You CAN change your husband!!

If you happen to be married, you have a spouse that reeks of humanity! Not only that, you ARE a spouse that reeks of humanity!!
“So..you’re saying I stink?!”

YES! You stink!
Your husband stinks, your wife stinks, my husband stinks, and I stink!!

Dear, God, What IS that smell? Oh...it's YOU!

Dear, God, What IS that smell?
Oh…it’s YOU!

We are all spiritual beings dwelling in decaying bags of flesh and bone that are corruptible and fallen. As long as we are resident in these fettered bodies, we will inevitably fail and sin sometimes!

Did YOU know, though, that what you do, what YOU say, and how YOU react can have an effect on the eternal destination and earthly reputation of your spouse?

It’s true!
Proverbs 12:4 says that a wife with noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay to her husband’s bones.

Noble means: of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence: principled; magnanimous; honorable, estimable, worthy, meritorious.

Imagine that! Just by displaying our OWN honest moral character and honorable behavior, we speak volumes about our husbands! The scripture says she is “her husband’s crown”! Everyone KNOWS what a crown is, but for the sake of illustration, I’ll elaborate.
Crowns are typical headgear worn by royalty, made of precious metals, and often adorned with jewels and precious gems. Something valuable, and beautiful!!
WE (women) are called to be a wife that causes people to think, “HEY! If that guy can reel in a lady like THAT…he must be quite a catch himself!”

On the flip side of that passage, a DISGRACEFUL (shameful and dishonorable, scandalous) wife is like decay to his bones!
I don’t know about anyone else, but I have spent many years decaying the bones of my husband! Regardless of his spiritual walk and behavior, it isn’t an excuse to do as I please. I have spent FAR too many years disrespecting, bad-mouthing, and behaving in shameful (even scandalous) ways. You can not behave like a straw hat and expect to be worn as a crown! I have NOT be a crown….more like a noose! But by the mercy and redemptive grace of God, He is changing me into something beautiful…something to be proud of! You can’t vent about your husband’s failings, mock and disrespect him behind his back, or “request prayer” for his “problems and be his crown. We aren’t to be JUST our king’s queen, we are to be his CROWN. How can we show the world that he wears a crown if we are painting him to others as if he’s only worthy of a tattered straw hat?!

The crown of Napoleon's Empress

The crown of Napoleon’s Empress

Now! Onto the meat of today’s post!

You CAN change your husband! Yes, I know…I know! You’ve probably heard it from every person alive that “You can’t change your spouse.” Well, I (and God’s Word) are here to offer a rebuttal to that statement!

Let me first say that the way you may be thinking this change will be brought about is probably wrong! Nothing you SAY will change him! Words will NOT work! Nagging, reminding, lecturing, instructing….WON’T WORK!!!! This method has probably proven itself to be only destructive in your marriage by now!

God designed your influence on your hubs to be SO powerful that you can change him, for the better, without even opening your pretty little yap trap!

1 Peter 3:1&2
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over WITHOUT WORDS by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

Submit has become such a a dirty word in our “modern” culture. Feminism has made submission out to be something that “lesser” people do under an iron fist. Let me say that, that is NOT how God designed submission, even though we imperfect people and satan have twisted and abused it’s intended purpose!

**Disclaimer: I am NOT suggesting that you follow your husband into sin! Your submission is first to God and then husband!**

Submission is a decision to defer to your husband’s judgment, opinion, or authority. You willingly bend yourself to live under the protective umbrella of God’s design for marriage. Husband submits to God, Wife submits to God and husband, and children submit to God and parents.

The text explains that through your godly submission to your OWN husband, and your reverence for the Lord, you can change your husband for the better. “That he may be WON OVER” to the ways of God.
If he’s not a believer, that means salvation. If he is a believer, that means transforming him into the image of Christ to a greater degree. Thus, enhancing and shaping your life and marriage more into the design God has purposed for it! Note the “may” in that sentence, though. This isn’t a guarantee but it IS the BEST method for nurturing godly change in your man!

A little further down in 1 Peter, we see that it isn’t our outer that does the trick.
Verses 3 & 4 state that:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your INNER self, the unfading
(imperishable) beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of PRECIOUS in God’s sight.”

As pretty as we are on the outside, it won’t last. We’ll get old, wrinkled, saggy and pretty much ugly…no matter what we do! Time, life, and gravity will SEE to that!!

Here’s the GREAT news though, while the outside decays over time, our INNER beauty will last forever and should even grow MORE beautiful as we age! Inner beauty can’t be bottled or bought. It can’t be supplied by surgical procedures, and it can’t be injected through a syringe! You can put on great clothes, shiny accessories, and fabulous hair, but REALLY…if that’s all it took to have a great marriage, then why do the majority of Hollywood marriages end in divorce? Surely THOSE couples are pretty enough!! You can spend millions trying to maintain outward beauty and it will STILL fall, fade, and fail eventually!

However, this inward beauty Peter refers to comes from a deep, intimate connection with the One who created us!

Having a quiet spirit? What’s THAT all about!?

No, that does not mean that you don’t have a valid opinion or that you are to be seen and not heard!
That’s simply referring to the attitude of reverence for God and respect for hubby. A woman with a quiet spirit is not demanding or pushy. She seeks to still the storms of life rather than “stir the pot”. She does not contribute to the problems, but rather offers a calm and peace in her response to life’s unfavorable situations. This peace can only be found in the Prince of Peace, Jesus! A wife with a gentle and quiet spirit displays chastity (purity) in her thoughts and actions. Refer to the scripture from Proverbs from earlier to see why purity matters.

This attitude not only benefits your husband, but it’s great for YOU as a woman too! It releases the need to compete with other women physically. We’ll ALL get less pretty outside, but if you put your time and energy into cultivating that inward beauty of the gentle and quiet spirit, you’re not only enhancing YOUR beauty, but also building a legacy for future generations of women to follow!

It’s also the most gorgeous quality God gave to us as woman. He doesn’t look at us and say, “See how much prettier she is than that other one over there?! Her hair is too frizzy and her thighs don’t have a gap!”
1 Peter 3:4 reveals that our INNER beauty is precious in the sight of God. Abba doesn’t value what we look like! He seeks the beauty and uprightness of our hearts!

rare-Golconda-diamond

Rare, 76 carat diamond ring

Proverbs 31:10 shows us that a wife of noble character is rare and more precious than jewels!

James MacDonald sums it up this way: Inner beauty is persuasive, permanent, and precious!

Here we go again!

As the new school year approaches, I find myself becoming busier and busier making the necessary preparations for our upcoming home school adventures.

This year, we’ll be following “Paths of Settlement” in the “Trail Guide To Learning” series. This is an American history based curriculum that includes every subject (pretty much) into the lessons. We’ll just need to add Bible and Math into it ourselves. index
I must confess that I’m super excited that they connect all of the subjects, make them “touch” in the lessons. In real life all of our experiences weave together, making certain smells, sounds, and sights trigger thoughts that will trigger memories. Our life lessons are not segregated by subject or theme.They all touch and that’s why we remember them so vividly, and can even still feel the same emotions that we felt in that moment over and over again.

So, in my list making, supply purchasing and lining up of my ducks, I am becoming energized to the journey ahead. In these moments, I am SO very thankful for the opportunity to home educate my beautiful children. I realize that not everyone is afforded such a gift, a gift (from God) that I do not take for granted.

The Beautiful Struggle

The longer I am married, the more humble I become, the more I realize that my life is not my own.

Wait..what? MY life isn’t MY life? Experience is shouting a resounding “NO!” at me…on a daily basis!

Insane right!?

Whether or not you are a follower of Christ, the moment you say “I Do”, your relationship is not FOR you! The marital relationship between a man and a woman was made BY and FOR God! He designed this earthly union to be a picture of the lifelong commitment and sacrificial love that Jesus has for His bride, His bride being the church body of believers.

Let me be the FIRST to admit that my commitment to my long suffering husband has NOT been anything close to resembling the design God intended it to be! Sure, my hubby has plenty of faults of his own, but out of respect for him, I prefer not to air his dirty laundry. I have no problem, however, airing my own! My part in our marriage has been one given from a self-serving posture, much of the time! Whoda thunk that marriage wasn’t meant to fulfill my every need, want, and whim??

Happiness, great sex, and freedom in communication in a marriage is awesome, and God WANTS that for your marriage, but these benefits are not the PURPOSE for your marriage.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that you being “happy” has NOTHING to do with having a successful marriage! I’ll even take it a step further and say that people in such a privileged position often falter and abandon that calling because they are no longer “happy” with the person they vowed to spend the rest of their days on earth loving and caring for!

Yes, God wants you to be happy, but He wants you to be humble even more so! Marriage is NOT designed to make you happy. Marriage IS meant to refine you, strip you of your selfishness, and make you humble.  Recently, my beloved and I went through an extremely cold winter in our marriage! I was NOT happy or content being his wife, and he was quite unhappy with me! Had we obeyed those feelings of discontent, we would be divorced right now, and missing out on this amazing journey through a lush pasture of spiritual growth and emotional healing! Not to mention the trauma that divorce would inflict upon us individually, and upon our beautiful children. I am my husband’s second wife, and I have seen first-hand what divorce did to his 3 older daughters!

Feelings are NOT meant to be our guiding light through life. In case you haven’t noticed, emotions waver more than a drunk college student, during Mardi Gras, on Bourbon Street! Our feelings can get us into SO much trouble, because they are affected by EVERYTHING!!! Bad day at work or at home with the kids, and we are pissy. The same applies if we are having a day where everything is going our way. We feel happy and optimistic. Got PMS?…um..nuff said!! Emotions are simply an “alarm” that we should use to prompt ask God to search us and show us what those feelings mean so that we can make prayerfully informed decision, in order to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome.

Secondly, marriage isn’t meant to be for your satisfaction! Does God want you to have great sex? Yes!

Let me repeat myself. YES…God wants you to have amazing sex!! He designed it and everything He makes is perfect and awesome!! Since we live in a fallen creation, this isn’t always the case. The enemy of our souls has twisted, cheapened, and perverted this beautiful gift from God. In the context of a committed marriage is the ONLY biblical place to enjoy this gift and most of us screwed that one up right out of the raging, hormonal gates of Teendom! Sex is no longer seen as a glue that is meant to bond 2 souls, 2 bodies together in a holy covenant…until death. Instead, sex is just something people do for fun or because they have developed an addiction to those amazing endorphins that orgasm releases.

I submit that marriage is meant to SANCTIFY (to make holy) you, not to SATISFY you! I have found that if I seek the world’s way of forming my marriage, I am ALWAYS dissatisfied! There is always some deficient to be agonized and nit-picked, something….hollow about it! In the years I spent searching for these missing pieces, my heart has been lead astray in relationships with men that were not my husband. Exciting and passionate, though they were, they were always temporary satisfaction that ALWAYS left shame, and a huge hole that their presence once filled. I still ache…deeply! I still experience a stab of pain at a memory and tears because I know it was a forbidden something not meant for me and I took it anyway. I may always hurt inside. I don’t know. Only time will tell.  My point being, is that since I’ve ceased digging through the world’s dumpster to find things to try to beautify my marriage, and have chosen to do it God’s way, I could NOT be more satisfied!

I am whole!

I am full!

I AM HAPPY! Not because we both suddenly became perfect for each other, because we aren’t! Not because we never disagree, because we do! NOT because I’m getting everything I’ve ever wanted in life, because I’m not!

I’m experiencing these things because I finally realized who I am…and more importantly WHOSE I am! I was drawing my identity from my husband, and my lovers. And SURPRISE! They all fell short of God’s design for who I was to be as His daughter!

 

Having said all of this, I will close with a simple statement.

If you are seeking AND following God’s will for your marriage, you WILL find an intimacy that brings both happiness AND satisfaction!!

It’s simple, but it isn’t easy!

What Love!

The love of God.

This subject is one that has been saturating my thoughts lately! How could someone SO good, someone so unbelievably perfect have  seen fit to sacrifice His heavenly position at the right hand of the Father, His dignity as the Son of the Almighty God by allowing mere people to scorn and mock His true identity, His innocent blood, and His last breath…for someone like ME??? Who am I that He, GOD incarnate, could love me so endlessly to have died for my every fault and failure?

In Ephesians 1:4-5, we see why: Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Before there was an earth. Before there was an Eden. Before we were conceived…God LOVED us! He CHOSE us! Look at your child. That child was made in YOUR image. She has your smile and her father’s red hair! Before you met her, you LOVED her and were determined to do everything in your power to meet her every need, protect her, and celebrate her milestones. You resolved to guide her when she fails, help her when she falls, and hold her when she hurts!

If we feel this way about our kids, how much more would our Creator feel this way about us?!? If we, as self-serving human beings, desire ONLY the best things in life for the temporary gifts, that are our children, how incredibly unshakable is The Father’s love for us, His beloved?

Not only does He love us in a way that outshines the love of natural parents, He loves us with a fierce jealousy, as a husband would for the intimate affection of his bride! He views her with eyes that only see her perfections. The stars in His eyes when she is near would light the darkest of midnights! He thinks about her constantly, and he aches for her when they are apart! He loves her! He is devoted and committed to HER. He has sworn to spend his entire life loving, protecting, and nurturing that promise. It isn’t a heavy burden, loving her. She is his heart and his life. He can’t bear the thought of living without her. She makes the earth rotate, and the sun rise each morning! The thought of her dividing her attention between him and another, makes him feel ill. Sick to his stomach. And ANGRY! The hole in his heart when she no longer has eyes ONLY for him, is wide enough and deep enough to swallow the whole of Niagra Falls! How COULD she desert him like this?! His angel. His only love. The one His soul longs for.

Imagine that feeling!!

If you have ever faced the pain and physical ailments that accompany an unfaithful spouse, or have been the one to inflict such pain (in my case), you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about! There isn’t a feeling to compare with that misery. There aren’t words to describe that volume of anguish.

THAT is the way our Abba, God Almighty feels when we choose the fleeting pleasure of this world over the limitlessness of His love and mercy. Every time we step through the door of sin, we slam it in His face, leaving a hole and a pain that can only be remedied by our undivided devotion to the One who thought eternity without us was so unbearable, that He gave up His only child ,to be slaughtered, to prove how precious we are to Him! We crucify Jesus over and over again, every time we decide to step outside of the protective umbrella of God’s will! He must relive the pain of His Son’s death with each sin we indulge in. He knew that this was THE only way to reconcile our wickedness unto His holiness. He was willing, IS willing, to endure this to HAVE us! To keep us! We are not worthy of such love. And yet He thinks we are WORTH IT!

What LOVE the Father has lavished on us!! WOW! It is almost too much to wrap my finite mind around sometimes! How deep, how wide, how long, how high is You love for us, Oh God!

My prayer, for you, dear one, is that you’ll reflect on the enormity of His passion for you. You were on His mind before He laid the foundations of the galaxies. YOU were the twinkle in His eyes when He dreamed up the stars. You, most precious of creations, were the warmth in His breath as He blew the first summer breezes over the earth!

Mugcake Madness

I have been absolutely obsessed with mugcakes for about a month now. I cant help it! Being both delicious AND nutritious, they have become a staple in my journey to health. Mugcakes are, in my opinion, perfect!

The filling cake base of oats, banana, and protein is satisfying and healthful. The things you add to that make them a sweet-tooth quenching mouthparty! You can keep them completely clean or dirty them up with more naughty add-ins. They are a balanced breakfast or a divine dessert.

PERFECTION!

I’ve decided to share my 2 favorite creations,recipe included, as of late.

Image

BEHOLD!!! The Coconut Dream Mugcake!! Garnished with toasted coconut and fresh, sweet banana, this little beaut is great if you’re craving something without an overbearing sweetness.

Cake:

In a food processor, blend well

1/4c, 1/2 banana, 1packet stevia, 1 egg, 1tsp baking powder, 1/4tsp salt, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1Tbs unsweetened shredded coconut, 1Tbs flax meal (optional), and 5 drops of vanilla creme stevia drops OR 1/2tsp vanilla extract.

Spray a large mug with nonstick cooking spray and microwave mixture for about 1min 40sec.

Tap the sides of the mug to loosen the cake and turn it out onto a plate.

Topping:
Coconut or vanilla greek yogurt, sliced banana and toasted coconut.

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Holy Molten Mouthparty, Batman!!   A warm, melty, chocolaty, explosion of heaven in your mouth! My (slightly naughty) Chocolava Mugcake is sure to satisfy any chocolate lover’s itch for that dark, rich sweetness! Marry it with fresh berries for a sweet tang that’ll have your taste buds giddy with delight!

Cake:

In a food processor, blend well

1/4c oats, 1/2 banana, 1egg, 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1tsp baking powder, 1/4tsp salt, 1 packet stevia, 10 drops vanilla creme stevia, and 1Tbs or less unsweetened cocoa powder

Pour half of the mixture into a tall-ish mug

Now…for the ooey, gooey goodness in the middle:

In a separate bowl

Mix 1Tbs almond (or peanut) butter, 5 drops vanilla creme stevia, 1tsp cocoa powder, 1tsp chocolate protein powder and few dark chocolate chips. This mixture will be dry so once it’s well mixed, roll it into a ball and place it in the mug. Add the remaining portion of the batter to the mug and microwave for 2minutes.

Add about a Tbs dark chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl with about a tsp of water. Once the cake has “dinged”, remove it and let the mug cool while you melt these bad boys!! (should take about 30sec)

Tap sides of mug to loosen the cake and turn it out onto a plate. Pour melted chocolate over the cake and garnish with fresh berries

ENJOY!!!

You can follow my instagram @puresouthernsweetness for more food, faith and fitness inspiration!

“Sisterly Love”

This afternoon, I was privileged  to spend some quality time with a woman I attend church with. This was only the second occasion I had actually followed through on an attempt to bond with a lady, outside of the church walls, since I lost my best friend, of her own choice.

You see, 3 years ago, I made a very stupid decision. I separated from my husband and decided to pursue love elsewhere, while still married. After I realized how wrong I had been, I returned home and marital healing began. The restoration is ongoing, but my beloved and I have grown in the Lord tremendously since that event. We have matured and bonded in ways I never knew was possible within a marriage.

Anyway, during this trial, I expected my very closest friend of 5 years, and godmother to my 3 children, to help me overcome my selfishness toward my husband. I needed her to lift me up in prayer and encourage me in God’s truths. However, I met a harsh response when she said my friendship was no longer beneficial to her and that she would no longer continue to be a part my life. I was crushed! This woman, to whom I’d poured myself out in many ways…This person, with whom I cried and trusted God to help her conceive a baby…and He did…thought I was no longer worth her time or effort as a friend? It shattered me. It devastated me and I withdrew from friendship. I closed that part of myself off because I never wanted to feel a pain like that again!

I have always believed that when a sister or brother in Christ is in bondage or struggling, it was the job of the body to lift them up, correct them if necessary and help restore them to their proper place before God! I never thought that, that was the time to turn away and hightail it to a more accommodating climate! That’s just me though…

Anyway, I said all that to say this. There is real healing in the fellowship of believers! I laid myself bare today. I opened up my pages and read my dark, self-destructive story to this woman today. And she did the same! We spilled ourselves (in between pauses of parenting) over coffee. I have been a druggie, a heavy drinker, a porn/sex addict, a sexually abused, suicidal basket case of fear and self hatred, an adulteress, and a victim of domestic violence. As it turns out, we share a lot of the same life experiences!

Through all of this, we didn’t see someone who deserved to be abandoned and forsaken simply because of the terrible decisions made on their part. We did not see value according to what that person could offer us, or how they could benefit us. We simply saw…the Grace and Mercy of our Magnificent Heavenly Father. We saw healing, restoration, wholeness, and supernatural provisions! We saw a sister! We saw family!

I am so SO thankful to belong to a body of believers where I feel it is 100% safe to be EXACTLY who God created me to be! I do not feel a need to “fit in” or put on a mask of false joy!

Why?

This family I have found is the kind that will drop everything to pray with you when you’re less than yourself. They go out of their way to bless and help you! They are aware that you will struggle and sin, and they don’t condemn you for it! They pick you up, dust you off, and say, “I’ll carry you if you can’t walk on your own.” These are REAL people! Transparent people! Each a hand, an arm, and the heart of a living God!