Sometimes, life just gets plain hard. You forget to pay a bill on time and get hit with a giant “late fee”. You catch your husband looking at pornography. You teenager lies to you. Your child accidentally drops an entire jog of milk on the kitchen floor. Ugh!
At times like these, it’s easy to feel weighed down. It’s so common for us to give into despair and depression. But instead of conceding defeat, we can regain our spiritual equilibrium by practicing 3 things:
1) Recognize this is a scheme of the enemy to try to steal, kill or destroy your joy (John 10:10 “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy“)
2) Remind your soul of the enemy’s inability against our mighty God (1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.“) *Sometimes I even laugh at Satan’s pitiful attempts to drag me down! I like putting him back in his place!
3) Trust that God will carry you through this challenge and even redeem the circumstances so that something good comes about in the long run. God is an expert at turning lemons into lemonade! (Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”)
This old saying really is true…”If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”!! I found that out several years ago when I was having a super stressful, overwhelmingly busy day. My husband was away from the house and he called to see if I had time to take care of a low priority task. I responded by saying “I really don’t have time for that. I am so busy I can hardly breathe.” Well, as soon as he heard me say that, and as soon as he grasped my stress level, I could tell his own anxiety and stress level shot through the roof. He got increasingly agitated on the phone. It was then that I realized that a wife’s stress is contagious! I was spreading the stress virus.
Now, I’m not saying that you or I should try to hide our stress from our family members or pretend it doesn’t exist, but I did get to thinking that my husband’s anxiety and stress was directly tied to mine. As I pondered this with God, I concluded that I needed to re-examine my schedule and my priorities. Perhaps I needed to cut some things out of my schedule so that my stress level would drop. God wants us to live a peaceful life where we actually have time to spend refreshing moments with him. This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Jesus comes to the home of these two sisters and Martha is stressed out trying to take care of the hospitality details, while Mary sits quietly at the feet of Jesus. Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, but Jesus says this in verses 41 and 42: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”
Maybe it’s time for us to re-examine our busy schedules. Maybe it’s time to cut back on our activities or the kid’s activities. Maybe we need to spend less time scrolling through social media and checking the latest news, so that we are not so squeezed for time to do the tasks in front of us. Maybe we need to start each day by meditating on God’s Word and bringing all our concerns to Him in prayer. For me….it will not only be good for my health, but also for my whole family! How about you? Are you stressed out a lot? Do you need to take a hard look at your schedule? Would your anxiety and stress level drop if you spent more time with the Lord?
Does your mouth often cause trouble between you and your husband (or between you and other people)? If you’re one of many women who end up “venting” on their husband or saying harsh words you later regret, God’s Word gives us 3 clues on how we can respond appropriately when we start to feel our anger rising.
1) Pause. Just stop. Leave the room for a moment if you need to. Don’t react in the moment because your gut-level reaction will almost always cause trouble! James 1:19 puts it this way, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” So pause before you react verbally.
2) During the pause, consult the Holy Spirit and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand how to love and respect your husband with your response. Would your husband be positively impacted by a gentle and encouraging word from you? Would your husband be more willing to make changes that you’re requesting if you showed him respect by asking him to help you understand his perspective? Philippians 2:4 says “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.“
3) When you’re ready to address the issue with your husband, say a silent prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to be the one speaking to your husband by using your mouth. Trust me. The Holy Spirit will come up with much better words than you ever could, and will utter those words in a much more respectful way! When speaking to his disciples, Jesus said in Matthew 10:19-20, “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
When the kids are fighting with each other and you overcooked the dinner and you shrunk your favorite new sweater…it’s pretty natural to get a bit grouchy. In those moments, we usually need to “vent”. Unfortunately, our husbands often get the brunt of our “venting”! In fact, the men whom we promised to love and respect can become our scapegoats. The tragically funny thing is then we wonder why our husbands don’t seem to enjoy being around us very much!
One husband once told me that encountering his wife as he walked in the door at the end of his work day was like walking into a buzz saw. She was wired and churning and her tongue was sharp enough to slice right through him. Yikes.
Yes, ladies, we all need to vent sometimes. Some days are incredibly challenging. But let’s pick the correct scapegoat. If we need to talk to someone about our stress, anger, or exhaustion, let’s turn to God. He has really broad shoulders and he’s not afraid to hear what’s on your mind. Psalm 40:1-2 says “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Jesus is the correct scapegoat. In fact, if you study the origin of the word “scapegoat”, it was the term used by the Israelites for a goat that symbolically carried their sins away. Wow! Jesus really is our scapegoat, and he perfectly carries our sins away, as well as our anger and frustration on a really bad day.
So when you feel the frustration mounting and you can tell you’re about to snap at a family member, mentally give your irritation to the Lord. Just picture handing it over to Him. Then take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, and chuckle at the enemy’s pitiful attempt to make you lose your temper! Hah! His stupid plan is defeated once again. You are victorious through Christ!
Have you and your husband been butting heads lately? Can you sense resentment against him growing in your heart? Does he seem frustrated with you? Well, the good news is that you’re not alone. This is pretty common in marriage. The bad news is that if you don’t do something about this, it will likely ruin your marriage!
As my husband and I mentored couples over man years, we found a little tool to be really helpful. We asked the husband and wife to sit down over a series of “dates” and discuss each other’s expectations in all sorts of areas; everything from the balance of responsibilities for chores to what Christmas celebrations should be like. We all hold subconscious expectations in these areas, but we rarely intentionally reveal those expectations to our spouse. Then we get frustrated and annoyed that they don’t meet our undisclosed expectations!
How about if you bless your spouse by initiating a series of dates to honestly discuss expectations. Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips”. By each of you being honest and open about your desires and hopes, you will grow more intimate and truly begin to understand each other. Visit the “free resources” tab on our website (www.squadronofsisters.com) to print out a list of topics for your husband and you to discuss.
We all go through challenging days…whether in your marriage, with your kids, with finances, at your job, etc. It’s at those times; we tend to feel so alone. We desperately need to know that God notices our distress. We need to know that He is with us and that He cares.
Well, despite what Satan is whispering in your ear…that nobody cares…that you’re all alone…that your broken heart will never get better…the Bible tells a different story! I find so much comfort in these verses:
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18)
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13)
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Psalm 103:2-4
There’s a golden phrase I discovered many years ago. When I started using it, I found it helped prevent my husband from getting defensive when I was upset or frustrated about something he had said or done. Instead of accusing him of doing something wrong, I learned to kindly and sincerely ask this question: “Help me understand why…”
This simple question prevents the monster of defensiveness from raising its ugly head. By asking your husband to “help me understand”, you’re communicating two things to your husband. 1) You really do care about his perspective and feelings, and 2) You’re acknowledging there may actually be a legitimate reason for why he did or said whatever. At least, you’re giving him a chance to explain himself before you start arguing with him or condemning him!!
By asking your husband to help you understand his behavior or perspective, you’re avoiding a foolish argument. Proverbs 18:2 says “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” By asking your husband to help you understand his perspective, you’re pleasing both God and your husband by living out the instructions in Philippians 2:4 “Each of you should consider not only your own interests, but also the interests of others.”
Try this phrase when you sense a potential ugly argument is headed your way. You can not only use this phrase with your husband, but with your children, your in-laws, your co-workers, your boss, and more. Again, the phrase (actually a question) is….”Help me understand why…”