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Monthly Archives: June 2010

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The Truth About Vigilance

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!I woke up this morning with a list in my mind.  It was a list of qualities I wish I had.  Qualities which, in my mind, would make me a vigilant wife.  As I showered, I began to sort through the list and quickly developed a stomachache as burn-out and fatigue settled in.  I was already stressed out and had just barely started my day.  Realizing the improbability of getting through the list with my sanity intact gave me heartburn before I even ate my oatmeal.  Because vigilance takes energy.  And energy is something I lack this week as I recover from last week’s chaos of five days’ worth of coordinating crafts for approximately 500 children.  (Can you say crazy awesome?!?) 
And then, out of the blue, as I grabbed my towel, I remembered the Truth:

The woman to be admired and praised

is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.  ~Proverbs 30:30
The Bria version of that verse says, “The vigilant wife is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.”  (Please, please don’t call me a heretic…it’s just an application, okay?) 
That verse is at the end of a Hebrew acrostic poem that describes the “wife of noble character” (Prov. 31:10).  Among other things, she is someone who works eagerly, demands respect in the way that she presents herself, is discerning, she’s funny and doesn’t worry about stuff.  Basically, the amazingly perfect wife/mom/woman that I am not.  I mean, this lady gets up early and makes her own clothes, for goodness sake! 
Insert my two favorite words in the Bible – –
but. God.
See, God made a way for me to be an amazing wife/mom/woman.  By seeking Him.  By living in the Fear-of-God.  In other words, by letting Him lead my life.  And trusting Him absolutely.  Doing things His way.  Finding out what His way is by studying His Word.  And by asking Him to show me.  And by listening for His whisper that beckons, “This way, Bria.  Do it this way.  Trust me.  Just trust Me, and I will make you the vigilant wife I created you to be.”
And so I will follow my God.  The Lord Jesus Christ.  Vigilantly.
Wanna’ come along? 

Let me know by leaving a comment or by linking up.
***Here’s how it works… Leave a comment here about your husband and one way you choose to serve him today or this week. Or, if you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you’d like to share (a permalink is the URL to a specific blog post) then paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance. I also ask you to kindly link back to here so that your readers can read more vigilance stories.

Vigilance Wives What?

Vacation Bible School crafts coordinator = me = late / lack of Vigilant Wives Club post today….
Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

I’ll be back next week. Hopefully intact after this week. I’ve been thinking. Just haven’t had time to write it all down yet.  So — if I am still sane next week, I’ll be back.

BUT — please enjoy the link ups…

Learning to Learn

I’ve never really been a competitive person. Or never thought I was anyway.  I went bowling with my parents once after I’d graduated from high school and got annoyed with them for trying to correct my form because I was not there to improve my game, I was there for the fun of it.  For a long time, I had prided myself on living in the moment.  Not on improving the moment.

Problem is, pride and real true living cannot coexist.

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
~James 4:6

And if God’s the very One Who thought up this whole living thing in the first place, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be opposed by Him. Because real true living can only come from God Himself.  The Author of Life.

I started this blog thing a few years ago.  Because I want to be a writer.  And I’ve practiced my writing and made some new friends and started following some amazing blogs.  I have found some incredibly gifted writers whose skills I aspire to emulate.  Which was all good and fine.  Until the comparing began.  Which led to a secret competition.  All told, it was envy, really.

It caught me unaware.  But somewhere along the line, my desire to learn from all of these amazing people whom I had found in my new blogging life transformed into a sort of unannounced contest.  One that only I knew about.  Somehow the admiration and emulation of those whose blog posts and writing I admired turned into a secret rivalry.  Somewhere in all my longing to be used by God to teach truth to others, I lost the ability to let Him use others to teach me.

He showed me this a while back.  And I did not like it.  But as I have slowly come around to the truth of this conviction in my soul, I started realizing that there are so many different areas of my life where this holds true.

Like when I sing along with the radio in my car and try to belt out “Jesus Take the Wheel” better than Carrie Underwood herself. 🙂  (Go ahead an laugh out loud.  We ALL know that’s just not gonna’ happen!)

Or when I sit in a Bible study and think about how I might teach a particular truth instead of listening to the truth itself.

And so I’ve missed the point.

And I’ve also missed the living.  The learning.

So I am declaring today as the official end of this silent competition I’ve been having with Carrie Underwood and Beth Moore and that really pretty lady at the mall with five perfectly behaved children in tow behind her perfectly trimmed body getting into her gorgeous new Ford Expedition . . .  Because this life is not a competition.

Because this competition is stupid.  And there’s no winning.

Because the only way to win is to surrender.  Throw in the towel.

So I’m out.

And this will not become a towel throwing contest.

Instead, I’m going to put that energy towards knowing the Master of my life.  Towards searching out what He wants me to do.  Towards doing whatever that is the way that He wants me to do it.

Care to join me?  I’d love to know about it…

Praying Again

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!I love our local Christian radio station, which I listen to very frequently.  However, sometimes I just need a break from the same songs that get played over and over and over and over.  So lately I’ve been taking a sabbatical of sorts and gone to some trusty other stations for variety’s sake, and for the sake of my sanity.  Because goodness knows I’m a variety-loving kind of gal.  And even in the spice of the variety, I still find myself station-surfing during the commercials (which also play over and over and over and over). 

Well, during one such surfing expeditions last week, I came across this amazing song by a group called Sanctus Real.  It’s a contemporary Christian band that has had a few songs that I’ve liked in the past.  But this one, well, its message stuck with me all week.

It’s the prayer of a husband asking God to help him lead his family as he has been called to lead.  Because he knows that he knows that he knows that he cannot do it without the very strength of God Himself.

So I thought I’d leave you today with this video about the story behind the song.  For the express purpose of lighting a fire under you (and me!) to PRAY for our husbands to “build (their) home(s) on the solid foundation Jesus Christ” alone.  And, while it might be easy for you to compare your husband to this man, I beg to please NOT!  Instead, I ask you to hear the message of this couple and think through how it might relate to your own marriage.  And then, I ask you to pray like crazy that your home will be founded on THE solid foundation of Jesus Christ.  Starting with you.  Praying for him.  Because this is truly the only true basis for vigilance in a marriage.

The Story Behind “Lead Me” – Sanctus Real from BrightBulb Entertainment on Vimeo.

I hope you’ll join us today in our Vigilance as wives.  Please click here if you want to know what it’s all about. 

And now it’s your turn…

***Here’s how it works… Leave a comment here about your husband and one way you choose to serve him today or this week. Or, if you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you’d like to share (a permalink is the URL to a specific blog post) then paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance. I also ask you to kindly link back to here so that your readers can read more vigilance stories.

The Motivation of Vigilance

As a first semester college freshman, I took an upper level class about the anatomy and physiology of speech.  I was the only freshman in the class.  I took it because it sounded really cool.  The kind of stuff that excited me.  The reason I thought I’d gone to college.  At that time, I wanted to be a Presidential speech-writer.  And this class was only being offered this one time, so my advisor advised me to go ahead and take it.  The class was hard, but I worked my tail off because I loved it.

I ended up with one of the best grades in the class.

Same semester, different class, very different story.  The class was Old Testament Survey.  I took it because it was required.  Everyone had to take it if we wanted to some day graduate.  Therefore, it was a class full of freshmen (and a few transfer students).  Ever since I can remember, I have always loved studying my Bible.  What I did not enjoy, however, was history.  And this class was all about the story of the Bible, i.e. history (which, btw, I have since grown to LOVE and so appreciate).  It was hard, and I didn’t like it.

By mid-semester, I had a D.

I learned a lot about myself that first semester of college.  Namely, I am motivated by enjoyment.  I love to have fun.  If it isn’t fun to me, I may do it, but I will not do it wholeheartedly.  Or, I may not do it at all.  With some things, that’s okay.  But in many things, it’s not.  Because, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I am called to it.

The Bible says,
“Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants . . .” Ephesians 6:7

That is one of the reasons I started the vigilant wives club.  Because, although most of my marriage so far has been amazingly full of enjoyment, there are definitely seasons when it feels like more of a requirement to me.  A requirement that I have been given by the Creator of Marriage Himself when my husband and I took vows and promised to remain faithful, to always love and cherish, even in sickness or poverty.  Until death.  Because I promised my husband that I would cherish him.  Always.  Even when I might not feel like it.  Even when it’s not easy.

And so, knowing myself, I needed to take drastic measures to ensure my motivation in the matter.  Even though motivation really has nothing to do with that fact of the promise I made that day in August almost fourteen years ago.  I need to be intentional if I want my marriage to not just survive but to actually flourish.  Because, if this were a college course, I wouldn’t be okay with just a C (which, btw, I ended up getting in OT Survey).

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!Okay, now it’s your turn…
***Here’s how it works… Leave a comment here about your husband and one way you choose to serve him today or this week. Or, if you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you’d like to share (a permalink is the URL to a specific blog post) then paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance. I also ask you to kindly link back to here so that your readers can read more vigilance stories.

What He Loves Me About Me

He whispers I love you in the dark before we drift off to sleep.  I soak it in.  Why? I ask.  What do you love about me? I summon.  A familiar occurrence since the day we were married.  Because I don’t want either one of us to forget what it was that made us fall in love.  Sometimes he answers with a catalog account of trait after memory of the things he loves about me.  And sometimes it’s short.  But, always, he speaks from his heart.  Always.  And I am reminded that he loves me for who I am.
I wish I could have that conversation with God.  What is it that You love about little old me?  I would request.  And He would answer with a liturgy of things unique to me.  Things that He put in me at the beginning of time.  Things He planned for me before even one of them came to be
It’s difficult to imagine what God might say in this celebration of the gifts He gave to me for His very specific purpose.  But, today, my friend Lisa-Jo at http://www.thegypsymama.com/ is asking that very question.  What is it that God loves specifically about you?  And, well, I like the question, so I’m playing along…
“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 

What it is about you that makes the Lord my God “take great delight in (you)”?

Come play with me

The Early Morning Gap

There is a seemingly great divide between who I am and who I want to be.  But the Savior of my Life is narrowing that great divide and will one day make me gapless.  Fulfilling His purpose for me.  He promised.

A few months ago, I came across this e-book about how making the most of my time in the morning will help me parent more intentionally and be more purposeful in my day.  It was an accident, really.  I happened upon it one day while I was blog-surfing.  You know — following links, tracking down blogs I’d like to follow.  It was my current flavor-du-jour for wasting my time spending my free time.  I’m sure there was something else I should’ve been doing and wasn’t.  (A whole ‘nother gap.  Whole different post.  Entirely different day.)  But alas, I was not.  Doing whatever I needed to do, that is.

The topic of the book intrigued me because, simply put, I. am. not. a. morning. person.  Always wanted to be.  Never have been.  So I downloaded the free e-book and read it the next day.

Inspired, I tried to figure out how a morning routine might work in my life.  Exactly what it might look like.  Because I’ve long admired those women who get up early and not only spend time alone with the Creator of the Morning, but they somehow workout, shower, do the laundry, scrub the floors and put dinner in the crockpot all before 7am.  Admittedly, my perspective might be a bit skewed and rather unrealistic, but I have long dreamed of being that woman.  The problem was the gap.  The gap between my dream of being Mrs. Morning and my reality of not wanting to see the numbers 5:00 more than one time per day.  So I shelved the inspiration from the book in my internal filing system (i.e. my brain), and continued on with my current daily routine.  This included, but was not limited to, ignoring my daughter for the half-hour between my husband leaving for work and the alarm going off at the last possible minute in order to get her ready for school on time.  In other words, good book.  Inspiring even.  But that’s where it stopped.  (Do you see the GAP?)

Soon after I read the book, though, the author, Kat, started this website as a follow-up for the e-book.  A practical way to inspire moms to more purposeful parenting.  It’s God’s answer to what I’d hoped my website might become when I started realifemom.com.  Amazing, really, because He is using my new friend Kat to inspire women to be the moms that God has called us to be in very practical ways.  She is definitely the right one for this job.  Without a doubt.  She’s organized and seasoned, and blessed by God to share the truths that He has been teaching her as she mothers her own three children and leads her readers in purposeful living.  But let’s return to my story, shall we?

We’ll pick it up at the point where my pastor preached a sermon about idols.  And I realized that, in certain ways, sleep was my idol.  Not saying I don’t need it.  I’m just saying I think I depended on it more than on the faith that God can get me up in the morning and fill me with more LIFE than any amount of sleep could ever give me.

So I gave up sleeping in for lent.  And I woke up by six a.m. almost every day for about six weeks.  And I spent my time reading God’s Word and journaling.  And, although it was difficult to get out of bed most mornings, I started to love my alone time.  Which you would think would make me stick with it, right?  Yeah, me too.  But alas, here we are, seven and a half weeks past Easter, and I am back to my old habits.  Because, well, I do love my sleep.  Especially in the morning.

And, even though I know how worth it the sacrifice is, when morning comes and the light breaks through the curtains in my bedroom and onto my closed eyelids, I roll over and face the windowless wall.  So I can sleep some more.  I cling to the old and comfortable way that I have always known.

Funny how so many of us are like that. 

Like the Israelites whom God had freed from slavery.  When they got hungry, they just wanted to return to their old lives in Egyt.  Because it was all they knew.  Even though it meant returning to slavery. 

They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? … It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Ex.14:11-12)

When it came down to it, the Egyptians decided that they would rather live in the comfort of what they knew than risk the discomfort of the unknown.  Even though that unknown meant life like they had never imagined.  Abundant living, in beautiful land that would produce amazing crops and flowing rivers and even more.  The truth of the matter was that the sacrifice of their immediate comfort would not even compare with the abundance of the life they would have.  If only they would put up with the discomfort for a little while.

And the truth of the matter for me is that the sacrifice of my immediate comfort (i.e. thirty more minutes of morning sleep) does not even compare with the joy and peace of starting my day on the right note (i.e. alone with the Creator of my life).

What comfort do keep running back to, even though you know it’s worth sacrificing for something truly better?