3 ways to get your joy back

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 joy 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”).  Don’t allow him to take you down!

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.”)

Stress can become a virus in your family!

Holy cow!  The saying really is true…”If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”!!   I found this out recently 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 husbands or pretend it doesn’t exist, but I did get to thinking that my husband’s anxiety and stress is directly tied to mine.  So, I believe what I need to do is re-examine my schedule and my priorities.  Perhaps I need to cut some things out of my schedule so that my stress level drops. 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 husband’s health.  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?

Could this make today more peaceful for you?

In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me.  He asked me this simple question.  Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory?  Another way of putting this is:  Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother”, perfect Christian, etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do in order to bring HIM glory?

Oh man!  Busted.  To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes.  I become exhausted and stressed in the process.  The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers.  Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want.  Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes.  The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?

I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace!  We would be free of performance-exhaustion.  Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music!  God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace!  (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.”  And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Physical intimacy for the exhausted wife!

For many women, especially moms of young children, making love to their husbands seems like yet one more thing on their to-do-list!  For an exhausted wife and mother, the idea of carving out time to be physically intimate with her husband sounds about as thrilling as running 15 miles on the treadmill at the gym at 5 o’clock in the morning!

But here’s the thing.  We know that most men have an extremely high sex drive.  It isn’t their fault.  God made them that way.  🙂  So, one of the kindest and most loving things we can do for our husbands is to meet their sexual needs.  We need to strive to build a robust sex life with our husbands, and more than likely, you’ll enjoy it too!  To be honest, if we don’t have a vibrant sex life within our marriage, we’re setting up each other to subconsciously look for that excitement with someone else.  That’s why Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”

The question is: How does the exhausted wife (and mother) build a robust sex life that both she and her husband enjoy?   Well, I believe she takes a really good look at her schedule of activities and responsibilities to see if there are any things she can cut out.  I bet there are some things she could reduce or cut completely!  Secondly, she asks her husband for help!   Can he put the kids to bed so that she has time to wind down and prepare herself to become a sexy wife?  Can he do the dishes after dinner or help the kids with their homework so that she can decompress and maybe take a bubble bath before she and her husband head to bed?

Ask your husband if he would be willing to help with some tasks in the evenings so that you are more able to build a robust sex life with him.  I bet it is a trade he is willing to make!

Receiving appreciation for your efforts

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get in a poopy mood (yes, I just used the highly technical term “poopy”!) when I do something sacrificial for my husband and he doesn’t even seem to notice.  For me, even though both my husband and I work full-time in ministry, I decided that, for a while, I would do all the household cleaning chores so that my husband would be freed up to serve God even more.  I did this for a several month stretch last year.

Did I enjoy vacuuming, dusting, cleaning toilets?  No, I did not.  Did I sometimes feel grumpy when I cleaned the house after already working a full day?  Yes, I did.  But then I thought, “well, at least my husband will sing my praises when he gets home and notices all I’ve done”.  However, even though I subtly pointed out to him what I had done, much to my shock, sometimes he didn’t say anything at all.  What!?!

It’s at that time that God graciously reminded me that He noticed all I had done and he was pleased.  I know that God is pleased whenever I serve my husband because God instructs us in Matthew 9:35 that “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

God always notices what we’re doing even when no one else sees it!  In Matthew 6:4, the Bible reminds us that “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”   Let’s take heart that we are pleasing the “right” man when we serve our husbands sacrificially.  That right man is Jesus.

Shaping a powerful legacy

Watching the news each night on television makes me shudder.  We learn of more people dying from covid-19.  We hear of horrific murders.  We watch towns leveled and lives taken by earthquakes and hurricanes.  Life on this earth is so short and we never know when we will be living our last day in these bodies.  It causes me to reflect on the legacy I would leave if I were to be called home to be with Jesus today.  It is something for you to ponder too.  In what condition would you have left your marriage?  What legacy would you have left in that regard?  Would your children say they had an excellent role model for what a godly wife is supposed to look like?  Or would they say mom was cold and bitter toward dad and seemed to always point out something he had done wrong?

The Bible wisely instructs us “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”  (Ephesians 4:26).   So, perhaps today is a good day to take inventory on your relationships.  Have you let anger and bitterness creep into the relationship with your husband, or your children, or other loved ones?  Do what you can to respectfully address the issues that have prompted bitterness or anger.  The Bible says in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  So, do what you can today to make peace. Don’t wait until tomorrow.  I don’t mean to be theatrical, but truly, none of us has an ironclad guarantee of another sunrise.  Let’s leave a godly legacy.

Handling something daunting or overwhelming

If we could all truly embrace the Biblical principle of taking just one day at a time, we would all be better off!  Yes, this is a Bible principle.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  In other words, instead of worrying and fretting about the “what if…” questions, Jesus tells us to just focus on doing what we should do today.

How does this apply to you?  If it seems overwhelming to you to put your marriage back together after betrayal, just choose to move forward, one day at a time.  If you tend to avoid confronting your husband or establishing boundaries on wrong behavior because you fear the possibility of future tension, trust in Jesus and move forward, one day at a time.  If it seems daunting to take off the 50 pounds you’ve gained in recent years, don’t think about how hard this is going to be for the rest of your life. Just choose to eat healthy today and take it one day at a time.

Worrying about the future is pointless.  Being consumed by the “what if…” questions will only keep you trapped in fear.  Let’s do what Jesus says.  Let’s decide each morning to do what we know we should do that day, and let’s trust God to handle tomorrow.

When you need to vent on a bad day…

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!

The prayers of a wife and mom can change everything!

Are you and your husband at odds?  Are you discouraged in your marriage?  Pray.  Are you longing for more intimacy and love in your marriage?  Pray.  Are you concerned about the choices your husband or children are making?  Pray.  Prayer really can change everything!  James 5:16 says “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.”

I have witnessed God do absolutely amazing things when I have prayed with total faith in His mighty power. I have witnessed miraculous healings.  I have seen God soften my husband’s heart in areas.  I have witnessed loved ones turn to Christ for the very first time.  I have witnessed God supernaturally supplying much needed financial help in the nick of time.  I have even seen God “heal” completely broken computerized equipment in our sound studio!

Here’s the thing.  I don’t have the power to do any of those miracles.  I especially don’t have the power to change my husband’s heart or my children’s hearts….but God can and does change hearts!   In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  Awesome!  So, seek God in prayer.  Be persistent in your prayers for your husband and children.  Your situation might seem impossible, but nothing is too hard for God.  He can even change hearts.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

A surprising benefit of contentment

I’ve realized the most interesting thing!  The other day, I was really frustrated, as in the kind of frustrating day where you desperately want the cathartic release of smashing china dishes against the wall!  Am I the only one who has ever felt that way?  🙂

Anyway, my husband walked into the house to discover a wife who was steaming from everything that had gone wrong that day.  Then something strange happened.  He got visibly agitated over my state of frustration.  It really bothered him that I was upset.  It reminded me that our husbands really do want us to be content.  They desire a peaceful wife. In fact 1 Peter 3 tells wives to strive for the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”.   Hmmm.  Interesting.  So, how do we get this peacefulness, even in frustrating circumstances?  The Bible tells us contentment comes when we trust in God, lean into God, and ask for His power to carry us!  Philippians 4:13 says ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

And interestingly, when I choose to trust God to carry me during those frustrating moments in life, not only do I become peaceful and content, but I enjoy the unexpected benefit of my husband and kids becoming more peaceful too!