Pinterest Problems

Okay, I’m going to try word this post as nicely and lovingly as possible. Like I warned in Let Your Voice Be Heard, I felt like God was going to have me speak up to a few things that I think are going to be leading to the detriment of our society. And here is one that has been stirring in my heart for a while.

When I first signed up for Pinterest, I don’t think I fully understood what is was for (who does when they initially sign up for a new social media site anyway). I loved the home decor, and especially the DIY (do it yourself) projects that were suddenly grouped together for me, and I didn’t have to spend hours searching through blogs. It seemed pretty great.

But I have a concern when it comes to two things.

1) Some of the images that are being pinned are really scandalous, revealing and a flat out inappropriate. 

2) I am seeing way too many boards from the married and unmarried alike of people they find attractive. I’ve seen many names for these boards, from “eye candy” to “crushes”. 

Will you bear with me for a moment to understand why I am concerned about these two things, and why I believe you should be too?

First of all, I believe that bikini’s, for example, are not a good thing to be wearing in public. This is for many reasons, but mostly because it causes the men around us to struggle. Now, if you’re alone on a secluded island with just your husband…do what you want. But please, can we all agree to leave our lingerie in the bedroom and work together to fight this issue of lust that is sweeping our world away?

Now, I can already hear people saying that if it’s a struggle for you, don’t follow my boards. And let me say I agree. If you pin an revealing picture, I will unfollow you immediately, because my husband or son could be sitting right next to me. 

Should we though, contribute to another person’s struggle? In Romans 14, Paul talks about how it is better for us to not eat meat or drink wine if it will cause another believer to stumble. He is so concerned for the stability of the other believer and that they not fall to their temptations, he says it’s better to not partake in the activity at all then to lead another believer astray.

Secondly, if you are purposefully drooling over bodies that you find attractive, you are lusting over them. I think sometimes as Christian women we can think that lust is just something that men deal with.

In the long list of fruits of the flesh, lust is right alongside sexual immorality and impurity. Philippians 4:8 says

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

The last thing that I think is probably the biggest issue, is the problem with comparison. No woman (or man) wants to be compared with an unrealistic, air brushed model. You can’t live up to it. If my husband had some open infatuation with another woman, whether he knows her personally or not, I would be hurt beyond what words can describe.

Lust can be as powerful as a drug, and so can insecurity. Relationships today need more security, trust and wholehearted faithfulness, not less. We should go above and beyond the call of duty to show our spouse that they have our undivided love and adoration. If you are not married yet, I encourage you to practice this principle, and not develop habits that will be hard to reverse later on.

I was struck by this verse in Song of Solomon 2:15 the other night as we were reading.

Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!

Hear me say this: More often than not it is the little things that ruin relationships. Catch the little foxes, the little habits, patterns and sinful actions because they destroy your love.

If you have regrets, don’t feel guilty or under the weight of any condemnation, just choose this day to be an example of holiness, purity and modesty to a confused generation.

 

Don’t fear, child.

Fear can creep into your life in many different ways, and at various times. Fear is no respecter of schedules or to do lists. There is no isolated circumstance that brings fear. You can be in the midst of huge life change, or simply in a quiet stage of life, and out of know where fear of the unknown, or bugs, or injuries can invade you.

As I was praying about some of my fear of the next few months, I felt this verse come to my mind.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Instantly I started telling myself to stop being a wimp, and to be courageous, and that God was commanding me. I was getting down on myself for being afraid, because I was breaking a commandment from the Lord.

But the Lord gently corrected me and provided a picture for me to understand.

The last few months, Caleb has been waking up in the night panic screaming. He is just wailing at the top of his lungs, sounding absolutely terrified. It freaks me out every time, and all I do is go in and say essentially this;

“It’s ok, Mommy is here. Don’t be afraid, it’s ok. You’re ok, don’t worry, honey. Mama’s here, and daddy’s here, and Jesus is here too.”

My heart in that moment is moved with deep compassion for him because I KNOW that everything is ok and he doesn’t need to fear anything. I know he’s needlessly panicking. After that reassurance he usually drifts back to sleep for the night.

I am not going in and telling him harshly to stop being afraid, and telling him that he is disobeying me in his fear.

My heart is soft toward him, and my love for him seems to overflow in that moment, longing to assure him that everything is all right.

That is what the Lord is saying to me. I struggle with relating the Father to a loving and caring God. I often think he’s upset with me. So when I felt that verse come to my heart, my reaction was “ahh I need to stop being afraid because the Lord’s upset with me for unnecessarily stressing out.”

But this is not true.

The Father, as a loving parent, is rushing in to my darkness and gently saying, it’s ok daughter. Don’t be afraid. It’s ok. You’re going to be all right. You don’t need to be afraid. I’m here. I’m greater. I love you.

I’m not in trouble for being afraid, the Lord’s heart just breaks for me because he knows it’s unnecessary.

I can easily drift back to sleep with those kinds of words be whispered to me.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Today’s society is facing a lot of moral dilemmas. Issues are coming up daily and we have to decide if we are going to speak to them, or if we are going to be quiet. The phrase I hear most often is “well that’s not my problem” or “that is their decision, it has nothing to do with me.” The truth is other people’s choices DO have something to do with you, your kids and your grandchildren. Decisions today are impacting our society tomorrow.

A while ago our senior pastor spoke about his sorrow regarding some of the moral issues that have come up in our world during his time as a pastor, and his lack of response to them for many years. He used the example of abortion, and how he wasn’t informed and wasn’t actively fighting against it. He said he failed because during his watch, our nation was crumbling.

The Lord says these sobering words in Ezekiel 33:6;

But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.

I commend our pastors bravery for admitting that, but it stirs in my soul a question as to what is slipping under the radar during my watch? As I move to a level of influence as a parent, what am I adding my voice to?

Is it our place to speak to a couple that is planning on getting married and you know that there are some big issues in their relationship that is going to be detrimental down the road? Saying “it’s none of my business” is the fear-based decision to make. The truth is, if they get married, and eventually have children, they will be your kids friends, classmates and peers. The pain that comes from divorce and the negative impact that it has on kids, doesn’t just affect the child of the divorcing couple. As your child becomes the peer support, they will have to navigate through tough waters, and handle the fear and doubt that comes their way regarding their own parents marriage. Not to mention that statistics point to bad behaviour arising from unstable homes, that subsequently will be influencing your kids as well.

No one is an island unto themselves. Every decision we make affects someone else.

The time will come when you need to speak to something and there might be very few people on your side. Do you know ahead of time what your stance is going to be? Have you predetermined in your heart that you are an ambassador for the Lord’s truth before trying to maintain friendships?

I was afraid the other night as I posted a video link to my personal Facebook page talking about why Christian women shouldn’t feel ok wearing a bikini in public. I had a knot in my stomach, but I know the Lord has asked if I’ll be willing to be a voice to some of these issues. To my surprise, many other people shared the link too! I was far from alone on my stance.

In the coming days I will eventually write about this topic, so that you hear my heart about modesty as a wife, and a mom to a son. The onslaught against men in the area of lust is outrageous. Women, if you haven’t asked God to show you the battle, you need to pray that He does. The only way the men in your life are going to stand strong is with a courageous enough woman to look these issues in the face. (But this is another blog post, for another time!)

Anyway, perhaps this is my introduction to future topics. Ultimately my heart is that each of us, as men and women of God would become clothed in the armour of God, and full of the fruit of the Spirit, as we boldly take a stance in a world that wants to lull us to a place of standing for nothing.

Friends, this is becoming my theme verse. Let is soak into your heart.

 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9)

We won’t be responsible for the outcome of our society, but we will be responsible for what we did to impact it.

A Quarrelsome Wife

While talking with a friend, we were discussing the challenges of having renters, and she said that sometimes people are ungrateful for the work you put in and assume that you should just do it. As a not-so-handy-wife, sometimes I think I subconsciously view myself as a renter, expecting immaculate household updates from my husband.

There have definitely been times when I’ve been ungrateful for all the work my husband does around the house. Just as he finishes screwing something back together, I am complaining about the dishwasher not cleaning well. My list of things that aren’t working can seem endless, and most of those tasks fall on him since I haven’t learned how to deal with them.

There are some bible verses that speak deep comfort and assurance to my soul. Then there are some other that don’t speak exactly that to me. As much as comfort and assurance are nice things to feel, it is often in the more challenging words that we grow.

Did you know that Proverbs speaks of multiple situations that would be better than to live with a quarrelsome wife? Here is a list of them. I hope they make you laugh too.

Living in a beautiful house with a quarrelsome wife is better than…

  • Living alone in the corner of an attic (TWICE he uses this comparison)
  • Listening to a constant dripping
  • Living alone in a  desert
  • Listening to the constant drip of a rainy day.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a quarrelsome person repeatedly argues with someone.

Often the word quarrelsome is used alongside the words complaining, nagging or irritable.

One translation says “the nagging of a wife goes on and on like the drip, drip, drip of a rainy day.”

Before any of you women get too offended by these verses, don’t worry. There are lots of verses that speak to men. I’m just not talking about those, since these are the ones that have impacted me.

The frustration that comes from a wife that is never satisfies seems to be of an extreme kind. For someone to say they would rather live alone in a desert than with a nagging, quarrelsome, complaining, irritable wife in a nice home, means that this really upsets them! There are not many things that bother me enough to choose that sort of lifestyle over a nice home.

Even as I’m writing this I am getting triggered by things that are driving me crazy involving our move, and for some reason I want to take it out by arguing and complaining. In fact, I have done that in the last thirty minutes! Before I was battling that today, this was on my heart to write about, so God is obviously trying to teach me something through this.

Philippians 2:14-15 and says (speaking to men and women alike)

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

What a challenge! I know I can’t do this on my own. I can’t be the opposite of quarrelsome without the Lord’s love and grace shining through me.

Father, would you help me in this today.

 

 

The Cost of a Dream

Our quest for a house seems to have ended. Well, I realize I’ve said that before, but this time I actually think this one is going to work out. The house we are buying needs significant updates, but we’re excited about the project. This house has definite potential to be a beauty.

While at RONA today shopping for some new flooring, I decided to take a peak at the cabinets, since I am hoping to update our new kitchen eventually. The first kitchen I saw was absolutely gorgeous. I look at the price tag. This is what it said.

“This dream costs: $20,000”

I have to admit, I laughed out loud when I read the term “this dream”. Wow, if only all dreams simply came with a price tag we could work towards. 

I wandered around further. I came to a set of cabinets that weren’t nearly as beautiful, but they were definitely an improvement to the old ones.

“This dream costs: $1045.00”

Oh, that was an affordable dream.

How many people settle on a cheaper dream? How many people miss the Lord’s will for their lives by choosing a path that doesn’t cost them as much? They manage to get a look alike, knock off dream that doesn’t last. The rewards don’t pay out. The benefits end. The treasure is not eternal.

A little more patience, a little more discipline would have brought about the higher quality, more satisfying, reached dream.

I don’t want to look back and see a trail of shattered hopes, forgotten dreams and diluted passion. I want for my family and I to say, as Joshua did, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” And whatever requests from the Lord come along with serving him, that we would have worked hard to see his will done on earth.

I love this quote from author, speaker and blogger Jon Acuff. My husband and I have referred to this quote often during this latest life transition.

You will work harder at something you love than something you like.
You will work harder than you have ever worked when you start chasing a dream.
You will hustle and grind and sweat and push and pull.
You will get up earlier and go to bed later. But that’s OK.
Joy is an incredible alarm clock. 

Lately I have felt like our dream of a life given fully to the Lord’s call costs a lot. And oh does it ever. No price tag can sum up the worth of a life.

Proverbs 20:23 says

Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost.

There is definitely a cost. Once the Lord has spoken something into your heart, you will need to look at the sacrifice involved. Not to let fear enter, but to make sure that you are prepared to follow through.

But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? (Luke 14:28)

For me tonight I spend one of my first evenings alone since getting married. I can count on one, maybe two hands how many times we’ve had individual plans after 6 p.m. There are going to be a lot more evenings by myself coming up. That is part of the cost of pursuing our dream.

Jesus isn’t asking us to put our marriage or family on the back burner, but part of the cost has been surrendering the arrangement of our lives. If we can’t spend all our evenings together, we have to find alternate times, since our dream and call from the Lord is also a strong marriage and family.

My dream to pursue writing through blogging and book writing has been simply simmering. At first our new schedule depressed me, but I am realizing that through God’s sovereign plan, he is also opening the doors for this dream to be put on full heat, as he gives me writing times in the evening.

May you have the strength and endurance you need to work towards the most extravagant dream God has given to you. Don’t settle on the cheaper, or the more economical. Go after the most beautifully adorned plan that the Lord has drawn up for you. I guarantee, you will have no regrets.

Road Block

Our house no longer feels like home. Pictures have come off the walls, tables have been dismantled, and many boxes have been packed. Our unknown move date has pushed us to get ready sooner than anticipated.

I don’t know why I get so attached to things like houses. It might have something to do with being a stay at home mom, and a lot of my hours revolve around this place called home. When we thought we had a place to live, I found the move a lot more exciting and a lot less emotional. Lately it’s been the reverse. I’m finding it a lot less exciting and a lot more emotional.

In the midst of trial, we can question whether or not the Lord is leading us into something. When things come together easily we declare that God must really be in this for he’s allowing the pieces to fall together so well. When it gets tough, or we really have to work hard to get something, we second guess the Lord’s leading.

We were reading in 1 Thessalonians 2 and verse eighteen really jumped out and grabbed at my attention.

 We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us.

Satan prevented them. Not the Lord. The enemy.

Now I am not saying that the enemy has been preventing details from coming together in our new city. In fact, I’d almost like to keep this point completely separate from our current circumstance since it’s still unknown, but here is what I am learning in the midst of this challenge:

The enemy might be fighting us, but the Lord is definitely for us. When we encounter a road block, it isn’t always because we have taken the wrong street. As we pray to God he will give us the courage to keep going, and the creative solutions around the blockade.

We know that we know that we know we are to move to take on this youth pastor position. We know that we are being led there for “such a time as this”. It might not be all falling easily into place, but character is not built during the easy times. No, the Word says in Romans 5 that it is through our perseverance in the trials that our character is built.

In my last post, I talked about how the Lord is working things out for His glory. When I called our realtor to tell her that some things had fallen through on our end, she said to me “well someone must be up there looking out for you guys, because that house just sold.”

Our testimony is starting to be acknowledged in her eyes. If through all the dropped deals and disappointments someone sees God’s glory so clearly they fall to their knees and accept God’s gift of salvation, it will all be worth it.

sometimes it is the Lord who closes the doors, and other times the enemy is trying to stop us. If you are encountering a road block, and you feel in your heart you are where the Lord has called you, be encouraged that your perseverance through this problem will strengthen your character, and produce confident hope in your salvation. Look for specific ways that you can be giving God the maximum glory through it all.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9

 

A Recommitment

Before we moved into this new stage of leaving our city to pursue the ministry call on our hearts, I had written about my renewed commitment to pray for my husband, son and God’s will for our lives. I knew that he was stirring something up within us, and felt an urgency to pray it into existence.

The last two weeks have been such a whirlwind. Sometimes I’ve felt like I can scarcely breathe from the sudden changes, ups and downs. I haven’t stuck to my commitment to prayer, and the enemy has totally been allowed to bring discouragement to my soul.

Often when the Lord brings people into a new season, answering prayers He’s been petitioned for, they leave him to continue finishing off the job on their own. How do I know this? Well it’s in our human nature.

The Israelites were rescued in powerful, awesome ways over and over, and the Lord had to say this to them, regarding their relationship to him during their new season of life:

The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. You must fear the Lord your God and serve him. When you take an oath, you must use only his name.

Deuteronomy 6:11-13 (emphasis mine)

For me right now, I feel like God is saying,

“As you get ready to move to your new city, look for new houses, start new jobs, and make new friends, do not forget me, I am the Lord who prepared you and brought you here.”

The Lord doesn’t simply make an entrance, he paves a way. He sets a course before us. It’s when we try to do things on our own and on our own strength that we get ourselves into trouble.

Last night, my husband and I were pouring over house listings and details, until we were so exhausted and frustrated, we got in an argument and went to bed. We didn’t pray, we didn’t remember the one who was bringing us through this, we tried to do it on our own. We’re pretty brutal at it. When we do it on our own there is really no peace.

God is way better at doing things anyway! He can make a way when there is no way!

I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea.

Isaiah 43:16

It’s funny, God totally orchestrated the sale of our house, and we were so amazed at his goodness and faithfulness. And within two days I was getting worried and stressed about the purchase of our new house. Did I so quickly forget the mighty way of the Lord?

So friends, I’m releasing this all yet again. I choose to spend time with the Lord, BEFORE looking online for houses and BEFORE packing. I am going to let the Lord be the one to finish the good work that he has started (Philippians 1:6) and continue in my commitment to prayer.

I leave you with the verse that has been my prayer these last months. May this be so for my family, and for yours.

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you
live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father.

Colossians 1:9-12