Flirtatious Friday: Not Tonight, Honey

“Not tonight honey.”

“I have a headache.”

“I’m just too tired.”

“Really?!?! I mean really?!?!?! You want to do what? Right now?! I just got the baby/kids down! I’ve been working all day. I’ve been cleaning ALL day! I. Am. Exhausted!”

<Say nothing, but put on full pajamas and get in bed and under covers quick. Turn away and make it obvious! If he tries ANYTHING, move further away.>

Has this ever been you? No! Not me either ;-).

Hmmm… that’s not true. Confession. One that I am not proud of! This used to be me sometimes.

I don’t remember much before Conner was born, haha, but after he was born I had much more on my mind, and guess what?! It. Wasn’t. Sex. Shocker… I know! But, that should be a sad shocker.

As a woman, I believe this is an easier trap for us to fall into. We are not wired like our husbands are wired. We do not think like them. Oftentimes, I think we fall into the victim mindset. I am tired. I am worn out. I have been busy. I didn’t get any sleep. I take care of the kids more than he does. I don’t get a break. And now HE wants sex?!?! Is he kidding?!?! Poor us right?

Several years ago, I worked with a man who was married but they did not always get along. He was upset by many of her choices and contemplated divorce often. He also had no problem pointing out attractive women. I would NEVER use him or his marriage as a standard for how marriage should look, but I remember one conversation we had very clearly.

I don’t remember how the conversation got started, but he made a comment that his wife NEVER turns him down.

What?! Really?! There are wives who NEVER turn their husbands down?!

I mean, I tried not to do it every time, but let’s be honest, I was TIRED. I would dread going to bed sometimes knowing he would probably want to have sex. Isn’t that terrible?

Maybe you are not like that and you have sex all the time ;-). Good for you! I am glad!!!

I am being honest for the women who are like how I used to be until God got a hold of me. He reminded me this was a GIFT from Him to us. To our marriage.

A GIFT?!?! Sometimes it felt more like a chore than a gift. WOW! Too honest???

And honestly, when I did decide, “Ok fine. I will do it.” I did enjoy it and think how we should really do this more.

There is no closer connection you can have with someone. It is such a deep (no pun intended… ok maybe a little haha) connection that cannot be replaced.

What does the Bible say about sex?

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have the authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7: 3-6

“Do not deprive each other.” WOW! And what was I doing?

My husband LOVES me! He works hard for this family and I recognize how much he does for us. He needs me to want him. He NEEDS me to allow him to have me. It is one of his best ways to show his love for me. And he saves it for me ONLY!

“Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

We live in a world FULL of sin. Full of pornography and addictions. Full of women who want our incredible men. Believe it or not, even if he drives you crazy, there may be some woman eyeing him.

If you deny him, does that give him the right to fall into porn or have sex with another woman? NO WAY!… BUT it will be easier to fight those temptations if he is fulfilled at home. It’s the truth.

I cannot remember when I first made the choice to never almost never turn him down, because it has been so long ago now, but it has made a big difference in our relationship! He is happy. I am happy.

I almost never go to bed dreading or worrying about if he wants to have sex. Instead I go expecting it and preparing myself. I get my mind where it needs to be. Free of the thoughts of the day. Free of the to-do lists for tomorrow. And ready to accept his offer.

Another thing that helps is that I am honest with him. I let him know some things that help me stay focused, like music. So now, when I am brushing my teeth and I hear him turn on music, I just smile and I know, he is getting ready! Little things like this help him tell me he wants to have sex and allows me to get my mind prepared. I am a woman so that is my most difficult obstacle.

Tell your husband what he can do to signal to you in advance so it doesn’t catch you off guard. Although, those quickies are fun too!

So, I just want to encourage you, if you often dread going to bed, or prepare your excuse in advance, try setting a goal to not turn your husband down. Relax and enjoy it!

I am mainly (as always) writing to the women, but I guess this could go for men too.

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Dear Judgmental Homeschool Mom

When James and I were dating he mentioned he would like his children to be homeschooled. By this point we were already planning our wedding, so I knew he meant he wanted me to homeschool our children. I laughed.

I am a public school teacher! I loved my high school years. Why would I homeschool?!?! They would miss out on so many important things like prom, sports, theater, graduation, etc. etc. etc. Besides… those people are generally weird, unsocial, awkward around people, etc. etc. etc.

My husband was homeschooled :). Obviously he was the exception to this rule. 

James is amazing and knew he needed to just let the issue go! We didn’t fight about it. He didn’t judge me. He just said ok and supported me in my decision. Something he does so well and in so many ways in our marriage! 

I feel certain he must have prayed about it often because God began changing my heart. While many people, over the years, have assumed that my in-laws have “changed me,” they are wrong.

God. Changed. Me. 

He spoke to me. He gave me a love for my children and being home with them. He laid on my heart their education and how I should raise them to serve and love Him. 

Not to mention… I was a PUBLIC SCHOOL teacher! I saw what was happening in that system. I saw how the teachers were being treated, and in turn how the students were being treated. I DID NOT want my children in that system. *If you choose to send your kids to public school, that is your choice. I would recommend being involved and knowing what your kids are learning, but I will NOT tell you what to do with your children… in turn… please don’t tell me what to do with mine :-). 

Moving along… Once I made the decision to homeschool my children you can imagine I got plenty of advice ;-). Mostly unsolicited, as most advice is, but I smiled, took what I felt God wanted me to, and moved on.

I had a friend tell me about the year she tried homeschooling. She was fed up with the public school system, and heartbroken at the things other kids were teaching her children. You know? They weren’t sheltered and that’s a good thing right? Ok! I will try to keep my snide remarks to a minimum haha! That is for a whole other discussion. Anyways, she began to homeschool.

It. was. Hard! 

She was frustrated. Overwhelmed. Crying. She surrounded herself with co-op groups. And guess what happened… She was told God made us to homeschool. All moms should homeschool and that is how we are created. 

Think about it (especially you homeschool moms… me included), she was frustrated, overwhelmed, and crying. She thought, “There is NO WAY I can do this.” And she was “encouraged” with… you were made to do this. Naturally, this came across that she was a failure. If she “couldn’t” do this, but God created her to do this, then something must be wrong with her. So she quit.

I cannot help but wonder, what if she had been nurtured instead? What if she had been loved where she was and encouraged to seek out how to make homeschooling work for her? What if someone had said, “It was hard for me at first too. I still have hard days. But we are here for each other. We can work together.” 

Last year I attended a homeschool convention that offered classes and a book fair. I LOVED it! So many people with so many ways to “do” homeschooling. I have TONS of options to “do” homeschooling the way that works for ME and MY FAMILY and how God leads us! 

You know what else I found, people who think their way it the only way to homeschool. 

I see this as a lose lose situation. If we encourage people to choose to homeschool over other school options, we need to be helping them find the way that works for them. Does that mean every homeschool option is good. NO WAY! But does that mean if it isn’t done the way you do then it is wrong? Absolutely not either! 

And so it begins. People are already upset and judging me on my homeschool ways. I expected this and I know it will continue to happen.

Some think the earlier you start the better. Some think the least amount of planning the better. Some plan to the tee. Everything should be done at home with only your family. You need to join a co-op. Schools that work with homeschooling so they have a little of both. And on and on and on and on. Did I mention how you do it in YOUR OWN HOME matters to some? Where you sit to teach and learn. It is just silly! 

To the homeschool mom: No matter how long you have been homeschooling, encourage one another. Support one another. Help each other. Let’s put aside our opinions over trivial things and instead praise God for how He is going to move through the process. Maybe we think certain methods are best… and maybe they are… for OUR family… but each family is different. God may need to show someone else something that He didn’t need to show you. I am sure you are trying to help. Aren’t we all? But you never know how difficult the homeschool idea is to one person. Whether it is a confused mom taking her kids out of the public school, or the mom who taught public school and is doing what she does best, or the mom who was homeschooled herself and thinks she cannot live up to the expectations set before her, we all have different journeys. I am enjoying the journey God has put me on and I must focus on Him and what he wants for me and MY family. You should do the same.

*Obviously if someone ASKS for your opinion on the best curriculum or homeschool method or whatever, then they asked for it. I would still encourage you to offer it in a kind way and try to avoid a judgmental tone. Or write your own blog post :-). 

To the non-homeschool mom: This post was not written for you. So do not take it as a personal attack at you for not homeschooling. That is on you. I have to do what I know I need to do for my family and what God has called me to do. Maybe you can find something else through this post. Or even learn to judge the homeschool mom less. Pray God would show you what to take from it. That’s what I like to do. 

My Prayer:

God, thank You so much for the ways you have changed me over the years. I am not the person I was. I am becoming the person You want me to be. Thank You for providing for our family and giving me the strength to trust You when I quit my job to stay home. Thank You for a husband who supports me and also lovingly lets me make my own choices while praying the Holy Spirit guides me the way I should go. 

Forgive me for also showing judgment on others. Oftentimes I do not even realize it. Holy Spirit, put me in check when I begin to let MY opinions and advice get in the way of things You are doing in someone. Forgive me for not always showing love the way You show love.

God, I ask You to give me wisdom in my words. That they would be Your words not mine. When people come to me for help and guidance, that I would always point them to You. That I would always seek You to speak through and to me in all situations. Lead me in the right direction as I begin to prepare my home for our homeschooling years. Put people in my life who will encourage me to find the way best for me and my family, while still encompassed by Your love and direction. 

I surrender my homeschool years to You. I offer up my children to You. I yield before You that it may not be about me but about You in everything I do. I love You and praise You for all You have done and are going to do. 

I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

Amen.

2 Kids and Counting (Prayerfully)

I hate gas!

No joke. This was what I said to my husband last night laying in bed.

You know the kind. The kind that rumbles in your tummy but not like usual. The kind that feels like a baby moving around in your belly. Kicking and rolling. Playing around.

This stupid gas. Always gives me a slight shimmer of hope that maybe I’m pregnant and I’ve just been bleeding every month for fun.

My heart longs for that feeling again! I ache to feel the movement of a baby inside me again. Although, I will admit, I’ve told God I would be ok to be one of those moms who “didn’t know I was pregnant” and I suddenly had a baby.

I must insert here… My heart aches hard for my friends who have this same longing but cannot get pregnant and have never been pregnant. I cannot fully imagine the longing and hurt they have. I am blessed to have experienced this, and I know I should just be grateful for my two precious boys, but it still hurts. Let’s just say it like it is… This sucks! For both of us.

Shortly after James and I got married, we decided we no longer agreed with the way many (most really) birth control methods worked, and we did not like the side effects I was having. We started natural family planning. We’ve always known we wanted a large family. Six. Or more 😉 if God so chooses. After Conner was born we kind of went back on natural family planning, always knowing we would be ecstatic any and every time we got pregnant. Planned or not. Bring on the babies God.

Elias was pretty well planned. Well of course except his arrival ;-)!

And then the miscarriages started.

My sweet Hope.

And Jonah.

And then Shiloh.

And precious Grace.

My prayer…

God we give all our children to You! You know our hearts desires. May they line up with Your will.

It is hard to understand why. James and I want children; Your blessings! We try not to take this area in our own hands, while so many others cry in anger at being pregnant.

God continue to strengthen and renew us daily. Continue to give us the peace only You can. Thank You for being a big God who can take my anger. Who can handle my fears. Who can calm my storms. And thank You for Your promises. Thank You for all SIX of my children. And thank You for all future children we will be blessed with. May we continue to do Your work. And continue to spread Your Word. Use us in anyway You can. Even in our heartaches. Thank You God for loving us and taking care of us. We love You. Amen.

Let The Weak Say I Am Strong

My heart is heavy. My heart is full.

Thoughts are turning. I want to sleep but cannot.

God I cry out to you. You have laid so many on my mind. Many of my friends are longing and needing you.

They need you more. More than yesterday! I need you more. More than words can say.

God I lift them up to you. Hold them. Carry them. Give them the strength they need. The strength they don’t know they have. Me too Lord.

For my friends grieving the loss of their child. Taken too soon. We cry out to you! Hold them tight. Remind them of your love.

My friends seeking to mend family relationships. Restore them.

Marriages barely hanging on. Show them how to love. You first. And each other over all others.

Friends longing to be pregnant. Desperately praying for a miracle baby. Touch the womb. Touch their hearts.

For my friends rejoicing and still praying over their mom’s brain surgery. How hard this has been on them. Thank you God for hearing their prayers. Continue to touch and heal!

God hold tight and guide my single friend longing to do right by you. Show them how and give them the strength to stand firm.

For my sister grieving the loss of her friend. And for this friend’s family. Give the peace only you can.

Lord be with friend with unknown medical issues. Heal her pain. Help the doctors find answers and solutions or remove it all together. Only you can.

Provide jobs for many of my friends looking for your guidance and direction for what is next.

Touch my body. Heal me God. Renew me. Give us another baby if it be your will. In your perfect timing. Continue to heal our hurting hearts from the miscarriages. And my friends also grieving these same losses.

My friend holding strong in her marriage as her husband is seeking your help to overcome his past.

God be with single mom friend. She is having difficulty with the ex husband. Help them communicate only when necessary and be civil for the kids. Give her strength to ignore his negativity and to raise her children in a godly environment.

Prepare my friend and sister in law as they are giving birth soon. Allow them to rest in the next few weeks. Let the births be uneventful yet full of joy!

For Abundant Life reaching out to the community of Grand Prairie and surrounding areas. Let us show your love to those who need it. That we may be your light.

And so many more on my mind. You know. You see.

God you are the only one who knows us inside and out. The only one who can heal our pain. The only one who can carry us. Let us fall in your arms and may we find rest when we are weary.

Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”.
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

Amen.

SUCCESS! Our Children Stayed The Entire Sunday Service

A modern Western worship team leading a contem...

 

Have you read Touch Topic: Seeing Children as a Blessing, Even in Sunday Service and Touchy Topic: Training Children in Worship?

 

Last Sunday was our third Sunday bringing the boys in service. I was a little nervous we would be “starting over,” since we had missed service the week before due to illness.

 

After Sunday School, I went to get the boys from their classes. Conner ran ahead as I got Elias. When I made it into the sanctuary, Conner was already at our seats waiting on the sill of the frosted windows. I was relieved he remembered and seemed excited! Elias joined him happily!

 

As we had the week before, they were not allowed into their backpacks during praise and worship. They did great! In our arms, in the chairs, in my purse, dancing, clapping, on the bench. At one point I caught Elias dancing in front of me with his hand in the air like someone he was watching! LOVED it! Tried to catch a picture but he moved on too quick.

 

I did have to walk out with Elias twice. Once during praise and worship, and the other during announcements or service… I can’t remember. We walked out and I told him he could not yell out when we were supposed to be sitting quietly. I wanted to make it clear it was not just because we are in a church service because I want this to carry over for weddings, funerals, graduations, and other quiet events we may attend.

 

Once praise and worship ends, James and I usually rush to pass out our attendance notebooks during announcements. James was going to stay with the boys while I did it this week, but Conner wanted to come. I thought, “Well of course!” Serving together in our church is such a blessing, and I desperately want my children to learn to serve in the ministry and not resent it for taking their parents away.

 

So Conner and I went over to get the notebooks. I carried them for him to give to the first person in each row. He was a bit abrupt hitting their arm with it, but almost everyone had a wonderful smile when they turned to see a sweet THREE year old serving in his church!

 

I can just imagine… how different would our church look if everyone was teaching their children, at a young age, to start serving and worshiping together. Ahhhh 🙂

 

CALM DOWN… I am NOT condemning you for not bring your children in service, just a sweet thought of what could be if we all did…

 

After we sat down to listen to announcements, Ne (knee as the boys call her), came to join us for the service. Ne, aka Tina, is like a second mom to both James and I. She loves our kids as her own grand kids! AND, she is conveniently a HUGE supporter of bringing the boys in service. James has to leave us a lot during service, so I sat on one end and Ne set on the opposite side. Elias was in her lap much of the service. He was (mostly) quiet and Conner did well in his own seat, until about 10-15 minutes before service was over. Conner began to beg to go to the nursery.

 

We are soooo close! I am not going to take them to nursery now! We are almost through service! We CAN do this!

 

How about a snack? Good thinking! Too bad I forgot to bring some. Fortunately, I know that the nursery always has snacks for the kids.

 

I told Conner I would get him a snack. He began to loudly get angry and demand to go to the nursery. Well, surely we all know by now, he was certainly NOT going to the nursery now. Then he would know all he had to do was get loud and angry. I whispered in his ear that he was staying in service with or without a snack, and if he would like a snack then he needed to stop throwing a fit. It worked! Whew!

 

Ran to the nursery and brought the snacks in. WOO HOO! They were both happy and sat the remaining time during service, even after finishing their snack.

 

So, to sum up. How did it all go down? Praise and worship – offered nothing to distract them and conveniently a louder time so they don’t have to be completely hush-hush, meet and greet – Conner asks to go see his Wednesday night teacher, so we let them go say hello to people, announcements – began getting the backpacks out and let Conner serve with me, service – backpacks and snacks!

 

We made it through to the very end!!! I was ecstatic! Loving this and feeling so much closer to my kids and God in the process!

 

Did you decide to transition your kids into service after they were in children’s church? If so, share what worked for you? Are you thinking about? What’s holding you back?

 

Touchy Topic: Training Children in Worship

child praying

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I am so excited about today’s guest post. This topic has been on my mind for a few years and I am so glad Candace agreed to write it for me. Thanks Candace! 

Guest post from Candace at Sacred Mommyhood

After posting the article, Dear Parents with Young Children in Church, to my Facebook page, there was some discussion as to how to begin training your little ones to sit still during a worship service.  There was also some discussion about children’s church, and how that may be more age appropriate and beneficial for young ones.

There is not much more I can add to encourage parents to include their children in worship, as the author did a beautiful job explaining the importance of having your children in the worship service, and encouraging moms who are already doing this.

I would only add that by including our young children in worship, we’re setting the tone for life-long worshiping.  Google “statistics of young adults leaving the church”, and you’ll get article after article citing statistics as high as 91%, with many differing opinions as to why they are leaving.  My personal theory is this:  If we’re continually keeping them out of worship through infancy, adolescence, and teen years, why would we expect them in worship service when they’re adults.  We’ve already sent the message that a worship service is not important, or just boring at best.  After all, they’ve had “fun” all these years in nursery, Sunday school, and youth group.  We must remember that worship is not about us!  It’s about HIM!

In addition, families should worship together.  There is no biblical model where families separated into age-segregated groups to learn how to worship.  It was learned by being present.  So often, family members are going in all different directions throughout the week.  Then on Sunday, the children are placed in the nursery or sent off to children’s church, separating the family again.  With the cultural breakdown in families today, I can’t think of a more meaningful way to bind the family unit than to share in worship, together.

I am in no way saying that children’s church, nursery, or any other age-segregated group activity is wrong.  My heart feels for the tired, weary momma who just needs to worship and not train.  I’ve been there!  I just feel strongly that we’re sending a counter-productive message to our children about worship when Sunday after Sunday we’re ushering them out of it.  But this is definitely something each family has to think and pray about on their own.  And I know many churches these days are quite hostile to small children in service, making this decision even more difficult.

So for those of you considering including your small children in the worship service, here are some tips to help you in the training process.

You  Are Training

This is the most important aspect to keep in mind.  It is so easy to get frazzled and discouraged when your little ones are learning to sit still quietly.  Your Sundays will most likely feel like a chore rather than worship, but even this is an offer of worship to God.  Investing this time into your children is a sacrifice of praise!  This has been my life for many years!  I am perpetually in “training” mode.  But I’ve had the joy of seeing fruit.  My little ones can sit through an hour and a half service without being a distraction.

Try a Booster Seat

This may be more difficult in a pew seating arrangement (no place to secure the straps), but if your church seating consists of chairs, bring a booster seat for your older babies and toddlers.  Not only does this help them to stay put, it provides a flat surface (tray) on which to draw or rest books.  It’s also perfect for giving them Cheerios (or other snacks) to keep hunger at bay.

Provide Books, Crayons, and Paper

I know some families who feel strongly about not giving their children anything during worship, and prefer to train them without things to keep them busy.  I respect that and understand that each family will need to approach this according to their standards.

We, however, don’t have a problem with allowing our little ones to look at books or doodle while learning to be still and quiet.  Kids absorb more than we think when their little hands are busy.

Our church floor is hardwood, so we try to be selective about what we give them.  We only give our toddlers soft books since they tend to drop them more often.  And crayons make less noise on a hard surface than pens and pencils do.  So just be aware of those potential noisemakers.

Be Courteous to Those Around You

We attend a family integrated church, so all our children are with us through service.  We all expect a certain amount of noise every now and then…a baby getting fussy, something dropping, or the low murmur of a child asking mom or dad a question.  These types of noises are not distracting to us.  In fact, our pastor loves those sounds.  He understands the importance of children being present from the beginning and welcomes those sweet sounds.

But obviously, there is a point when noise will become distracting, so try to be aware of those around you and quickly remove a crying baby or noisy toddler.

If you do not attend a church where children are welcome in the worship service, you may need to be a little more vigilant when it comes to noise, but don’t let that deter you.  Try to sit closer to an exit so that you can get out quickly if necessary without distracting others.

Start Small

If you are pulling your child(ren) out of nursery or children’s church, ease them into worship service.  If you’re concerned about the length of your service, try starting with smaller chunks of time.  Twenty to thirty minutes may be all you and the child can handle at first.  Each Sunday, add five minutes or so according to the child’s ability.  If it’s an older child who has really loved children’s church, and is upset about missing out, perhaps allowing them to attend one Children’s Church a month would help ease the transition.

A Word on Babies in Worship

I have had a baby in my lap during service for the past twelve years.  Of course, I’ve had the help of my husband and older children, but essentially, my babies are with me.  I’ll often glance around while the congregation is singing, and notice the moms with babies on one hip and the hymnal in their opposite hand, and it makes me smile.  Not because I think they’re better for keeping their babies with them, or because they look cute.  But because they’re making a sacrifice.  They’re forgoing a little freedom and ease to instill something bigger from the very beginning.

Babies hear the sounds and take in the sights of “church”.  As they grow, so does their understanding of what’s happening around them.  Those babies grow into toddlers, who in most cases, already have an inherent knowledge of what to do.  It’s been modeled for them since birth!  They can sit through worship, and for the most part, be quiet.  I have seen this in my own children and those around me.  Are they perfect?  Of course not.  Do they require discipline from time to time.  Absolutely!  But the transition is much smoother than that of a toddler who has been used to happily and noisily playing in the nursery.

So whether you’re contemplating bringing your children into worship service with you, or you’re just getting started, I hope you have found encouragement here.  I understand that this can certainly be a touchy issue within the church body, but one that I pray would never cause division among believers.

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs
the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 19:14

Touchy Topic: Seeing Children as a Blessing, Even in Sunday Service

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For a while now, I’ve gone back and forth on bringing my children into church service with me. James and I have discussed it and see pros and cons for both. My husband is the Discipleship and Outreach Pastor at our church, and I’m the business administrator. We are heavily involved in our church and in the service, which makes it easier to use the nursery and children’s church.

Many people encouraged us to take the kids to the children’s church.

“It gives you a break.
You are then free to worship without worrying about your kids.
The kids are presented with the gospel on their level.
Children cannot sit still and stay quiet.”

Obviously, these are all assuming the church has a children’s service offered. Each of these reasons, at one point or another, have been the very reason we have kept our kids in children’s church and we have worshiped without them.

Others have encouraged us to bring them in with us.

“This will teach your children how to worship by watching you.
Children need to learn to sit still and be quiet.
Children are a joy and blessing. They should be with their parents to learn.”

These are the reasons I’ve thought hard about bringing them in the service with us. I’ve also read about children leaving the church when they go off to college and the links between that and children being out of the main service. Also, I am called to teach and train them in the way should go! I AM! Not anyone else. Me!

Now before you yell at me, I don’t think this means we cannot use the help of other people to teach and train our children… sometimes, BUT it is our responsibility to make sure they are taught and trained correctly. Anyways…

I long to see my children as a joy and blessing, always! Can I be honest? Do I always see them as a joy and a blessing? No 😦 But can I be honest again? Looking around at our society and the MANY influences we have around us, it’s not hard to see why this is even more difficult.

Being a mom is hard! It’s not for the faint at heart. But you know what isn’t helping? Facebook sayings like, “I’ve always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. Without kids.” And I saw this in a mom’s group!!!!! What?!? We can also see it all over our movies and television shows.

“Ugh! It’s summer. I hate having to be with my kids all summer?!
When are the kids finally going back to school?!?”

Wow… I am getting way off topic :).

Focus!

We have gone back and forth on what is right for our family. OUR family!

Do I think you should take your kids out of nursery and children’s church? Your call, not mine. Do I think the nursery and children’s church are bad for our kids? Absolutely NOT!

I have decided I want to bring my kids in more. We have Sunday School, Sunday Morning Service, occasional home groups with children’s service offered, and a Wednesday night service. They are getting PLENTY of opportunities to fellowship with other children, and to hear God’s Word on their level.

My first Sunday was on June 2, 2013.

The night before, I went to the dollar store and bought them some fun goodies for the service. I knew this would be important, especially in the transition from the nursery to the main service.

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Then I let Conner pack up his and Elias’ backpacks. I wanted to pump him up and get him excited about coming into service with us. He was so excited about his new backpack and could not wait to go into service so he could play with his new stuff.

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Now, overall this is not my goal; for him to just want to play, but I know it will help the process.

So, the first Sunday, I took them out of the nursery after Sunday school. We went into praise and worship and I immediately gave them their backpacks. They stayed 25 minutes during praise and worship with me, by myself!!! My husband was busy doing church business. Conner was on the floor coloring and Elias was in chair and my arms and did well

overall.

I did have a teaching moment too!!! Conner was standing by me at one point, and said, “Mom do like this” and bowed his head. I said, “You know what’s great about praising and worshiping God? You can do it all kinds of ways. Bowing your head, lifting your eyes, lifting your hands, singing etc.” He got so excited and smiled! Great start I’d say!!!

This last Sunday was our second week. My goal was to not give them their backpacks until after praise and worship time. My sweet husband also adjusted his schedule so he could be in there with us more. Not the whole time, but more.

Praise and worship was a mixture of kids in mine or my husband’s arms, standing in the windows swaying, or spinning around next to the chairs. We are a work in progress. I also did my best to explain to Conner that he can dance but this time is for Jesus so that is our focus.

After praise and worship, during announcements, we got the backpacks out. Elias sat in the window with his Bible (see picture above). Conner asked another awesome question! They were announcing a Missions’ Trip our church is taking in the Fall. Conner said, “I don’t know why we do this.” WHAT?! I am not fully sure he knew what he was asking, but I LOVED that he was paying attention enough to ask such an inquisitive question! AND, had he not been in service, we wouldn’t have had this amazing conversation! Another plus to kids in service.

I explained to him how important it is for us, as Christians, to help others in need, and to share the Gospel with everyone. He thought this was so cool and seemed to understand. James is hoping to take this trip if he can get off work. How great will it be if James can go and we can teach the boys how important this is?!

The boys made it through announcements and then I took them back to the nursery. 50 minutes this time!! Twice as long as last week! We probably could have made it longer, but it is new for me too and I could tell I needed to stop in order to not lose my patience. They did great, but we were starting to make a little more noise and get antsy, and service was about to start.

I look forward to continuing this journey and sharing with you how we are learning to make it work for our family. Tomorrow, I am excited to have a guest post on this discussion from Candace at Sacred Mommyhood!!

What do you think about having children in service?

Flirtatious Friday: Bringing Sexy Back

Love

  • I began working at our church… so this could cause question lol
  • Our church gained new Pastors and I wasn’t sure what they would think haha
  • And well… I guess I started shying away from intense topics such as these!

So, why did I decide to officially bring them back?

  • Well, many of my readers have missed them 😉 and requested I bring them back
  • Sex is ALL over the place, and why not talk about it in a Christian context and encourage married couples to ENJOY it! 

I remember one time, shortly after James and I got married, we went to lunch with another couple. The husband, right in front of his wife, talked about his theory that there is something in the wedding cake. He went on to explain that before marriage, women seemed excited and looking forward to the marriage bed and things to come, but then after the wedding day she seemed uninterested or motivated. 

Confession: I have been guilty of this. Guilty of being busy, tired, overwhelmed, etc. etc. etc. 

But still, this made me sad. Our husbands show their love best through sex. That may seem strange to us, but we were created differently. And aren’t we glad we were created differently?!?

I know I am! I want a man’s man! One who gets his hands dirty. Works hard for his family. Fixes things. And he NEEDS to show me he loves me! And I NEED to let him. 

So, FINE! I am bringing Flirtatious Friday back! But since you asked for it, you are going to get it. There. Will. Be. A. Challenge. It won’t be easy! 

Will you join me? What topics do you want to know more about? (you can also email responses privately to HisRibBlog@gmail.com)

Touchy Topic: GOD “GETS” MEN

I am so very excited about today’s post! About a year ago I ran across this wonderful blog – Peacefulwife – and I was amazed at how much I “was” this woman. I was a feminist and so WAS she. I was am learning how to better respect my husband and submit. She has been there and has so many wonderful stories of her transformation and how great her marriage is now as a result. April has kindly written a guest post for me so please join me in welcoming her <applause>!

He understands men and women extremely well. He did create both of us, after all. And He created marriage, sex, attraction, families, masculinity and femininity. So Who better to know what it takes to make marriage work and work well?

Our culture has completely ditched God’s prescriptions for a joyful, solid, healthy marriage and has redefined masculinity, femininity and marriage to be what we want it to be. Feminism has taught us that men and women are not only “equal” – which they are of equal value in God’s sight – but that we are the “same.” There is a HUGE difference between being of equal value and being the same in spiritual/emotional/physical/sexual makeup.

So, many of us grew up never questioning that men need love just like we do. We assume they think and feel just like we do and that if we give more love, that will fix all the problems in our marriages.

Unfortunately, we have forgotten what men need in marriage, and as a result, husbands and wives are largely miserable.

SIGNS THAT A WIFE MIGHT NEED TO LOOK A BIT CLOSER AT GOD’S WAYS:

– I am angry with my husband a lot
– I am full of resentment
– I feel like I am carrying the weight of the family on my shoulders alone
– I feel like my husband is “another child”
– I constantly badmouth my husband to others and tell them how awful he is so they will sympathize with me and see what a miserable life I have and pity me
– I boss my husband around, tell him what to do, lecture him, scold him, criticize him often, roll my eyes, sigh in disgust, give him “the look” that I think he is inept and/or use the angry mama voice a lot
– I complain to and about him and argue with him often
– I have no joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness or self-control around my husband
– I am anxious, stressed and afraid in my marriage often
– I believe that if my husband “would just be more loving” or would “stop doing X” that our problems would all be solved and our marriage would be the amazing union I dreamed it would be
– I know that my husband’s sins are WAY worse than mine and HE is the problem
– I feel very lonely in my marriage
– my husband barely touches me and doesn’t seem to care about my feelings
– I have my heart set on my husband behaving a certain way and things working out a certain way and I CANNOT and WILL NOT be content or happy unless I have what I want
– I believe I am always right and my husband is always wrong
– I believe I am spiritually superior to my husband
– I believe I am a better leader than your husband
– I don’t think my husband is able to lead our family
– I don’t trust my husband
– I don’t cooperate with my husband’s ideas
– I refuse to listen to his perspective and act like his ideas are worthless
– I think if I had a more godly husband, life would be wonderful

This is not an exhaustive list – but it is a start.

WHAT DO THESE SYMPTOMS MEAN?

Well, primarily, it means that I am not filled with God’s Spirit. Either I have not accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior if this list describes me in my marriage, or I have so grieved God’s Spirit that I have reduced His flow into my life to a trickle.

When I have God’s Spirit filling me and consuming me, I will have all the fruit of the Spirit on a daily basis: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control Galatians 5:22

If I don’t have His Spirit empowering me, I am probably cherishing sin in my heart.

The sins I cherished were:
– idolatry (of myself, of my way, of my desires, of my feelings of being loved, of expecting my husband to be Christ and be perfect and meet all my needs)
– PRIDE PRIDE PRIDE – thinking I knew best, better than my husband, and really, better than God’s Word
– unforgiveness – I couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t know how to forgive
– gossip – talking about my husband with bitterness

These are HUGE sins that deeply offend the heart of God. As long as I am holding onto those sins and cherishing them more than my intimacy with Christ, God will oppose me.

BEING A GODLY WIFE GOD’S WAY

To be a godly wife, I must be willing to do things God’s way. God’s design for marriage is primarily found in Ephesians 5:22-33, but also in Genesis 3, Titus 2:2-5, I Peter 3:1-6 and I Corinthians 11:3.

God designed men to need to lead in marriage. He made them to thrive on respect. That is why He commands wives to respect their husbands and submit to (willingly cooperate with) their husbands’ God-given authority (unless our husbands are asking us to sin or condone sin).

FIRST – I must decide to submit totally to Jesus Christ. I lay my whole life before Him and die to myself. I give up my dreams, my way, my will, my purposes, my wisdom, my rights, my plans and I yield fully to His control. I respect Him as LORD.

THEN – out of love and reverence for Christ, I begin to desire to obey Him in all things, even things that are culturally unacceptable, or weird, or counter-intuitive to my female, human mind.

And as I embrace His ways and obey Him – I discover that unspeakable peace and joy await me. After the pain of dying to self, there is a new, abundant life! Then God becomes my partner and empowers me to do things I can’t do on my own. He teaches me to look for the best in my husband (Philippians 4:8) and to build him up with my words, to praise what is good, to encourage him, to show faith in him. He teaches me to share my feelings with my husband in a pleasant, calm, non-threatening way. And then to trust that if my husband disagrees and decides to do something I don’t want to do, that my God is SO SOVEREIGN that He can and will lead me through my sinful, human husband in His will for His glory.

So I can’t lose! I am seeking God’s will and glory, not mine. I don’t know the way there. So I can trust that He will use all things for my good and His glory because I love Him and that even my husbands’ sin and mistakes will bring me to the place God wants me to be. So I can be at peace. I can be content no matter what my husband does or does not do – because my hope is firmly set on Christ. He is my strength and joy.

SO EMPOWERING

Husbands are drawn and attracted to our respect, trust and faith. They are repelled by our disrespect and dominating/controlling behavior. Husbands have a long list of things that speak respect and disrespect to them that most wives know nothing about! They think and feel in an entirely different way than we do. And if we can learn this new language of respect, we can meet their God-given needs and draw our men closer to us and to God.

It’s hard to look at our own sin. But that is where our power is in our relationship with God and our husbands! I CAN control me. I can’t control my husband. I can’t control God. When I focus on MY responsibilities to my husband and to God and I do it because Christ is the most important thing in my life, not to try to manipulate my husband – GOD SHOWS UP. And miracles happen!

Check out my blog at www.peacefulwife.com for more about these topics!