Monday, June 25, 2007

Husband Encouragement Challenge

Husband Encouragement Challenge -- Homework

List of ten things to continue:
1. Pray for my husband -- not with change as the focus, but thankgiving and God's hand leading me to meet his needs.

2. Daily consider things to say or do that show he is important to me.

3. Speak favorably about him to myself and others.

4. Daily offer thanks to him for something -- whether it be completion of a regular task or his doing something new. Recognizing him for being active in keeping our home a home.

5. Push negative thoughts out -- denying them residence within my brain.

6. Often, do something fun that is special for him. Maybe make cookies, fix something with b-b-q sauce, or wash the dinner dishes before dinner (wash pots, pans, measuring cups, etc. before dinner, so that not much is left for afterwards).

7. Don't take personally his behavior that is withdrawn or short. Often times there is something going on inside his head, but I need to allow him the space to work through it.

8. Allow him choices. When doing a project, often times I get it started and completed without involving him. This challenge helped me identify that he does want to be involved -- so ask what he might do with XXX or any thoughts on project Y.

9. Share with him my disappointments or dreams -- don't hold them inside figuring he will get that information by osmosis.

10. Stop and listen. Put the paper down. Turn toward him if I am cooking. Make eye contact. Keep my mouth shut to finish his sentences.

* Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
May God's Spirit be within me -- showing forth through me in my actions and words as guided by my thoughts on Him.

* Prov. 31 (Selections) An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels... She does him good and not evil all the days of her life...Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future... Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised...
My role as Marshall's wife and my response to being his wife go far beyond just him. At the heart of our relationship all is my love and fear of the Lord.

* Lev. 19:18 shall love your neighbor as yourself...
How do I want to be treated? That is how I should act toward my husband.

* James 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
Our relationship is under God's hand. If change takes place that is good -- it is through God's mercies, not my nagging or my efforts to be positive and to encourage. Instead, I must remember that all that we have came from Him -- all those things or behaviors that I count as important, are from our Creator, our Maker. Patting myself on the back and then getting frustrated when all does not continue to go as I want is not part of is best for me. Instead, that long slow process of growing and changing is like the potter with the wheel....

* Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. I saw this one on Sarah's site and it spoke to my heart as appropriate for me as well. Sometimes I mutter under my breath -- and these words should not be said if I don't want him to hear it -- don't say it, don't think it, not even "quietly".

Daily prayer:

God of renewal, everywhere your Holy Spirit breathes new life into creation. As I undertake this day to bring glory to you by honoring my husband, I ask you to be present in my marriage. Guide me to know in which things I should ask forgiveness, in which things I should change, and in which things I should ask for the grace to let go. Show me new ways to respect my husband today and open my eyes to all that you have made him to be. I trust in your goodness and in the covenant my husband and I made with you and each other on our wedding day. Through Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Posts and blogs

Prior to today, the last login to my blog on myspace. com was 2 weeks ago! Although reading what others have and using my sight as a doorway to visit with others, my site appears inactive. In reality, brothers and sisters in Christ share their faith and struggles within the daily walk -- and I am encouraged. The journey starts with some simple blogs:

* Husband Encouragement Challenge unites several of us in our journey to a better relationship with our husband. Although June is coming to a close, so our official challenge ends, I suspect each of us will continue with the purpose of being a better mate. The information itself starts from writings of Nancy Leigh DeMoss found at Revive Our Hearts. A prayer now at the end of the challenge each day has indeed become my prayer: God of renewal, everywhere your Holy Spirit breathes new life into creation. As I undertake this day to bring glory to you by honoring my husband, I ask you to be present in my marriage. Guide me to know in which things I should ask forgiveness, in which things I should change, and in which things I should ask for the grace to let go. Show me new ways to respect my husband today and open my eyes to all that you have made him to be. I trust in your goodness and in the covenant my husband and I made with you and each other on our wedding day. Through Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.*

* An Identity theme has me thinking of what qualities do others see? I love the shared list of Who I am in Christ reminds me that each one of God's children is important in His sight. The root of many problems falls in our failure to accept that I am accepted, I am secure, and I am significant. Unto the Lord I left a prayer that is at the end of Identity Pt. 2 -- I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

And from the simple, I find others that touch my heart...

* It is through my son or daughter's blog that I find a link to an old friend, not old as in age, hahaha, but old as in almost 30 years I have know this guy and his wife, but I am amazed at the depth of his faith. His recent blog about the unknown touched me with the final statements, "I don't know how much time I have left, and I don't know "diddly squat" about what will happen to me and around me. What I do know is that I want every moment to count." What will I do TODAY that will make an impact -- perhaps for someone's eternity?

* Thankful Thursday with 70 people joining together in thanksgiving to God.

* Connection with others that share a role that I find difficult at times. Just knowing another preacher's wife , the struggle with issues and people within the church is not so overwhelming.

* Or the variety of blogs on myspace or blogspot connected through "friends".

I praise God that we have a common bond that gives us joy and strength. I praise God that through His mercies, we are unified in Christ!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Husband Encouragement Challenge

I love the Father's Day pics, Sarah! Thanks for sharing the joy that you celebrated yesterday with Eli having a wonderful father!

This weekend I tried several things to encourage my husband.
1. Ask if he wants to play games on nights there is nothing acceptable on TV. He loves any type of game -- really gets into the challenge or competition. For me, the competition adds stress, so I try to avoid. In a compromise, I'll play the game, but someone can keep my score for me if they want -- I'll play for fun, but not for competition. This worked fine -- I found that playing was the important aspect for him, the "winner" was only a small piece of his experience. Also, if in doubt of who is winner since we weren't keeping score, we determined to flip a coin.
2. On Sunday I played the piano for worship since organist took the day off. This time I tried not to make a big deal about the hymns or my being nervous (I will give the music unto the Lord, but shake like a leaf in a thunderstorm). Rather than ask for hymns to be printed or copied for me, I used the accompanist edition and flipped pages to find the hymns as needed. I practiced at times he was not in the church or at home (which can be very tricky because the manse is right next to the church and he goes back and forth frequently during the day). Keying down my involvement seemed to help him stay focused on prepping the service.
3. For Father's Day I fixed Sauerbraten -- a dish that he comments about frequently. He loved it!
4. On Sunday after worship I was -- well, fiesty inside... I didn't feel like being very nice to anyone. Instead of being my usual pain-in-the-neck when I feel that way, I prayed frequently and stepped outside or downstairs as needed to give myself some breather space. It turned out, we had an enjoyable day and took a long walk in the evening topped off an ice cream at Dairy Sweet.

At times it is still hard to be positive, but I love the scriptures for today that remind me joy comes from being close to God. That joy then shows forth (then I think of the song, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Husband Encouragement Challenge

The challenge to look back and see where we were in our relationship as husband / wife and to look ahead. My husband is a minister, so one would think his spiritual life is perfect. However, in our time of encouragement, I have seen him become more comfortable in sharing his faith with me -- including it in his words as a daily part of his life. His training in seminary seemed to squelch that sharing -- it seemed his view is that a minister does not want to force his faith on others, but allow them to learn for themselves the relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a strength to me as he comments on his prayer topics or items of struggle with flesh / faith. If I know he is strong in his daily walk, it is much easier to accept that God is leading him and leading us a couple, through him.

Yesterday we were to reflect on integrity within our mate. It is difficult to list items or events that show or reflect that character that is righteous, so I take the challenge to comment directly to him (or about him) when his normal response reflects integrity. For example, the church is debating about adding a parking lot. At the congregational meeting on Sunday, my husband, as moderator, had to keep the meeting moving without interjecting his own feelings on the subject. Of course, he did a wonderful job and kept composure / peace in the midst. Not everyone could have known and followed Roberts' Rules, yet keep the atmosphere welcoming. That quality within him is something I just took for granted before this challenge.

One struggle that I have is related to timing. I want things to move faster than they do (sometimes) and to have answers quicker that they come. God is helping me to see that as a faith issue -- trusting in Him with my whole heart, soul, and mind (and love your neighbor as yourself). (Memory verse: Luke 10:27) The new verse for the week fits right with this thinking: Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5,6)

On a different note: Thanks, Sarah, for encouraging us all to make our relationship with hubby better!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thankful Thursday

It is good to give thanks to the lord, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High; to declare Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness by night...I will sing for joy at the works of Thy hands. (Ps. 92:1-4 selections)

Indeed, God has been good! I am thankful for many things, but here are just a few for today:
* Summer weather with sunshine and blue skies. I love getting outside in the morning and taking walk -- without bundling up in coat, hat, gloves, scarf.... And hearing the birds sing... And seeing the bunnies...
* For a house that is nice and enables me to have a computer, pictures, Bibles and other books, a sewing machine... Although my focus is not to be on things of this earth, I appreciate having "things" that help me enjoy my time here.
* God's hand moving in Marshall's and my thoughts. A year ago I did not want to stay in Iowa. A year ago, Marshall could not think of retirement and steps in preparation. Now, I am willing to stay here (and it seems evident that God's calling to Marshall is here), and Marshall is also saving $ and looking at houses to possibly buy so we have something when we must move out of the manse. Our thoughts run more parallel -- not in different directions.
* The
Husband Encouragement Challenge revises my thinking of ways to improve my relationship with my husband. The simple tool of communication between us has us talking of things that previously I thought were off-limits and he has shared things more freely because I think I am getting better at listening.
* Two children who love the Lord and live daily for Him. That reality has been my prayer for 20 some years now -- and they both have wonderful comments or postings on their own blogs that help me in my walk with Jesus Christ. Sarah is also sharing her faith with her son -- so faith is being carried from one generation to another.
* For family and friends that help me see God working here on earth through and with us.

I praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Husband Encouragement Challenge

Oopsss... The listening to my husband challenge for yesterday got me. Several times I found myself cutting into the middle of dear hubby talking -- to give a response -- and was stricken with what I had done. So, I have found a spot that does give me a real live challenge... It is hard to "simply listen" without commenting or asking questions in the middle when someone else is speaking.

Recently I had gone to a meeting that described people that get on your nerves as those who actually are doing something that we are guilty of. Yes, there are some people that drive me nuts with their talking -- never seeming to listen, but just talk on and on and on and on.... That workshop clued me that I have an issue with listening, but this exercise with hubby helped me to identify further an issue for me.

To be honest, this husband encouragement challenge has been good for us. I am seeing him as more of a regular person with needs and issues like I have -- rather than being a pot that is baked with no hope of change or being molded or softened. Also, I think we are both more positive -- little things in life are not causing us to draw into our little shells, but including the other person in what is taking place or what we are observing, feeling, or experiencing.

Started at

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Franciscan Christmas Blessing for Justice and Peace

A Franciscan Christmas Blessing for Justice and PeaceDecember 20, 2005

May God bless you with discomfort...
at easy answers, hard hearts,
half-truths ,and superficial relationships.
May God bless you so that you may live
from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with anger...
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may
work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears...
to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that
you may reach out your hand
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with
enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference
in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try
what you don't think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you'll have all the strength necessary.

May God bless you to fearlessly
speak out about injustice,
unjust laws, corrupt politicians,
unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,
and senseless wars,
genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.

May God bless you that you remember
we are all called
to continue God’s redemptive work
of love and healing
in God’s place, in and through God’s name,
in God’s Spirit, continually creating
and breathing new life and grace
into everything and everyone we touch.

Source: "Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine," published by the Franciscan Missionary Society, Liverpool, UK: Spring 2005.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Husband Encouragement Challenge Day 6

Creative things is easy to come up with for my husband. Although he loves stability and is a great Presbyterian because "we've always done it that way" he is very creative in the kitchen and with additions to the house to bring pleasure or solve a problem.

For example, when the kids were small, we wanted a place for them to play outside, but still be in a sheltered or confined space. So... He created and built a tree house. The door hinged to allow them playing outside in hot or cold temps. They could put the door up in summer to allow air to freely circulate -- or keep it down in the fall / winter when we need protection from the wind.

In the kitchen he will often follow recipe, but sometimes he changes it just a bit to adapt to preferred flavors or avoid allergy items. He takes a complicated recipe as a challenge -- not to be avoided, but to enjoy the making and eating.

For his job, creativity prompted his video taping the services -- including not only the text to our readings, but also the melody line. Some who watch the tape have commented on all the he includes -- thereby enabling them to enjoy and participate in the worship service when broadcast on TV (local channel).

Today I go home after visiting my daughter, her husband, and my wonderful grandchild. All that we have seen for encouraging our husband has been much on my mind, but have been putting it into place through e-mails and thoughts. This challenge encourages me to be more expressive -- typically I hold back thinking that the timing is wrong or that he needs his space. On Sunday I thought of Eve in the garden -- listening to the serpent's twisting of what she had been told. How often have I been listening to the wrong voice in making decisions within our relationship? Do I freely give through God's leading or do I make excuses for what is uncomfortable for me?

One of the memory verses on InLightofTheTruth is Psalm 86:11 -- Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth. Give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name. I praise you, O Lord, my God, with all my heart. I will glorify Your name forever -- reminds me that a relationship is a continuing process. He can teach us daily to build a husband / wife relationship.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Husband Encouragement Challenge

The concept of joining with others in a challenge that can change relations (in a positive way) is exciting! Right now I am visiting my daughter, her husband, and Eli (my grandchild), so my "work" with this husband challenge is long-distance for a few days. Still I find it meaningful to participate in encouragement of him and to him -- just not face-to-face quite yet. My husband is wonderful in many ways! He helps with chores, bakes bread (which I LOVE fresh out of the oven), and cooks on his day off or when we use the grill.

The challenge for me comes with the negative thoughts when things don't go quite my way. Why can't it be done MY way? God has been showing me that these thoughts are selfish -- I am looking at myself way too much.

More later, but for now these are my thoughts in thankfulness for a challenge that will help my relationship with one that is very important to me.