Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dare Thirty Eight: The Cinderella Concept

Picture from my Cinderella DVD
This dare is so challenging.  I realize how truly selfish I am as I think about today’s dare.  The dare is for me to “Ask yourself what your mate would want if it was obtainable.  Commit this to prayer, and start mapping out a plan for meeting some (if not all) of their desires, to whatever level you possibly can.”  But why am I supposed to be making his dreams come true?

I want to be Cinderella.  I want my handsome prince to make my dreams come true.  I want him to have his white horse (or maybe a white limo), a grandiose castle, and I want everything to be planned and go as planned.  I want him to make my dreams come true, all of them.  It gets worse.  In my selfish Cinderella mindset, I do not want to worry about taking care of the prince!  I want him to rub his own feet, fold his own socks, and pick up his plate after dinner.  As for his dreams, I should be his dream, right?

I say this and you may laugh, but don’t many of us truly buy into this Cinderella Concept?  In our minds, we as women are to be his princess, his prize, his dream.  His dreams, those that are not fulfilled by our very presence, are his problem.  Okay, so it doesn’t always go this far, but you get my point.  Sometimes I get into the mindset that James needs to take care of me and make my dreams come true, but I leave his dreams out on the front porch getting cold (or in Mississippi getting ridiculously hot . . .).

Granted my husband’s short term dreams change with the tide, but I need to pay attention to his dreams.  If he currently wants to better himself or the house in some way, I have to not only buy into that, but align myself to making it happen in any way I can.  If he sets a goal for himself, I have to show my love for him by supporting him enough to do all I can to help him accomplish that goal.  His dreams need to be my dreams.  He’s not a prince and I’m not a princess.  We have to look to each other to bring our dreams into reality.  He can’t call a castle servant to serve me dinner on command, and I can’t wave a magic wand and have the entire house clean in minutes.  We each have to work out of love to bring about each others needs, wants, and dreams.

His dreams are my concern.  I am not Cinderella nor am I a fairy tale princess.  Life does not live happily ever after without applying some elbow grease.  My husband dreams of a wife that considers his wants as much as my own wants.  My husband dreams of having my respect him as much as I respect myself.  Sometimes if I don’t feel loved, I don’t respect.  However, love loves regardless of how I feel at the moment.  I cannot just love him when I feel up to it.  His dreams are my concern.

Lately, I’ve been little Miss Cinderella.  I have completely dismissed so many things that James has been asking me about.  Stupid things really.  Things that I could have stepped up to easily, if I had not had such a diva mindset.  God set us on this earth to serve others, not ourselves.  I must to set aside the Cinderella Concept and start making my husband’s dreams come true. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dare Thirty Seven: Humble Me

I have heard it said many times that “prayer is powerful.”  Let me clarify, “A prayer to the God of creation is powerful.” If we truly believed that, then why is it often a last resort?

Today’s dare:  "Ask your spouse if you can begin praying together.  Talk about the best time to do this, whether it's in the morning, your lunch hour, or before bedtime.  Use this time to commit your concerns, disagreements, and needs before the Lord.  Don't forget to thank Him for His provision and blessing.  Even if your spouse refuses to do this, resolve to spend this daily time in prayer yourself."

Prayer is humbling.  During prayer I have to let my guards down, to allow God to surround me, and I must recognize my need for God.  The dare asks me to start praying regularly with James.  Praying together seems to be significant to God because in Matthew 18:18-19 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”  I must get to agreeing with my husband in prayer about our marriage, our life, and our ministry.

God says knock and the door will be opened, seek and you will find, ask and it will be given to you.  In our marriage, I rarely knock, I rarely seek, and I rarely ask.  If I want doors to be busted open within our marriage, I have to get to knocking!  If I want to find the depths of love that God has for us in our marriage, I need to start seeking God in this area.  If I want to be given blessings in our marriage, I need to start asking.  We need to start knocking, seeking, and asking so we can begin to have doors open, find that which was lost, and be given God’s blessings.

God decides to use us for his glory, humans being the agents of his hand.  What a glorious responsibility!  Prayer is one of the ways that God uses us to change our world.  Prayer changes lives!  I want God to change my life; even more, I want Him to transform my life and marriage daily.  Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds; I believe that that applies to my marriage too!  God can transform my marriage into a new creation.  I think we so often get caught up in thinking of marriage as a human institution that we forget that God has a divine plan for marriage.  A transformed marriage consists of two transformed individuals who seek God’s will for their life and marriage.  The marriage becomes a vessel for God to use to bless others and to change lives.  Marriage is beautiful if we dedicate it to God in prayer.

My Favorite Verses on Prayer:

2 Chronicles 7:14, (NIV1984)
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Luke 11:9-10, (NIV1984)
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Psalm 141:2, (NIV1984)
“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”

James 5:15-16, (NIV1984)
“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Revelation 5:8, (NIV1984)
“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dare Thirty Six: Word of God Speak

Today’s dare reminded me so much of the song by Mercy Me.

Word of God Speak

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay

Find more at

When am I going to fully realize that the Word of God is alive in me?  The bread of life is vital to my existence.  I need God’s word to fill me up.  Sometimes I run around starved and spiritually emaciated.  How many Christians spiritually look like the children from other countries shown in ads for Feed the Children?  The bread and water of life is not optional for God’s children . . . it is literally life.

The Bible, the very Word of God, is so important for my marriage.  The kingdom of God must reign in my marriage!  How much clearer can God be on this matter?  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV).

The dare for today was, “Commit to reading the Bible every day.  Find a devotional book or other resource that will give you some guidance.  If your spouse is open to it, see if they will commit to daily Bible reading with you.  Begin submitting each area of your life to its guidance and start building on the rock.”  Jesus is the rock and we must build the foundation of our marriage on Him.  I think of the song, “all other ground is sinking sand.”

Let me tell you right now.  The enemy does not want my marriage to be on solid ground.  As I write this blog . . . as we seek after God’s will for our life . . . James and I have been under attack.  We have been arguing more lately over insignificant things.  If we don’t cling to the rock, we will be in sinking sand.  God is powerful.  God is sufficient for us in times of trouble.  If you are reading this, please keep us in your prayers.  We are more than happy for others to invite God into our situation and for God’s hand to be upon our marriage in a mighty way.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dare Thirty Five: From Isolation to Community

I make a mistake quite often in my marriage.  I assume that my marriage is my business and that keeping others out of our trials is natural.  If I share anything, it is often out of frustration and eventually maybe out of desperation.  Blogging about the Love Dare has been a small change in the openness level about my marriage, but just because I am blogging into cyberspace does not mean I am interacting with specific individuals about the joys and trials of my marriage.

The truth?  My marriage is in isolation.

This chapter of the Love Dare is about accountability.  It challenges me to “Find a marriage mentor – someone who is a strong Christian and who will be honest and living with you.  If you feel that counseling is needed, then take the first step to set up an appointment.  During this process, ask God to direct your decisions and discernment.”  While that should be easy to do, my husband and I do not have a strong relationship with any other Christian couple.  Ouch!  Did I just admit that?  We know other couples in our church, great couples in our church.  However, we have been too busy to really devote ourselves to getting to know other couples.

The Bible tells us about accountability in Hebrews 3:13 “Encourage one another day after day . . .  so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”  James and I cannot be encouraged if we are not around anyone who knows what is going on in our lives and marriage.  I have friends and James has friends, but so far, our marriage has been our business.  Maybe we actually shy away from that level of deepness with others because they might see that we are human.  Oh wait, we are all human . . . rats.

Upon this realization comes a responsibility to change for the glory of God by the power of God.  I realize that if I remain unmoved and apathetic to our current state of isolation I am actually putting up a wall in an area where God can touch our marriage and lives.  God is the only one who can take down the walls that James and I have built.  We have to let people in.  Even more so, we must actually seek relationships with other couples rather than pretending that it is okay to go it alone.  Healthy conviction, advice, and encouragement need not come from a book, but instead they can come from healthy relationships between couples who are following God with all that they are.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dare Thirty Four: What is true?

In 1 Corinthians 13:6, it says that love "does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth."  I hardly think that unrighteousness is a consideration in today's society, much less truth.  Marriages are built on "let's give it a shot" and husbands are thought of as the silly little man that is laughed at in every sitcom on television.  Is that real?  Is that true?  According to the verse, love is based on real truth that has nothing to do with unrighteousness.  I'm in it for real life and real love.

This dare has challenged me because while I hope to be upstanding, I don't go out of my way to rejoice with the truth.  Dare Thirty Four asks me to, "Find a specific, recent example when your spouse demonstrated Christian character in a noticeable way.  Verbally commend them for this at some point today."  Wow!  Intentionally rejoicing with the truth . . . with righteousness.  Applauding good character, godliness.  What a refreshing thought!

I often praise my husband on his leadership ability and his physical strength.  I applaud his cooking ability.  I definitely tell him how daggone smart he is.  Sometimes I forget that more importantly than all these things is his strength of character, his integrity, and his genuine heart.

God has made James a person who stands by what is right even when everyone else says that breaking the rules is alright.  He rarely bends the rules and even less often does he break rules.  His integrity is outstanding.  Forget how excellent a cook James is, his upright stance is worth rejoicing!  I can praise my husband for his character.

Another thing that James is amazing at is being a father.  I was not privileged to have a father while growing up and seeing James act as a good father to my son means the world to me.  He gets to represent to my son what a father is, so when my little guy grows up he will understand that God as our Father is an amazing God who will take care of our needs, teach us, and guide our steps.  I do rejoice that James is the best father my son could have.

The truth is that James is an amazing man that God has brought into my life as my husband.  The truth is that James is a wonderful father and a man of integrity.  I rejoice in the truth.  James will always be this person even in human mistakes.  I reject the lies that make me feel that James might let me down or will not live up to my expectations and rather I accept the truth of who God made James to be.  Our mistakes can never remove the truth of who God made us to be.  My mistakes make me no less of the true person that God intends.  Sin is still sin, but as a Christian, it does not represent the truth but rather lies. When we follow God's plan we are living in the truth, while when we are following our own way we are living in a world of lies.  Real life is God's plan.  The truth is worth rejoicing!