The Rest Room

The Rest Room

I have always had a very weak bladder.  Anytime I visit a new place, I am always scoping out where the restroom is because I know I will need it at some point while I am there.  I’ve made a concentrated effort recently to avoid caffeine because I’m trying to keep my body hydrated.  The drawback to staying well-hydrated is that I visit the restroom even more than before.

God has a ‘rest room’ for us.  Just as in a physical sense, my bladder fills up and needs a rest several times a day, my spirit can get cluttered with burdens as each day progresses.  The result is that I need to visit God’s ‘rest room,’ emptying myself of these worries.  Sometimes the visit to His ‘rest room’ is a quick and easy one.  Other times, it can be a gut-wrenching experience, similar to those times when we’ve gotten food poisoning or the stomach flu.  Just as we are doubled over with stomach cramps, anxious to feel sweet relief, we can be doubled over in our spirit in God’s ‘rest room,’ pouring out our hearts through a load of tears.  Finally, that wonderful peace that passes all understanding comes in to guard our heart (Philippians 4:7) and we can leave God’s ‘rest room,’ knowing that all is well, and feeling our strength renewed (Isaiah 40:31).

Do you need to use God’s ‘rest room?’
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Advertisements

Relating to One Another

Relating to One Another
Several months ago, our pastor did a series on the “one anothers” in the Bible.   I wanted to do a message on that topic, but relate much of it where many of us live on a daily basis as stay at home moms.

Col. 3:16 tells us that we are to admonish and teach one another.  Maybe God hasn’t called you to teach a Sunday school class.  Even so, you can teach and admonish your children, or even ladies in the church who are looking for one to mentor them.

James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another.  When confessing our sins to another, we need wisdom to know who would be a trusting person for us to approach.  I remember hearing about a man who was struggling with homosexuality.  He approached a leader of the church.  What he said in confidence was told to everyone.  It’s no wonder that this man has turned back to the homosexual community.

James 5:16 also mentions that we are to pray for one another.  First, we need to be faithful in praying for those in our own household.  We also need to remember to pray for others and maybe the best way to do that is to dedicate one day a week for lifting up the needs of others.  Some of them may not have anyone else who will pray for them.

Rom. 12:10 tells us to honor one another above ourselves.  This is a good practice to start in the home.  It is good teaching for our children.  We live in such a selfish, “me-oriented” society.  It is good to make the choice to honor others above ourselves.  While it is virtuous to practice this outside the home,  it is more honorable to practice it in the home with those whom God has entrusted to our care.

Gal. 6:2 tells us that we are to carry each other’s burdens.  It goes on to say that this will fulfill the law of Christ.  Which law?  The one that says to love your neighbor as yourself.  I saw this in action right after our town was flooded.  It was incredible to see people setting aside their own agenda and going to help others who had lost so much.

I Thess. 4:18; 5:11, and Heb. 10:25 all tell us to encourage one another.  Sometimes that may be in person.  Sometimes it may be just a phone call.  Another way to encourage is by sending a card or a note.  When you send something, the person can read it over and over, and be encouraged each time they read it.  We can practice this in our homes as well.  A note in a child’s lunch can mean so much to them as they go through hard times.  A friend of mine discovered all of the notes which she had written to her son.  He had saved them all, and she “happened” to see them one day while in his room.  We can do this for our husband’s as well.  What about sending him a card to his work address?  What about tucking away an encouraging note in his luggage as he prepares to leave town?  If you don’t know what to say to encourage him, just tell him that you will be ready and waiting for him when he gets home!  That alone will speak volumes to him.

II Cor. 1:4  tells us to comfort one another with the comfort we have received.  We don’t have to use eloquent words.  A simple hug, along with letting them know that you are praying for them will mean a lot.  When I miscarried, the one  thing I needed to hear was that it would get better, but no one told me.  Now, when I see others going through things, I am able to share that with them, in hopes that it will help them.  We can practice this with our children as well.  When they have been betrayed by a friend (or a number of other scenarios), we can comfort them by sharing with them a time when we faced the same thing.

Col. 3:13 tells us to forgive one another.  I can’t stress the importance of this.  Many years ago, I struggled with chronic colitis.  I was on so much medication for it.  As I began studying on deliverance, I found that I had a lot of unforgiveness in my heart, which had opened the door to the colitis.  I had to forgive, not just because our Lord demands it, but I had to forgive so that I could live a full life again.  I am thrilled to tell you that once the unforgiveness was gone, so was the colitis.  It has been gone now for over 10 years.  We need to be sure and ask for forgiveness from our children and our spouse, and to grant them forgiveness when they have done wrong.

We are to love one another.  (I Jn. 3:11, Rom. 12:10, James 2:8)  In I Pet. 1:22
we find that we are to love one another deeply, from the heart.  We are to have a sincere (without pretense, genuine) love for one another.  Many times it is easy to say, “I love you.”  What is often harder is putting action behind our words.  Action means that we are setting aside our own agenda for the good of someone else.

Gal. 5:13 tells us to serve one another in love.  This is a hard one for me when evening comes and I am so tired.  I want someone to serve ME!  But if I follow scripture, I must crucify my flesh once again, and serve my family in love, no matter how tired I am.

Eph. 4:31-32 tells us to be kind to one another.  This is another one that needs to be practiced consistently in the home.  I often find myself barking orders to my daughter instead of speaking kindly to her.  I have been faithfully asking Father to help me to learn to be kind to my daughter in spite of how frustrated I may be with her.

Rom. 12:16 tells us to live in harmony with each other.  In the Webster’s Thesaurus, it mentions having an even balance.  How many times do we disrupt harmony in our homes because we aren’t living a balanced life?  I saw this in my own life over the summer.  Because I homeschool an only child, I try to get her involved in several activities over the summer.  This year I found that I overdid it.  There wasn’t much harmony in the home because “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy!”  At the time of this writing, we have had two days of having to be nowhere.  While I have been very busy over these two days, I have been happy, calm, and content.  It has brought much needed balance and harmony to our home.

Eph. 4:2 tells us to bear with one another.  In our homes, this might mean learning to listen to both sides of the story before making a judgment.  It could also mean to discern whether something was done because of childlike immaturity, rather than defiance.  As mothers, we run in an exhausted mode much of the time.  It can be very hard to bear with others, when the “others” are those in our own home.  In those times, we need to remember that God is right there, just waiting for us to call upon Him to help us.
Precious Jesus, You gave us such wonderful examples of how to treat others.  Help us to put those examples into action in our own homes, then help us take them out to a lost and dying world.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Rebuilding the House

Rebuilding the House

It takes a lot of work to maintain a house.  Periodically, we have to repaint the walls or change the wallpaper.  We may even need to replace the flooring in the house because the sub floor goes bad.  Toilets need replaced, pipes need cleaning when they get clogged.  The outside will need fresh paint after several years.  The hedges need clipped, the yard needs mowed.  The roof will eventually need repaired or replaced.  The tree limbs need to be cut back so they don’t end up lying on the house.  If we fail to do the upkeep on our house, it will become dirty and dingy.  It will begin to stink.  It may also be vandalized.

We are God’s house.  Just as it takes effort to maintain a physical house to live in, it also takes effort to maintain our ‘temple.’  If we aren’t keeping ourselves in the Word, letting it ‘wash us’ (Ephesians 5:26), we will become dirtied by the world.  If we don’t daily seek God’s help in becoming the aroma of Christ (II Corinthians 2:15), we will begin to stink because our carnal nature will rise up and try to take over.  Next, we will find ourselves giving the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:27) Once he gets a foothold on us, it opens our temple up to being vandalized by spiritual forces of evil. (Ephesians 6:12)

In Ezra 5:2, we see where Zerubbabel and Jeshua set out to rebuild the house of God.  Sometimes we need to do our own ‘rebuilding.’  When we find ourselves in a place where we’ve begun to neglect our ‘house,’ we need to repent and ask God to restore to us the passion for our first love. (Revelation 2:4)

Do you need to do some rebuilding?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Reality Marriage

Reality Marriage

There are so many “reality shows” on TV right now.  Yet, when I have wasted some time watching them, they aren’t “reality” at all.  The only reality that I have seen in so many of them is that you will get hurt emotionally, you will have people stab you in the back, and you will end up looking like a fool in most scenarios.

So many “lovestruck” couples get ideas in their heads of what marriage is going to be for them.  Shortly after they say “I do,” their “reality” sets in.  While women find fulfillment in relationships, men find fulfillment in their accomplishments.  They find fulfillment in being able to cross one more item off of their lifelong list of things to do, and getting married is usually one of those items.  While the wife wants to nurture their relationship, have candlelight dinners, and cuddle on the couch together, the man may be looking at his agenda, searching for the next thing to conquer.  For the bride who has the “lovestruck” notion that her new husband will meet all of her needs, she finds that she is bitterly disappointed.

TV doesn’t help in the view of marriage.  There are so many shows which have fairy tale endings such as Cinderella.  Her prince charming comes and dashes her away to live a perfect life, willing to meet her every wish.  We all know that isn’t reality.  Reality is that over 50% of marriages will fail.  Reality is that there are many wives who face physical or emotional abuse on a daily basis.

Ladies, your husband will fail at some point.  Maybe he won’t ever beat you or commit adultery.  Praise God if he doesn’t!  However, we need to remember that he is just a man, and man will at some point have failures to face.  How we, as wives, respond to those failures will speak volumes to him.  When failure hits him, he is going to be dealing with a myriad of emotions and thoughts.  He may feel worthless, fearful, stressed, insignificant, or unloved, just to name a few.  His self-esteem may be at an all-time low.  As the woman who has vowed to honor and cherish this man, we must guard our words, as well as our body language when he faces these troublesome times.

One thing we often try to do is help him, but we do it in our own strength, rather than depending on the Lord.  By continuing in our own strength, we may blurt out, “I told you it was a bad idea!”  So much for following the biblical mandate to encourage one another!  (Heb. 3:13, 10:25) Poor hubby already knows it was a bad idea; that’s why it failed!  He doesn’t need us to remind him of that failure, making him feel like more of a failure himself.

It’s important to remember that when we face failures, we often view ourselves as being the failure, when in reality, the failure came through something which we may have done.  There is a difference.  For instance, if I try a new recipe and it turns out terrible, that doesn’t mean that I am a failure at cooking.  It just means that particular recipe was a failure.  I have to move on to another meal, forgetting about the previous one.

We must be diligent to pray even more aggressively during these times.  God is willing to give us wisdom when we ask for it.  (James 1:5) What we  think we should say to him may not be the wisest thing to say, so we must stay connected to the Lord, trusting Him to help us be an encourager.  We are told in scripture to bear one another’s burdens.  (Gal. 6:2) Many times we think of doing this to those outside of our home, but whose burden would be better to bear than our spouse’s?  After all, we did vow to love him in the good times and the bad times.

We need to be considerate of his feelings and moodiness.  Let him know that you are there for him if he wants to talk, but let him know that you don’t want to force him to talk if silent reflection is what he feels that he needs for the moment.  My husband has been going through some real trials lately.  On top of that, he is overwhelmed with three jobs that loom before him.  It seems like he is running into difficulty with all three jobs.  While letting him vent to me this morning, I casually mentioned a couple of things which the Lord has recently shown me, and gently suggested that he try looking at his tasks in the same way.  I believe that part of why he was receptive to this is because I take the time to ask him about his work.  I also ask if there is anything I can do to help, and I sympathize with what he is feeling.  I don’t try to solve his problem, or attack his manhood by telling him that he is doing it all wrong.  I give him the listening ear that he needs, and then he is receptive to a gentle, biblically based admonition, because I’m not preaching at him.  I am just gently instructing him on something that I have been praying about in my own life, and sharing what God has shown me.

When your husband is facing bitter disappointments, be sure to tell him that you’re sorry it didn’t work out like he had hoped.  Tell him that you can certainly understand how discouraged he must be.  After you have taken time to acknowledge the situation, along with his feelings about it, then you may find it appropriate to gently remind him that God hasn’t ever failed you, so you have confidence in God’s ability to see him through this time.  Remind him that God has started a good work in him, and God will carry it through to completion.  Phil. 1:6

In closing, we need to remember that God made man with an intense need for sex.  When he is going through troublesome times that leave him feeling like less of a man, we can do a fabulous job by being responsive in that area.  We may even need to be the initiators, letting him know that we still find him desirable.  That physical release can be a huge help to a man who is facing some stressful times.  Make it fun for him to be home.  I have mentioned before how we, as wives, should make the home a refuge from the things of life.  At times, that refuge may simply be in the bedroom.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Raging Hormones

Raging Hormones

As women, we are faced with a myriad of emotions caused by those wonderful things called hormones.  Most of us would probably admit to only feeling really good (hormonally speaking), for about two or three days a month.  We can become quite pitiful on those bad hormonal days.  We may even go as far as to think some of the very words which Job spoke.

In Job 3:1, he cursed the day of his birth.  Have you ever been there?
In verses 12-13, he asks why there were hands to receive him and breasts to nourish him.  He states that if he had been left to die that at least he could now be in peace.  Have you ever had suicidal thoughts, even for a fleeting moment, thinking of the “peace” you could have, if only you were dead?  We know who gives us those thoughts, don’t we?

In verse 20, he complains of light being given to those in misery and life to those who are bitter in soul.  Have you ever had those times where your hormones make you feel that you are to be pitied above everyone else?

In verse 24, he speaks of the sighs and groans which pour from him like water.  Do you ever have those days when you are just positive that you can’t go any further, where all you can do is sigh and groan?

In verse 26, he is crying of no peace, no quiet, no rest!  Only turmoil!  Oh my, can’t we all say Amen to having had those days?  We have ALL been there!  The baby has colic or is teething, the children are constantly squabbling, and the phone never stops ringing.  The washing machine must run for several hours or there will be no clean clothing for anyone.  We can’t even go to bathroom for two minutes without hearing, “M-o-o-o-o-m!”  Just when we think hubby will be home to help, he calls to say that he is working late.  On top of all of this, we are still dealing with raging hormones.

Here is my own paraphrased version of Ps. 139:8-10.  If my hormones have me feeling like I can take on the world’s problems, God is  there.  When my hormones leave me feeling distraught and in the depths of despair, God is  there.  If I rise with energy that makes me feel like I’m soaring on eagle’s wings, God is there. And on the days when I want to run away from it all, then God is still there, and He even firmly holds me with His hand.

On those days when you feel so out-of-control because of those hormones, remember to cast your cares upon the Lord.  He will sustain you because He won’t let the righteous fall.  (Ps. 55:22)

Mt. 11:28-30 tells us to come Jesus when we are weary and burdened.  He is the one who knit us together, hormones and all.  He desires to give you His rest and His peace.  While your burdens are often overwhelming and heavy, He promises to give you a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Prayer Series – Persistence in Prayer

Persistence in Prayer
How often do we give up when we don’t see any results from our prayers?  I know in my own life, if I don’t get “drive-through service” with my prayers, I tend to get discouraged.  I want things done my way and in my time.  But God tells us that His ways aren’t our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.  Jesus teaches us in Lk. 18 the parable about how we should always pray and not give up.  The unjust judge finally has mercy upon the woman’s insistent pleas.  Jesus points out to us that God will have even more mercy and justice for His children than an unjust judge.  So, KEEP PRAYING!

We are admonished in Phil. 4:6 that in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to bring our requests to God.  Yes, I admit, this can take some time.  But look at verse 7.  IF we take the time to unload our burdens and cares upon the Master, His peace will guard our hearts and minds.  How often do we find the time to pick up the phone and voice our woes to a friend?  Those are times that we could have been praying.  Or do we fall into the trap of using the internet when it would be much more productive to talk to God?  Many times we won’t take the time to pray, but yet we will take the time to go visit a Christian counselor.  That ends up not only taking our time, but our money as well!  Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with getting counseling, provided that we really need it.  I am just saying that it’s quite possible that if we take the time to spend with the Lord, we may just find that our mind has been touched by the Great Counselor.

As I was looking at Eph. 6 where it talks about the armor, prayer is actually part of that armor.  It’s not just another weapon though; it’s part of the actual warfare itself.  The Full Life Study Bible (p. 413) says that to fail to pray diligently is the same as surrendering to the enemy.  As I pondered on prayer being part of the armor, it dawned on me that when we fail to pray, it’s similar to going outside without being fully clothed.  An appropriate way to put it for women is to say that it’s like going to church without having put on your makeup!

A final thought on the subject of prayer is that we should be diligent in training ourselves to pray because our prayers please God. (Pr. 15:8)  We also know that He hears our prayers.  (Pr. 15:29; I Pet. 3:12)

Father, help me to make the choice to train myself to be more diligent in praying.  Not praying just so that I can unload my burdens, but praying so that I can be intimate with You.  Place within me a desire for that awesome intimacy that I know YOU desire for me to have.  Help me to let You be the apple of my eye, the rejoicing of my heart, the very center of my life.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R. Miller