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Saturday, December 27, 2014

On the Christian Head Covering Movement

It's not all that recent of a conviction of mine to wear a head covering part-time. I've been doing it off and on for a while... like, two years I think? One of the most common questions I get is directly related to being Jewish or Muslim. It has become a common misconception that head covering is strictly a midde-Eastern practice. More and more Christians are head covering today (just as more and more Christians are allowing the Lord sovereignty of their wombs! Yay!) and for good reason usually.
It's also a misconception that head covering in Christianity is an outdated practice. There are many denominations that still practice optional headcovering, including some Protestants, Catholics, and Pentecostals. Most of them do not teach it as a salvation doctrine. If we can get past the that first notion that it is not a Christian practice, well then... we can move on to all these other misconceived ideas.
Many that choose to argue the significance of head covering begin with the "fact" that it was described by Paul due to being culturally relevant to that time period, and it isn't relevant any longer. But if you look at what Paul was trying to convey, the relevance may be greater today than ever. Paul was guiding the church of Corinth about many of their divisive issues...namely their paganism. I don't think that the purpose of the books of Corinthians should ever be lost to today's Christians. While the ideas presented in them are not rules for salvation, much can be gleaned from studying Corinthians and the points that Paul felt the need to address among his church. Otherwise, there would be no point in any of it being in the bible!
So in 1st Corinthians 11 Paul says;

Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ. 11:2 Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you. 11:3 But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 11:5 But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved. 11:6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. 11:8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man; 11:9 for neither was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 11:10 For this cause the woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels.
11:11 Nevertheless, neither is the woman independent of the man, nor the man independent of the woman, in the Lord. 11:12 For as woman came from man, so a man also comes through a woman; but all things are from God. 11:13 Judge for yourselves. Is it appropriate that a woman pray to God unveiled? 11:14 Doesn’t even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 11:15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given to her for a covering. 11:16 But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do God’s assemblies. 

Paul devoted many verses to the subject of headship and covering. It was probably a huge issue in the church then, but why?
There are differing speculations about why the church was apparently rebelling from a custom they were supposed to be keeping (one really interesting theory HERE) but ultimately, the part that should take the most focus is the end: "But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God." (I Corinthians 11:16—NASV) He sums up his entire discussion about head covering by announcing that if you disagree, there is no contrary custom in God's assemblies. For whatever reason, the church was trying to break away from the head covering command they had been practicing and Paul wanted no dissension about it! He even tried to appeal to their logical reasoning, saying that even nature (creation beyond commandment) was teaching them that women are to have long hair and men short. Again, I don't think this is a rule by any means. I don't think that you are going to hell if you are a woman with short hair or a man with long hair. But I do think it's important to consider *why* Paul needed to address his unruly church to convince them in these ways. Obviously, if it made it into the Holy Word, it's there for a reason. What is the example here that is still relevant today?

The verse describes in great depth the matter of headship, but back when Paul wrote it, that is where the symbolism was - a woman in church uncovered was thought to be rebelling from the headship of her husband or even the Holy authority in her church. Our customs today are MUCH different obviously. If I go to church in a mini-skirt, someone will probably think I am rebelling in some way. If I go to church with my hair showing, it definitely does need even turn a head. But that does NOT mean that this is a custom that should be thrown out by any means (HERE is a lovely article about church history and customs. Definitely a good read)!
While many argue the laws from Leviticus and so forth, saying that Christ's blood set us free to be saved by Grace, it doesn't change the *significance* of these things having their place and importance in the Bible!
The fact that it is not one of our current "customs" is actually the part I find to be the most irrelevant. We are called to be the Lord's peculiar people and to set ourselves apart from the world. So even though it no longer symbolizes headship for most people that I would wear a head covering, it definitely draws attention. Not necessarily unwanted attention - much like wearing skirts or having a lot of children! It's a means to minister to unbelievers as well. One interesting and accurate excerpt from a great article on the meaning of Paul's urge for head coverings:

"The third argument admits that Paul was talking about women wearing head coverings, most probably during congregational prayers, but asserts that this was only a social custom of the day and thus is not binding on the church today. The assumption behind this teaching is that if an action, even if it is commanded to be done, is found to have been a cultural trait, it does not have to be performed today. Using this assumption, one may disregard many teachings of the New Testament which to follow would make one a social misfit. There is no Biblical authority for such an assumption to this writer's knowledge. This is rather a case of "teaching as doctrines the precepts of men" (Mark 7:7). It may be argued that "common sense" says that cultural commands are not binding today. But "common sense" is merely human wisdom and Paul says in I Corinthians 2:3, "which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, . . ." (Also compare I Corinthians 2:5-6). We are to speak as God has spoken in His word, not as common sense would tell us."

 Read the rest of this amazing and in-depth article HERE!

 We were not called to follow "cultural norms" anyhow, were we? *smile*

Romans 12:2 ESV 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Peter 2:9 ESV

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

John 17:15-18 ESV 

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

There are apparently abundant myths about head covering as it relates to Christianity and once you weed through them, you will probably still be scratching your head. Ultimately, the mantra when it comes to issues that are not what most consider to be "salvation issues" (or just *not* typical Christian doctrine) is this; Who cares? We are not bound by legalism, we are saved by grace, we are not saved by works, so who cares if you cover your head? You don't *HAVE TO.* I agree! You don't have to.
I also probably don't have to go to church, because you aren't saved by magical Jesus Points of Church Attendance.
I don't *have* to give the Lord sovereignty of my womb - I could easily tell him no, I'm done having children because I want to be and I struggle too much with trusting to have a million babies.
I don't have to dress feminine in any way because it won't change the fact that I am saved because I have Christ in my heart.
Ultimately though, I don't want to be a bare-minimum Christian. I want to please and honor God in every possible way. If that means that, when faced with something, I have to make a choice that may not be the most comfortable to me, I have to be honest with myself. Am I going to be too afraid of what others will say if I have to tell them I am honoring my husband's headship by covering my hair? Or are my eyes set on eternal things to where I am storing p treasures for heaven?
I'm both alarmed and ever-grateful for being able to open my heart to the Lord and truly pray for convictions. He has changed me in a lot of ways and I am constantly becoming less and less of this world while I transform into His vessel.


2 Corinthians 5:17 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

I don't want to be the same as I was yesterday. As difficult as it is to be stretched further beyond my comfort zone I know that the desire for new convictions from the Lord will ensure that I am always someone different tomorrow, and hopefully it is more honoring to the Lord than the day before.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Proverbs Wife is Honored for all her hands have done!

I have chickens. Lots of chickens.
Taking care of chickens is super easy for me because I love animals.
Just kidding.
I have 7 hens and a rooster that are outside. Then I have about 40ish (I think, I haven't counted) mixed chicks, 90 cockerels that will be butchered, and 8 ducks - all in the room we have dubbed "the chicken room." In. Side. My. House.
They smell. They are noisy. They cost a bit to feed. I have to worry about their survival. I have to clean out the brooders - there is a tri-level brooder, and two floor level brooders - refill water and food all day, get up in the night to make sure they aren't too warm or too cold, and then a couple times a week I have to clean EVERYTHING. Which means rinse out the duck's brooder and take the cloth bedding out and wash it and scoop out the bird poop and wash the feeders and waterers and wipe down the table and change out the plastic linings and sweep the floor and I've had to change light bulbs and every day the ducks have to be taken to the bathtub to swim....
Did I mention I'm incubating another 31 eggs too? That means that I have to check the temp and humidity on that and turn the eggs three times a day and candle them for growth and check their air cells and when they hatch - well, then the process of taking care of new chicks will start all over again. Did I mention that for the first two weeks you have to go through every chick and check it's butt to make sure it's butt is clean? And I have to protect my outdoor flock and make sure they are safe from predators as well.
So yeah.. it's super easy because I love animals.
No, not really. It is extremely difficult and takes up a large portion of my time. It's just not really all that fun.
Believe it or not though, this post is not about why you *shouldn't* have chickens!
I know so many women who don't homeschool because they don't have time or patience. I just don't think that's a good excuse. Likewise, I don't believe for a second that you should look at something in terms of how much work it will take when deciding whether or not you should do it. I'm not saying that you should dive into everything without thinking about it.  But obviously, if you are choosing not to do something out of laziness then you are probably making a poor choice.

She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.

She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

It really is awesome if you think about it. The Lord does not expect a wife to sit around all day being helpless - and there is no excuse for her not to be a hard worker just like her husband! It doesn't simply encompass "being a mommy." We are called to do so much more than that. The Lord can put desires in your heart if you want Him to. I have felt convicted to be more in control of my family's needs. I enjoy my chickens, and ducks, and all of that. But more than anything, the Lord wants me to grow spiritually by learning how to provide for us. We have eggs every day, that have not been sprayed with harsh chemicals. By the end of Spring we will have plenty of free range, clean, healthy chicken for the rest of the year. It's worth the effort and hard work to reap the rewards.

It may not even be cost efficient for us once we factor in feed costs and everything. But that's not really my concern. I know that the Lord wants this busy work to take place and He will provide the funds for me to do it.

I am not saying "the Lord wants everyone to raise chickens!" Although, it's probably a good idea for anyone who is even remotely capable. 
Rather, I think it's really important for spiritual growth, as a wife, to put out effort and not be afraid of hard work. 
I homeschool. I make food from scratch whenever I can. I learn to make things. I raise animals for food. I am gardening (even though I am TERRIBLE at it and don't even remotely enjoy it!!). I build things from scraps. I repurpose things. I've learned to sew and knit. I'm learning to card raw wool and spin in into thread. I am not doing it to be "cool" or different (cause all the cool kids spin wool into thread). I know that the Lord wants me to be unafraid to get my hands dirty and do a little work! 

Challenge yourself this week! Take time to pray about new skills the Lord wants to reveal to you so that you can engage in hard work of your hands. Learn to make homemade bread. Plant some seeds for spring. Pick up some chicks from the feed store. Take on a DIY project in the yard. Or just pray for a conviction and open your heart to the truth. Let me know how it goes!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year! My one word is....

2013 was an exciting year for our family. Our youngest little babycakes, Archer Matthias, made his debut in February. He is our fourth child (third boy!) and our first bundle that came of letting the Lord control our fertility. Among other exciting things from last year was the institution of the One Word resolutions.
Instead of creating an in-depth resolution (or an entire list of them) that will fizzle out before valentines day, Only A Breath suggested praying about one word that the Lord would put on your heart for you to focus on and achieve throughout the year. My one word last year was SEEK. It was in fact quite a success. I feel that I really made it through the year coming back to my goal of seeking! Sometimes only intermittently, but still. I didn't go into detail much on my blog throughout the year simply because it pertained to personal daily struggles and nothing really blog worthy.
This year, I know what my word is.

I made it big. Really big. Why? Because I LOVE this word. And this word is not for me. This word is for my family. 
This word is for the time I waste, zoning out to my phone because I am mentally incapacitated by the lack of sleep and in my backwards reasoning, I tell myself this is "rest" that I need instead of reading a book to my children. 
 This word is for days I don't feel like cooking a hot breakfast because I feel like the dishes afterward would not be worth it. 
This word is for the moments when Royal starts with the Stewie-Griffin style "mom" dialogue and I push him away and beg him to stop asking me questions for five minutes. 
This word is for my husband, when he asks me to pay a bill or send out a letter or pick up something from the store and in all selfishness, I make an excuse for why it is too much on my agenda.
After my initial goal that I should seek Him first, and knowing that He fills the empty spaces like water poured over stones, I am ready to move on. And my motivator is loving. I have to practice love as it encompasses all that is expected from me. Loving my children doesn't mean saying the words but being too tired. It doesn't mean selfish justifications toward my husband. And it means being the disciple that the Lord has called me to be. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This year, may my love overflow and become evident to all those around me as I pray that Christ's love show through me. Amen.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Works without Faith: and other Spiritual Tantrums

I've had several people tell me that they appreciate the "honesty" of my blog; the fact that I don't sugar-coat my own life circumstances apparently makes it easier for more of the normal readers to relate. The truth is that most of the blogs we read or even just daily accounts we hear from other women show us how everyone else is so spiritual and perfect and how greatly we fall short of what God probably desires.
To that point, I see loads of people who call themselves christian but have no works or fruits to show for it. I know they love Christ but there is no evidence of it through what they do, only through what they say. The reciprocal of that is the work without the faith - which is much less evident to those around us. It's impossible to look at someone else and know if there is a true, holy motive behind their actions. If you are acting without faith, no one else is going to know except you.
Like most people, I have days, times, seasons where I throw my own spiritual tantrum. I stomp my feet, ball up my fists (spiritually of course), and shout "I don't wanna!" reminiscent of a spiritual little Rumpelstiltskin when someone has guessed his name. The earth doesn't open up and swallow me, but it is a fair bit dramatic, regardless. Sometimes these spiritual tantrums and feelings of "I don't wanna" coincide with my choice to continue to do the right thing. So on the outside, I appear to be a good little christian while on the inside it is for all the wrong reasons.
At times, I am so excited to have another little blessing in our family. I want my pregnant belly, the little kicks from inside, the sleepy little newborn and the baby clothes and the "you're pregnant again?" and the car seat and the stretchy clothes and the extra helping of dessert.... I could go on all day. Alternately there have been times when all I could think about was what if I am pregnant? What if I don't get to enjoy walking without a waddle? Or wearing clothes without looking swollen? Or being too tired to function? I am constantly preaching about the joys of children and how much of a blessing pregnancy is, but occasionally I get these feelings of just not wanting to do it right now. It's selfish, and it's wrong. My family's ministry is founded not on having a bunch of kids - It literally has nothing to do with the *number* as far as that aspect is concerned. It's about 1) faith that God can control the womb and support whatever blessings you are given and 2) Christ's love showing through when you speak about and interact with your many, challenging little blessings. When I am totally open about growing my family through this purpose but on the inside I am thinking something different, I'm basically lying; and I am working without faith. Once my motivation shifts, the "work" to my "faith" becomes something other than a spiritual work. The good deed becomes nothing; and although it is hidden from others that the motivation is impure there is One who sees it.

Hebrews 5
11 Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even [f]slothful in achieving spiritual insight].
12 For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food.
13 For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]!
14 But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.

Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God,
With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]
If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching].

The book of Hebrews serves as an open letter to Christians. These chapters discuss the need for spiritual maturity - mentioning, specifically, moving beyond simply abandoning dead works. The principles mentioned are explained as being something we should have mastered a long time ago. This is not new, profound revelation in our walk with God. This is your face-palm moment. If you can't even understand the most basic principles of Christ's teachings, what kind of testimony do you have? It may not seem like a huge devastation to your spiritual well being but the scripture says otherwise. Stop laying a foundation on these simple procedures and move forward! I don't know about you, but I don't want to get "held back" in Kindergarten when I'm 26. If you continue to lay the same foundation, you will consistently look like a construction site with no finished buildings. That's obviously not the Lord's plan for us as witnesses to the world.
Now, it's easy to say, "It's not my fault I don't want to do what I'm supposed to. The enemy is ......" blah blah blah. You have to take accountability. The enemy may try to plant thoughts in your head or persuade you with temptation but it is up to you how you respond. The snake lied to Eve and she disobeyed God, but Adam disobeyed just from the words Eve spoke to him! They both had the ability to say yes or say no, regardless of their circumstances. You have to ultimately decide if you are willing to risk spiritual warfare because in your temporary worldly mindset, your motives are not actively pure.
Sometimes it's worthwhile to sit and pray, crack open your bible, and ask for healing of the mind :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Catching Flies

Have you ever heard the term "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"?
Who is catching flies?? This is 2013 - we use fly strips. You can probably catch more flies with those hanging strips than anything else.
I think they have mineral oil of some sort or something.
Anyways, I think it has a good moral. You are more *attractive* when you are sweet than when you are bitter. But when it comes down to it, why do we have a goal to attract and why is it important that we are successful?

We are meant to bring people to the Lord. And one of our biggest assets in this is our attitude. It's easy to see that when you are speaking to someone who is specifically seeking Christ that you should be gentle and sure of what you say. You don't win people to Christ by telling them that their sinful ways are sending them to hell in a handbasket. But you don't always have control over who you are influencing with your attitude. Jesus set the best example when he was found among the lowly sinners, not pointing out their detestable sins to those around them, but showing love and understanding to them.

I've seen it thrown around so much when Christians say they "love the sinner, hate the sin." But when you *hate* a sin to such an obsessive degree that it clouds your ability to speak with love, you CAN NOT love the sinner.
When Jesus spoke with a PROSTITUTE, whom the Pharisees dragged to Him, He did not stand in the middle of the crowd letting everyone know that He loved her, but he still thought prostitution was a revolting sinful thing and that she needed to be prayed for. He spoke in LOVE and said "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone." This is pretty deep, if you think about it. Not because of the "new" interpretation of that quote - as most people have skewed it's meaning to imply that everyone should be allowed to sin as they please and you should have nothing to say about it. Because that is simply NOT the case. Rather, the emotional impact of what He said is the fact that He really did not even say how He felt about the fact that she was a hopelessly lost sinner! He stood up for her! This has nothing to do with the thought process of "oh well, it's not my business if she chooses to sin." It was out of his Jesus-Christ-Perfect LOVE that He reacted the wayHe did. He specifically told her he did NOT CONDEMN HER.
I have so many "christian" friends on my facebook page. And every day, I see countless instances of Christians with a negative, hateful attitude about many things.
Abortion post: "THIS IS HORRIBLE!"
Legalizing gay marriage: "OUR NATION IS GOING TO HELL."


You cannot show hate and love at the same time. Maybe you do hate the sin, and love the sinner. But you CAN NOT show love and hate at the same time. And if you are showing hate, you are being seen as hateful. And that is not what Christ wants for us. Your attitude speaks volumes! Out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart.

You know the story of the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and all that. Everyone chooses to take from this story what the *woman* did.
"Oh, she was in such a dark place in her life and she gave Jesus all that she had, which was tears...and hair."
That is GREAT. I'm very happy that she laid herself down at the feet of Jesus. But another important part of the story gets lost. READ THE STORY AGAIN.

Here, I'll paraphrase so you don't have to open another tab (but still you should):
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come have dinner and while he was there a woman came in, cried, washed his feet, etc. Yay.
Then the Pharisee saw it and was like "Well, if you were really God you would know what kind of woman is touching you, cause she is a [prostitute]." So Jesus is like "Okay let me tell you a story. Say there is a guy who lends two other people money. He lends one of them $500 and one of them $50. When the time comes, neither of them have any money to pay him back. He forgave them both. Which of the two is going to love him more?"
The pharisee says "I guess the one who was forgiven of more."
And Jesus says "BINGO."
Because her sins, which were many, were forgiven because she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.  The "perfect" Pharisee was hopefully humbled before the unrighteous!
The person who is already the "perfect" Christian can not serve God with the same humility as one who has had MORE bought for the same price.
When I first turned my life to truly serve Jesus, I was sure I was doing great. After all, I did not have a lot of "problems" that many people have when they come to the Lord. I wasn't, to excess, a drinker, a liar, an adulterer, an idol worshipper, or a blasphemer. Since I never had these problems to deal with, I was very haughty about my abilities as a Christian.  I could look down on people because I knew right from wrong.
Now don't misunderstand - I did not think that I was better than anyone because I was a "better" christian (or a christian at all). I mostly just thought that I knew everything about right and wrong and that everyone who thought differently was wrong. That attitude came across in what I said and did and how I conducted myself.
Those who are showed Christ's perfect LOVE when they are at their lowest do not struggle as much as the rest of us, who were not so far off from living a Godly life. 
Because those of us with the least to lose also have the least to gain.
I realize more now that I'm not always right, and there is a fine line between indifference at another's sin and understanding. Indifference is inaction, uncaring, and leads to no change. Understanding is correction with reflection of Christ's love for us... but only without the bitterness of attitude. We have to reflect that love all day every day and in all we do. The World will automatically hate us; but we have to consciously choose how we conduct ourselves so as not to infect them (or even other Christians) with our bitterness.
Be vigilant in what attitude you are putting forward and extending to those around you, because sometimes being right with vinegar is worse than being wrong with honey.

"Thank you, Thank you."
*Takes a bow*

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Proverbs Wife; What does God want from me??

 We often hear the term "Proverbs 31 Wife" thrown around by those of us struggling to be a statement unto Christ and a model of what He has called us to be, spiritually, to our husbands. I have a general idea, but do we really know, in detail, what we are called to say, do, act like, etc? Here is a simply worded breakdown to better visualize what God calls us to do as homemakers:

31 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Well, unfortunately your husband probably already married a less-than virtuous woman but with the help of the Holy Spirit we can (and will) be transformed into that woman whose price is far above rubies. In any case, we are made aware here that the most desired quality is to be virtuous. 
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
 She does not make him believe that she might be adulterous, she does not make remarks about other men. She does not look at others or make him jealous. She belongs to him and him alone, and makes it clear with her respect and grace to him that he is her ONLY. 

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Her tongue does not oppress him; she does not belittle him. She encourages him and lifts him up.  

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
Women often get this idea that they are primarily supposed to sit around breastfeeding babies and then cook her husband dinner. But our work for our home is so far beyond those limited duties. We are to seek work with our hands! Have you ever wondered why you suddenly get the urge to sew random things? Or make random improvements to your home? Or make rabbit pens and raise meat rabbits? Maybe that last one is just me. Ever wonder why stay-at-home moms are so obsessed with Pinterest? It is ingrained in us to be useful, by some meaning of the word; there are many ways that we can be useful even if we do not work out of the home. After all, you are a continuation of your husband - a counterpart for his bidding. There is no need to wait until your husband gets home from his 10 hour work shift to ask him to mow the yard!

14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 
She does the grocery shopping.
No seriously though.
Being able to be resourceful, whether it is with food ( couponing and shopping sales, learning to gather and forage, making your own ___ ) or what have you, is a huge help for your family. I personally have a knack for animal husbandry and am learning to raise our own food (yay, me!) and I know that my husband views this self-sufficient style of feeding our family as a worthy trait in a wife.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
It's funny, because women are constantly pointing out how much work they must do. A mom's work is literally NEVER done and there honestly are just not enough hours in the day. It only makes sense that we would rise early to accomplish daily tasks and get a fresh start. There are many tasks that must really be accomplished before the other members of the household are up and about.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
 I fervently believe that while we are commanded to stay submissive to our husbands, we are also obligated to spend his money. Don't laugh, I am not finished yet. I cannot even begin to describe my husband's delight when I have made a purchase that saves us money in the long run or that makes our lives run more smoothly or, best of all, allows us to make a profit. We should strive to consider fields, buy them, and plant vineyards! How can we justify staying home all day and occupying our time with the upkeep of our homely kingdom, and yet NOT strive to reduce or spending and multiply that which our husbands have earned? I have known so many women that stress about their finances. Yet another ingrained trait of women! But I do not believe it is God's intention for women to *stress* about bills. We should be good stewards of the money our husbands bring home and act as sound financial advisers to him! Women often have a closer walk with the Lord and to this point, we can be more in tune with what He is seeking for us financially. When you consider your fields, pray about it so that you can strengthen your marriage, your family, and increase your assets all around.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
A proverbs wife is not some lazy, unwitting baby-making machine. We should keep ourselves fit and healthy and prepared for the work we are required to do on a daily basis around our castles! If I may reiterate, you are an extension of your husband - being capable of doing the extra work he does not have time for is an uncommon virtue in women. Being feminine is great. But we are called to be that and more. When we were dating, I'm sure my husband loved it when I acted like I couldn't do anything for myself. I'm sure it was "cute" to him then. Now I have a family to tend to, and many responsibilities therein. If I couldn't chop wood or build necessary structures or move heavy furniture when needed, I would be falling short of what I need to accomplish as a wife. 
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.  
A proverbs wife is not just working hard in the early hours of the morning, but she is also working late into the night. She is doing much but also investing in the quality of what she is doing; because she does not just concern herself with accomplishing many menial tasks, but is concerned with doing what she can for her family - which is her top priority. A spindle and distaff are used to make

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
If we are all called to be generous, giving children of the Lord, why is it specifically mentioned for a wife in Proverbs that she should be giving to the poor? Probably because, again, we are stewards of our husband's money. I know of several times when there was someone in need and I had to choose to give, without my husband's consent. He was not there, so I was giving on behalf of my household. I know I am trusted with this because I have a Godly husband that knows how important those acts are, but it is equally important that I know how and when to handle instances of giving on his behalf.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 
Does your husband know that your children are taken care of plentifully when he is away at work? Or does he get home and worry because you didn't take the initiative to go out and buy them new jackets when last year's no longer fit? Or if there is no money allotted for jackets this year because things are tight financially, can he assume that you got free ones from a clothing swap or from a friend that was giving them away? You should trust yourself to take care of these things, so that he can have peace about it as well. The situation can change his mood like you would not believe. Imagine the difference; He comes home and you immediately let him know that the kids need winter clothes and how much it's going to cost and ask him to take care of it, or he comes home and you show him what you found on the local Freecycle page - saving the money and the stress of the whole situation. This can apply to any household needs!

22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.  
A proverbs wife should have the desire and integrity to look like she cares about herself and her family. This tends to go doubly so for large families. When others see us, we have to look in a way that reflects our attitude. If we have not showered for a week and are found consistently wearing our pajamas to the grocery store, it reflects an attitude of not caring. Imagine how many times a woman with three or more children is told, "wow, you really have your hands full!" Our outward appearance is a non-verbal response to this statement. Which answer honors our husband the most? "Yes, my hands are full, and I have no time for myself, let alone time for you" or "I have my hands full and it keeps me joyfully busy and working hard." 

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.  
A woman had a lot of power in her husband's reputation. It is not wise to speak poorly of him to others or allow him to be perceived in bad light. A wife should always build her husband up and perpetuate his reputation as a respectable, hard worker and an intelligent man. So when you hatefully post on facebook how worthless your husband is, you are really falling short of the proverbs scenario.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 
These four verses speak to her character. She can make extra income for her family, she is strong and honorable, she is Godly and spiritual, she is wise, and kind, she does her job well and keeps herself busy! It's more in-line with what people associate with the "Proverbs wife" but is just a fraction of the guideline we are given.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 
Many women think they are doing everything right, and that their families would not give them praise if their lives depended on it. You would be surprised though, when you do enact the virtues of a proverbs wife, how you might be recognized. This is a promised blessing. It doesn't say that if you are an amazing and miraculously perfect wife, your husband and children might praise you. It says that one of the evidences of a virtuous wife is being praised! I know this because my husband has praised me verbally when I really did not expect it from him, and it really encouraged me to work even harder.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 
The ideal proverbs wife does not just do the bare minimum - she exceeds other wives in their abilities and accomplishments! This is not to say that being a proverbs wife is a competition. Think of it this way; if, out of 100 wives, 50 were doing "okay" at pleasing God and their families, and the other half were really going above and beyond their duties, which half would you like to be counted in? Don't settle spiritually.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 
What is on the outside is temporary and fleeting. Real value lies in a woman who fears the Lord. As 1 Peter 3:1 speaks of a woman being able to bring her husband to God through her own faith and acts, one of the most valuable virtues you can possess as a wife is a true relationship with God that you can expose your husband to. 

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Her works speak for themselves; the fruits of a virtuous wife are recognizable - not only to her husband, children, and whomever she may come into contact with, but most importantly by Christ! The rewards of her virtues will be reaped on heaven as on earth!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Let's talk about..... SECKS!

Sex! Yep, I said it. It's the one thing that pretty much everyone is doing (whether they should be or not) and NOBODY wants to talk about it. That's fine and understandable... after all, there are a lot of things I don't want my kids to overhear and consequently have to explain to them. But the BAD thing about no one speaking about sex is that sex is just another aspect of our lives where we may need to seek help from others.
Sex between a husband and wife is like a sacred bond - one that can be damaged, or lacking, or perfect, or healed. When we, as Christians, find that our sex lives are not as they should be, we have limited options for whom we can converse with on the topic. And what about when we have a question about the spiritual aspect of sex? The only option I've really seen, personally, is to read a LaHaye book. Those folks seem to have no problem talking about it!
There are plenty of very simple questions regarding marital sex. Most of them begin with "is it 'okay' to...."
I don't know what people's obsession is with asking "is it okay." But there it is. Christians have questions and they don't all feel comfortable asking their pastors if pornography is okay, if you include your spouse.

The majority of Christians can't shake the feeling that sex is perverted, even in a marital bed. Why? Probably because sex is perverted. It's been perverted by a society that invites the philosophy of "if it makes you feel good do it"...even if it's not with your spouse. Well-meaning Christians are still reaping the repercussions of the sinful acts that have become the norm - to the point that they are "afraid" their sexual acts are going to be sinful.

Please understand me - I don't just walk around telling everyone about my sex life. I don't share graphic details about what happens behind closed doors. But truth be told, my husband and I have sex. And it's normal, and it's okay, and it's what Jesus expects. Christians should not be ashamed of their marital relations, and they should not be too shy to ask for help when it's needed.

When we were dating, my husband and I obviously *wanted* to have sex with each other. That's just nature at work. Prior to that, I had had sexual thoughts about other people. So had he. We were not "pure" and had sinfully defiled what would be our marriage bed when the time came. What? Thinking about sex with someone you aren't married to is defiling the marriage bed? That's such an extreme interpretation of what is written in the bible!! Yes, yes it is. But it also is written there (Matthew 5:28 - But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.) so I can't help it if someone disagrees. After repentance, we were good to go, and yeah - we have been married for seven years and have four kids so obviously we have had sex. As time wears on, the initial desire for sex with your spouse can change. As great as it is, sometimes life gets in the way. I get stressed out, he gets stressed out, I have issues with depression, we have kids trying to charge into our bedroom every single night. It is during times like this that the significance of sex in a marriage is most recognizable. It's a chance to recharge, not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. It's the best way to instantly feel reconnected, both to your spouse and to God.I know it totally eeks some people out to think of God being a powerful force in the bedroom. I have actually known some people to find it blasphemous to think of God being even remotely related to any sexual experience. The fact is, God created us to be able to have sex - it was part of his divine purpose for marriage.

Gen 2:24 ~ Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

 So then why do so many people feel that God should be pushed out of the sexual equation? It's not Clark Kent and Superman - the two can and should coexist.
A marriage that puts Christ at the center is usually blessed with a good sex life. I don't think that is a coincidence. Being able to be "one flesh" with our spouses is something that we should (often) thank God for when we pray. Sex, after all, helps to keep Christian marriages functional.

With sex being a God-given gift between husband and wife, a way to connect on a spiritual level, why are so many Christians still assuming that sex is a shameful act that should never be discussed?

The only instance I can think of that would make it an act of sin to discuss your sex life would be if you were doing it to tempt someone. If a woman started graphically describing a particular sex act to someone else to make their minds wander, that would definitely not be okay. But for the sake of seeking advice in the bedroom, why shouldn't questions be asked?

Some questions about marital sex are way way way too obvious. I saw an episode of the 700 club once where the person asked something along the lines of, "My husband says it will strengthen our marriage if we have a threesome."

Common sense answer - no. Adding an extra woman to the equation, although I'm sure your husband would be grateful, would be defiling the marriage bed. Also, you should probably pray for him.

Another question that I see arise all the time is:

"Is it okay to look at pronography if - "
If your spouse tells you that you can? If your spouse looks at it with you? If your spouse is denying you sex?

This does not always have an "easy" answer to interpret. But, the answer is always no. Pornography is not a grey area. Even if everyone is okay with it, pornography in itself is spiritually immoral. Let's look at it for what it is. It is watching other people involved in sex acts, i.e. involving others in your marital bed. I'm not the type to buy into all the Christian-hype and blow things out of proportion. I don't think that looking at pornography or even having an addiction to it makes you the worst type of Christian, or beyond healing. It is the same as the person who says "No, I didn't eat that cookie," when really, they did.

This is a question that many Christians would benefit from asking, if they had someone to ask.

Many Christians have much more difficult questions - like wanting to know what is going wrong in a certain aspect of their sex lives or trying to figure out how to get the spark back in it. These are questions that can generally be asked anywhere, but they are best answered by a fellow Christian with the same desire and understanding of the Lord's will for us. It's not exactly the answer you are looking for when you want to liven up the bedroom and a counselor tells you that you should try engaging in group sex. At times like this it is so helpful to have a like-minded person to discuss your problems neutrally with.

More often than not though, the questions are concerning which sex acts are "acceptable" between a husband and wife. Some Christians wonder if oral sex is "perverted." Some have heard from one source or another that anal sex or sex during menstruation are considered "sinful." Some think that "lusting" after your own spouse is a spiritual offense.Some wonder if it's okay to use adult toys with their spouse.

An undefiled marriage bed is one that exists between a married man and woman. No one else. So pornography, adultery, multiple partners, etc, would negate that. That being said, anything consented upon by both parties would be considered fair game, as far as I understand it, as long as it follows the biblical command to love and respect each other. For example, I would say oral sex is definitely okay, unless it compromises the spouse. A spouse could potentially be compromised by the proposition if (s)he felt uncomfortable trying it, due to any number of reasons. In other words, If it is not aiming to fulfill the sexual needs of the spouse, but being pushed on them with a selfish desire, then *any* act could become a sinful (not to mention, just plain undesirable!) one. All things between willing spouses within the sanctity of marriage is generally an acceptable thing to do.

Of course, if you still are unsure, pray about it! God is always open to our questions. And study the scripture for yourself. The answers are often written there, and with a little prayer for clarity, can easily be discerned.

If you have questions, feel free to email me or comment! Or message me on facebook - I am more than willing to discreetly answer your questions to the best of my ability. Don't be afraid to reach out if you have questions about your sex life, whether it's "is this okay?" or "how can we make sex better?" The Lord intended for us to thoroughly enjoy our spouses. That is something no one should be ashamed of. I'm certainly not, in case you couldn't tell!

"Jesus cannot forget us; we have been graven on the palms of his hands." - Lois Picillo