A message to all supermoms

Most women have extremely busy schedules these days.  I don’t know if life has always been so chaotic for women, but it sure is that way in 2023!  If you’re a wife and a mom, you’re likely running around like crazy trying to take care of the kids and your man and the household and schooling (possibly at home) and maybe even a full-time job.  Whew.  I get stressed out just listing all your roles.

Let’s not kid ourselves.  None of us is Super Woman.  You have limited time and physical energy.  You also have only so much you can give mentally, emotionally and spiritually before you’re completely drained.  That’s why it’s vital for you and me to take a break during each and every day to refresh ourselves.  We do NOT need to feel guilty about this.  Even Jesus “often withdrew to desolate places” (Luke 5:16) to take a break from the demands of people and refresh his soul.  We also need to step out of the desert and onto a lush oasis for a half hour or so in order to rehydrate our souls.  We just need to make sure we choose a healthy oasis.

What is your oasis?  What recharges your batteries?  What refreshes your soul?  Reading a good novel (not a smutty one though!)?  Lying on your bed surrounded by fluffy pillows?  Drinking a cup of coffee while writing in your journal?  Reading a chapter in the Bible and then closing your eyes to meditate on what God is saying to you?  Taking a bubble bath?  Scrapbooking?  Listening to worship music while sitting in front of the fireplace?  Checking out tasty recipes on Pinterest?  Dancing to 70’s music in your living room while no one is watching?

Helping your husband avoid lust

Our men are bombarded daily with temptations to lust.  They drive down the freeway and there is a billboard featuring a sexy woman.  They go to work and encounter a female co-worker showing too much cleavage.  It seems like there is no safe place to avoid the temptation to lust!

However, your home could be one of those safe places, especially if you choose to avoid watching TV shows that feature scantily-clad women!  Personally, I would have loved to watch Dancing With The Stars over its many seasons.  I so enjoy watching a dancing novice grow into a fabulous dancer in just a few weeks.  But I knew that watching that show with my husband would likely cause a huge challenge for him regarding lust.  So, I chose not to watch that program.  The same thing is true for many other shows.  We always applied the same rule of thumb to the movies we watched over the years.  I checked beforehand to see if a movie featured sexual scenes or partial nudity.  We didn’t watch those movies.

Are you helping your husband avoid sexual temptation through your choices of media?   1 Corinthians 10:32 says “Do not cause anyone to stumble“.   Are you allowing things into your home that could cause your husband to stumble?  For instance, I called Victoria’s Secret many years ago and asked them to stop sending their catalog to our home.  That magazine is soft porn to men and boys!  Should you make similar changes at your home?

How to seek marriage advice

If you’re going through some challenges with your husband right now, it’s really wise to seek godly counsel from another woman. Often another woman can see the situation more objectively.  A godly woman can encourage you to persevere through challenges instead of giving up.  Sometimes, another woman can help you see the need to set wise boundaries on unacceptable behavior.   It’s also really wise to reach out to a few godly women who you know will pray for you and your husband.

However, there’s a fine line between seeking godly support and husband-bashing!  Sometimes, we go beyond seeking advice and prayer support and we start gossiping and whining about our husbands.  That’s not constructive and it’s very disrespectful to your husband.  Let’s keep in mind God’s instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33…”The wife must respect her husband“.

So check your heart before you pick up that phone to whine to a friend.  Check your motives before you start complaining about your husband to another woman. Are you telling dishonoring stories about him in great detail and listing all of his faults…or are you actually looking for guidance and prayer support? Pay attention to the words you’re texting or speaking.  Are they disrespectful or honoring to your husband? 

Help for wives with past sexual abuse

Unfortunately, there’s a high likelihood that many wives reading this devotional have experienced past sexual abuse, either in childhood or due to a forced sexual situation as an adult woman.  I can relate to this myself.  I was sexually abused by several men over many years of my childhood.  As you probably know, this can cause real problems for you in terms of desiring to be sexually active with your husband.  Yet, it’s so vitally important to build a vibrant sex life with your husband.  What’s a wife to do?

Here are 5 things that have helped me along my journey:

1) Determine in your heart and mind that you will not let evil steal from you yet again.  Evil stole your innocence once before, but decide that you will not cooperate with Satan’s plan to steal the sex life from your marriage.

2) Coach your soul.  The psalmist David often talked to his soul and reminded his soul of truth.  We can do the same thing.  Remind your soul that your husband cares for you….that he will not hurt you…that you are not being forced…that you will actually enjoy loving touch from your husband….that you can relax in your husband’s arms.

3) Ask your husband if he will allow you to be the one who initiates sex.  That way, you will not feel like someone is suddenly forcing himself on you.  (However, you do need to initiate then!)

4) Ask your husband to progress slowly, giving you plenty of time to truly warm to his touch.  In other words, you might need extra time before transitioning from kissing to touching of breasts, etc.  Also, ask him to stop for a moment if you say stop.  You need to know that, unlike your childhood experience where you had no control, this time you have control over your body.

5) Decide not to dwell on the past, but choose to focus on what is good and right and pure in your husband and in your marriage.  This is what Philippians 4:8 tells us:  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

3 things that lift depression

When life throws you an unexpected curveball, it’s pretty easy to sink into depression, bitterness, victimhood or gloom.  For some of you, that curveball is catching your husband connecting online with another woman…or your teen developing a drug addiction…or a cancer diagnosis for you or a loved one.  For me, my latest curveball was my husband succumbing to covid and passing away unexpectedly.  I became a widow, and suddenly by whole life changed.  My partner and companion in life was gone in an instant.

As I was taking a walk the other day and grieving with the Lord, I sensed him prompting me to do 3 things in order to move forward with joy and purpose in my life, despite the curveball that came my way.  He whispered to me, “Tackle what needs to be taken care of each day, dwell on what is actually good in your life and let yourself enjoy those things, and look for the opportunities I’m giving you each day to partner with me in expanding my kingdom and being a great reflection of Jesus.”

Wow!  As he spoke those 3 things to my heart, I could tell my mood started to shift.  Instead of focusing on the loss or the heartbreak, God was giving me the recipe to break free from gloom and embrace the purpose and joy he still has for me.  Let’s review those 3 things along with the Bible verses that correspond to each instruction:

  1. Tackle what needs to be taken care of today…just today.  Don’t focus on the “what ifs” of the future.  Matthew 6:33-34  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
  2. Focus on the blessings you DO have in your life and allow yourself to actually enjoy those things.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
  3. Ask God to show you the opportunities he has for you each day to partner with him in reflecting Jesus and expanding his kingdom.  This gives you joy and purpose!  Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

Your husband needs your voice

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.  That’s the self-fulfilling prophecy repeated over and over again by the little train in the well-known children’s story.  The train faced an up-hill battle, but it encouraged itself by stating positive thoughts out loud.  In the end, the little engine’s encouraging words to itself spurred it on to successfully climb the hill.

Husbands are like that little train. They face an uphill battle.  The world tells our men they are failures, that they don’t measure up, that they’re not good enough.  Satan constantly whispers words of discouragement to our guys.  As a result, our men often stop attempting to grow spiritually.  They often stop taking courageous steps forward in leading their families.  Instead of boldly fighting for justice and integrity, many choose to check out through alcohol, drugs, video games, gambling or pornography.  But WE can be that voice speaking encouragement to our men!  We can say, “I think you can”.  “I know you can”.  “I believe in you”.  “I’m praying for you.”   “God’s going to give you the strength”.   Hebrews 3:13 is a good reminder to us.  It says “Encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that no one is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

You can help move your husband from defeat and retreat to a place of exciting victory simply by your words of encouragement.  Will you help your husband be the little engine that could?  I think you can.  I think you can.  I think you can.

Holy Spirit guidance in relationships

I don’t know about you, but I am often reactionary in my relationships.  I get upset or frustrated or worried, and I react emotionally.  Sometimes, this doesn’t cause any damage, but other times, it’s not exactly helpful or beneficial!

I’m trying to operate under a new and improved system, and I’m finding it works far better, probably because it’s God’s plan for his people. Hah!  I’m earnestly seeking to submit myself to God moment by moment and I’m asking his Holy Spirit to nudge me and instruct me during every single interaction with others.  In other words, I’m inclining my heart and spirit to listen intently for the gentle whispers and nudges of the Holy Spirit every time I interact with family members, neighbors, friends, coworkers, church members, and even the grocery store clerk and the UPS delivery guy!

God designed us to operate this way.  Psalm 123:2  Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God.  This is such an inspiring word picture!  We are designed to be so watchful and intent to notice the Lord’s slightest instruction to us that we immediately obey.

Let’s commit to seeking the Lord’s guidance through his Holy Spirit, moment by moment, especially in marriage and family relationships.  This will likely be life-changing, and in a good way!  God alone knows how to improve every relationship, how to truly help others, and how to advance his kingdom here on earth.  We need his guidance.

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

Key perspective shift during heartbreak

I first wrote this devotional a little over a year ago.  But I think it may very well help one of you today.  Here’s what I wrote:

As I’m writing this devotional on November 16, 2021, it has officially been one week since my beloved husband Raul passed away unexpectedly from covid.  My world is turned upside down.  Everything changed in an instant.  The grief was and is intense.  It comes in waves.  There is a gaping hole where we used to partner together in daily life and in ministry.  The love of my life is gone, and although I rejoice that he is with Jesus, I can’t help but feel like this is all so unfair.

Perhaps you are going through something equally as devastating; different, but still devastating. You may have a prodigal teen who is getting into trouble with drugs. You may have just received a cancer diagnosis that has rocked your world.   You and I will definitely need to grieve the losses in our lives.  Sometimes we mourn the actual loss of a loved one, and other times, we need to grieve the loss of what we thought our life or our health or our family would be like. 

This morning, when I was trying to worship God through my pain, he gently gave me a different perspective that helped me quite a bit, so I would like to share it with you in the hope that it will somehow help you even a tiny bit as well.   As I was grieving and asking him the “why did you allow this to happen” question, he whispered to me “But I gave you a gift that you didn’t deserve.  I gave you 16 wonderful years with Raul.”  Mind-blown.  Perspective shifted.  I suddenly realized that I’m a sinner who has made mistakes in my life, and yet God, in his extravagant kindness, chose to bless me with a gift I didn’t deserve…for 16 years.  It made me thankful.  Instead of sinking into depression and bitterness, I realized that God blessed me beyond measure with 16 great years. 

God’s kindness to me reminded me to stop fixating on my pain and to start thinking about what I should be truly thankful for.  Then this verse came to mind.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   Even though you are going through something painful, can you take a moment to remember ways that God has blessed you?  He IS a loving God.  He blesses us more than we deserve.

Does your man have dry bones?

Several years ago, I asked my husband what one thing most husbands really wish their wife would understand.  Here is what he said.  Most men long for their wife to notice something good about them and to tell them what they see!  It could be a positive character quality he displays.  It could be the fact that he works hard to provide for the family.  It could be a talent he has.  It could be the way you notice him submitting himself to God.

According to my husband, men desperately need this validation because they feel like a failure much of the time.  In fact, my husband described men as being a bit like dry bones in a desert, in desperate need of water.  Your words can provide water for those dry bones and breathe life back into your man!  Proverbs 16:24 puts it this way, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

Will you commit to finding something to affirm about your husband every day for the next 7 days?  Will you commit to actually telling him about the good you see?  He will soak up those words like a sponge, and it will bring life back into the dry bones of his spirit.

How to trade anxiety for peace

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel my shoulder and neck muscles getting really tight.  My head starts to throb.  I even sometimes feel a little short of breath…or like I can’t even draw a full breath.  These are all warning signs that I am filled with toxic anxiety and worry! 

What is the remedy for anxiety and worry.  Well, the solution is often really quite simple (although hard to remember to do!).  We must remind ourselves that Jesus loves us and that he is completely trustworthy!  We need to speak truth to our souls!

King David, who wrote many of the Psalms. often talked to his soul.  In tough situations or when he was consumed with fear, he would basically give a pep talk to his soul.  He would remind his soul of the truth about God. For instance, in Psalm 42:5, David writes “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”   Is it time to talk truth to your soul?

I regain peace when I remind my soul that God is loving, God is powerful, God is wise, and God is in control!