Thursday, May 22, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (Day 25: How Loving Your Husband Affects Life at Home)

We have talked about each quality Paul gives us in Ephesians and Titus that are important to being a godly wife: love, submission, respect, self-control, purity, working at home, and kindness. Each of those traits require selflessness, which is a key principle in this challenge. Self denial is hard - which is why this is a challenge! I'm super excited you made it this far with me.

Here's the thing, while challenging myself to live as Christ lived: selflessly, I've been ultra selfish. One of the things my husband likes most is a clean, organized home. If it's messy I notice the first thing he does when he walks through the door is clean. He never complains, or does this with an arrogant attitude, and he has never been upset with me, ever. When he's folding laundry, or emptying the dishwasher, or any other task I should've completed in the course of my day, I feel heavy conviction. These things I should get done because 1. I'm home. 2. God is calling me to manage the home. 3. Kyle should not have to come home to do these things (I could keep adding reasons why here...) Don't get me wrong I appreciate (so very much) my husbands selflessness in helping me whenever he can. When I tell him he doesn't have to do that (like unload the dishwasher) he always tells me that his job is to take care of me. (I'm married to a wonderful man.)

This is not about him, this is about me and my selfishness. In the course of the day I'd rather read, write, play with Bean, work in the yard... anything but housework. I find house work to be the most depressing work on the face of the planet. I clean the house and within the next hour it's messy again. So instead of cleaning, I do other things and herein lies my selfishness. I know how to bless my husband. I know what he likes to come home to and I'd rather do anything else. If I take 30 minutes out of my day, every day, it'd be fine. Lately, it hasn't been a priority because of my stinky attitude. Managing a home was never on my priority list growing up. And I'm finding that the world's crappy theology keeps popping up in my head: you're wasting your degree! I'm trying to combat that with Scripture. Chapter 12 in Romans was timely. So while I keep saying "you" need to live selflessly, that "you" is me. This challenge was created to renew my mind according to Scripture and become a living sacrifice for Christ and all the while hoping others join me and hold me accountable. I have been AMAZED at the response. I have at least 20 readers every day. I don't know if 20 women are joining me daily on this challenge, but I know of at least 3. My prayer is that this affects your life in such a way that your relationship with God improves tenfold and with your husband as well.

I hope reading my testimony helps you. We're not perfect, but thanks to the Holy Spirit who is constantly working in our lives, we have HELP! We are not alone. We cannot do this alone. That is why having a church body to hold you accountable, walk beside you, and teach you is VITAL in this walk with Christ.

Day 25
I know nothing of Jay Younts except what's at the top of his page: gospel driven and heart focused - LOVE that. That's how this whole challenge started (Day1) because there is nothing more powerful than the gospel to transform lives! Just that one statement encouraged me on so many levels, short and sweet.

When I read this article: Love your spouse, love your children I knew it was one we needed to read. We've been talking about all those qualities that show love to our husband, even when we don't feel that love. We've only briefly talked about how loving your husband affects your home life, but there's a few amazing reasons Younts discusses that you need to read:
If you desire to be a loving, biblical parent you must begin by being a loving, biblical  spouse. Too often parents believe they can compensate for the deficiencies in their marriage by concentrating on loving their children. Not a good idea!  Living primarily for your children leads to making idols of your children. This is a burden that no child can bear. In the long run, it will only turn your children against you. No one is blessed when this happens. Stability in the marriage relationship is what provides stability for the family, not the other way around. Here are at least three of the reasons why this is true. 

First, marriage is designed to be permanent. Children are temporary inhabitants of the family. Parents are to raise their children to leave the home and start their own families. Husbands and wives are to be together for a lifetime. If the primary focus is given to the children, then what is temporary will receive more attention than what is primary and foundational. This weakens the marriage relationship as well as all the other family relationships.

Second, children undergo radical, rapid changes in their physical makeup and in their relational growth. In the space of just a few years they go from being totally dependent on others to being ready for independence with regard to life’s responsibilities. Thus, if life centers around the constant change of your children’s lives, stability will be replaced with turmoil and the marriage relationship will suffer. As children quickly progress from infants, to toddlers, to young children, to older children, to teenagers, to young men and women ready to begin their own lives, they need the stability of parents whose focus on maintaining their marriage first has not wavered. 

Third, as special and wonderful as the parent-child relationship is, it is dramatically  different than the unique one-flesh relationship between husband and wife. Parents who seek to complete themselves in their children will always be left incomplete and disappointed. A parent who lives primarily for his children will constantly be in a state of playing catch up. As the parent gets adjusted to one phase of a child’s life, that child has already moved on to the next. Children do not complete their parents. 

If you want to love your children well, love your spouse first and foremost. As your children see you serving Christ as you serve your spouse they will know stability. It is important for children to know that they are not the most important people in the world. If they are to follow Christ they must seek to serve rather than be served.

Give your children the precious gift of loving your spouse as Christ as commanded you. This will provide strength and stability for your children and for your marriage. This will cause your marriage to be a testimony to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Did those points hit home? I hope so! Marriage is permanent. Children grow and change and move out. Although the relationship with your children is special, beautiful and loving, the marriage relationship is one-flesh working together to raise your children in a home that seeks after the knowledge of Christ - even after your children have long gone. Put your marriage first. Your children will thank you.

In the next few days we hit a few much needed points: praying with conflicts, combating loneliness, true gratitude, &etc. If you just joined us I encourage you to start with day 1, there is an order to the madness...

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