Wisely influencing your husband

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.

This helps during heartbreak

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.

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Your husband may have dry bones

Recently, 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.

Replacing your worry with 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!

Get rid of this stinking thinking

You’ve heard the expression “You are what you think”.  Well it’s true, and unfortunately many women stay stuck in oppression, poverty, chaos, and loneliness because of the stinking thoughts the enemy has whispered to them repeatedly over the years.  Often these women truly did suffer a wounding event in the past, but the enemy piles on by getting them to believe lies about their identity, their abilities, God’s ability, and their future.

These lies, that then become our “stinking thinking”, may sound something like this:  “I’m unlovable”… “I can’t handle this”… “I’ll never get over this”… “I’m broken”… “I’m not able to”… “It’s hopeless”… “God doesn’t seem to care”… “I can never trust anyone”… “God isn’t going to come to my rescue”.

It’s time we start bossing around these thoughts!  The minute you hear one of those thoughts in your head, remind yourself that the enemy of your soul WANTS you to embrace that stinking thinking so that he can keep you oppressed!  Jesus WANTS you to have the opposite…a fulfilling life!   John 10:10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Ladies, it’s time we take a stand and refuse to align our thoughts with the devil.  The moment those negative, hopeless thoughts enter your mind, immediately coach your soul with the truth.  Here are a couple of truths to get you started: 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”-Philippians 4:13

”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.”-Psalm 40:2

”If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”-Romans 8:31-32

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight”-Proverbs 3:5-6

3 questions to ask when discouraged

Sometimes, we feel like we’ve reached the end of our rope!  You may be discouraged because you’ve been praying for God to change your husband’s attitude or behavior, and it’s just not happening.  You may be discouraged because you hoped your children would turn out a certain way, and they seem to be making bad decisions.  You may be discouraged because you’ve been searching for a new job and you can’t find one that fits your abilities and availability.  Now what?

Well, first, don’t give up praying.  In Luke 18:1, the Bible says…”Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”  So, keep asking God for a miracle.   However, maybe it’s time to put on a new set of glasses.  Maybe you’ve been insisting that God do what YOU think is best, instead of praying that God’s perfect will be done.  Now is the time to ask God to reveal his perspective on this issue.  Why don’t you ask him these 3 questions, and then spend some quiet time listening for his response:

1)  Lord, can you help me to see this situation through your eyes?

2)  How are you trying to change me or teach me through this situation?

3)  Is there a lie the enemy is trying to get me to believe about this situation?

The good news in dark valleys

None of us welcomes emotional pain and heartbreak.  Yet, on this earth, we know we will encounter trials and pain. Often, that pain is experienced in our marriage.  We can get really frustrated that God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayer to “fix” our marriage or husband!   But Jesus never promised he would take away all our problems during our temporary stay on earth.  In fact, he said in John 16:33 “in this world you will have trouble.”  Fantastic.

However, if you look closely, you will discover two rays of sunshine in the midst of your darkest hours.  First, Jesus finishes that verse in John 16:33 by saying, “But take heart!  I have overcome the world“.  That is a great reminder that though we will have temporary troubles here, Jesus has prepared an eternal destination for us that will be completely free of heartbreak and suffering.  It will be glorious beyond our imagination! 

Secondly, and here’s the point I really wanted to make….it is at the time of our biggest heartbreak that we often experience God’s presence in a way we’ve never known before.  When we choose to cry out to him and seek him during our time of grief and suffering, he promises to come close.  Very close.  Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit“.  If you’re in the middle of a really difficult time in your marriage, don’t miss the opportunity to draw close to God and encounter his love, compassion and comfort at a spectacular level!

6 Bible verses for anxiety attacks

So many of us struggle with fear and anxiety, and sometimes that struggle escalates to a full-blown anxiety attack.  We know that God does not intend for us to live in debilitating fear, but how do we break free?

I’ve personally found much relief by applying these 6 Bible verses:

  1. 2 Corinthians 10:5 “we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ”.  This means when fear-based, hopeless, defeatist thoughts enter my mind, I need to examine them and ask whether this is something God would say!
  2. 1 Peter 5:8-9  “Be sober-minded and alert. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”  This means when I notice my thoughts are becoming hopeless or fearful, I need to recognize the devil is whispering those thoughts to me!  I must take a stand and refuse to align my thoughts with the devil!  Sometimes I even hold out my hand and shout “NO”.
  3. Isaiah 41:10  “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  This means I remind myself that I am not walking through my challenges and worries alone.  Jesus is right there beside me all the time and all the way.
  4. Romans 8:28  “And we know that God works all things together for good for those who love him”  This means that I remind myself that even if my worst fear comes to pass, God can still bring something good out of that situation.  That brings me comfort.
  5. Psalm 139:16  “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  This means that when fear-based thoughts enter my mind, I choose to remind myself that God already knows my future and my kid’s future.  Nothing that happens to me or my kids will take God by surprise!  He knows the future.  He’s already there.
  6. James 4:8   “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you”  This means I choose to pivot from the fear and turn toward God in a very deliberate way.  When I do that, He comforts me!  “Drawing near to God” could mean everything from turning on a worship song, to reading the Bible, to calling a faith-filled friend, to hugging my actual Bible as I lay down to go to sleep at night.

How to powerfully impact husband

Does your husband wrestle with a destructive addiction?  Is your husband carrying way too much stress from his job?  Does your husband seem depressed?  Is your man uninterested in pursuing God?  It’s easy for you to sink into despair, but instead, I challenge you to pray for him continually, and with total faith in our powerful God!

I’m not saying that prayer is the only thing you should do, but it is one of the most powerful things you can do for your man.   Yet, often we tend to do more whining to our girlfriends than praying for our men.  We often spend too much time drowning in a pool of self-pity instead of saturating our days with earnest prayer.

Seek godly counsel from a pastor or wise female mentor to gain insights into whether you need to take specific action with your husband.  Those actions may include establishing boundaries and refusing to enable a continuing pattern of sin. Perhaps you will be directed to see a counselor yourself.  Maybe your pastor will schedule a talk with your husband to see if he can help.  However, your main job as your husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18) is to pray for him.  Pray for him throughout the day.  God says in James 5:16 that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective“.  So get on your knees and get busy praying.  I have seen God do some pretty amazing things in response to earnest, continual prayer.  I have even seen the Lord change a husband’s heart!  Yes, God can change a person’s heart.  Read Ezekiel 36:26.

The “power of one” in a marriage

Each weekday, I offer a devotional intended to help wives. Yet, I have a funny feeling that some of you might be questioning why I’m always urging wives to change their behavior, look for ways to bless their husbands, and be more selfless in their marriage.  I can almost hear you asking, “What about him? Am I the only one who’s supposed to work on this marriage?”

Well, here’s a news flash for all of us.  We can’t change our husbands!  Only God can change a man’s heart.  We can establish boundaries.  We can encourage our men and offer wise counsel to them, but at the end of the day, we can’t control them.  We can only control us!  However, by changing the way we interact with our men, we can dramatically and positively impact them.  It’s the amazing power of one person to make a difference!

So, let’s all commit to working on ourselves.  Let’s look for ways to encourage our men, help our men, respect our men, and serve our men.  If your husband is engaged in a pattern of sin against you or your kids, commit to respectfully and lovingly setting boundaries on that behavior.  As you continue doing this week after week and month after month, I bet you’ll see a change in your husband and an improvement in your relationship. 

Don’t give up. Don’t be pessimistic.  Press on.  Meditate on this wonderful promise found in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”