Lies Women Believe, Chapters 10 and 11

I am finally on the last two chapters of this book!  It has taken me a while to get here, and I have had a lot of distractions!  My next adventure is Fit For Your Assignment, and I will blog my way through that book as well.

Chapter 10 is called “Countering Lies With the Truth” and Chapter 11 is called “The Truth That Sets us Free.”

If we are to truly KNOW truth, we must start with “What is truth?” or rather, WHO is TRUTH?  Jesus himself speaks in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me...”

He alone IS TRUTH.  He does not tell us, “live this way so that…” or “You must obey these rules.”  He says, “Come to the Father THROUGH ME.”  That’s it.  Once we have that relationship with Him, then He begins to reveal His Truth to us through His Word.  To the unbeliever, the Bible is words on a page.  To those who truly follow Christ, though, this Book is His Word, His Truth.

I do want to quote this paragraph on page 252:  “The idea of ‘turning sinners from the error of their way’ is largely foreign in our day.  The hue and cry of our postmodern culture is ‘tolerance,’ which means:  ‘You can live however you want to live, but don’t try to tell me what’s right for me–it’s none of your business how I choose to live my life.’  As deception has inundated our culture, many believers have become hesitant to stand for the Truth, for fear of being labeled as intolerant or narrow-minded.”

I will say that in order for unbelievers to turn, we have to KNOW we are sinners.  Scripture says there is not one of us who is without sin, apart from Christ Himself.  To the unbeliever, I don’t think it works to walk around and say, “You know, that behavior/action/choice/way of life/book you are reading/show you are watching/etc. is sinful.  You should stop.”  I feel like there is more approachable-ness when I am aware of my own shortcomings and acknowledge that we are ALL sinners, big and small, myself included.  I can share how God has worked in my life and revealed His Truth and my sin through His Spirit.  It is up to the Spirit to reveal each of our sins to us individually.  God is not one to publicly shame us.  He will speak to you, and to me, in ways we can receive His messages.

I do agree with Nancy’s perception of our culture.  I think it is even more evident today than it was when the book was first written in 1991.  To the believers, though, I think that we do need to, in groups of 2-3, come alongside and talk of the Truth.  This should be done with great care and love, and as free from judgement as possible.  Even better, have someone in the group who has walked that path before share his/her personal struggle with the lies and the ultimate Truth that set him/her free!  It is so much easier to accept and follow the truth when we have people to come alongside us and walk it with us.

Chapter 11 has 22 Truths that Nancy clings to as she walks her life path.  Here they are:

1.  God is good (Psalm 119:68; Psalm 136:1)

2.  God loves me and wants me to have His best (Romans 8:32, 38-39)

3.  I am complete and accepted in Christ (Ephesians 1:4-6)

4.  God is enough (Psalm 23:1)

5.  God can be trusted (Isaiah 28:16; Hebrews 13:5)

6.  God doesn’t make any mistakes (Isaiah 46:10)

7.  God’s grace is sufficient for me(2 Corinthians 12:9)

8.  The blood of Christ is sufficient to cover any sin(1 John 1:7)

9.  The Cross of Christ is sufficient to conquer my sinful flesh (Romans 6:6-7)

10.  My past does not have to plague me (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

11.  God’s Word is sufficient to lead me, teach me, and heal me (Psalm 19:7; Psalm 107:20; Psalm 119:105)

12.  Through the power of His Holy Spirit, God will enable me ot do anything He commands me to do (1 Thessalonians 5:24; Philippians 2:13)

13.  I am responsible before God for my behavior, responses, and choices (Ezekiel 18:19-22)

14.  I will reap whatever I sow (Galatians 6:7-8)

15.  The pathway to true joy is to relinquish control (Matthew 16:25; Luke 1:38; 1 Peter 5:7)

16.  The greatest freedom I can experience is found through submission to God-ordained authority (Ephesians 5:21)

17.  In the will of God, there is no higher, holier calling than to be a wife and mother (Titus 2:4-5)

18.  Personal holiness is more important than temporal happiness (Ephesians 5:26-27)

19.  God is more concerned about changing me and glorifying Himself than about solving my problems (Romans 8:29)

20.  It is impossible to be godly without suffering (1 Peter 5:10)

21.  My suffering will not last forever (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

22.  It’s now about me; it’s all about Him (Colossians 1:16-18)

Take time to reflect on these truths and the verses that highlight them in scripture.  Seek out more passages of scripture that solidify these truths for you!  I challenge you!  And, feel free to comment with verses you come across that reveal His Truth to you even more!

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Lies Women Believe: Chapter 9

Lies Women Believe…about Circumstances!

Boy, did this one hit me hard!  I am struggling this month.  Hormones are raging, tempers flaring, and communication hindered because of both of those!  You think I would have learned after Chapter 8 about my response to my emotions, right???  Well…welcome to the first trimester of pregnancy.  Yep!  almost 11 weeks pregnant today!  And really struggling with controlling my blood sugar levels….

…and frustrated that I have to wait a little bit longer to go back on my insulin pump…

…and frustrated with the lack of communication from doctors and nurses…

And yet, it is a 3-day weekend where we are supposed to be remembering our fallen soldiers and thanking those who have fought for our freedoms.  I need a perspective shift.

Since reading Chapter 9, I have been a teary mess!  Thinking about my brothers, cousins, uncles, and grandfather who have been in and out of the military, facing battle, or just keeping the peace…I am honored that they have risen to the call of our nation, and grateful for their acts of service.

So, with this new perspective shift, let’s dive into the lies and truth found in Chapter 9 of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book.

Lie #36:  If my circumstances were different, I would be different.

Truth #36:  Man, I have thought about this one A LOT over the years!  If only I weren’t diabetic… If only my sister had waited one more day for me to come home… If only I had not gone on that missions trip… If only…

The vicious What If cycle can eat you alive!

A lot of these “if only’s” and “what if’s” I have dwelt upon over the years have to do with my sister’s death by suicide.  I blamed myself for a very long time, and was trapped in depression because of it.

Then, one day, I heard my former Youth Leader speak a message at church about “What if’s.”  He blew my perspective out of the water!  I had been dwelling on the negative “what if’s!”

What if…God has a plan for my life through this pain?

What if…God is glorified through this disease He has allowed me to have?

What if…it is not about my feelings and emotions?

What if…God really does make beauty from ashes?

What if…my circumstances have strengthened me, built my faith, and allowed me to draw closer to my creator, my shelter, my fortress, and my God?

In that moment, I began to realize that if my circumstances, I really would be different…but NOT for the better.  My faith would not be what it is, and I would not be who I am.  And who I am is a beautiful daughter of the King of kings, who seeks to honor and glorify Him to the best of my ability, who frequently falls into His arms seeking forgiveness and wisdom, who stumbles and grows ever closer to Him.

God has allowed me these circumstances to teach me, to comfort me, to be my strength in the midst of my weaknesses.  This is all over scripture!  Take a look at these passages:

Job 1:8-12   And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Romans 8  in its entirety speaks to this truth.  Verses 37-38 bring me the most comfort:  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 139:16  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were  formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God KNOWS.  He KNEW all these things would happen to me.  And yet, nothing can separate me from Him.  He knows, and He is there, and He LOVES me through my circumstances!  We have a God who has experienced pain and suffering, even death and grief.  He knows my pain, past, present, and future.  I have found much peace in that.

 

Lie #37:  I shouldn’t have to suffer.

Truth #37:  So why does God allow me these circumstances of suffering?  Another question is, “Why not allow these circumstances?”

Scripture never once promises us a life free from suffering.  In fact, Christ and the disciples often write about suffering!  My Savior suffered the deepest pain and humiliation known to man when he was whipped, beaten, despised, ridiculed, crucified, and taunted while he died.  Three days later, He ROSE from the grave and CONQUERED death!  But if my own Savior willingly suffered for ME, why would I think myself above suffering?  Am I willing to suffer for HIS sake?  Even then, suffering in America is an easy life compared to suffering in other countries.  I am not facing death because of my beliefs.  I have a chronic illness that is treatable with insulin and glucose monitoring.  Easy compared to stoning, rejection, and death because of faith in Jesus.  Perspective is everything.

Passages of Scripture about suffering:

Romans 5:3-5  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

1 Peter 4 says A LOT about suffering.  Verses 12 and 13 really speak to the heart of what it means to suffer though:  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Isaiah 43:2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,and the flame shall not consume you.

 

Lie #38:  My circumstances will never change–This will go on FOREVER (as I visualize the face of one of the boys from The Sandlot…)

Truth #38:  I cling to the truth that God’s timing is perfect.  I will not always understand why suffering endures as long as it does, or why illnesses last as long as they do.  But I know my God is sovereign.  In comparison to Eternity, these fleeting moments of pain and trial are just that:  fleeting.  Temporary.  A blip on the timeline.  This does not make the immediate moment easier.  However, that truth allows my perspective to adapt.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  Do not lose heart!  This momentary affliction will pass away.  

 

Lie #39:  I just can’t take it anymore!

Truth #39:  Raise your hand if you have ever said this!  I just raised BOTH my hands.  Yep, we frequently find this phrase slipping from our mouths, right?

In these moments, I am reminded of my weakness.  I can’t do this…on my own.  But with the Grace of God, I can endure with HIS strength.

Take a look at some more passages from 2 Corinthians:

11:21-30

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

The man who wrote this passage is a man who once persecuted and killed people who claimed to be Christians.  And here, he has endured HOW much for the sake of Christ?  And I throw my hands up when my son cries for two hours!  I am so weak…

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 is a passage I have referred to often in my blog.  Read it once again:

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Psalm 130 is another great description of waiting through the suffering, of enduring and trusting in the Lord.

 

Lie #40:  It’s all about ME.

Truth #40:  It’s all about GOD.  Who am I, to think myself greater than the creator of the universe???  Who am I, to think that my issues require more attention than another person?  For we are all equals in the eyes of God, and we are all subject to His authority.  Nothing exists apart from what God allows.

Colossians 1:15-23 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

This truth really put my frustration with my doctors into perspective.  God gives me peace, words, and wisdom.  I will trust in Him and in His timing for this.

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 8

This was a deep chapter.  As I read the lies and the truths that followed, it hit me: with every emotion I experience, I have two choices.  I can act according to the way I feel, or I can pray and respond in obedience to my God.  I have a lot of work to do in order to bring myself into alignment with God’s Word.  So, let’s examine each of these lies, and the truth God is revealing to me through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s writing:

 

Lie #32:  If I feel something, it must be true.

Truth #32:  God’s Truth is what is true.  Emotions are fleeting, and tainted with our sins and desires of the flesh.

Ladies, how many of us have ever said, “Oh, I know I love _____ because I just feel so wonderful when I am with him!” only to be completely disappointed the next week when we feel like garbage because he broke our hearts.  Our feelings are just that:  a fleeting emotion that is affected by body chemistry and circumstances.

I know I get this way sometimes when I worship too.  I get such intense feelings that I randomly burst into tears and fall on my knees to cry out to my God.  Yes, we are supposed to have intense emotion and desire for God, but our relationship with Him cannot be grounded in how we feel.  I like Lee Strobel’s approach to faith:  seek the FACTS.  Emotions can get us started on the path toward God’s Truth, but we need a rock solid foundation.  For me, that foundation is built on His Word, the circumstances He has allowed me to experience, and the evidence of His Truth through those experiences.  I have felt a variety of emotions toward God:  extreme awe, deep love, intense anger.  Yes, anger.  When my sister died, I was so angry at Him for NOT answering MY prayer for her!  I got so angry, I even questioned whether He HEARD my prayer!   Have you ever felt that way?  So I stopped talking to Him.  Yep.  Just stopped praying.  I gave God the silent treatment.  Did my response out of anger change who God is?  Did it change His mind and make Him bring my sister to life?  No.  God was, is, and ALWAYS will be.  His way is perfect, even when I don’t understand it.

In marriage, our “feelings” for our spouse will ebb and flow across a wide spectrum.  Even when we feel “hate” toward our spouse, does that change the fact we are married?  No.  Emotions are so fleeting, that true relationships need to be built on more than just how we feel toward each other.  Communication is key, especially with God.  Our spiritual highs will only last so long.  Our honeymoon stage in faith and in marriage is only so long.  When that dreamy mist lifts, we hit the ground running, and if our foundation is built on something other than God’s Word, good luck keeping up.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately sick;who can understand it?“I the Lord search the heartand test the mind,to give every man according to his ways,according to the fruit of his deeds.””

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness.  Emotions are sinking sand.  God’s Truth is the rock upon which I stand.

 

 

 

Lie #33:  I can’t control my emotions.

Truth #33:  This is partially true:  I cannot control my EMOTIONS, but I CAN control how I RESPOND to my emotions and to those around me in the mess of my emotions.  This truly is where the fruit of Self-control and Patience is most evidenced.  I can take captive my thoughts, and question, “Why am I feeling like I want to cry every minute of the day?” or “Why do I get so ANGRY every time I talk to that person?”  My emotions can be tools to revealing the deeper issue that I need to address.  I may not have realized what day it was and it is a day that reminds me of my sister.  Or the anger toward this person is because s/he exhibits behaviors I have that I don’t like and wish to change.

So, instead of acting out in anger or depression, I have to take these thoughts captive, bring them to God, and seek His wisdom.

Philippians 4:4-9  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Colossians 3:1-2  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Romans 12:1-2  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

 

Lie #34:  I can’t help how I respond when my hormones are out of whack (a.k.a., P.M.S.).

Truth #34:  This is a hard truth for me.  Before I share what God has taught me, let me share an experience from yesterday morning:  My husband and I have one car, and we were getting ready to leave for the morning so I could drop him off at work and go grocery shopping.  FIVE times, I had to go back to the house to get something I forgot (or thought I forgot but didn’t).  Of course, I slammed car doors, huffed and puffed the whole time, and was quite snappy toward my husband.  Bless his heart, his response to me was, “Hon, are you stressed this morning?”  I realized I was.  We got into the car, and I apologized for my behavior.  I let my emotional and hormonal state consume me, and I was taking it out on him.  We were able to talk through the situation on our way to his place of employment.

So, what did I learn?  Take deep breaths.  When I know hormones are raging, I need to be mindful of my attitudes and actions.  God made women this way:  to live in cycles.  We have time to prepare!  He gives us warning signs!  So, as the hormone fluctuations happen, get a massage, drink more water, increase vitamins, get good rest (I take Tylenol PM during the biggest fluctuations…).  All these things help keep me level-headed as much as possible.  Be open in communicating with those loved ones around you and ask for help.  I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for Brandon’s response to me yesterday.  Instead of being accusatory, he simply asked me a question.  That allowed me to step back, evaluate, seek forgiveness, and readjust my thinking.

James 4:1-10 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

So when the waves of emotions are crashing over me, may I respond by lifting my eyes to You, O Lord, from whom my help and salvation come.

 

 

Lie #35:  The answer to depression must first be sought in medication and/or psychotherapy.

Truth #35:  I do struggle with depression, and I have been on and off medication over the last 14 years.  Medication can be crucial for battling depression, especially with chemical imbalances in many of us.  Is it the only option for treating depression?  No.  Is it the best option for treating depression?  Honestly, that depends on the individual, and the source of the depression.  If the culprit is a chemical malfunction in the brain, by all means, take your medication!  It is just as important as insulin for a type 1 diabetic!

Counseling is also a VERY helpful tool in treating depression.  Coupled with medication, it can be even more beneficial than medication alone.  As a person of faith, I always found the most in-depth counseling sessions were with my counselors who were also Christians.  Once I brought my faith into the equation, they then had the Bible as the biggest tool to diving into the depths of my soul.

Deep Bible studies with people I trusted also were (and are) very helpful in battling my depression.

I have to stress here before I continue that each person is DIFFERENT, and treatment options should be based on YOUR needs and circumstances.  Start first by talking to someone you trust:  doctor, friend, pastor, spouse…anyone who can give you Godly counsel and wisdom in taking the next steps.

I have recently stopped taking my antidepressants.  I was not wise in how I did it:  I didn’t tell anyone that was what I was going to do.  I knew if I could get through the first two weeks and the withdrawal symptoms, I would be ok.  I did have a couple of days of high anxiety and a bit of a manic episode here and there.  When I felt these coming on, I did talk to my husband to make him aware of why I might be more intense in the weeks ahead.  Spending quiet time with God in the mornings and writing has been helping me keep my eyes stayed on Him, and is helping me get to the root of my depression issues:  I never felt worthy enough.  This is a battle I fight over and over again, because Satan keeps trying to sneak the same lies in over and over again.  He thinks to himself, “Well, it worked last time.  Let’s try this again and see if I still have it.”  Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t.  When he does, he doesn’t have it as long any more.  The root of God’s Word is pressing deeper and deeper into my soul, preventing Satan’s lies from getting deep enough to do more damage.

I cling to the truth that God’s creation is BEAUTIFUL and I am HIS CREATION.  He knit me together in my mother’s womb.  He wrote all of my days, even those in which I battled depression and suicidal thoughts.  He has rescued me time and time again as I fell victim to my thoughts.  He teaches me to take my thoughts captive now and to dwell on what is good.  As frustrated as I get with people now and then, He reminds me of what is GOOD and the blessings these people bring into my life.  God, time and time again, has come to my rescue and picked me up out of the pit of despair.

He brings me often back to Psalm 40, and reminds me that He does not withhold His mercy from me, and that His steadfast love endures, even when I am weak and depressed.  He loves me, even when I lose sight of that love and feel unlovable.  I am so thankful that He rescues me over and over again!  My feelings can be gateways to lies from the enemy.  I have to trust in God’s Word, in His truth that is unchangeable.  I am HIS, and His alone.

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 7

So it is time for me to post my reflections from this chapter.  It has taken me a while, because there is a lot in this chapter I have yet to experience.  I am a relatively new mom, as my son is 15 months old just this week!  He had his wellness visit this week, and is growing and developing in amazing ways!

With this new insight as a mom, some of these lies hit me pretty hard.  Let’s dive in!

 

 

Lie #27:  It’s up to us to determine the size of our family.

Truth #27:  God is the author of Life.  Seriously, look at human anatomy:  in a woman, there are so many barriers and factors  going into whether an egg will be fertilized or not.  When I think of all the variables that go into this, I am amazed!  We can take birth control; we can make choices to seek fertility treatments or to terminate a pregnancy; men and women can have surgeries to “ensure” that pregnancy is not possible.  And yet, I am reminded of a young, teenage girl who stood before an angel and received the words that she would bear a child, that she would conceive by the Holy Spirit without ever having “known” a man sexually.  And from this girl, Mary, we meet our Savior and King, Jesus the Messiah.  Who are we to play God when it comes to pregnancy?  Rhetorical question there, as we have been given the gift of free will.

I go back to my claim though that God is the author or life.  We will never understand fully why He allows miscarriage, pregnancy, still-born births, and healthy babies.  We will never fully understand why some children are born without blemish, and others come out with very clear birth defects.  And yet, our God does not create mistakes.  And He has created each and every one of us, with purpose, for a purpose:  to honor and glorify Him.  All I know for sure is this:  if God wants a child to be born and live, He will make that happen.  There have been babies known to survive abortion attempts.   There have been so many women who have gotten pregnant out of wedlock who have chosen to give birth to the children they carry and either raise them as their own or lovingly give them to another family to raise and love.

Psalm 139:13-16  For you formed my inward parts;you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,intricately woven in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them.

Luke 1: 26-38  In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

So, I place myself in the Lord’s hands.  Yes, I have fear in this area, namely because I have type 1 diabetes.  The Lord has brought me through the pregnancy with my son with few issues.  I am so very thankful for the gift of Life that my son is!  And whether the Lord allows me to birth another child, opens the door to foster or adopt children who need to be loved and cherished, or any combination thereof, I want to be open to what my God has in store.

 

Lie #28:  Children need to get exposed to the “real world” so that they can learn to function in it.

Truth #28:  I don’t think I can say anything better than these passages of scripture.  For me, it comes down to this:  why let my son experience something that he is eventually going to have to “take off?”  Why do I even want to give him opportunity to TASTE what is evil?  I know he has free will, and I pray that as Brandon and I teach Zander the statutes of the Lord, that he will cling to the truths therein.

Proverbs 22:6

 Train up a child in the way he should go;even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

1 John 1

The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Walking in the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Romans 12:1-2

A Living Sacrifice

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Colossians 3

Put On the New Self

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

Lie #29:  All children will go through a rebellious stage.

Truth #29:  It is my goal to teach Zander to be obedient.  Even at 15 months, he definitely pushes toward rebellion.  And yet, when I say to Zander as he plays in the grass, “Zander, that is not to eat.  Put that down,” he does!  Granted, I haven’t figured out how to get him to stop pulling one of the wall hangings down onto himself, but we’re working on it.  He responds to my “Zander, that’s not a toy” by looking at me with the”But it’s pretty and colorful and I want to play with it” look.  He will cry and fuss when he does not get his way, but he is also easily redirected into something more constructive.  If he is not easily redirected, I know he needs down time or a nap.  After 20 minutes of down time, he’s fine and back to learning what obedience is.

Ephesians 6:1-4

Children and Parents

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Scripture teaches that children are to obey and respect their parents.  Why encourage or expect them NOT to do these things?  Let’s start from day one and teach them the way in which they should walk.  (referring back to Proverbs 22:6)

 

 

Lie #30:  I know my child is a Christian because he prayed to receive Christ at an early age.

Truth #30:  When we are fully adopted into Christ’s family, there is fruit that bears witness to the transformation we experience.

Galatians 5:16-26

Keep in Step with the Spirit

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

 

Paul continues this thought even into the next chapter:

Galatians 6

Bear One Another’s Burdens

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

We see this again in 1 John 1:

Walking in the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

I pray that my son comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as his Savior at an early age!  I want my son to have as many years as possible to experience sanctification and transformation by the Holy Spirit!  I want him to have a Christian world-view and be able to make solid decisions based on knowledge and wisdom received from the Lord.  And I want to see him bear the FRUIT of the SPIRIT!  I want to see his heart stayed tried and true on what is good, what is pure, what will bring honor and glory to God!  As his mother, I will seek to guide and protect him from the snares of the enemy; if Zander falls into any of the enemy’s traps, I want his head knowledge and heart knowledge to lead him to Christ, take His hand, and climb up and out of the stronghold.  I cannot do that for him.  Zander’s faith will be his own, and I pray for strength and wisdom for us as his parents to teach him the Lord’s precepts.   Lord, may his eyes and ears be open to receive Your Truth!  May Brandon and I be diligent in teaching him Your Truth.

 

 

Lie #31:  We are not responsible for how our children turn out.

Truth #31:  Nancy addresses this lie on the two ends of the spectrum:  parents are 100% responsible for how they children turn out vs. parents are not responsible at all for how their children turn out.  There truly is a balance.  Yes, we pour into our children’s lives, teach them, correct them, discipline them, and everything else that goes along with being parents.  Ultimately, our children have free will.  They can choose Christ, or not choose Christ.  Of course, my heart’s desire is that my son will choose Christ!  As I stated earlier, though, his faith will be his own.  His dad and I can model for him as much as we are humanly able.  God gives us the responsibility to teach our children the ways of the Lord.  We will be held accountable for what we bestow upon our children.  Our children will then be responsible for their walk and obedience to the Lord.  We are all accountable to our actions and choices.  We all have soiled pasts, full of imperfections, mistakes, good and bad examples.  It is what we do with all of that stimulation that matters, both as parents and as children.

Our past does not define us.  Christ alone defines us.  Our past does not limit us.  For with God, nothing is impossible.

So many of the verses I have already shared hit the truth revealed here.  God calls us as parents to teach our children the commandments, the love of Christ, the sacrifice made for our sin, and our need for a Savior.  We are called to pray for our children, and to love them as Christ loves us.  If I could protect my son from every hurt, how would that benefit him?  Even God did not spare his son from pain and suffering.  Life can be hard.  Endurance of faith and breath are part of what we teach our children, and we can do that without throwing them to the wolves of this world.  We do that by walking in faith and trusting in God, seeking His wisdom and mercy every step of the way.

 

 

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 6

It is fitting this chapter is about marriage, since our small church has been in prayer about marriage and hosting a marriage weekend.  So, back into prayer I go!  Thank you, Lord, for continuing to reveal Your truth about marriage, about us, about YOU!  May I continue to seek to glorify you, and to submit prayerfully to my husband.  Thank you for the man my husband is, that he desires to love and honor you!  Because of his desire to love and honor you, I know it is easier for me to love and honor him.  I pray for those women who do not have a man like Brandon in their lives, and that You would be at work in their hearts and the hearts of their husbands.  Thank you, again, Lord, for your provision and presence.  Amen.

Now, to dive into the lies we receive about marriage.  I think it will be difficult to find songs to supplement each truth that follows, but I know there are some good songs about marriage!  🙂

Lie #21:  I have to have a husband to be happy.

Truth #21:  My Joy is made complete through and in Christ alone!

John 15:1-11 says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

 

 

 

 

Lie #22:  It is my responsibility to change my mate.

Truth #22:  I love this quote from Nancy Leigh DeMoss on page 140:  “I wonder how many husbands God would change if their wives were willing to let God take over the process.”  We are such meddlers sometimes!  I know I have been guilty of this, especially in my first marriage.  Yes, that’s right, I am divorced and now married for the second time.  I have fallen into the snares of the enemy on numerous occasions.  1 Peter 3:1-6 reminds me of the truth of my role in any changing my husband experiences:  “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” 

And so, wives, we must learn patience.  Change does not happen in a day.  It does not happen in a month.  So, as we wait upon the Lord, let us me mindful to PRAY for our husbands.  Truly, the Holy Spirit is in the business of CHANGE!  Let us step back and cast our cares before the Lord, living to honor Him in how we relate to our husbands.

 

 

Lie #23:  My husband is supposed to serve me.

Truth #23:  Why would I expect my husband to serve me?  There are times he has; for example, after the C-Section birth of our now almost-15-month-old, my husband did serve me while I healed.  But on a regular basis?  Not necessary.  Jesus himself teaches us about servant leadership and the gift it is to serve instead of to be served.  That is especially at the forefront of my mind as we enter into Holy Week here, and I reflect on the Last Supper where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.  John 13:1-20 shows us much about serving:

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?”  Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

Lord Jesus, give me a servant’s heart!  I know that being a servant does not belittle me, but gives glory to You!  Give me a heart to serve my husband so that he may be able to complete the work You have given him.

I write this prayer to serve my husband for many reasons.  There is no way I can even fathom requiring my husband to serve me, because he really is overworked.  Not only does he have a full-time job that provides medical benefits for our family, but he is also shepherding our church, doing online coursework for Seminary to get his Masters of Divinity so that he can be an ordained pastor, edits manuscripts to bring in extra income, and is a very loving father and husband.  I can’t add anything to his plate, and seek to take off his plate as much as I can so that he can accomplish his 4 major roles.  Yes, FOUR.  Well, FIVE if you separate husband and father.  My husband is a busy man!

 

 

Lie #24:  If I submit to my husband, I will be miserable.

Truth #25:  This was a very difficult truth for me to accept, because accepting it meant accepting responsibility for the failure of my first marriage.  I was far from submissive with my first husband.  I did not understand the importance of it.  For three years post-divorce, the Lord worked on this truth in my heart.  It was not until fully understanding the submissive role of a wife that the Lord brought Brandon into my life.  Being submissive does not mean being weak.  In fact, there are times it takes a lot of strength to BE submissive!  You know those situations:  where you completely disagree with your husband, but you muster the strength and pray to the Lord to give you the ability to say, “Ok, _____, as you wish.”  And yes, I did just quote The Princess Bride there!  It is Princess Buttercup who should be saying “As you wish.”  🙂

I have learned the hard way that submission becomes “easier” (it is always challenging for us strong-headed, stubborn women!) when we are in a relationship with a man who submits to God’s authority.  So, when I found myself post-divorce and post-psycho-Kara (I had about a year of extreme “rebound” from the oppression I was released from), God showed me the importance of painting a picture of the ideal relationship.  And, being that I paint best with words and NOT with a paint brush, I made a list.  Well, more of a rubric than anything else.  The “Must-Have” qualities in a man, the “Would-to-Have” qualities, the “I-Can-Tolerate,” and the “Heck-No’s.”  In my “Must-Haves” I wrote “a man who loves the Lord.” Brandon definitely loves the Lord!  I have found it is so much easier for me to submit to his authority because I know he is seeking the Lord daily!  For those of you who are married to a non-believer or to a man who is not where you are in your faith, I appeal to you:  Pray about the words in 1 Peter 3!  How can you, by submitting to your husband’s authority, help pave the way for his heart to come to the Lord?  It is possible!  Don’t give up.  God can heal ANY marriage, and bring His Truth into any heart.  Pray for your husband!  Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to him the Truth and Grace we have through Jesus Christ!  And serve your husband from the heart, willingly, with your mind on the Lord as you do so.

I am going to link several scripture references here for you all to read and dwell upon regarding submission.  Read the whole passage of each chapter!  There is more than just us submitting to our husbands.  God calls them to love us as Christ loves the church!  That’s right.  It is not a one-sided relationship.  We submit and respect, they love and cherish us.  If they don’t yet, they will.  Keep him lifted up in prayer!

Colossians 3

Ephesians 5

1 Peter 3 I have quoted above.  Take the time to re-read that passage!

And, Proverbs 31:10-31

 

 

Lie #25:  If my husband is passive, I’ve got to take the initiative or nothing will get done.

Truth #25:  The truth here is that there is a huge difference between equipping and enabling.  If we continue to step into the leadership role in the marriage, our men will never learn to be the leaders God created them to be.  This ties in with the act of submitting to our husbands’ authority.  When we fight this truth, we end up with resentment and frustration even more so than if we continue in submission to our husbands’ authority.  Truly, by continuing in prayer, the Lord will be at work in the hearts of our husbands and eventually they will pick up the role God has given them:  the leaders of the households.

Genesis 16 through Genesis 21 shows us how Sarai took action, and then ended up hating the result of that action.  It is so hard to trust in the Lord’s timing, but it does bring so much more peace in the long run!

Psalm 27:14 encourages this truth:  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

 

 

Lie #26:  Sometimes divorce is better than staying in a bad marriage.

Truth #26:  This is a lie I fell to.  Granted, I was a broken, depressed, grieving woman at the time and thus extremely vulnerable.  I know I was wrong to leave, and yet God has given me grace and taught me much.  Nancy DeMoss does write that there are some situations where it is not safe to remain where you are (in cases of abuse for sure!), and that God gives wisdom.  When we choose instead of letting God choose our spouse for us, we will face many challenges.  Even when we let God choose for us, there will always be challenges.  No marriage is easy.  Since the fall of man (and woman) in the Garden of Eden, there has been strife and role-reversal in marriage and thus all these lies we are addressing.

Another issue here is the Happiness Factor.  This is the society and culture-driven lie that “we have the right to be happy.”  When I searched for “happiness” in scripture, every verse I found talked about delighting in the Lord, being joyful, or rejoicing.  Other words include peace, blessed, content, comfort, etc.  These words are VERY different from what our society views as “happiness.”  This leads me to believe that true HAPPINESS is found in complete submission to God’s authority in our lives, letting His Spirit bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control into our hearts. (Galatians 5:22-23)

So how do we “fight through” the hard times in marriage?  I found a lot of great examples from Love and Respect, The Art of Marriage, The Five Love Languages, and similar books by Christian authors and psychologists.  Remember, scripture never tells us life will be easy.  In fact, numerous times, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and other writers speak frequently of challenges we will face.  Through each challenge, hardship, trial, persecution, etc., the Holy Spirit is surrounding us.  Jesus walks with us.  God’s strength becomes evident in the midst of our weakness.  As tempting as it is to throw in the towel, I pray more and more of us will stand firm, and trust in the Lord.  In the years ahead, I hope to see the divorce statistics for Christian couple DROP.  The Bible clearly defines marriage and the call God has for us in marriage.  Be in prayer for your spouse.  Be in prayer for yourself!  Pray against the schemes of the enemy, and daily put on God’s Armor (on you, and on your marriage!).  Read Ephesians 6, starting at verse 10, to learn more about God’s Armor.

 

God Gave Me You:

 

Lead Me:

 

Grow Old Along With Me:

 

 

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 5

This chapter is tough.  There are only 3 lies addressed in this chapter, and all three seem to point the opposite direction of where society is today.  And you know what?  I am ok with that!  I WANT to point the opposite direction.  Sometimes I feel like the opposite direction from where we are today is a GOOD thing, especially when it comes to families and faith.  However, some areas are just fine not going back to where they once were.  Areas of race can keep progressing forward, for I know we still have far to go in that regard!

 

Lie #18:  I don’t have time to do everything I’m supposed to do.

Truth #18:  Oh how I feel this one!  Ironically, I am a work-from-home mom now, and only have to work 10-12 hours a week.  I still feel like I am unable to get it all done!  Cleaning, entertaining my son (who is 14 months old on Friday!), cooking, grocery shopping…I feel like I have more distractions now than I did when I was teaching!  Of course, I didn’t have a child then.

Truth is, there is time to do everything that GOD wants me to do; and what God wants me to do is not watch Murder, She Wrote all day (and yes, I did watch all 12 seasons in their entirety on Netflix…).  So the key to getting things done is to prioritize the To-Do list.  Luke 10:38-42 shows us some of this prioritization: Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  Philippians 4:6-8 reminds us also, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

So what is it God would have me accomplish each day?

  • Time with Him
  • Time with my husband and son
  • 2-3 hours of “work” time with my job.  Whether that is at the office or at home, that is up to me.  I have 12 hours a week to divide as I need to.  So, I need to pray and communicate with my coworkers on the “To-Do” list, prioritize that list, and tackle it.  There are specific things that NEED to be done each week, and then a running list of things that need to be done by July 1.  Then we’ll create a list of what needs to be done by December.
  • House-cleaning and cooking, putting away laundry, etc.
  • Preparing for Sunday mornings.  I have been writing children’s devotions for our small church, so that needs to be done by Saturday night each week.  Also, some weeks I teach the Sunday School lesson, so I need to prepare that.  Song sheets need to be printed also.   Our weekly leadership meetings are a part of my weekly routine also.
  • Tutoring:  I tutor one young man from church, and I am looking to tutor others as well.  I am just starting my own tutoring business, as you saw from a previous post.  My business cards came today!  🙂

 

Lie #19:  I can make it without consistent time in the Word and prayer.

Truth #19:  Honestly, every time I try to make it on my own, life gets too crazy and I get stuck in depression and anxiety!  I am weak.  I am prideful.  And pride always comes before the fall.  I am quickly learning that everything I have, every hour I work, every paycheck we receive, every gift we get from people around us is completely from the Lord.  My God knows what He is doing, and I need to spend time with Him so that I follow the path He has set before my husband and me. Proverbs 2 is full of verses about wisdom and seeking Wisdom from the Lord.  I also find myself drawn to the book of James, specifically chapter 1, verses 5-7:  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord…”  Then there is my life verse, 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

Lie #20:  A career outside the home is more valuable and fulfilling than being a wife and mother.

Truth #20:   After my son was born, I did go back to work after my 6-week maternity leave.  Do you know what happened my first day back to work?  I cried!  I came home from work, embraced my newborn baby, and cried some more!  It was such a struggle to finish the school year!  Within a month of being back to work, I realized I truly wanted to be home with him!  Do you know how much daycare costs???  Thankfully, we were paying between $100-150 a week.  That was 1 of my 2 paychecks each month.  Add in the cost of gas, lunches in the school cafeteria, mileage on my car and I pretty much had no paycheck.  Why on earth did I push myself to work 70 hours a week teaching and grading papers, tutoring students, etc., just to pay for someone to watch my son all day?  (So very thankful that the someone who watched Zander was my aunt and cousins!)  So my husband and I prayed about it.  I resigned effective at the end of the school year.

And I don’t regret it.  The Lord provided this 12-hour a week position where only 4-6 of those hours are at the office, and I can bring Zander with me if I need to.  And guess what?  I am making the same amount each month as I was teaching full time!  Talk about provision!  I am SO thankful to the Lord for providing this position!  I am learning to balance my time between housework, Zander, and paid work.  I am so thankful!

My husband constantly refers to “Proverbs 31 Woman” with me.  I am not there yet, and I know that is my ideal.  The Proverbs 31 Woman is who I strive to be.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 [d] An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[e] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 4

So Chapter 4 took some serious reflecting!  So, here we go!

Lie #13:  I can sin and get away with it.

Truth #13:  We can hide NOTHING from God!  I am reminded of this in Psalm 139:  O Lord, you have searched me and known me!You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

In Genesis 3, we see God call out the sin that Adam and Eve had just committed:   And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” [not because He did NOT know where Adam was, but to give Adam a chance to reveal himself.]And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

God questions them to give them an opportunity to confess.  Have you ever had a moment with your parents when they start asking questions about something?  My mom tells me the story of when I was 6, and the teacher had called her about something I did at school (not BAD, but bad for my health).  I was newly diagnosed as having Type 1 Diabetes, and had been sneaking Ho Ho cakes at school.  The teacher called and asked if I should be eating those?  Of course, NO!  So I got home from school.  Mom looked at me, and said, “Something seems off.  Let’s check your blood sugar.”  And the number on the screen gave everything away.  “That looks like the exact number of someone who has eaten a…HO HO!”  My jaw dropped, and eyes got wide.  “HOW DID YOU KNOW?????”

Just as that information ALWAYS gets back to our parents, God knows.  He needs no phone call, no secret agents.  He knows ALL our thoughts, good and bad.  Nothing is done in secret from Him.  Hebrews 4:13 affirms this:  “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

I think the biggest reason this lie gains so much traction is that the consequences of our actions are not usually immediate.  When we touch a hot stove, we get burned immediately.  When we choose to live in sexual sin, or lie to our parents, or steal a couple of dollars from the register once in a while, or eat that second dessert (as I eat strawberry pop-tarts for breakfast…), we might get away with things for a while.  For most of us, we can avoid unexpected pregnancies, can cover our lies with ease, can stay within the “allowable range” of being off on the register totals that day, or exercise away the extra calories.  But, eventually, we will be found out.  Sexual sins take their toll on our hearts and souls (trust me, I spent a few years in counseling for this one…), a teacher calls our mother (or a sibling tattles on you!), the boss installed cameras last week and didn’t say anything, or the pounds start to creep on because you forgot to work out more often than you remembered.  Eventually, we will be found out.

 

 

Lie #14:  My sin isn’t really that bad.

Truth #14:  All sin is NOT HOLY.

In my thinking, the Romans Road to Salvation seems to address this lie more than anything else:  We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and that sin leads to the consequence of eternal death.  No matter how small the sin or how BIG the sin, it is still a blemish on the incomprehensible (for us) purity that is GOD.  We tend to view sin in relative terms.  We compare and contrast our sins against each other.  “I’m not bad; look at THAT guy!”  The art of distraction may work on people, but not on God.  He alone sees into the depths of our hearts and sees well beyond the masks we all wear.

1 John 1 sets a clear image of our deceit toward ourselves:This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

 

Lie #15:  God can’t forgive what I have done.

Truth #15:  Nothing is too big for our God.  In Romans 8, Paul proclaims “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Psalm 51 also paints a good picture of forgiveness.  King David models for us how to cover up sin, struggle with guilt, and then to confess before the Lord.  His affair with Bathsheeba, his conspiracy to kill her husband under the guise of war…he SINNED.  This was a BIG one.  Again, no sin is too small to be ignored, but we can use the example of David to view God’s mercy and grace.  Even murder is not too great a sin for God to cleanse through Christ.  Now, don’t go out and kill anyone.  Grace is not a license to sin, remember.  To break the habits and chains of sin, though, it is going to take a lot of transformation and redirecting of our thoughts.  We are not without help in that process though, and I will address that after a few more thoughts below.

 

 

Lie #16:  I am not fully responsible for my actions and reactions.

Truth #16:  I’ll be honest:  I struggled with this one.  We are so quick to blame!  Even Adam and Eve pointed the finger to another; Adam pointed to Eve (“She made me do it!”), Eve pointed to the serpent (“The snake made me do it!”), and so it goes.  If you have siblings, you know exactly how that goes, right?  “But he did something to me first!”  I tell my students all the time, “the majority of the time, the one who retaliates is the one who gets caught.”  Sneaky people…instigators who get away scott-free… but that’s not the point here.  Others may influence us toward sin, but ultimately WE DECIDE.  We choose to ignore the red flags, the exit signs God gives us to escape the sin.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  He provides the way, AND we have to choose that way!  We have to learn from our mistakes!  When I met the man who would become my husband, we both had past relationships we could reflect upon to help us set boundaries that would help us keep our relationship as pure as possible.  Yes, we had sinned before.  Yes, we had  both made mistakes in these previous relationships.  And the Lord is gracious in that He allowed us to see our downfalls, our mistakes, to not blame the former lover for those mistakes.  He allowed us to take action and to build those boundaries based on what we now knew our weaknesses to be.  It is so much easier to blame the other person though…to blame our parents for the way they raised us, to blame our circumstances, the government, the society in which we live, etc.  Change begins only when one person has the courage to make a change in his or her own life though.  If we remain in our ways, nothing will ever change.  2 Corinthians 5 shows us, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  When I came to Christ, I alone was made a new creation through the work of the Spirit.  Not my mom, not those who bullied me when I was 13, not my siblings, not my teachers or my peers.  God transforms my heart and mind.   I cannot change what has been done to me by others; I can change my perspective and how I respond to those who have hurt me in the past.

Ultimately, it boils down to this:  Nothing happens to us that is outside of God’s awareness.  Nothing is hidden from him.  Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, those who bullied me, my sister’s choice to die by suicide and the painful road of grief that followed…I had very little responsibility in CREATING those situations for myself; and yet God allowed those things to happen to me, knowing I would learn and grow because of those things and those people.  He would deepen the gift of compassion, open my eyes to see the potential of others, allow me to reach out and embrace those who are hurting.  I am responsible for MY RESPONSE to each of the situations that happen that are outside of my control.  I am responsible for the path I have chosen to walk instead of choosing the path of obedience when I have fallen to the temptation of sin.  I chose to ignore the red flags the Holy Spirit waves in my face when it came to temptations of the flesh in my late teens and my 20’s.  And now, I choose to give all of me to my Savior.  He creates the most beautiful patchwork quilts from the scraps of fabric that remain after I have destroyed parts of it and others have attempted to destroy the rest.  Yes, I have no impact on what OTHERS do, AND I have every impact on what I choose to do from here.  God takes my broken past and is transforming my life continually so that He alone may be glorified.  None of this is by my strength.  I simply cast my cares before Him, as we are told to do in 1 Peter 5:7.

 

 

Lie #17:  I cannot walk in consistent victory over sin.

Truth #17:  This truth that we CAN BE and ARE victorious over sin is a life-long lesson.  How many of you struggle like me with that one sin that seems to be a weakness we just can’t beat???  Conquering diabetes burnout, gluttonous eating, over-spending, conquering debt are all areas in which I continue to struggle.  I take 2 steps forward then 10 steps back, right?  In my past, it was sexual sin.  Satan would whisper to me, “Well, you had sex with him last week, why not again tonight?  You already fell once…what does it matter?”  Or he’ll say, “You’re not strong enough to resist me.  I got you on this one before, and I’ll get you to fall again.”  When we fall to the temptation, Satan thinks to himself, “Let me remember this weakness, because I will play that tune again.  It works!”

What I have learned through Christ is this:  Yes, I have fallen.  Yes, that is a weakness that Satan likes to poke and prod.  And yet, when I am weak, my God is strong.  When I can’t stop myself from opening that door to sinful behavior, my God can.  I cry out to Him in my weakness, and He lifts me up, lest I dash my foot against a stone!  I can choose to let Satan drag me down by keeping the cinderblocks of sin tied to my ankles as I swim in the sea of life, or I can reflect on those situations in my past and allow Jesus to cut those soul-ties for me and pull me to safety in His arms.  In each reminder Satan brings to try to reattach those sins to my life, Jesus reveals a lesson I learned and need to remember or a whole new lesson.  Like I mentioned before, my husband and I were able to reflect on the mistakes made in previous relationships to allow the Lord to build something completely new in our lives!  In overcoming food addictions, I am learning it is easier to eat healthier when I don’t buy candy bars to keep in the house!  Right?  Also, I am learning that when I order from the kids’ menu to split something with Zander, we both get more than enough!  And, it is CHEAPER!  Praise God!

Romans 7 has so much truth about this!  When we are growing in the Lord’s strength, Satan is right there to try to snatch us away.  “ So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”  This leads straight into Romans 8 where Paul reminds us of our victory through Christ.  We are more than conquerors through our Savior!  Praise the Lord!

Struggling to get this last video to post, but here is the link for Rush of Fools, Undo.