Christian marriage, motherhood, keepers at home, Titus 2, encouragement news letter

January 19, 2007 

Dearest Sisters ~

I trust the LORD is helping you, guiding you, and providing for all that concerns you and I pray you are well.  I look forward to writing to you each week and pray the LORD will guide my thoughts and be my provision as I write to you.  Many things have come up this week — things that are hard to hear, but don’t shock or surprise me as they used to do, still these things grip my thoughts and grieve my heart more than ever.  As you might guess, these things to which I refer pertain to marriage… more disappointment, moral failure, distractions and infidelity.  Each time I listen to stories, when I hear of the demise of a marriage or hear of another divorce, I grieve.  I grieve when I talk with a sister whose marriage is failing, or whose love for the LORD has waned or whose become enamoured with the world and all the seemingly lovely lures of this life.  I grieve when a sister ignores the warning signals, or moves through life undaunted –as if unfaithfulness or infidelity or disloyalty or dishonour isn’t appalling or more to the point: sinful.  I’ll share more about this in another letter.

Over the years I’ve listened to many messages, many sermons.  And every now and then a particular message or sermon will profoundly affect me---will hit me where I live, so to speak.  Those are the sermons that some people might say go from preaching to meddling.  I like them – in fact, I think, deep down we all like the sort of message that will hit us where we live or impact us for change or shake us out of complacency.  I long to hear messages that boldly address hard things.

For most of us, hearing those sorts of sermons is pretty rare as they are few and far between.  We may smugly go through life largely unaffected by things around us.  We’re not unruffled though, for we may every day get ruffled about something.   Everyday we may face things that get our attention and elicit a strong reaction.  But that’s not the kind of reaction I’m seeking to address – I’m   not really talking about that at all – I’m talking about things affecting us, things that prompt an about-face or a radical change.  Those things don’t seem to come along very often, but when they do, you can believe that If you’re open, the LORD will speak through many sorts of circumstances that will have lasting impact for good on our lives and in our homes.  We might think of all this in terms of “dash lights”—understanding what they indicate and learning to watch for them to illuminate and then being “instant in obedience” to act.  I’m entitling this letter: The Dash Lights in Marriage and I hope this picture will come to your mind if/when you face warnings in your life.  I do pretty well with pictures –they stay with me a long time.

The Dash Lights in Marriage

When considering the dash lights in marriage, there are many facets or areas we might consider –things we might think about and do sort of a “check up” or evaluation to see where we’re at and how we’re doing.  I pray to be candid because of the seriousness of the matter.

What do the dash lights indicate or what questions do they prompt?

Have I left my first love?

Is my walk with the LORD as it should be? Am I daily in the Word, in prayer and meditation and am I intent on obeying all known promptings of the LORD immediately? Do I keep a short account of sins committed against God? I seek to answer these questions and get right with God just now.

In my behavior...

Am I willing to confess and make amends quickly? Do I keep a record of wrong? Do I have love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things? Does my love fail for my husband? Am I childish in my dealing with my husband... am I petty? Do I seek my own way, am I easily provoked and do I think ill or evil of my husband or react unkindly to him? Am I hypocritical or double minded in my speech or actions? I seek to answer these questions very honestly and make necessary corrections and get right with my family members and with the LORD just now.

In my private life...

Am I daily striving to improve? Am I seeking to eat and live in a more healthy manner? Am I endeavoring to be attentive to my husband's interests? Do I seek to understand his world? Do I guard what I watch, what I listen to, and what I read? Do I guard my thoughts? Do I lust after the things my friends have? Do I look around at other husbands and their abilities? Do I compare them with my own husband or use them as a measure of his shortcomings? Am I guarding against negative or critical thinking? Am I remembering to hide God's Word in my heart and to be daily renewed by the hearing of the Word?

In my walk...

Do I set about ordering our home in a manner that is pleasing to him, or do I simply seek to please myself in the organization, decorating, scheduling and tone of our home. Do I take into account his preference for how my day is planned? Do I consider his suggestions when I have a problem, or do I make excuses for my behavior and reject his help.  Do I respect his ideas and demonstrate it in my behavior? I pray to be honest and to correct the areas in which I have deceived or defrauded myself or my husband. Am I secretly doing things my husband has expressly asked me not to do?

In marital intimacy...

Do I desire to be attractive in my appearance for my husband? Am I attempting to be desirable to him? Do I find ways to complement him and demonstrate to him that he is desirable? Am I learning how to give him pleasure and am I willing to learn to love him in ways that *he* needs to be loved---even if I find it foreign to my personal idea of what's pleasurable? (I am *not* talking about sinful behavior!) Am I seeking to be pliable in my outlook.  Do I manipulate or use the marriage bed for personal gain? Do I play games with his emotions or lead him on? Do I seek to know his "need quotient" and find ways to meet it?

In all the areas above, we can go before the LORD and with a sincere heart seek to make wrongs right and to walk in His ways, that we might make it our personal desire to "walk worthy of the LORD, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

We used to have a van that had no gas gauge, the speedometer hadn't worked for years, and the dash lights were undependable and the windows leaked. One would think that this was a very unreliable vehicle and would likely think it was time to take that van to the wrecking yard---it still worked enough to be useful and we had grown accustomed to its problems.   Eventually it did need to be replaced.

Now we have a different van and not only do the gauges work, but lights come on when something doesn't work – but you know, at first I was so accustomed to ignoring the lights that the new properly working lights alarmed me and it became necessary for me to "relearn" to keep an eye on them and to understand what they were signaling. I want to relate something to marriage and use the van as an example. Sometimes we become so accustomed to a damaged or inferior situation that we learn ways of coping or side stepping the problem. We may have ignored warning systems so long that we are no longer sensitive to the serious adversity they're indicating.  But when we ignore the signals long enough, they are no longer alarming to us and we don't react to them with the intent to fix the problem, instead, we ignore them to the point that they may no longer even get our attention---or if they do, we might bang on the dash to get them to stop. Then when the car stops running and/or will not start, we acknowledge the problem and struggle to find a way to repair it and generally the solution is costly. Had we taken seriously the dash lights, had we taken note of the needs of the vehicle in the very beginning and sought to make early repairs, utilizing the proper fluids and tools and kept the levels in check, and had we set up a maintenance schedule, our vehicle would have been smooth running and dependable.   Now, you and I know that this analogy breaks down at some point.

If we ignore the warning signals in marriage, we may surely wake up one morning wondering how in the world did our marriage slip away? When did we first begin ignoring the lights? Let's begin at this moment evaluating and praying over the condition of our marriage, seeking God's guidance as to trouble spots, our shortcomings or areas of sin and to begin making the necessary, perhaps even painful repairs, confessions and adjustments.

Are the Dash Lights Flashing?   We can seek the LORD to show us the way and begin making necessary adjustments today… we know He is good all the time and His ways are best.

I pray for you this day in your home and especially in your marriage: "That ye might walk worthy of the LORD, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

With sincere love,

©A Christian Home ~ Letters To My Sisters ~ 2007





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