Submission – The Dreaded “S” Word

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The Dreaded “S” word – Submission

Submission should be something that we are honored to do, but oftentimes, it is dreaded as something so horribly awful.  I think that there has been some teaching out there that is unbiblical regarding submission.  As I learned some Biblical things about submission, it has helped me look at it in a whole new way.  I pray that the insights will help each one of you be able to embrace the role of submitting to your husband.

I like the Amplified version of Eph. 5:33 — …let the wife see that she respects and reverences (deeply respects, loves, and is in awe of) her husband.  She should notice him, regard (consider, gaze upon, to hold in affection and respect) him, honor him, prefer him, venerate (look upon with deep respect) him, and esteem (to value highly) him, and that she defers (to yield with courtesy) to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.

As God has delivered me from some patterns of wrong thinking due to moral
failures that occurred before I was married, I have been able to enjoy my husband in new ways.  We have been married almost fifteen years now, but oftentimes, I find myself flirting with him, just with my eyes.  We will both get to giggling, and then Rachel will start saying, “What’s so funny?”  Which, of course, only makes us laugh harder.  We just tell her that it’s something between mommy and daddy.  If you aren’t in the habit of flirting with your husband, I highly recommend it!  You may be very pleasantly surprised at the results.

One year I bought some massage oil for him.  Even after being married well over ten years, he blushed when he opened it.  This was just another way of regarding him and esteeming him.

In the above verse in Eph. 5, it mentions preferring your husband.  A way to show that I prefer him is that when he gets home in the evening, I try not to make any phone calls.  If a phone call comes in for me, I keep it short, and just explain to the person that my husband is home so I need to go.  I also try to stay off of the computer when he is home.  This shows honor to him, as well as preferring him.  I also don’t make plans to get together with my girlfriends when he is going to be home.  Another way to show respect for him is that if you are watching TV, and he wants to talk, turn it off.  Show him that you are more interested in what he has to say than what the “one-eyed monster” is saying.

If you feel that you are at a loss of how to apply this scripture in your marriage, ask God to reveal to you ways that you can apply it.  I did that and God began to show me other ways, as well as what I had already put into practice.  One thing is so simple, but yet it is still a way to respect and regard him.  When I wash the bath towels, I always put his on top of the stack.  Then when he needs it, he doesn’t have to dig through the stack.  I try to keep socks and underwear for him in the bathroom so that when he goes to take a shower, it’s one less thing that he has to dig out from the bedroom.  These are such simple, easy things, but as moms, don’t you find that it’s the simple things that your spouse does for you that you tend to appreciate the most?  For instance, what if he makes the bed or says that he will do the dishes?  Those things don’t take up a lot of time, but I know that I deeply appreciate having someone else do them for me once in a while.

A way in which you can defer to your husband is by letting him choose the TV show for the evening or even by letting him pick the restaurant when you are going out to eat.  Even if you may not feel like doing it, when he says, “Let’s go to…,” answer enthusiastically by saying, “Sure!  Sounds great!”  This is just one more way where you defer to him.  If he is suggesting that you go someplace, it means that he is desiring YOUR company!

Many men don’t take the time to nurture friendships with other men.  They are too busy trying to make a living.  I began to pray about this issue.  It was only a matter of a few weeks before my husband was out having coffee and met another Christian man.  They get together often to chat.  I don’t begrudge him of this because I have seen the difference that this one friendship has made in his attitude.

While on this subject, let me highly recommend the book called “The Power of a Praying Wife.”  It is an awesome book that will help you pray more effectively for your husband.  That book is what lead me to start praying for a male friend for my husband.  I have added that book to part of my devotional time.  The prayers are loaded with scripture.  I love putting scripture in my prayers because I have no doubt as to whether or not I am praying for  God’s will.  It helps me to stay more focused on my prayers for my husband as well.  I have seen positive results from these prayers many times.

Another simple way I have found to honor my husband is by planning just about every night to use the massager on his back.  He gets to hurting, and that really does help to make him feel better, not to mention that it just plain feels good!  A side note here is that shortly after I started making this a habit, he was talking to a lady who asked him if I worked.  He responded by telling her “Yes, she works hard.  She has a hot meal fixed for me every night and she massages my back just about every night!”  That made me feel more appreciated than if he had brought home a dozen roses.

In I Pet. 3:1 it says that wives should submit to their husbands.  If you skip down to verse 5, it’s still talking about the submission issue, and it says that the holy women of old WHO HOPED IN GOD were submissive to their husbands, adapting themselves to their husbands.  The bottom line here is that if we can’t submit to our husband, then we have a problem with our relationship with the Lord.  Notice that the verse says the holy women of old hoped in GOD.  They saw their submission to their husband as a submission to God.  They trusted God to take care of them, even if their husbands made a bad choice.  Now I’m not saying that we need to submit to them if they are asking us to sin.  That is entirely different.

Let me give you an example.  My husband wanted me to start the process of looking for a different house.  I was not thrilled with the idea, but I obeyed him, and have started looking.  I am putting my trust in the Lord that if we are to move, that God will make a way for it.  If God doesn’t want us to move, then I am praying for Him to close any doors that my husband may want to go through that aren’t God’s plan for us.

I have found that it is really easy to look at someone else’s faults (including my husband’s), and want to pray for God to change them.  I have learned that it is much wiser to pray for God to change ME!  Often, God will let us go through things to teach us something.  There may be something that you really want to change, but God may want to get you to be content in the circumstance BEFORE He decides to bring about a change in it.  Hmm, seems to me that Paul mentioned learning how to be content in any circumstance.

Another way to show respect for him is to keep the house in good order.  No husband wants to come home to disarray after working hard all day.  I’m not saying to have the place spotless at all times.  I’m just saying that it should be orderly, without toys and clutter being everywhere when he walks in the door.  Your home should be a sanctuary for him, a place where he feels at peace and rest.  It should be an inviting place for him.  If you do this, not only are you following what God would have you to do, but you are also putting the enemy to flight.  You are giving one less temptation to your husband by making the home inviting to him.  You are making it a place where he wants to be.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

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Whispers of Love

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Whispers of Love

Do you ever do nice things for your husband, expecting absolutely nothing in return?  Our church had a carnival, raising money for a missions project.  While I didn’t have items to donate for the garage sale, I did bake some banana bread to be used in the bake sale, and we bought many tickets to spend at the carnival.  There was a booth of ladies, making fresh flowers in some pretty little cups, pots, etc.  It only took two tickets, which amounted to fifty cents, to purchase some of these fresh flowers.  Rachel and I came home with three little assortments of fresh flowers.  That is something which I never purchase because money is tight, and could better be spent on other things.  You see, I gave only a small amount to the bake sale, but came home with lots of fresh flowers that were absolutely beautiful!  In my opinion, I got the better end of the deal.  The point is that we can do things for God, expecting nothing in return, but we will quickly see that He will outdo us because you just can’t outgive God.

Do you remember those times when you were dating, and you would try to steal away, just long enough to call your love and tell him that you love him?  God wants us to do just that.  One day I was praising Him, and someone walked into the room.  I got up long enough to go to the bedroom and lavish some love on my Lord.  I could have continued to do it with others around, but I wanted that intimacy with my Lord, and I didn’t want to share it with anyone.  It’s similar to those times of intimacy with your spouse.  Things happen that the two of you may find quite funny or intimate, but they are things which remain just between the two of you and no one else.  We can have that kind of intimacy with our Lord – where we steal away to whisper loving, intimate things to Him which no one else is privileged to share.

Recently while at church, there was such an awesome presence of the Holy Spirit.  The only way I can describe it to you is to say that it was like I was enveloped by His presence, feeling His kisses caress every inch of my soul.  It was an awesomely intimate, spiritual experience.  Words can’t even begin to tell you how truly beautiful it was.  Since that time, when I think about the Lord, I actually get those fluttering feelings in my stomach, just like we all did when we first fell in love.  I never knew that I could have this kind of relationship with the Lord, and I wish that mere words could explain the awesomeness of this intimacy, but it just can’t.  Just like you can’t explain the depth of your love for your spouse to someone else, it’s something that is so intimate between the two of you.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

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

To Love Much

To Love Much

Have you noticed that everyone seems to be so busy these days?  There never seems to be enough time to get everything done.

I have noticed this in my own life.  It is even more prevalent with working full time, home schooling, and trying to manage my home.  It is a constant task to try to keep my priorities in check.

However, with working at the hospital, there is one thing which frequently brings me back to reality, causing me to rethink my priorities.  It is being faced with death.

Recently, one of my favorite patients went home to be with the Lord.  Bonnie was an amazing woman, of whom no one could speak an unkind word.  When I read I John 3:14, where it says that we know we’ve passed from death to life because we love each other, I can’t help but think of her.  She was definitely a lady who loved much.

After she passed away, it got me to thinking about my own life and how I would like to be remembered after I am gone.  I also want to be known as someone who loved much.  It has challenged me to reach out to others and to love much.

Lord, help me to have a heart that reflects Your love to others.
© 2011, Stacy R. Miller

Motherhood – A Labor of Love

Motherhood – A Labor of Love

I have always been fascinated with pregnant women, so when I became pregnant myself, I was even more fascinated.  I loved being pregnant, and was constantly looking in the mirror at my growing belly!  How awesome that God chose women to have the blessing of carrying a child.  Even so, when it came time to deliver, well that is another story!  Those labor pains were no fun at all.  Thankfully, I only had hard labor about 30- 40 minutes before they rushed me down for an emergency c-section.  I have heard many stories of women who were in labor for over 30 hours.  I’m sure that some of you have your own stories about labor!

While I was pregnant, I kept having an intense burden to pray for Dennis Rodman (a former NBA star).  It became a joke that my “focal point” during labor would be a picture of Dennis Rodman.  Believe me, when those hard labor pains hit, looking at a picture of him was the last thing on my mind!  I so clearly remember that while in the middle of a big contraction, I heard the words “the baby is breech, we have to get her to surgery right away.”  My immediate thoughts were “Thank you Jesus!  I’m not going to feel pain much longer!”

I looked up the word “labor” in the dictionary and it said, “physical or mental exertion; work, to work hard, to move slowly and with difficulty, to suffer, to be in childbirth.”  It is obvious here that when the labor pains stop, the real labor is only beginning.  It is very hard to adjust to getting up several times every night to feed a new baby.  It’s a lot of work, just trying to get out the door with an infant.  There is always so much that needs to go with you besides just the baby!  Then there is all of that extra laundry that a wee one can cause!

As the baby gets older, there is the teething stage, then the separation anxiety stage, and then the potty training stage, and the list goes on and on.  I remember how every Sunday I would literally have to peel Rachel off of me to leave her in her class.  It was such a battle that by the time I got to my class, I no longer felt like being there.

When we were potty training, my mom commented that Rachel was the only child she ever saw who was literally potty trained away from home.  For some reason, she was very fascinated with public restrooms.  (I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t understand it!)  Of course, we never had her little seat with us that would attach to the toilet, so when I sat her down, I would take my hands and hold onto her legs so that if she would start to fall, I could grab her very quickly.  Then, if I needed to use the bathroom, she just had to mimic me, and put her little hands on my legs so that mommy wouldn’t fall into the potty!

As mothers, we are truly life-givers.  Not just by giving birth, but it is something that we do every day.  We do it with our words, through keeping a warm, inviting home, by being tender and loving in our actions, by imparting wisdom and instruction, to the food on the table.

Sometimes the growing which our children do can cause us more “labor pains.”  Like when given their first haircut, and suddenly the baby is no longer a baby, but a little boy or girl.

Later, there is the time that they want to leave the yard and go play with the other kids in the neighborhood.  Suddenly, I’m not the one she wants to be with all the time.  It was bittersweet.  I finally had a little more time to do other things, but I wasn’t so sure that I was ready for her to be out and about with the other kids in the neighborhood.  That meant that she was growing up!  What happened to my little baby?  She was just here a few days ago, and now, well, she’s growing up.  The pain of labor hits again.

Although I homeschool, I have heard the stories from other mothers about sending their child off to school for the first day.  There’s the labor pain again.  Later, we will probably all experience that labor pain of watching our child go off to college.  Does this labor ever stop?  NO!  As long as we are mothers, we are going to have some labor pains.

All mothers, at one time or another, are going to go through some suffering.  Romans 5 in the Message Bible tells us that we continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary, we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives! — God will use motherhood as a real pruning time for us.  I have grown more in my walk with the Lord since I became a mother.  It is the thing in my life that has caused the most sacrifice from me, but it has been worth EVERY bit of the sacrifice.

I remember hearing a lady on the radio talking about all the things which mothers do.  She used a term that I just loved!  She said that our title should be “domestic goddess.”  Don’t you just LOVE it!?  Shortly after hearing that term, I got a paper to fill out for jury duty.  What do you think I wrote down in the job title section?  You guessed it!  DOMESTIC GODDESS!  When I got called for jury duty, both attorneys commented on my response.  They both thought it was really funny.  — A quick side note here.  With everything going on at the time that I got called for jury duty, it would have been easy to question the Lord in why He was allowing me to go through that experience.  He knew good and well what He was doing.  It was a civil case that lasted three days.  It was very interesting to observe, not to mention that within a month of having done my civic duty, I was attacked by a pit bull.  You don’t find too many attorneys in church, but because God allowed me to serve on that jury and observe these attorneys, there was no question about who I was going to call to represent me.

Let’s look at some of the examples for ways in which we mothers labor.  Our job titles could be:  meal planner, chef, pharmacist, nurse, laundry attendant, chauffeur, teacher, personal care attendant (giving baths, etc.), bathroom attendant (wiping bottoms), maid, butler, bargain hunter, hazardous waste removal specialist (taking out the trash), germbuster (disinfecting the house after illness has been present), cheerleader (encourager), motivational speaker, accounts payable manager, scheduler, secretary, organizer, seamstress, inventory manager (writing grocery lists), snow removal person, lawn care attendant, arbitrator (settling arguments between the children),  principal (disciplining the children), life skills instructor, language interpreter (figuring out why the baby is crying), and finally, one which is critical for us to be:  the prayer warrior.  (I am sure that I left out many more job titles.)

Do you see it?  YOU ARE AWESOME!  Look at all of the things which God has entrusted us to do for our children!  He sees us as very capable or He wouldn’t have entrusted us with it.  Phil. 4 says that I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me.  THROUGH HIM WE ARE ABLE TO DO ABSOLUTELY AWESOME THINGS!

Lord, I know how overwhelming life can be at times, even though I only have one child.  Many of my sisters have more children than I do, so I know that they get weary and overwhelmed at times.  Help them to remember that it is only through You that we can accomplish Your purposes in our homes.  Help them to get their focus on You each and every day, and to be faithful in not only asking for Your help, but in looking to see how it is that You are helping them.  Help them to see You right there with them each and every day.  Help them to see Your tender mercies, which are new every morning.  Amen.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller