Is this virus hurting your family?

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?

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

How to handle financial stress

So many couples, especially young couples, argue over money.   They disagree over how much to spend, how much to save, the financial priorities, whether to help loved ones in need, whether to give to the church, and on and on.

You might not be aware, but the Bible actually gives a ton of guidance on how to handle money and possessions!  I have found 3 particular Bible principles to be especially helpful for couples who have been suffering from financial tension and strain in their marriages.  Allow me to summarize those principles for you.  (You can look up the verses for yourself and ask the Lord to counsel you directly).

Bible Principle 1:  Live intentionally below your means!  (Hebrews 13:5)  So many couples are under heavy financial strain because there is no real cushion in their budget.  They’ve bought the biggest house they could possibly afford or the most expensive car they could afford, and then when something unexpected comes up, they become super stressed-out and start ugly arguments!

Bible Principle 2:  Don’t wear yourself out or stress yourself out by working too much to accumulate possessions and wealth because those things will mean nothing at the end of your life.  The only thing that will matter is your love for the Lord and the people he placed in your life. (Proverbs 23:4)

Bible Principle 3:  Take a step of faith and cheerfully give some of your money back to the work of the Lord because He promises to reward those who trust Him by doing so!  (Malachi 3:10).  I’ve done this faithfully for several decades whether I felt like I had the money to give or not.  The Lord has always provided for me, sometimes in strange and unusual ways!

Developing peace in your home

You know the saying “If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy”?  It’s so true!  So if you’ve noticed your kids have been acting up a lot and/or your husband is grouchy, one possible reason is because YOU are not peaceful.  Your mood and your stress are contagious.

Ask God to reveal to you what things may be causing a foul mood or extra stress in your life, and then ask Him to show you if there are things you can do to improve the situation.  Is there something stressful in your life that you should eliminate?  Do you need to ask God to help you forgive someone instead of holding onto bitterness and resentment? 

Do whatever it takes to regain a peaceful and gentle spirit.  God instructs wives to have such a demeanor in 1 Peter 3:3-4 where He says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”  Let’s become beautiful to our husbands and children by cultivating that gentle and quiet spirit.  You may have to make some changes in your schedule, but it will be worth it!

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!

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.