Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Challenge #3: Proverbs 31:12

My Time as a Proverbs 31:11 Woman:

"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil."

So, this week I was aiming to be more trustworthy and I decided to put my main focus on gossiping. Whoa baby! I hadn’t realized how many opportunities arise to gossip during a week, nothing really concerning my husband, but about things going on around me. I don’t really think that I’m much of a gossiper but it’s easy to sit there and listen to someone gossip or to make a small comment about something. Every time I found myself partaking in gossip, I tried to say something positive about the situation or bring up a new subject altogether. It made me realize how unproductive that kind of conversation really is…it takes away from meaningful discussions that I could be having, it could stress me out, it could turn people away from God if they hear me gossiping, and most importantly it doesn’t honor God. Isn’t that our main purpose? Aren’t we all trying to be more Christ-like in our daily lives? How can we portray Christ when we are participating in meaningless chit-chat? The Bible even talks about how unruly the tongue is in James 3:1-12, more specifically in verse 8 “But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Thankfully, with a lot of practice and God’s grace we can aim to have our actions and words bring glory to Him.

We can learn to be trustworthy to our husband and others in so many different ways, and some of the comments from my earlier post were so encouraging that I wanted to share with you. Here are just a few of them:

“If we are always thinking about the most positive aspects of our hubby then that will be what overflows in our speech.”

“I want my husband to trust me with everything (the way I spend my time during the day while I'm at home, how I make wise decisions with money, how I talk about him and lift him up, etc).”

“Ensuring we are a trustworthy person reflects striving towards selflessness by putting the other's need to know they can have confidence in us above our own desires to vent or find common ground among friends.”

How did you do with this challenge? Where you able to build, uplift or encourage someone this week by being more trustworthy?

Challenge #3: Proverbs 31:12

“She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

Umm…ALL the days of her life? Really? Do I have to? What about when he is really cranky; or when he makes a mess and doesn’t clean up after himself; or when he is rude to me? Surely, I don’t have to do good to him then, right? Or what about when I am too tired; or I’m too busy; what if I’ve just had a rough day and I don’t feel like being nice and doing good? YES, I must. Why? Because that’s what God commanded me to do.

A good woman is unshaken, unmoved, faithful, ceaseless, enduring, unchanging, loyal and permanent. This means she is consistent in her love. She isn’t all lovey-dovey one minute and then a crazy woman the next. She makes it her constant business to do him good.

In what ways can you do good to your husband?

- You can be their cheerleader! You need to be there to encourage him, his ideas and his hobbies.

- You need to make him feel important and loved. It’s important to greet your husband when he has just come home from a long day at work. Sure, you may have had a crazy day too (at work, laundry, dishes, housecleaning, making dinner, breaking up fights, cleaning up after the dog, wiping butts and noses, etc) but that initial greeting can set the tone for the rest of the day/evening. What message does it send to him when he walks in the door and no one is there to greet him with a kiss? Was he missed, are you thankful he went to work, do you even care he is home?

- You need to set time aside for him. Make sure you are having regular dates to spend time alone with your husband – especially if you have kids. Don’t get me wrong, kids are wonderful and all but we need a break every once in a while. If you are able to get out and have a night on the town, good for you! If you aren’t, then make a date at home. After the kids go to bed, have a candlelit dinner and some adult conversation – no talk about kids, work, home projects, etc. Just spend some quality time together.

It all comes down to your attitude. Realize that your attitude is more important than your actual deeds. For if our attitude is one living without faith and dependence on Christ's strength, then our service to our husbands, children, friends is all in vain. Because we will inevitably wear ourselves out trying to be the perfect woman all on our own, thereby attributing no glory to God.

In order to do any good to our husbands, we need to practice humility.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

God’s Timing – Not Mine

Tomorrow is my daughter Tori’s 4th birthday. I can’t believe it has already been that long since she was born, it feels like just yesterday. As we get ready to celebrate her birthday tomorrow, I can’t help but think back to the time before God gave her to us.

October 2004 – Rick and I had only been married for a year and half and we weren’t even planning on having kids until after 3 years – at the very least. Around that time, one of Rick’s coworkers had recently suffered from a brain hemorrhage and died. His name was Dan and he was only in his early 20’s – just like us. Just thinking about how young he was, and the fact he was just recently married made us realize how short life is and we wanted to make the most of it. After a while, we both decided it was time to start a family.

I was SO excited! The only people that we told were Bryan & Shannon (Rick’s brother and his wife) and they lived in Virginia at the time. I assumed that once I got off the pill I would be able to get pregnant right away and by Christmas time we could surprise everyone with our wonderful news. Well, Thanksgiving passed, then Christmas passed, and then New Years, before I knew it we were into February. By then we decided it was time to call the doctor.

The doctor told me that I had high prolactin levels (called hyperprolactinemia) and that was causing me not to get pregnant. This is caused by either a) prolactin producing tumors in the pituitary gland b) pituitary tumors or c) benign tumors in the area around the pituitary gland. My heart sank as she told me the news. I remember my eyes filling up with tears. Not only could I not get pregnant right now but I might have a tumor too?! So, we scheduled an MRI to check things out. By now, we knew we had to tell our family that we were trying to conceive and we needed their prayers for my upcoming MRI. They were all so supportive.

Here is one of my journal entries from that time:

February 21, 2005

“Lord, please give me a peace and calm spirit about Your will for our lives. I want a baby so badly – You know my heart’s desires. I want to be a mother and be able to hold and love my baby. You’ll bless us with a family someday. I can’t wait to look into the eyes of the beautiful baby You will have made for us. Please have Your hand on my body, please protect me from anything that would hinder me from having a child. I pray that You would bring me peace and comfort. I know that Your plans are better than ours, Your timing is perfect.”

A few days after my MRI, the results were in. There was nothing there! Although they still weren’t able to find out what was making my prolactin levels increase. But I didn’t care, I was SO relieved that I didn’t have a tumor – on my brain! Thank you Lord for answered prayers!! So, I was put on medicine (bromocriptine) to lower my prolactin, I had to go have blood drawn every two weeks and I needed to start charting. I did this all spring and all summer. It seemed like everyone – and I mean everyone – was getting pregnant around that time. I think we had a total of atleast 12 people we knew that were expecting, except for me. My levels were going down, but still…no baby.

October 2005 – I was driving to work one day and I had to pull over the car because I felt so sick. I hadn’t been sleeping well lately either. Of course, my first thought was that I maybe I was pregnant. But after so many negative pregnancy tests, it was emotionally draining to even think about having to go through another one. But still, I knew I needed to take one. It was a Friday night and Rick had to work. I figured that if it was negative, then atleast he wouldn’t have to see me be so sad about it. So, after I took the test I waited in my bedroom for well over the time that you are supposed to wait. I sat on my bed, praying so hard for strength if it was negative and begging for it to be positive. The moment of truth arrived, I lifted up the box I had put over it to look at it: there were two lines. “Wait, what does two lines mean?!” was the first thought to go through my head! I grabbed the box and compared the examples to my test…I WAS PREGNANT! I kept comparing them to make sure I hadn’t read it wrong. But I hadn’t, my baby was here. I was jumping around the bathroom, crying tears of joy and thanking my God for giving me this baby.

When Rick got home that night, Nala (our dog) greeted him at the door. On her collar was a tag that read “Hi Daddy! Victoria (our girl’s name) or Josiah (our boy’s name) is here!” He looked up at me, with a huge smile on his face and said “Are you serious?!” I showed him the test and he picked me up and we hugged and thanked God for our miracle.

After 13 weeks of only telling close family, we finally made our news public: We were going to have a baby!! And on January 4, 2006 we found out it was going to be a girl, our Victoria.

Tomorrow I will share with you her one of a kind arrival story.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Challenge #2: Proverbs 31:11

First of all, thank you to everyone for all the positive feedback you’ve been sharing with me! The comments, e-mails, phone calls and chats have been so encouraging to me. When I started this Proverbs 31 challenge, I just kind of assumed I wouldn’t be getting a lot of responses from people and that my thoughts would just be floating around cyberspace…untouched and unread. So, thank you for connecting with me and taking the time to read what the Lord has laid on my heart to share. Striving to be more Christ-like can be tough some days but knowing I will have to post what I’ve been doing is a huge encouragement and is keeping me accountable. So, again…THANK YOU and keep it coming!

Challenge #2: Proverbs 31:11

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”

Trust – reliance on the integrity, strength and ability of a person; confident expectation of someone.

The scripture clearly defines the Proverbs 31 Woman as a married woman. But the qualities she exudes are ones that all women should strive to have – married or unmarried. So no matter where you are in your life right now, it is never too late or too early to start practicing these important attributes.

The heart is a fragile thing. It is so easily broken. How many times have you been through heartache because a trusted friend has gone behind your back and done something to hurt you? It takes a long time to restore that friendship and gain trust from them again, doesn’t it? Now think of your husband, he is your bestest friend in the entire world isn’t he? Your soulmate. He knows he can share everything with you – his fears, his hopes, his dreams, his desires, his failures and so much more. He trusts you completely.

But what about when the girls all get together, it's so easy to start talking about our husbands and the things they do and don’t do around the house; their latest “great idea”; comparing them to other men; sharing that stupid thing he did last week and flat out mocking them. It's great to vent a little when you're out with friends, but not about your man.

As a wife, your role is to provide a safe place for your spouse. You should be the one person he can trust above all others to have his back. So when you go around sharing the things that are meant to stay just between the two of you, you are negating one of the very strengths that you bring to the relationship.

This also goes for our friendships. We women are great at gossiping, we like to be the first to share the juicy details. While you’re talking with your friend who is confiding in you about something she is going through, we are already thinking about who we can call next to share it with! Next time you are faced with the temptation to “tell all”, STOP and remember that you have been confided in and someone has placed their trust in YOU. If you destroy that trust, it will take a long time – if ever – to restore it again.

Your husband needs to know that he can trust and confide in you in all aspects. He trusts you to be faithful to him, with his children, handling the affairs of the house, and with the things that he only tells you – the things dear to his heart. Because of your fear of and your dedication to the Lord, your house will be prosperous. If you treat your husband with faithfulness, devotion and affection, it will make him view his home as a place of safety that brings value to his identity.

Your husband will be in need of nothing for you will have well satisfied him on all fronts. He thinks himself so happy in you that he envies not those of the world who have the most wealth; he needs it not for he has enough, having such a wife as YOU.

Leave a comment, and let me know what you think of this verse and what it means to you. How do you plan to build, uplift and encourage your husband and friends?

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Time as a Proverbs 31:10 Woman

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”

Since I started this challenge a few weeks ago with my sister-in-law, I have had a lot of opportunities to go “far above”. I’ve tried my hardest to follow through with all of them, but I am human and some of those opportunities did pass by. I did all the laundry but didn’t put it away. I didn’t empty the dishwasher before I went to bed. I let the dust pile up for a few more days. I didn’t get a chance to organize all this stuff I had planned. Sometimes when I would think about those things that I didn’t do I would get discouraged and think that going far above is way overrated! Who has time to be THAT perfect?! But then I remembered that the only way the Proverbs 31 Woman excelled in these areas was because she daily feared the Lord (verse 30). I wasn’t fearing the Lord while I was trying to check off my “To Do List”…I was just trying to do everything perfectly, according to the way I thought it had to be done. Truth is, it doesn’t matter if my house is absolutely perfectly clean when I go to bed at night (although that would be SO nice), what matters is that I have made a difference in the lives of my kids and husband and those around me. It matters that I have sacrificed my time to help Tori color Princess Jasmine and all of her other Princess friends; that I stopped what I was doing to play catch with Jack; that I put away my distractions and play and cuddle with Addison. Once the kids are all in bed, it matters that I take the time to hang out with my husband. I can worry about the laundry, dishes, toys, dust, grocery list, organizing, e-mail, Facebook notifications and TV shows another time. It matters that I make the most of every moment with my family and the people that mean the most to me. Make sure you don’t get so caught up in the everyday responsibilities that you miss the most important opportunities with the ones you love the most. Once I remembered what going far above was really about (being unusually excellent, precious and unique…not being perfect), then it made it easier to look for chances to make a difference.

It was getting to be that time again. When there isn’t much left in the fridge and you are running pretty low on dinner options…grilled cheese on the end slices of the bread anyone? Yes, time to grocery shop…YUCK! Rick already had plans that evening so I asked my Mom to watch the kids for me so I could grocery shop in peace! I could take my time and get what I needed, and I could return all those soda bottles/cans that have been piling up for the past few months! So there I was, off to Wegmans.

I don’t usually return the soda bottles, that’s Rick’s forte…he’s the one that drinks it all anyways, why should I have to touch all those disgusting bottles? Oh well, it had to be done. When I walked into the bottle exchange area (a section that is completely separate from the rest of the store) there was a line at one side and on the other side was a lady with two huge carts filled with bottles, going pretty slow might I add. So, there I waited. And waited. I waited until everyone else was gone and it was just me and the other lady returning our bottles. Being short on time already, I was trying to go as fast as I can. But then, out of nowhere, I felt something bump into me and almost knock me to the ground. I looked over and the lady next to me had fallen and was lying on the ground. I immediately went over to her and asked if she was alright. She apologized and then told me she had gone to chemo that afternoon and was feeling lightheaded but wanted to get those bottles returned anyway. She pulled back her cardigan and showed me her bandages above her chest as to reassure me that’s what the problem was. I sat there on the floor with her for a moment making sure she was okay to get up, and asking if I should call anyone for her. She said she was alright so I helped her up. I watched her struggle back to her cart and begin putting the bottles in the machine. I quickly finished returning my bottles and then went over to her carts and told her I would help her return the rest of her bottles. She said she would be fine but she was still moving so slowly and I would hate to have her fall again and be alone in there. So as we stood there returning the bottles we introduced ourselves – her name is Tamara – and talked a little about our lives and her cancer. She said she was returning the bottles for money to pay for some of the medicine she needed for her cancer treatment. After all the bottles were returned she gave me a big hug and told me how much she appreciated my help and offered me the bottle return receipts. Of course, I told her I wouldn’t take them and that I was happy to help. So we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

I am so thankful that I wasn’t in too much of a rush to miss that opportunity to help Tamara. I hope that through me she was able to see a small glimpse of God’s love and that she will be encouraged. I hope she thought that my actions were rare, uncommon and unusually excellent.

Where you able to go far above these past 2 weeks? Was there something that you learned as you were striving to be like the Proverbs 31 Woman? I learned that it’s not about being perfect, but being able to seize the opportunities that God has placed before you to make a difference and show His love to everyone around you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The First Step Is: Admitting It!

Okay, okay, I’ll admit it! I’m addicted – to COFFEE!! I’ve become one of THOSE people! I love the smell of it! I love the taste of it!

Instead of grabbing some Tylenol when I feel a headache coming on, I make myself some coffee. Every time I go somewhere I can’t help but think to myself “Hmm, where is the nearest place I can grab a coffee?”. When my Mom stops by, she comes with a coffee in her hand for me – she knows I have a problem but continues to encourage it. Rick has even caught on that when he is out running errands he should be bringing home a coffee for me…because a happy, fully-caffeinated wife makes for a happy home!

Last night I wanted to get out of the house so I packed all three kids up in the car and drove us to Tim Hortons (or “Tim Portons” as Jack and Tori would say) to get some coffee – and some donut holes for the kids too. I’ve trained Tori and Jack to keep their eyes open for Tim Horton locations...once they spot one they say “Mom, there’s Tim Portons!” and, of course, I usually swerve into the drive-thru and order my medium regular french vanilla coffee – double, double….Mmmm, it’s like a small taste of heaven!

Rick doesn’t drink coffee, just me. That’s why I hate making some if it’s only me who drinks it because there is always perfectly good leftover coffee. I recently read in a magazine what to do with all that leftover goodness!

1. Pour it into ice cube trays and freeze them.
2. Pour a glass of cold milk and drop in a few coffee ice cubes.
3. Drizzle with some chocolate syrup and – voila! – a delicious iced coffee just for you!

Do you drink coffee? Do you love it as much as I do – or am I really pathetic? If you don’t like coffee, what is your favorite drink?