First tip to look after your husband:

Have dinner ready.

The 1950’s article I mentioned in the intro to this series goes on to say that meals should be planned ahead, maybe even the day before, so that the meal is on time and ready when he enters the house. This is one way to let your husband know that you have been thinking of him and are concerned about his needs. A good meal is a welcoming thing.

I married a planner. He likes lists and goals and things you can measure. It’s part of his nature, but it’s also a product of his occupation. He manages a lot of people and equipment and systems in 7 cities in our region. That’s a big job with big responsibilities. He lives in planning mode. So, when he gets home, he doesn’t want to have to plan supper or make a choice about what to eat. He’s made decisions all day long, and he’s usually trying his best to get out of what we call “work mode” and focus on me and the kids for the evening.

So, at 5:30 when he walks in and I haven’t even begun supper, or I have no clue what we’re gonna eat, it’s a major letdown for him. It’s not because he expects a hot meal every single night. It’s because he’s tired, he’s hungry and he’s ready to relax.

The really cool thing about that is this: he knows that when he gets home, I’m tired, I’m probably hungry, too, and I want to just breathe a minute now that I have reinforcements. It’s probably why he gets so frustrated when I don’t have a plan for the evening or when there’s very little consistency in how the school nights go in our house. In his mind, a planned day is a good day.

But, see…my brain doesn’t work that way. I’m not a planner by nature. I’m a “let’s see what happens today” kinda girl. He knew this about me before he married me. We’ve known each other a while, and I’ve even worked for him in the past. He knows my tendencies. He knows that I can be extremely lazy in a lot of areas. He knows that if Emily doesn’t want to do it, it probably ain’t gonna get done today. (Sad, but true.)

But, the important thing is that he sees the potential in me. He sees the ability to put my focus into something and do a great job. He sees how diligently I take care of and love on the babies, sometimes to the detriment of the house or other needs. He knows that I can do it all, but he knows that I don’t try as hard as I should sometimes. He loves me as I am, but he desires for me to be better.  

I get frustrated because I don’t want to plan things down to the teeth. I could care less what order we do things in, as long as they get done. But, if I’m honest, I know that if I don’t plan, things normally don’t get done. I love his planning nature, but it drives me crazy some days.

That’s the thing about submission – Biblical submission. It’s a two-way street.

Wives, submit to your husbands…

Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church…

I fix my husband’s plate 99% of the time, I get up from my plate to get him whatever he needs from the counter or the fridge during meals, I go back into the kitchen from the living room during the evening and get him a drink or a snack so that he doesn’t have to get up…all these things are me submitting to my husband. Not because he requires these things of me, but because he loves me enough to work a hard job that allows me to be there every day to pick up the 7-year-old with special needs. It allows me to watch the 19-month-old grow up instead of paying someone else to get that joy.

So, what do I do in return? I have dinner ready, or at least in the process when he walks in. I make a decision about what we’re going to eat so he doesn’t have to, and I try my best not to ask if that’s okay with him. (Because, one: it’s one less decision for him, and two: I’m trying to take authority over my domain.) Do I get it right every day? No. I’m not perfect. But, I’m pressing towards the goal of “better”. Not because I need to be good enough to make him happy. Not because it’s a requirement. Because submission is about love, not domination. About knowing the other person’s needs and wants and doing everything you can to meet them.

I love you, Michal Ferber. “Looking after you” is a joy.

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Submission…part two:

I need to preface these posts by saying two things: 

ONE: I am a stay-at-home mama. While that is, in my humble opinion, the hardest job on the planet, it does have its advantages in certain areas. So, these comments are coming from that perspective. That doesn’t mean that wives that work outside the home can’t take anything from this, but it is probably skewed in a working Mama’s mind.

TWO: When I started fleshing out the jotted notes and thoughts I have on this subject, it really began to get much broader than I originally planned. This may be a lot longer of a “series” than I anticipated.

In 1950, the divorce rate was around 25% in America. What that really means is that far more people were staying married than were getting divorced. Now, a segment of the population that feels that women are the same as men probably blame that on what they perceived as the oppression that men kept women under for millennia.

Please hear my heart. I do believe that there were some men who abused the power society afforded them. They believed women were to be seen and not heard. Women were there as ornaments to make them look good and successful and powerful. There are still men who believe that way, and that truly is oppression, and it’s wrong in every sense of the word.

But, I believe as a society, we have gotten gender identities so skewed from what the Creator intended. Bishop Tony Miller says it best: “If you want to know the purpose of something, ask the One who made it.” There’s no clearer picture of how God intended man and woman than the one of Adam and Eve in the garden before “the fall” – that is, before they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.  

The second chapter of Genesis tells us that God wanted Adam to have a helper. Since Genesis 1:27 already told us that male and female were created and were in Adam, he didn’t have to create Eve. He only had to pull her out of Adam.

Male and female have always been, even before Adam and Eve, and male and female were created in God’s image, so male and female are within God. Being infinite, God had no issue containing all of “male-ness” and “female-ness”. Adam, as a finite being, needed help. The age-old joke is that if God had created Eve first, there would have been no need for Adam. Don’t we women wish we were that good? It’s not possible. God created male and female to have distinct identities, and neither gender could have held it all.

So, he pulled the rib from Adam and shaped it into Eve’s form. He put on her the attributes “corresponding” to Adam’s. He split the characteristics of mankind into two very specific categories. But, just because the categories are specific, doesn’t mean they’re clearly defined. This is where most people who believe as I do have trouble. This is where I have trouble.

How do I reconcile life in the 21st century with life in the 1st?

To be continued…

Last night, as I was praying for my husband …

…before I went to bed, I felt the Lord urging me to do a very odd thing. I kept hearing in my spirit, “Go lay at his feet and pray.” That was really strange to me, so I asked the Lord to repeat Himself, you know…like maybe He changed His mind. There it was again. That prompting to go and lay at my husband’s feet and pray.

So, I did it. I laid on the floor at the end of the footboard on his side of the bed and I prayed. I prayed about the recurring arguments we have. I prayed about the prophetic words and words of healing that my family received this past weekend. I prayed that he would be more understanding and have more patience with me.

And there came the prompting again. This time, it was something along the lines of this: “Quit praying for what you want and pray for what he wants.”

At this point, I was kinda over being told what to do and then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks on the head: I was doing what the Lord asked me to do, but I was using the opportunity for my own gain. I was praying that God would change things in my husband that I don’t like. What I should have been doing was praying that God would get my attention a little more often and teach me when to shut my mouth and listen.

I wasn’t submitting to the authority of the Lord, and because that relationship was out of order, my relationships in the natural were, by very virtue of the law of how life works in the Kingdom, out of order.

I ran across a clipping from a Home Economics book a couple years ago on Facebook. It was getting shared like wildfire and ridiculed mercilessly. You probably know the one I’m referring to; you may have shared it or at least read it and scoffed, thinking life has changed so very much since then. But, as I began to read it, the Holy Spirit was ministering to me in a way that changed my viewpoint of a topic that many deem “icky”: submission. It was beyond recognition as opposed to my former perspective.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to break down this clipping and try my best to relate to you the revelation given to me by the Holy Spirit. He’s a better teacher than I, so, please take what I’m saying in love, chew on it, marinate in it, and if it works for your life, put it into practice. I’m truly preaching to myself with this information, and reproof isn’t easy or fun. But, it certainly makes life easier when you learn how to get right those things you’ve been repeatedly getting wrong for a lifetime.

I promise. I see the irony here…

…in the fact that the last time I posted, it was to inform y’all that I deactivated my Facebook.

I was so over the drama within those four edges of my phone screen. Never had I ever witnessed so many adults whining and complaining about things that don’t amount to a hill of beans in the big picture. So, early in May, I clicked that big blue button with excitement! Then, yesterday happened.

I was honored to be in two church services yesterday with some of my favorite people on the planet, and the Sunday evening service’s song service and sermon were all about healing. The Lord began to drop little nuggets of conviction into my spirit throughout the night.

“You see it as complaining and whining. I see it as an overflow of a hurting, broken spirit that desperately needs someone to reach out.”

“You see the bickering and arguing as immaturity and ridiculousness. I see it as an outcry for someone to pay attention to their pain.”

Isn’t it amazing what a shift in perspective can do? Isn’t it amazing how the enemy can rob us of ministry opportunities by fostering the selfish nature within us?

So, yes. I reactivated. I’m back. My flesh wants to delete it again already. I’ve already seen and heard some pretty tough stuff. But, instead, I’ll use it to fuel the fire of ministry within my heart, and hopefully, I can be a blessing to those who are so deeply craving the touch of Master’s strong hand.

I got rid of my Facebook…

…and I do. not. miss the thing. Truth, y’all.

Confession: I found an app that tracks the usage of all the apps on my phone. I will not publish for all the world to see how many hours a week I was spending on Facebook. It’s shameful. Even more shameful: that wasn’t enough to make me deactivate it/delete it/whatever it. Michal (my husband) deleted his a few months ago, and even though he spent on it a percentage of the time I did, he found himself not missing Facebook. At all.

Side note: My husband may be one of the most introverted people in the world when he comes home from work, so he may not be a great litmus strip. But, I digress…

He reads a lot, my husband. Not the type of reading I do, but mainly tech and job-related articles and journals. He began sending me articles about Facebook and why so many people were going away from it. As I kept reading article after article, nothing really made me want to flip the switch. Until the very last one he sent.

It talked about progress and technology and how they can be positive replacements for traditional, analog things. For instance:

Snail mail was replaced by email.
Rolodexes replaced by contact lists in phones.
Day Planners replaced by online calendars.
Typewriters replaced by word processing software.

The one thing the article shed light on was this: what the heck did Facebook replace? The answer was this vague, intangible substance that no one could really put a finger on. That, more than anything made me pause and take stock. I had over a thousand friends on Facebook, but I may have interacted with 5-10 on any sort of normal basis. I was in a gajillion groups of people wanting to sell this or that or the other. I even had a group myself for Young Living. But, what was I really gaining from Facebook?

  1. Drama.
  2. For Sale groups.
  3. Fighting between friends and family.
  4. Did I mention drama?
  5. Personal messages from folks I have no real relationship with outside of Facebook.
  6. A good, positive article (that was overshadowed by intolerant, hateful comments).

You seeing a pattern here? Yea. I thought so. The negativity far outweighed the positivity.

So, I did it. I clicked that big blue deactivate button.

It’s freeing, y’all. Especially since I’m making an effort to reach out to people with a personal text or phone call instead of just scrolling past their feeds day after day.

Give it a try. And let me know if you do.

Hasta,
Em

You work really hard…

…at your job, right? You put in your hours…sometimes more than 40. You’re there early when it’s required. You stay late when you’re asked. You do everything you’re asked, and you perform as you should, and one day, you walk in, and your manager wants to talk. The following conversation ensues:

Manager: Hey, I just wanted to let you know that you were eligible for a promotion, and the Vice President of our division wanted to hire you, but I told him that I just didn’t think it was a good idea.
You: [speechless]
Manager: Well, I know it doesn’t seem like the best decision for you personally, but it’s the best thing for the department. You understand, don’t you?
You: [still speechless]

You walk out, completely and utterly flabbergasted. You really thought that your boss wanted what was best for you. You thought he would always want to better you – even at the cost of the department or organization. Boy, were you wrong.

That sounds nuts, doesn’t it? Absolutely crazy. But, it happens every day – in workplaces all over the world. What’s even more unbelievable?

It happens in churches. Every. Single. Week.

You get saved in a church. You volunteer to work in a ministry. You go early. You stay late. You go on non-service nights for meetings and rehearsals. Then, when God has a promotion for you, and you’re audacious enough to accept it, you are bombarded with questions about your new church from all the folks from your old church.

Is it Spirit-filled?
Do they believe like we do?
Don’t you want to come home? You got saved here.

Stop it, people. Please. I beg you.

When mature Christians leave churches, it’s most often not an easy decision. In fact, it’s probably one of the hardest things we face as meat-fed believers. Mature Christians don’t leave churches because they don’t like the music, or because someone hurt their feelings by talking about them in the foyer one Sunday.

They leave because God is calling them higher. He’s calling them to be used somewhere else. He’s providing opportunities for them to be fed in a way they can’t be where they are. He wants to promote them in the Kingdom…not in a church. He wants so desperately to better them for the purpose of bettering others.

So, stop. It’s not your business to know what God is telling them. It’s not your choice where they attend church. It’s not even your business IF they attend a church.

You will not stand before God for their decisions. You will stand before Him for yours.

Fear.

It’s a powerful thing. It can simultaneously steal from you and make you more creative than you’d ever be without it. It robs people of living a healthy, normal lifestyle. It creates nightmares that keep people bound every day. Oddly enough, fear is one of the only things that is not instinctual. It is a learned behavior. Don’t believe me?

Were you born with a fear of heights? I’d wager a guess that you weren’t. You probably loved it when your daddy threw you up in the air. Did you come out of the womb afraid of people from other racial and ethnic backgrounds? I highly doubt it. The Scripture is clear in 2 Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but of power and love and … wait for it … discipline. If God speaks of discipline as a paradox of fear, then it points even more towards fears being learned and not given to us upon creation.

Fear is not a characteristic in DNA. There is no such thing as a “fear” gene. However, the tendencies that cultivate fearful behaviors or create inherent anxious responses to the world around you are most certainly tied to those who raised you, both within your family and your spirituality.

I grew up in a Pentecostal church, and I remember as a child being fearful of Jesus returning and missing the Rapture. I was raised to believe that if I sinned, did not repent before I went to sleep, and died before morning, I would go to Hell. I grew up thinking that people who believed that their salvation was secure were heretics. I can’t count the number of nights I laid in bed trying to think of all the things I had done that day as a 10-year-old child for which I needed to repent. I truly believed those things much, much longer than I care to admit. I was taught that “holiness” and “works” were the way to keep my salvation. I was even taught to believe that people who did not believe the way I did were on their way to “a devil’s hell” and there was very little hope for them.

I tried extremely hard to keep up with that lifestyle for a long time. I tried to make sure that I repented of everything I did at the very moment I did it. Not because I truly felt convicted by the Holy Spirit, but because I felt condemned by the pastors and teachers I sat under.

Then, my world fell apart when I was in my late 20’s. My marriage was over. My child was diagnosed with a developmental disorder. I was flat broke with no job. And I began to see myself through the eyes of the church that raised me. If my theology held, I was dying and going to hell. And, that just didn’t sit right. Not because I didn’t think that I deserved hell. We all deserve hell. But, because I knew enough about God to know that He wasn’t some dictator sitting on a throne waiting to throw me into a pit of fire for my mistakes.

So, I began to dig, and I mean really dig, into the Word. And what I found was so eye-opening and so liberating to my soul that it almost took my breath away.

Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin are death, and that’s a paycheck you can take to the bank. It will always pay the same dividend. But, it goes on to say this: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then in Romans 11:29, Paul goes on to say that the gifts of God are irrevocable. 2 Corinthians 7:10 furthers that thought and says that Godly sorrow produces repentance which leads us to salvation, not to be regretted.

I’m going to say something that may be controversial, but it’s true. Truth is liberating. Truth sets you free. (The Word says that, too.) Here goes.

God will not take your salvation back. You cannot lose your salvation by not working hard enough or not repenting hard enough.

My best friend in high school died six weeks before graduation our senior year. I grieved him a long time; he was like a brother. But, worse, I agonized over his eternity. I had seen him kneel at an altar and accept Christ. But, I’d heard him cuss, and I knew that he had drunk alcohol during Spring Break the year before. And, because of how I was raised, I suffered thinking that he was in hell. I didn’t understand how the pastor who eulogized him could say that he was in Heaven. Shamefully, I agonized over that far too long. Thank God, I no longer let that keep me up at night.

My uncle Chad died at 29. I was 19. He lived a homosexual lifestyle for much of his adult years. On his deathbed, he told my Mama he had repented for the life he’d lived. At the time, that gave me a tremendous amount of peace. Now, I realize that him living a life contrary to the holiness God defines in the Bible is no different than the pastor who stands in the pulpit condemning saved people to hell when it’s clearly not Biblical.

It’s all covered under the blood of Christ that washed us clean at the moment of salvation.

James Stephens said, “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” What I find so ironic about that is I let men in pulpits dictate how I believed, and I lived a very fearful existence. When I began to get curious about what God said about things, the bravery to live the life God intended for me blossomed.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says…

…“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come.”

It does NOT say, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit] AND IS MADE PERFECT AT THE TIME OF SALVATION; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come.”

Salvation is instant, yes. Discipleship? That takes some time.

I have a friend who met Jesus as an atheist. She wanted nothing to do with God, and she had no desire to become a follower of His. Until she ran face-first into His manifest presence as a broken, hurting teenager. Until she found in Him what she’d been trying to fill with everything the world had to offer her. When she met Jesus, her sins were forgiven just like the sins of the 5-year-old that asked Jesus into her heart at an altar.

But guess what? Because nobody took the time to disciple her and teach her, she ended up living after she met Jesus the way she lived before she met Him. This is not a girl who was raised in church and therefore knew she was supposed to be different. She didn’t know the what the Word said about being in the world but not of it. We so often wrongly assume that once a person gets saved, that’s the pinnacle.

When we as Christians expect new believers to act like they have all the answers and have all their stuff straight, we immediately put them at a disadvantage. It’s our job as Spirit-filled, faith-led believers to encourage them, to teach them, to help them understand that receiving Christ isn’t the end of the journey. It’s just the beginning; a beautiful beginning that puts us all on the same path: the path to a relationship with Christ.

If you were raised in a…

“charismatic” or “full-gospel” church, you may have been in a service where a word was given by the Holy Spirit in tongues and then interpreted for the edification of the body. I don’t think that’s one of the spiritual gifts God has bestowed upon me, mainly because I’ve never given nor have I interpreted a word. I do, however, believe that God has given me the gift of worship and being able to worship and sing in the prophetic.

I’ve been in services before, both in and out of the pulpit, where I’ve felt very strongly that a specific song was needed to minister to a specific need. Other times, the promptings were more gentle in nature, but they’ve been true nonetheless. But, never in the 17 years that I’ve been in pulpits and behind a microphone, have I ever felt that urging as strongly as I did yesterday morning in service.

Because God has shifted my husband and I in our ministry duties for this season of our lives, neither of us are in the pulpit on Sunday mornings. So, for a split second, I hesitated, fearing being out of order in the service, and the moment was gone. It had passed just that quickly. (If you’ve grown up with a Spirit-filled Mama or Grandma, you know that fear of being a distraction or disruption while the Spirit is moving and working. That’s a deep-seeded fear that never goes away. 🙂) I immediately repented and thought that I’d disobeyed the Father.

But, then… (isn’t that just like God?) I was on the way to Eli’s school to pick him up today, and the song that I felt yesterday so strongly began to roll around again in my spirit. I began singing it aloud, and the Holy Ghost began to minister to me in a way that He hasn’t in some time.

I know that the song would have probably been right on time yesterday, but I also know that God had that song on my mind today “for such a time a this”.

What was the song, you may be wondering?

[He is here, hallelujah/He is here, amen/He is here, holy, holy/I will bless His name again/He is here, listen closely/Hear Him calling out your name/He is here, you can touch Him/You will never be the same]

He is here, folks. Whether you feel Him or not. Whether He shows Himself or not. He is present. Always.

Hasta,

Em

Worship is…

…enlightening, passionate, uplifting, my armor, awesome, warfare, strength, weapon, a way of life, my obedience, ammunition, spiritual armor, essential…

All these words hold a positive connotation with “feel-good” vibes. But sometimes, worship isn’t meant to make us feel good, at least not in the moment.

  1. Worship is transforming.
    You can not truly worship without being changed.
    Most times, change isn’t easy. Change, at least, in our personalities and lifestyles, can be downright annoying. Change also can be painful. The hardest part of change is that we will begin to look like what we worship.

    2 Corinthians 3:17-18 [17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). {Isaiah 61:1-2} 18 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord {Who is} the Spirit.]

    When we worship with unveiled faces, the mirror can reflect the problem or the problem solver. Very quickly, we can become changed into the problem we’re looking at or we can be transformed into the One we behold.

  2. Worship is expensive.
    There is no worship without sacrifice.

[Genesis 22:7 And Isaac said to Abraham, My father! And he said, Here I am, my son. {Isaac} said, See, here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt sacrifice?]

Isaac knew that something else was needed. You can’t worship unless there’s something on the altar. Where we often mess up is sacrificing something that really doesn’t matter much to us in the first place. Sacrifice at its root is a surrender of something worthy. If it isn’t worthy enough to keep, it’s not worthy enough to sacrifice.

But, by faith, Abraham went from that former glory to the next in his life.
Tony Miller once said, “God will not judge you so much for what you are, but for what you refuse to become.” Abraham could have refused to go up that mountain. He could have said “God, you have lost it…there’s no way I’m giving up the one thing that I waited 80 years for.”
It costs a lot to worship; things like time and effort are difficult enough. But when worshiping costs us our bad attitudes and gossiping and nitpicking about the song selection or how the band sounds this morning, that’s when it really gets difficult: when the Holy Spirit begins to convict and change you because of your worship.

3. Worship is hard.
There is no worship without trials.
When you are truly in a season of intimate worship with Him, that’s when the trials come to shake your faith and test your resolve.
Worship is familiar. It makes us “feel good” and makes our hearts lighter. But, God will take you away from everything you’re familiar with in the middle of trials. Nobody can climb the mountain of your trial with you. It’s your mountain.
In verse 5, Abraham called it worship. He knew the path laid before him and he knew what it held. He knew that he was going up the mountain with his son – his PROMISE – and was coming down without him. I don’t always know WHAT I believe, but I know in WHOM I believe, and I know He will never leave me on the paths He takes me. It’s hard sometimes, but God always provides when we worship in spirit and truth.

I might not be able to choose my storms, but I can choose my building materials. Worship is a cornerstone of defending the craziness this life throws at us.

Build the building and build it to stand.

Hasta…