Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Encourage Your Husband

The steaks were sizzling on the grill and I joyfully anticipated the look on my husband's facewhen he saw the deer steaks I had finally made for him. Hearing the phone ring, I hurried inside to answer. It was Norm's supervisor, "Kyle", calling him in early to his scond shift job due to a minor crisis and Kyle thinking my husband would appreciate the overtime. With a sinking heart, I realized he would miss the special lunch I had prepared for him. As he hurried around the house preparing for work, he seemed agitated with Kyle and his management skills. With a quick kiss, he grabbed his lunch box and was out the door leaving my preschooler and I to enjoy his special lunch by ourselves. Somehow the joy had been taken out of it.
Then I thought about my husband who must have been tired and disapppointed. I knew, the way he exited, that tonight may not be a good night for him, but instead, a busy, exhausting one. I knew the added stress of taking care of new problems presented were not going to go well.

It was at that time I remembered Sunday, when, due to inclement weather, he was deprived of overtime and had expressed that disappointment. That was when I felt the tug of the Holy SPirit to send him a message so I dug out my cell phone and sent the following, "Before you get angry with Kyle, consider this: Maybe God did this because you lost your overtime on Sunday." Then I hit "Send" and hoped he'd receive it with a receptive heart.

I knew this really was of the Spirit because normally I probably would have moped and pouted because of a spoiled special dinner, but, instead, I obeyed the SPirit's call to encourage my husband. I have been learning lately that it is a wise wife who will "encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfullness." (Heb. 3:13)

I just heard God telling me to encourage him in love and deeds and in my impromtu Word Bible Study on Encouragement, I found the verse from 1 Thess. 4:18. "Therefore encourage each other with these words. " There are so many instructions in the Bible for encouraging others. Many forget that also pertains to their spouse. How can you encourage your husband today?

More verses on encouragement:

Job 16:5...But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
Acts 15:32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers.

Romans 12:8...if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Romans 15:4...For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Ephesians 6:22...I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

1 Thessalonians 5:11...Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:14...And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

Titus 2:6...Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled

Titus 2:15...These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

Philemon 1:7...Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

****Names changed for privacy purpooses.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

That Mother In Law Thing

One thing that triggers shivers down many women's backs. Their mother in law. It is the phrase women feel a common bond of shared grief. My own mother-in-law used to drive me absolutely crazy. She was controlling. She was bossy. She undermined my authority with my children. She took over our wedding photographer. When my brother in law married my sister-in-law, I witnessed her do the same to them as well and my sister-in-law saying, "I don't remember her being this way at your wedding." I laughed and said, "Yes, she did!" She showed up at our house early one Saturday morning and went around the house trying every door until she found one open and, of course, walked right in, sending my husband and I scrambling for decent clothes. Yes, she drove me crazy.

Yet, I decided to try something one day. I took her to God in prayer. I prayed, "God, she drives me crazy. I don't know what to do with her. I cannot go on like this. Please, if it be Your will, open my eyes. Reveal to me what akes her tick.... why she does things the way she does." Looking back, I realize those are the kind of prayers God loves to answer...and He did in a big way. He opened my eyes and I saw things I had missed before. Things right in front of me. Suddenly I understood why she did things the way she did. And just as suddenly was the compassion it stirred inside of me toward her.

In the second book of Kings, chapter 6, verses 13-19, Elisha and his servant are in a city and find themselves surrounded by an enemy out to kill them, but Elisha saw something his servant did not. In verse he prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Then Elisha did something even more extraordinary. He prayed that the army out to kill him would be made blind and he was able to lead this army away from the city because they could not see who he was.

When I was married over 12 years, I suffered a miscarriage. Not only was my mother in law the only one who showed compassion to me, she actually remembered when my baby would have been born. That touched me so much. I am blessed to have someone like her in my life and I would not have said that early on in my marriage.

Is there someone in your life that is just so hard to show love to? Are they impossible to love? Then here is a prayer for you. "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart."