Unappreciated

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Unappreciated

A common thing experienced by women is feeling unappreciated as a wife and mom.  Yet God still sees EVERYTHING you do.  He sees your faithfulness in serving your family, and He sees the loving way in which you do it.  Though it may often go unnoticed by others, it will NEVER go unnoticed by your Father.

While you may get weary and worn in your daily duties, many of which can be very mundane, God sees your perseverance, even on those days when you are absolutely exhausted.

He sees you when you are up all night with a sick child.  He sees you on your knees in prayer over a wayward child.

He sees when you wash that load of laundry you would rather leave undone.  He sees when you wash that load of dishes when you would prefer to be reading a book or taking a nap.  He sees you cleaning the house when you would rather eat a good candy bar while chatting with a friend.  He sees you on those days when you feel so lonely, lost in the myriad of tasks which are part of motherhood.  In those times, He reaches out to you, saying, “My precious daughter, I am here.  Listen for my voice, for I am always trying to express my deep love for you.”
© 2007, Stacy R Miller

Toss it Overboard

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Toss it Overboard

I have noticed that occasionally the Lord will allow us to go through storms of life so that He can bring to the surface things that are hidden.

Do you ever feel like you are a ship, carrying too much cargo, and headed for stormy seas?  Sometimes the cargo we carry may be stored ‘under the deck.’  In other words, it is buried in the deep recesses of our heart.  God can see the rebellious attitudes, our never-ending quest to please man, bitterness, deep hurts that need healing, or even fears.  Whatever we may have hidden, God still sees it, and He wants to bring those things to light so that we can be free from them.

Paul was on a ship during a storm of hurricane proportions.  The ship took such a violent battering that they began to toss things overboard in order to lighten their load and save themselves. (Acts 27:13-44)

When God takes us through storms, He wants us to see those hidden things and toss them overboard.  He wants to help us lighten our load, taking on his yoke. (Matthew 11:28-30) When we learn to toss things overboard during our stormy struggles, God will help us to persevere, growing and maturing in Him. (James 1:2-4)

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

The Other Woman

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The Other Woman

Many times, we become so myopic with our vision.  We are focused on our own personal tasks, whether it be for our job, our home, our family.  We can miss out on those quality moments to minister to the ‘other woman’ who may be right in front of us.

Looking at the woman at the well, Jesus was likely tired and very thirsty, yet He took the time to minister to this woman at the very heart of her need. (Jn. 4:1-42) When Peter’s mother-in-law was sick, Jesus took time to heal her. (Lk. 4:38-39) If we take time away from our agenda, can we bring healing through our intercession to the ‘other woman’ whom God places on our heart? Can we be a healing balm to the ‘other woman,’ who may have a wounded spirit?

The widow of Nain depended on her son for financial support, and now he was dead.  Jesus cared enough about this ‘other woman’ to raise her son from the dead so that her needs would be met. (Lk 7:11-17) What about the ‘other woman’ you know who is widow?  Can you offer her a ride to the doctor so she doesn’t go alone?  Can you take a few moments to let her know that you are thinking about her, or that you appreciate her?

The sinful woman came to pour out precious ointment upon the feet of Jesus.  Yet, those around scorned her. (Lk 7:36-50) Would we be the same way with the ‘other woman’ if she suddenly started attending our church, and lavishly giving of herself to the Lord?  Would we be intimidated by how fast she was growing in the Lord?  Would we be jealous of her free worship of our Lord?

Joanna was a woman who supported the ministry of Jesus with her finances.  (Lk. 8:1-3) If the ‘other woman’ has implemented some really creative ideas to support the work of the Lord, would we stand back and criticize her?  Or would we desire to encourage her?

When the woman with the issue of blood approached Jesus, He was on His way to help Jairus, whose daughter was sick.  It’s implied in scripture that this ‘other woman’ wasn’t important because she wasn’t mentioned by name, yet Jairus was mentioned by name and occupation, giving us the idea that he was an important man.  Yet, we see Jesus take time for this insignificant woman. (Lk. 8) Do we forget about the insignificant woman in order to take care of the woman who seems to be more important in social stature?  Do we prefer to do our acts when they are seen by those ‘important’ people?

We see that the Syrophoenician woman had a serious plea and Jesus takes the time to respond to her. (Mt. 15:21-28) When the ‘other woman’ has a plea for a prayer request, do we take the time to agree with her right then in prayer?  Or, do we tell her that we will be praying, only to forget about her request in a matter of seconds?

A woman caught in the act of adultery was quickly condemned by the people, yet Jesus refused to condemn her. (Jn. 8:1-11) Do we condemn the ‘other woman,’ just like the people in this story did?  Do we begin to gossip about the woman, not even realizing that our mouth has led us into just as bad of a sin?  Do we remember that if it wasn’t for God’s grace, we could be that ‘other woman’?

Looking at Mary and Martha, we see Martha griping about the ‘other woman,’ who happened to be sitting at the feet of
Jesus, soaking up His every word.  (Lk. 10:38-42) When we see the ‘other woman’ being truly blessed by the Lord, do we find something about which to gripe?  Do we speak bitter words about her?

In Lk. 11:27-28, we find that a woman in the crowd cries out a blessing to Mary, the mother of Jesus.  How often do we take time from our own agenda to simply bless the ‘other woman?’

God sets many ‘other women’ in our path throughout the week.  Many of them have been battered by trials that we can’t even fathom.  Some are battling deep depression because they feel like nobody cares.  Some haven’t felt appreciated in a long time.  Who is Father laying on your heart?  Isn’t it time to break away from your own agenda and minister God’s agenda to the ‘other woman?’
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

The Adulteress

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The Adulteress

I love to read through Proverbs, but when I get to those chapters about the adulteress, and how to avoid her, I get a little bored.  After all, I am not ever going to visit an adulteress, nor do I have plans to ever be an adulteress! 🙂  So, how do I apply that portion of scripture to my life?

Proverbs 5:20 says Why be captivated by an adulteress?  Why waste time with a promiscuous stranger?

As I pondered on the above scriptures, it occurred to me that while we, as women, would never visit an adulteress, we can commit spiritual adultery.

There is so much in the world that tries to get our attention.  The new reality TV shows, secular books, the talk shows, soap operas, the malls, the idea of “keeping up with the Jones’s,” the Internet, and even adult toys and gadgets.  There is always something out there to tempt us to get our focus off of where we should be focusing.

I Jn. 2:15 says that we shouldn’t love the world or anything in the world.  If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  Wow!  That’s a tough one to think that if we love the world too much, God’s love isn’t even in us.  I’m not sure that I like that scripture!

It’s just too easy to get caught up in worldly things.  I remember right after becoming a mother, it was too easy to turn on Maury or Montel or Jenny Jones while I was sitting there nursing Rachel.  I missed adult conversation.  I had worked full time for many years, and suddenly, I was home with an infant who couldn’t converse with me beyond crying.  It was so easy to fall into the trap of letting the TV entertain.  Thank God, I quickly realized the effect those shows were having on me, and I switched to Christian TV, if any.  The atmosphere in the home was so different — so alive, instead of making me feel like I was drowning emotionally.

I’ve had a struggle with using the computer too.  We have only had it for about 6 or 7 months.  It’s so nice to be able to keep in touch with friends and relatives on a daily basis.  While that is good, it’s not so good when I begin, by my actions, to tell the Lord that I would rather be online than in His Word.

I even began going into Christian chatrooms, and found to my dismay, that many of them were “Christian” in name only.  There was still a lot of filth in there.  Sure, I could use the ignore button, but my eyes had already taken in what was said, and transferred it to my spirit.  I began to think of what Job said in chapter 31:1 about making a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully upon a woman.  I made a covenant with my eyes that I wouldn’t even visit the chatrooms because it was defiling my spirit.  Not only that, while I was in a chatroom, I wasn’t spending quality time with my daughter.  We had gotten away from playing games together.  Now that I am back on track, I really look forward to those times of the day when we can sit down and play games together.

Another area where we can struggle is in our choice of books to read.  There are many secular books out there that look interesting.  Some of them even relate to where many of us are right now — parenting.  But again, if you look at Ps. 1:1, it says that the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel (advice) of the ungodly is blessed.  Well, a secular book on parenting may have a few good ideas, but the fact remains that most of what is in the book is advice which is ungodly counsel.

Ps. 119:15-16 says that I meditate on your precepts, consider your ways, delight in your decrees, and won’t neglect your word.  NIV  How often do we neglect the Word, and if honest, we have to admit that we really had no good excuse for doing it?
119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”  NIV
When I open the Word, this is often a prayer which I pray for myself.  I want to see those hidden treasures in the Word because they are LIFE for me!
119:31  “I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord.”  NIV  How can we hold fast to His statutes if we don’t stay in the Word enough to even learn them?
119:58  “I have sought your face with all my heart.”  NIV  Hmmmm, have I really done that?
119:72  “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”  NIV  By our actions, can anyone tell that this is how we really feel about the Word?
119:92  “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”  Verse 111 says that God’s statutes are the joy of my heart.  Do we really delight in the Word?  If we do, then it’s a joy to read the Word.
119:131  “I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.”  NIV  When you haven’t spent your daily quiet time with God, is your relationship with Him so close that your spirit can actually pant for Him and His presence?
119:171  “May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.”  NIV
119:172  “May my tongue sing of your word for all your commands are righteous.”

Father, may You show us wonderful, hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Your Word each time we read it.  Let those quiet times with You become such a joyous treasure that our spirits will pant to be in those intimate moments with You.  As we have many things which require our attention every day, help us to keep our focus and our minds on You, knowing that You will keep us in perfect peace as we fix our minds on You.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Terrorist Attack

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Terrorist Attacks

When we hear the term ‘terrorists,’ most of us will think back to the terrifying events of September 11, 2001.  We weren’t doing anything to warrant such a vicious and unexpected attack, and it became very clear in the days following the attack that it was a very strategic one.  It was carefully planned to have the utmost impact.

I remember discussing the idea of starting this Internet ministry with a dear friend.  I was wanting her thoughts and any wisdom she had to share.  Her husband quickly mentioned that I should be on guard against attacks of the enemy.  After much prayer and input from other close confidantes, I launched this ministry and was amazed at how fast it took off and began to flourish.  I kept watching for an attack, yet none seemed to be coming.  Finally, I became lax about being watchful for the enemy’s attacks.  Satan caught my laxness and launched a vicious attack against me and my family.  A spiritual terrorist had invaded my home, and I was completely unprepared for the war in which I found myself fighting.

It started slowly — we discovered those nasty carpenter ants had invaded our home.  Shortly after we began treating that, a tornado went directly over our home.  Thankfully, it didn’t touch down until it has passed over us.  I breathed a sigh of relief and my heart was turned to praising God over and over for His watchful care and protection.

Suddenly, within a period of about three weeks, Rachel developed a chronic cough that not only was untreatable with codeine, but we discovered after two sleepless nights that codeine was a stimulant to her system, rather than a suppressant.  My husband has faced a myriad of problems with his job — nothing really big, but rather, those little things that tend to nag at you, destroying your sense of peace and order.  Nevertheless, it’s been quite trying for all of us.  Then the car had some major repairs.  When I went to pick up the car, it never even made it home!  Thus, more costly repairs followed the very next day.

The ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ for me was Mother’s Day weekend.  That is a very emotional weekend for me, being that I miscarried my first baby only a few weeks before Mother’s Day.  Even with as thankful as I am to have Rachel, there will always be the memory of my first Mother’s Day, spent with a heart that was grieving, dreams that had been shattered.  This same weekend, Dean made some critical comments to me that really wounded me.  I was an emotional wreck anyway (but he didn’t realize that), and then when adding to my fragile state-of-mind that words of affirmation is my primary love language, you can understand why his words were so hurtful.  Anyone who thrives on words of affirmation is crushed when someone is critical of them.  Any criticisms must be spoken gently, and with much love.  Instead of having an enjoyable weekend, I spent the entire day crying.

Not realizing that a spiritual terrorist attack was underway, I began to listen to the lies of the enemy.  I’m sure that many of you have heard these kinds of lies coming from Satan:
–You have no business teaching other women when it’s obvious your husband isn’t happy with the way you are taking care of things here.
— And to think that you were thinking of yourself as one who is becoming a Proverbs 31 lady!  You’re not even close!
— Who are you to teach others about submission when your husband thinks you do a terrible job in that area?
— You do a poor job of showing biblical love to your family, yet you think you have something to do teach others!  Get real — you can’t do ANYTHING right!
— You are a terrible housekeeper, a terrible mother, a terrible wife, a terrible Christian!  Who are trying to kid?

In actuality, my husband’s words had absolutely nothing to do with being loving, submissive, caring, or with the ministry to which God has called me.  His words had nothing do with the kind of wife and mother I am.  Satan had taken one little hurtful comment from my husband and twisted it to unleash an awful terrorist attack upon my thinking.

Thankfully, the Lord spoke to me and asked me what I knew about my husband’s character.  Here are some of the things He asked me:
— Is he usually a cruel man?
— Is he rude to me or others?
— Did he have a habit of belittling me or others?
— Would he ever purposely say something that he knew would deeply hurt me?
— If he knew that I was grieving over the miscarriage, would he have spoken something that could have hurt me so badly?  The answer to all of these questions was ‘NO!’

Next, the Lord gently reminded me that I had recently mailed out the devotions about how He’d set me free from a violent temper.  He reminded me of the many responses I received after writing about my own struggles.  Suddenly, I realized that without even knowing what I was doing, I had launched a terrorist attack on the forces of hell, and now they were fighting back.  It became crystal clear to me why on Mother’s Day weekend my husband spoke something that hurt me so badly.  Satan saw my frame of mind, and he used my husband’s words to try to get me to give up on everything.  What better way to attack a woman whose desire is to be a virtuous, godly, submissive, loving, and respectful wife?  What better way than to attack a stay-at-home mom — attack her in a way that makes her feel that she can’t do anything right, and that even her own husband doesn’t appreciate her!
Stay-at-home moms expect that the world won’t value or appreciate them for the sacrifices they make, or for the job they do in raising up a godly generation.  What we don’t expect is to hear criticisms (valid or not) from our husband!

The Lord had given me a clear picture of Satan’s terrorist attack against me. (II Cor. 2:11) Now it was my turn to stand against those schemes. (Eph. 6:11) I quickly went to Psalm 91 and declared every promise there for my household.  I began to pray more strategic prayers, using missiles filled with the blood of Jesus to stop the scud missiles of spiritual darkness in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12) I began to mentally put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:13), being especially mindful of the helmet of salvation to protect my thinking — making sure that my thoughts lined up to the truth, and not thinking upon those things which came from the Father of Lies. (Jn. 8:44)

I wish that I could tell you that this terrorist attack from Satan was over.  Unfortunately, we are still dealing with attacks, even in a physical sense.  Rachel had a pinched nerve in her neck just last week, not to mention several stomachaches.  I have been hit physically in a couple of ways recently.  The onslaught does continue, but I’m using my greatest weapons — prayer, quoting the Word, and fighting back through the power and authority I’ve been given through Jesus Christ.

So, here’s a breakdown of how to handle it when we are hit with a terrorist attack:
1.  Don’t ever quit being on guard against the enemy for yourself, or for your family.
2.  Realize that Mother’s Day is a great weekend for Satan to attack you.  Satan doesn’t want you to realize the impact you have on your children and your husband!  If you have times of the year that are exceptionally emotional times for you, warn your family ahead of time that you may be especially emotional.  Ask them to try to be mindful of your raw emotions, and to grant some extra grace to you during those times.
3.  When something happens between you and your husband, don’t listen to all of that twisted conversation that comes directly from Satan.  Rather, repeat to yourself what you know to be true about your husband.
4.  Speak the Word over yourself and your family on a consistent basis.  It will help to alleviate those terrorist attacks, and the attacks that do still come will be lessened if you are filled up with the Word of God.
5.  Talk to a trusted friend who can help pray you through.  Keep in mind – I’m not talking about calling her up and ‘husband bashing.’  I’m talking about mentioning some of the concerns you have, listening for some insights from her, and agreeing in prayer together.
6.  Ask God what He is trying to teach you when you go through spiritual attacks and trials.  This pleases God to know that you aren’t so consumed with your problems that you can’t keep looking for Him to show you some awesome lessons.  Then, wait in expectation to see how He answers you!  I can personally testify to being in total awe of some of the things God has shown me when I have asked Him what He’s trying to teach me.  In fact, this message was born out of that kind of prayer.

Sister, are you dressed for war?
© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

“Strip” Joint

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Strip Joint

I have met so many women who still feel tied to their past.  I can sympathize with them because I used to be the same way.  However, I have discovered freedom from those old patterns of thinking.

To find that freedom, I had to turn my heart into a “strip joint.”  I have developed an acrostic to help us remember the steps to stripping our minds of those old, useless thoughts.

S=Stop believing you are that old person. (Romans 6:6-7)
T=Tell yourself that you are a new creation. (II Corinthians 5:17)
R=Rip off old garments and refuse to listen to Satan’s lies. (Ephesians 4:22; John 8:44;
Colossians 3:8-10)
I=Invest in your spiritual life.  Many people will spend a fortune to invest in the latest   diet fads or fitness program, yet they won’t spend any money on something to nourish their soul. (Psalm 1:2; 119:15,78,97)
P=Prayerfully seek friendships that will encourage you to grow in your walk. (Proverbs 27:17)

Do you need to turn your heart into a “strip joint”?
© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Spitting Image

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Spitting Image

Before I gave birth to my daughter, I had never seen a picture of my husband when he was a baby.  I was quite shocked when I saw that Rachel was the spitting image of her father when he was an infant!

As mothers, we have the chance to make a spitting image every day.  A woman is the one who sets the tone in her home.  If she is happy, contented, peaceful, and kind, chances are that the rest of the family will be the same.  The reverse is also true.  If she is discontented, crabby, whiny, and angry, so will everyone else in the home.  Even when her husband comes home in a very contrary mood, if she can greet him in a loving, cheerful way, his demeanor will quickly change for the better.  If he comes with a smile on his face, she can quickly wipe it away, changing his disposition and his mood with only a few spoken words.

Your attitude is the root of the family tree.  What we sow, we will reap.  Bitter roots will bring bitter fruit.  Lovely, healthy roots will reap lovely, healthy fruit.

What do you want your children to become?  Become that yourself!  When others say that your children are the spitting image of you, it will be a compliment!

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

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