorical ‘I love you too’, but instead let his soak in. Then I would tell him, so he would really and truly know that I meant it. However, I waited too long…haha.   I didn’t tell him I loved him until the next day at the airport. Poor Jeremy. We laugh about it now.

MarriedWe got married October of 2009, followed by a wonderful honeymoon.  It will be four years of marriage this October.  Like almost every girl out there, I had my ideas of what marriage would be like.  Truly, I had no idea how absolutely wonderful it is.    Jeremy is my best friend and companion — I don’t like to go anywhere without him by my side.  Everyday, our relationship keeps getting better and better. All credit goes to him – he’s an unbelievable, loving, thoughtful, and great leader of a husband. I am so undeserving.

If I were to give any advice to single girls, it would be this:  serve God and work hard at what you love to do during your single years.  It’s wise to stay away from emotional relationships with guys before you are ready for marriage.  As my pastor recently said, “There is clarity of mind with moral purity that you can’t gain any other way.”  Stay pure (in mind and physically) and be focused.

There is something so attractive about a girl who is focused and secure of who she is.  Know that God is aware of your singleness, just as He was aware of the singleness and loneliness of the first man who lived on earth.  He takes a personal interest and recognizes our loneliness and natural desire to love someone, and for them to love us back.   Not right away, but in time, God brought Adam a companion.  Many mistakes are brought on by impatience.  Timing is everything in so many aspects in life, especially when it comes to waiting for Mr. Right.  Be fully aware that the world in all of its wickedness will try to take away any decisions you make that are right and good.  It’s a daily choice to stay pure, to stay right before God, and to make wise rosedecisions concerning your love life.

Instead of searching for the right person, focus on becoming the right person.  God, in all His glory pours His blessings on the beautiful at heart!