V i r t u o u s T h r e a d s

Archive for the ‘Spiritual Growth’ Category

This summer my husband Billy and I will celebrate the 12th anniversary of the day we pledged our unconditional love to each other.  Obviously I knew going into marriage that he loved me but what does love mean to someone who’s never known it?  I choose to look at God’s definition.  In Ephesians 3:18-19, we see that the love of Christ cannot be described in terms of length, height or depth. It goes far beyond our capability to measure it.  It surpasses knowledge, it is complete and perfect, missing nothing.  This is a foreign concept to most of us.

I grew up in a christian family but because of problems in my parents’ marriage and their own personal issues, I never felt that unconditional love from them.  It always felt like I was not good enough, not quite pretty or smart enough.  Especially with my dad, I never felt the security that comes from knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt you are loved just the way you are.  I was never Daddy’s girl or Mommy’s girl; I wasn’t special, just the oldest of four.  As I grew older into my teens, I dealt with depression and incredible emotional pain stemming from the belief that I must be unloveable.  Even though I believed the truth of God’s Word and His love for me in my head, in my heart I always felt like an outcast.  After all why would God love what my daddy didn’t?  In order to function I slowly built a wall between me and those people who were supposed to love me; God and my father.  It was a wall of numbness; I denied the pain and hurt I felt and chose to feel nothing, to not care.

Fast forward about 15 years, I’m married to a man who says he loves me and always will.  I accept this in my head but still have a subconsious expectation of failure.  Even through a decade of ups and downs raising 3 young children he remains steady, never wavering in his feelings and committment to me.  Why can’t I believe him?  He has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that he’s here for the long haul.  It’s that wall, the one I built to protect me from pain.  This last week Billy said something that cracked it wide open.  It’s not important what he said but the revelation of his love that came with it. I truly believe revelation is the revealing of divine truths and mysteries that can only come from God.  It was as if He enabled me to see through the wall to the truth. There is no way to explain to you how it feels to know for the first time you are loved from the top of your head to the soles of your feet, inside and out, warts and all. It was as if my heart and soul exploded.  As I cried I attempted to explain to Billy what had just happened.  He hugged me tight like he was never planning on letting go. I think we were both crying.

Today in church the puzzle pieces began to come together for me and make sense.  My head knowlege that my husband loved me was not enough to make me secure in that love.  I needed the revelation of that love in order to free me from the emotional wall I built for my own protection.  As a result of that wall coming down, I no longer struggle to trust Billy.  He has my heart and I know he’ll never break it.  I am so excited to see how this will begin to affect my relationship with God.  I’m praying that the numbness I’ve felt towards Him will also begin to dissolve and I’ll experience the revelation of His perfect love for me. I know I will cry but they will be healing tears this time.

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Yeah, I know.  Two posts in one day.  Who woulda thunk?

I just have to let you know about a book giveaway happening over at Passionate Homemaking.  Lindsay finds the best books!!

This is an excerpt from the original article published at Extending Our Reach.

As Gregg and Sono Harris share in the for­ward: “Contrary to what some in mis­sions have mis­tak­enly thought, we do not have to neglect our family respon­si­bil­i­ties in order to accom­plish God’s will in our min­istry to others. Sac­ri­fic­ing our chil­dren on the altar of mis­sions is very close to a modern form of Molech wor­ship, which God con­tin­ues to abhor. The family is not an obsta­cle to min­istry; it is a vehi­cle for ministry.  But like all road-​worthy vehi­cles, the family must be main­tained in order to go the dis­tance and finish the course over a life­time. And it has been made for the road, not for the garage. It actu­ally becomes stronger and more effec­tive as all of its mem­bers devote them­selves together as a team for ser­vice to others out­side the family.”

I find such comfort in God’s timing.  I was just discussing a related topic with a friend this morning and then found this on Lindsay’s blog a few hours later.  One way or another I’m going to get this one!

Ever since I wrote my last post, I’ve had an earworm stuck in my head……

What is love
Baby don’t hurt me
Don’t hurt me
no more

(lyrics by Haddaway)

I may have aged myself with that song but it makes me think.   How often do we as wives end up hurting the ones we love the most by our attitudes toward meeting their needs?  How quickly we forget that fine print we spoke as wedding vows:

I will live first unto our God and then unto you, loving you, obeying you, caring for you and ever seeking to please you. God has prepared me for you and so I will ever strengthen, help, comfort, and encourage you. Therefore, throughout life, no matter what may be ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as an obedient and faithful wife.”

Are you being these things, doing these things for others (maybe just yourself?) and neglecting your man?  I hope not but I have to confess right here that I’m guilty.  Didn’t do it on purpose but nonetheless I’m grateful to my Father for loving me enough to correct me and set me right.

Looking at the famous love passage in I Corinthians 13, I want to draw your attention to a few choice phrases that fit my theme today:

Love cares more for others than for self.

(Love) Doesn’t have a swelled head.

(Love) Isn’t always “me first,”.

(Love) Puts up with anything.

(Love) Keeps going to the end.

Wives, we’ve truly been called to be servants.  But it’s not enough just to serve, we’ve got to express our love for our husbands and for our God by having a servant’s heart.  We’ve got keep the reasons why we do what we do crystal clear.  Godly submission is a beautiful and powerful thing.   The Word says it is enough to bring an unsaved husband to Christ!  How much more can it minister and bless a christian husband and all those who see it???

So how does this play out?  Picture in your mind all the times you’ve bent to pick up dirty socks discarded mere feet from the hamper.  What did your face look like as you did it?  What thoughts were running through your head?  Ouch!! Maybe it’s yet another football game when you really wanted to watch a movie, or arranging the furniture to please someone else’s taste rather than your own.  The final straw might be cooking the meal he requested while nursing sick kids, doing laundry and dealing with monthly cramps.  This stuff is the nitty gritty of life-long love affairs.  We all deal with it, no one is married to the perfect man.  He doesn’t exist.  For that I’m kinda glad.  Gives me more room to mess up as I’m wont to do.

So what now?  Now you think, you reflect, and hopefully you’ll pray.  The Bible in Basic English says it this way:

“Make a clean heart in me, O God; give me a right spirit again.”               Psalm 51:10

We are coming up on Valentine’s Day. I have some friends who refuse to celebrate this day, saying that it is nothing but commerical hype. I feel like they are probably right but it still remains my choice to follow the crowd or put my own twist on the holiday. I am a planner, I am most happy when planning some event, a project, a meal, whatever I can get my mitts on that needs planning I guess! My darling husband is not a planner. So last year I took the lead and blew the budget on reservations for a beautiful room in a historical bed & breakfast, and a fantastic dinner at a new-to-us restaurant on the river. I took the time to plan out almost every detail to make that evening the most romantic, intimate, fulfilling date we had ever had. It was wonderful spending that time alone with him. I adore how my husband saves certain behaviors and personality traits for those times when we are on dates. Obviously this is a treasured memory for me and hopefully for him as well.

What has my attention right now though is:In the everyday routine of living, am I truly loving him?

What does real, everyday love look like? If I know nothing else, I know that love lays down it’s life. The more I examine my daily schedule or pathetic lack of one, the less convinced I am that I am truly serving my husband and loving him the way I have the opportunity to.

I’m going to make this a series starting on February 1st running through the 15th. I haven’t done this before but I feel like I’m ready. If you have something from your own life you think would contribute to this theme, please email me at virtuousthreads AT mail2rebecca DOT com.

Ahh, I’m so excited about blogging this year now that I’ve changed what it means to me. I’ve been with my great friend and mentor Diane this morning. The peace I feel when I leave her house is a wonderful thing. My spirit is growing as we in our study return to the essentials, the building blocks of the Christian faith. For me, this has been a major part of the process of coming up out of the depression which held me captive for sooooo many years. Rededicating my life and renewing my mind according the Word is enabling me to feel solid ground beneath my feet. It is responsible for my new priorities, new direction, goals and overwhelming HOPE for my future.

Good timing is such a delicate thing, very hard to learn and master. I’m so grateful to rely on my Father’s perfect timing!! We are incredibly blessed to be a part of a new church here in Claremore, The Well. Being able to serve the team and the community without thought of reward has become a welcome and freeing change of perspective. God’s love is sooo very real and tangible amongst this precious group of friends, that it humbles me. Not only is my Father taking me by the hand and teaching me how to live, He has given me a family, a church and a community in which to “work out my salvation” (Phillipians 2:12-13).

It thrills me to see how my transformation includes my art. A new logo design is coming together in my head and in the sketchbook. To me, my logo needs to embody not only the purpose of my business but the identity of it’s owner. This new sketch embodies it all, from His viewpoint I think.

I am blown away when I think of the blessings my Father has given me in the last 6 months. I look forward to spending 2009 using what I’ve been given to bless others, to truly minister God’s love and mercy to everyone I come in contact with.
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A song that is a voice for my spirit right now,

My Desire by Jeremy Camp on his Restored album,

You want to be real
You want to be empty inside
You want to be someone laying down your pride
You want to be someone someday
Then lay it all down before the King
You want to be whole
You want to have purpose inside
You want to have virtue and purify your mind
You want to be set free today then lay it all down before the King

Chorus:
This is my desire
This is my return
This is my desire to be used by you

You want to be real
You want to be emptied inside
And I know my heart is to feel you near
And I know my life
It`s to do your will
It`s to do your will

Chorus
All my life I have seen where you`ve taken me
Beyond all I have hoped and there`s more left unseen
There`s not much I can do to repay all you`ve done so I give my hands to use

Chorus

As I’m getting older and even more firmly into the age where I have things to do that won’t get done unless I do them myself, I’ve come to a realization. I have not been honest with myself. I pretend to be alot of things to myself and it’s not healthy. So for the sake of complete honesty with myself, (not because I have to blog about it) I’m going to expose my bad habits. And I’m thinking that if I tell you all then I can’t exactly hide, right? I will face them and one at a time, with God’s help I will change; change into the person I know I can be and need to be for my Lord, for myself and for my family.

1) I don’t like housework therefore most of the time I avoid it till it all has to be done at once because we are out of clean dishes and clean clothes.

2) Sometimes I’ve been known to spend bill money on yarn. I handle our finances so hubby doesn’t realize this. This is also the first habit I’m changing.

3) I over-commit myself when it comes to KAL’s and swaps. I have decided I won’t sign up for any more swaps this year, and maybe next year as well.

4) I’ve also been known to put my needs first instead of serving those who need me most.

5) I spend more time doing what I want to do than I should yet I don’t take good care of myself.

6) I am a dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator.

I think that’s enough for now, don’t you? Just so you know, one of the things I am changing is my blogging schedule or lack of one. My new plan includes blogging only once a week unless something life-shattering comes up. Blogging any more often than that takes away from my knitting time and my housecleaning. Besides, my kids need more of my time than I’ve been giving them. I’ve been guilty of letting my hobby/business become an obsession. Now I’m seeking balance and order. Those are the things that bring peace in my soul and my home.

I was reminded this morning of all the ways God has blessed me and wanted to share a jewel with my readers:

The Lord is my Strength and Song; and He has become my Salvation.  The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents and private dwellings of the uncompromisingly righteous: the right hand of the Lord does valiantly and achieves strength! ……. I shall not die but live, and shall declare the works and recount the illustrious acts of the Lord. ….. I will confess, praise, and give thanks to You, for You have heard and answered me; and You have become my Salvation and Deliverer.”                 Psalms 118:14,15,17 & 21

(emphasis mine)

Thank you my God for being my strength, help me to lean on You and not spin in circles.

“Take my life when I don’t have the strength to give it away to You.”    …..Third Day