I took an impromptu vacation from writing for the last few days. So bear with me because this is probably going to be a super duper ultra long post.
Last time I posted, I was getting ready to leave for a Leadership Conference. I was expecting to learn some things about how to be a better worship leader that weekend, but I think it is safe to say that God took our expectations and blew them out of the water. It was as if the whole Conference, from the sermons down to the people we talked to, was designed specifically for the leadership of our church. Roman and I learned so much, and that was great in and of itself, but several people in our leadership experienced prophetic words from the Lord over the ministries in our church. Even the sermons on Friday night and Saturday afternoon seemed to be crafted specifically for us. It was just plain awesome. We all left energized and ready to come home and get our hands dirty with some for real ministry in our community. The weekend was topped off with an amazing worship service on Sunday morning at our church. And then yet another prophetic word was given to our Pastor on Monday from some random guy in a restaurant.
Can I just say....I love it when God moves? I mean, when He really just moves and does some big works in people? I suppose that all of the prophetic words can be summed up into one sentence: The time of testing and hardship is over, and now God will be reaping the harvest.
Hallelujah a zillion times over. We are so ready to dance in that River. So be prepared to read about some amazing works of God in the very near future.
In our personal lives: both Roman and I started our new jobs last week. And we both L-O-V-E them, which is great. I have to admit, it is really weird for me to wake up and actually be happy about coming to work. I had gotten so used to waking up every morning with the "ugh, do I really have to go??" attitude. And an even greater miracle? I'm getting to work on time, even though I have to be here at seven now instead of eight. Let me give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor.
As a wife though, it is so great to see my husband energized and excited about his job. His happiness truly makes me happy. So even though I'm already learning more about Verizon's phones and plans and everything else than I ever really wanted to know, I will happily listen to my husband gush about how much he loves his job and why. It's just so great to see how happy he is.
And while we are having all sorts of happy dances, let's add one more: we unpacked our last box this past Saturday. Oh happy day, we are officially moved in and all that grand stuff. Everything is pretty much where we want it, I just have a little more organizing in my office to do. It's so nice to finally have everything unpacked and not wonder "which box is that thing in because I really need it..." anymore.
Our labor day weekend was pretty awesome. I celebrated labor day by personally doing absolutely no labor at all. Seriously, all I did was hang out with my hubby and our family and friends and be a total goof-off. And it was glorious. And I also slept a whole lot this past weekend. But oh wait, I do that every weekend. :)
Oh. My. Goodness. How. Could. I. Forget.
Our precious Dukey-Face turned a whole year old this past Wednesday!! *sniff sniff* Our little baby is growing up! And for all of you people wondering, yes, we had a birthday party for him. Yes, I baked him a dog-friendly cake. Yes, we tried the cake (it was gross). And yes, I took lots of pictures...which I will post at a later date because I don't feel like getting them off of my phone right now. Yes, we are crazy and yes, we don't care.
That pretty much sums up the past ten days of our lives. That wasn't too bad, was it? But wait, I'm not finished yet. Let's have a not-so-quick dive into what's been on my heart lately. Wives, this is mainly for you.....but for my non married-female and my male readers, feel free to keep reading.
#1: Something that has really gotten under my skin lately is the vast number of women I see that lord over their husbands. Over the weekend, I noticed a very large amount of women walking in front of their husbands, telling them what to do...what to look at....where to go....nagging them to hurry up....blah blah blah....and I saw a bunch of men with their shoulders slumped staring at the floor. It was seriously pitiful. I quickly turned to my husband at one point and said something like this: "Please don't be one of those zombie husbands who never stand up and take the lead. If I ever get too bossy, please please please tell me. Because I don't want our marriage to ever look like that."
I'm not saying that we women need to keep our mouths shut and allow our men to walk all over us. But can we please not degrade their masculinity? Can we please allow them to be men and take the lead? We direct every aspect of their lives and turn them into glorified housewives and then get mad when they aren't "manly" enough for us. God created them to be the heads of our households, and I've gotten awfully tired lately of seeing families out of order. I guess it's weird that I'm not on the "Go Women" Team, seeing as how I am one, but I'm sorry....we are different. We have different purposes within the family. We need to respect how God designed the family and take our place, so that our husbands can stand up and take theirs.
Unfortunately, I am not blameless in this area. There have been times when I have been disrespectful to my husband. There have been times when I have tried to make him look silly or degrade his authority in public. But thankfully, God has convicted my heart in those situations and is teaching me to not be that way. It's hard, especially in a society that tries to put men and women on the same platform. But it's also very necessary for us to take our very different roles in our marriage (yet equally important) in order for our marriages to function as they were designed to.
#2: This one I am also guilty of. It may make some of you squirm a bit (especially if you are a family member)....but just bear with me here. It seems to be quite a trending topic in all of the Christian marriage blogs I follow, which tells me that it must be a pretty big problem. In fact, I can look at the divorce rate in America and tell you that it's a big problem. So if it's something I've struggled with, then I can probably bet that at least one of my readers struggles in this area as well.
Ladies, stop withholding yourselves from your husbands.
Hear me out....m'kay? I'll try to say this tactfully. And let me just confess right now, pretty much everything I'm about to say are things that I've learned from other blogs. So I'll be sure and post the links to those blogs so that you can read more for yourself if you would like to learn more.
I'll start off by saying this: men are wired differently than we are. Roman and I have been reading and studying and talking a whole bunch about this issue lately. In his words, the main needs of a man are: food, sleep and sex. (Ladies, we actually need sex as well....we just don't realize it sometimes.) Men are not animals for needing sex. It does not make them "dirty" or "sex addicts". That is just the way God designed them. So with that being said, as wives, we are the sole sexual source for our husbands. Do you want your husband to remain pure in your marriage? Do you want him to desire you and only you? I would think all of us do. So don't keep yourself from him!
Now please understand, I am not saying that if your man is addicted to porn or having an affair, then he is innocent and it is all your fault. So please do not take it that way. But what I am saying is that we can't expect for him to remain faithful to us if we deny one of his most basic needs in life.
One blog put it this way: women need communication like men need sex. Would we be happy in our marriage if our husbands went for weeks at a time without speaking one word to us? No? Then we can't expect him to be the happy, communicative, attentative husband we need and desire if we make him wait for weeks at a time to re-connect with his wife.
I think this largely goes back to my first point: if we constantly reject our husbands in the sexual realm and then we put him down in public and lord over him....we end up with a husband that eventually loses pretty much all aspects of his manlihood. Do we really want that? I don't think so. I think at our core, us women still desire to have that husband that makes us swoon and romantically pursues us. We still want our man to desire us and to be there for us. But we can't just ask him to be all of these things for us while denying his needs. It just doesn't work that way.
So if this is something that you struggle with, then begin praying two things: One, that God would help you to see sex as the true gift it really is. Sometimes women struggle with sex because of past abuse or mistakes they made before marriage, and we need God to tear down those strongholds in our hearts. We have given into the lie that sex is dirty and not to be enjoyed. Ask God to change your mindset! Two, ask God to heal any hurt in your marriage that you unknowingly may have caused. We women do not understand this, but it literally breaks our husbands hearts when we reject him physically over and over again. We need to ask for God's forgiveness and for His healing so that we can have a fresh start in this area.
After going to God in prayer, we then need to open up the lines of communication with our husbands. Talk to him about what you're thinking. Ask him what he would like to see change. Give him an opportunity to share how he feels without fear or retaliation. I promise you, even if you have a generally quiet man, start the conversation with the statement "honey I want our sex life to improve" and I'm sure he will be open to talking. Let him know that you want things to be different and then figure out how to make the change happen. You'll probably shock him to his core with words like that, but trust me, it will mean the world to him if you recognize this issue and acutally make changes to fix it.
I will probably revisit this topic some more later this week, because I feel like it's a great big huge issue in marriages and these few paragraphs don't even really scratch the surface. One of the best quotes I've read so far (not sure where, sorry) is: "Satan's biggest deception is to get couples to have a whole lot of sex before they get married, and then get them to stop after marriage." So. True. .......... So. Sad.
As promised, here are the links for those that are interested:
"My lover said to me, "Rise up my darling! Come away with me, my fair one! Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone." ~Song of Solomon 2:10-11