Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sneak Preview!

Here is a sneak peek at the March flexi-of-the-month!!  It will be available at 12 am on March 1st Pacific Time!  Available in sizes mini through X-Large, it is sure to sell out fast!  The February flexi sold out in just a few hours -- so if you want this flexi, make sure you set your alarm and grab it while you can!!!  :)

Click here to order!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Trifle

I took the beautiful masterpiece pictured above to our Monthly Fellowship Sunday night, and did not bring a single drop home! Unfortunately, I can't take the credit for its amazing success; as Chris made this delicious dessert from start to finish!  :)

Apparently, making such a yummy dessert made him popular with the girls!  ;)

If you want to make this fabulous dessert for your next social occasion, here is the recipe:

1 fudge brownie mix (enough to fill 9"x13" pan)
1 pkg. (10 oz.) peanut butter chips
1 pkg. (13 oz.) miniature peanut butter cups
4 cups cold milk
2 pkgs. (5.1 oz each) Instant pudding mix (vanilla and/or chocolate flavor)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 quart Whipping cream
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Trifle dish

Directions: 1. Prepare brownie batter according to pacakge directions; stir in peanut butter chips. Bake in a 13"x9" greased baking pan at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until done.  Cool and break into chunks.

2.  Cut peanut butter cups into fourths; set aside.  (Save a few pieces for the top.)

3.  In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes, or until soft set. Add peanut butter and vanilla; mix well.  Fold in about 2/3 of the whipped cream, saving the rest for the top.

4.  Place a third of the brownie pieces in a 5-quart glass trifle dish. Spoon a third of the pudding mixture over the top.  Top with a third of the peanut butter cups. Repeat layers twice. Top with whipped cream; garnish with peanut butter cups.

5. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  

6. ENJOY!  :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Our Christmas Miracle {Part 5}

Welcome back! This is part 5 of Our Christmas Miracle.  If you missed the first four posts in this series, you will definitely want to go back and read those first, so you'll know what I'm talking about here!  :)  Click here to read the posts you missed:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Learning to trust God is a journey. Many times it is like looking through the fog, trying to discern what God is doing in our lives.  I know that I am prone to worrying, fretting, and trying to figure out answers to my problems by thinking through every angle, analyzing and over-analyzing the situation, looking for a solution. However, even when I think I'm looking at every possible answer, I'm still only seeing dimly as through the fog! Until God shines His light on a problem, we really can't begin to see how to solve it. Sometimes (as in our situation with the house) we've exhausted all possibilities and have no choice but to cast ourselves on the Lord in utter dependence on Him.

During this difficult journey of watching and waiting to see how God was going to solve our house dilemma, the devotional book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young encouraged me so much!  (See link below.)  Many times the reading for the day was exactly what I needed to help me keep my eyes on the Lord and to give me a daily injection of hope and trust! This little book was such a blessing to me!

Here are a few of the daily readings that really spoke to me during this time:

December 21:

My plan for your life is unfolding before you. Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or it opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back. Then, when time is right, the way before you suddenly clears—through no effort of your own. What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as pure gift. You feel awed by the ease with which I operate in the world, and you glimpse My Power and My Glory.

Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and Glory perform most brilliantly. As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles—and you will. Miracles are not always visible to the naked eye, but those who live by faith can see them clearly. Living by faith, rather than sight, enables you to see My Glory.

January 6:

I am able to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine. Come to Me with positive expectations, knowing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish. Ask My Spirit to control your mind, so that you can think great thoughts of Me. Do not be discouraged by the fact that many of your prayers are yet unanswered. Time is a trainer, teaching you to wait upon Me, to trust Me in the dark. The more extreme your circumstances, the more likely you are to see My Power and Glory at work in the situation. Instead of letting difficulties draw you into worrying, try to view them as setting the scene for My glorious intervention. Keep your eyes and your mind wide open to all that I am doing in your life.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
—Ephesians 3:20–21

January 22:

Strive to trust Me in more and more areas of your life. Anything that tends to make you anxious is a growth opportunity. Instead of running away from these challenges, embrace them, eager to gain all the blessings I have hidden in the difficulties. If you believe that I am sovereign over every aspect of your life, it is possible to trust Me in all situations. Don’t waste energy regretting the way things are or thinking about what might have been. Start at the present moment—accepting things exactly as they are—and search for My way in the midst of those circumstances.

Trust is like a staff you can lean on, as you journey uphill with Me. If you are trusting in Me consistently, the staff will bear as much of your weight as needed. Lean on, trust, and be confident in Me with all your heart and mind.

451884: Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His  Presence - Devotions for Every Day of the Year

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His  Presence - Devotions for Every Day of the Year

By Sarah Young / Thomas Nelson

After many years of writing in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior's voice and began listening for what He was saying. With pen in hand she embarked on a journey that forever changed her along with many others throughout the world. The result of these meditations is the classic devotional, Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence. In these powerful pages are the words and scriptures Jesus lovingly laid on her heart. A year's worth of daily readings from Young's journals are now available for you, in order to bring you closer to Christ and move you deeper into His presence and His everlasting peace.

We are still waiting on God to provide a house for us -- so check back soon for the continuing story of Our Christmas Miracle!  :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Marriage Monday: Loving Your Husband by Listening {Link Up}

Marriage Mondays

Welcome back to Marriage Monday! I am in the midst of a series on Loving our Husbands. Last week, I talked about how to love our husbands when we disagree on issues that are important to us. If you missed that post, you might want to click on the link and check it out. 

Today, I want to talk about loving our husbands by listening to them. Listening is a lost art. We live in a world with so many distractions, and it is challenging to put down our electronic devices long enough to really listen to others. I know I'm guilty of attempting to listen to my husband (and children) while texting one of the older children, checking my email, or scrolling through Facebook. Let's face it -- we could all use a refresher on Listening 101!

Why Listening is Important

Learning to listen is crucial, because it is a direct line to the heart. Many husbands and wives are lured away from a faithful marriage by someone who simply listens to them. (As a side note, many of our young people are also drawn away by someone who will take time to listen to them.)  So, learning to listen well may be one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your marriage!

Listening is Not the Same as Hearing

The first thing to understand is that listening is non synonymous with hearing. We've probably all had the experience of trying to talk to our husbands while they were reading the newspaper or watching a ball game on TV. Some people enjoy talking just to hear themselves talk, but for most of us, talking to someone who is immersed in something else is not very satisfying. ;)  Even if we say, "You didn't hear a word I just said," and our husbands are able to repeat our discourse word for word, it still doesn't satisfy. If we just wanted someone to hear what we say and repeat it back, then we could simply speak into a recording device and play it back!  True listening goes beyond just hearing. It involves body language that communicates, "You are important to me. I am interested in what you are saying." It also involves giving and receiving feedback. That's the kind of listening that communicates love to our husbands.

Listening is Best Done Face to Face

Maintaining eye contact is an excellent way to demonstrate that we are interested in what our husbands are saying. We need to look them in the face while they are speaking, if possible. Interestingly enough, in yesterday's message our Pastor spoke on prayer and seeking the presence of God and how the same Hebrew word is translated "presence" or "face."  So, we seek the presence of God when we seek His face.  (See Psalm 27:8.)  In the same way, we have a desire to talk face-to-face with those we care about, which is exemplified by the inventions of such technologies as Skype and Face Time. Obviously, humans like talking face-to-face as it provides the feedback we need, as we "read" the facial expressions of the one we are communicating with. 

Listening Needs to Include the Heart

One advantage of talking face-to-face is it allows us to pick up on non-verbal cues. This is important because listening requires going beyond the actual words spoken and listening with the heart. An attentive person will "listen between the lines" and discern the speaker's feelings and pick up on fears, insecurities, a need for affirmation, etc. Learning to listen at this deeper level takes time and practice, but is definitely worth the investment. Many men don't feel comfortable sharing their feelings openly; therefore, we wives should become experts at not just listening to our husband's words, but hearing their hearts!

Listening Requires that We Stop Talking

Listening requires a cessation of talking. That may seem obvious, but some people can't stop talking long enough to listen to others! We have to learn to just shut up long enough to give our husbands a chance to talk! You may have a talkative husband, but generally speaking, wives are the ones who tend to talk more. If your husband is the more quiet type, he may be content to let you do all of the talking, and you will have to exercise great self-control to be quiet long enough for him to speak. Furthermore, you may have to restrain yourself from helping him finish his sentences or hurry his story along!  :)

Listening Doesn't Mean Offering Advice

Listening doesn't mean you have to offer advice or solve all his problems. Women tend to be "fixers" and when we hear someone share a problem, we want to offer a solution! Most of the time, our husbands don't want us to solve their problems for them, they just want us to listen and be a sounding board and to show interest and compassion. I know for myself, that many times as I talk through a situation or problem, the solution becomes clear.  

Another thing worth mentioning is that our husbands may share incidences where they have been hurt, offended or treated unfairly. In those situations it is vital that we not take up an offense! Also, remember that we are listening to them as their help-meet and companion, not as their mother!!!  There's a big difference!

Listening Requires the Ability To Keep Secrets

I know it's a stereotype, but I've seen that it's often true! Many women delight in sharing some juicy morsel of news that no one else knows! ;) (I automatically think of Rachel Lynde on Anne of Green Gables!) If we want our husbands to share details of their day, confide in us, and even risk sharing their hearts with us, then they must know that it is safe to do so. We wives must guard our tongues, protect our husband's reputations, and carefully keep their confidences at all costs!

I think we can all agree that learning to listen is no easy task!  But, it is an extremely important skill to develop!  The success of our marriage may depend on it!

Your Turn to Share:

Have you learned to really listen to your husband? What obstacles have you had to overcome? If you have a testimony in this area, I'd love to hear your story! Please share so we might all be encouraged!

If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!

Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!



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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our Christmas Miracle {Part 4}

Welcome back! This is part 4 of Our Christmas Miracle.  If you missed the first three posts in this series, you will definitely want to go back and read those first, so you'll know what I'm talking about here!  :)  Click here to read the posts you missed:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

While I listed three blessings that we received from our arrangement with the credit union in my last post, I neglected to mention a fourth blessing, which I wanted to explain today! 

Blessing #4: We didn't have to spend the entire week between Christmas and New Years cleaning, painting, and doing odd jobs around our house to make it more marketable, while spending the nights in sleeping bags on the floor, as we had planned!  Hooray!!!  :)

You don't know what a relief it was to just be able to stay home and relax and enjoy spending time with our daughter, Ashlyn, who lives in SC and was home for several days! What a precious gift that was!  :)

I love this picture of my two oldest daughters -- Ashlyn (25) and Tiffany (27), who took on the role of "Santa's Helpers" this year! Tiffany saw to it that every person's stocking was filled with little goodies! :)

Ashlyn and me! (Not the best picture quality - but you get the idea!)  :)

Ashlyn and her "little brother" Taylor (22)!!!  ;)

Ashlyn is Bethany's "special honey" -- so saying good-bye is always tough!!!

Stay tuned for the next installment in Our Christmas Miracle!  :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Our Christmas Miracle {Part 3}

Welcome back! This is part 3 of Our Christmas Miracle.  If you missed it, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

As I prayed earnestly for our Christmas miracle all through November and into December, I kept praying for God to sell our house before December 31st and to rescue us from the hopeless mess we were in. I knew God was able -- but I wasn't sure what His will was. At some point in my journey of faith, God prompted me to change my prayer. He impressed on my heart to start praying for Him to show Himself strong on our behalf and for His Power and His Glory to be revealed in a Mighty Way so that our children would See and Know that He is the One True God -- the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!  

As our children grow up and begin to venture out from our homes, they will be bombarded with voices declaring that our God is not real or that his power is limited. The best way to insure that our children will remain in the faith is for them to SEE for themselves that God is REAL and to EXPERIENCE for themselves His Presence, His Power and His Glory!  

So, I began to pray that God would answer my prayers by doing whatever would most reveal His power and His glory to our children, so that their faith might be strengthened! I wanted them to experience His Miraculous Provision and to know that Nothing is Impossible with our God!!!

About a week before Christmas we received a very low offer on the house. My husband took the offer to the credit union that held our mortgage to see what they would say, but they said it was too low; they could not accept it. Because our house loan was with a credit union rather than with a bank, they were unable to offer us a short sale, where they "eat" the difference. However, God was at work, even in this low offer!  (Romans 8:28)  As a direct result of reviewing this low offer, the board of the credit union met and came up with a Creative Solution which was obviously from the LORD. No one we've talked to has ever heard of such an arrangement, so we know the Lord created it just for us to show His creativity and His power!  (Have you ever noticed that God rarely solves our problems the way we think He should??  His ways are truly not our ways, as we learn in Isaiah 55:8-9.)

The credit union offered to "buy" our house at the current appraised value. Because the current appraised value is much less than the appraised value was just three years ago, we will still owe them money. However, these are the amazing blessings of the situation:

1. Even though we had our house listed for the appraised value; it is very unlikely we would have been able to sell it for that much. So, we would have had to accept a lower price and then we would have still had to pay the realtor's commission and the closing costs, too.  This would have resulted in us owing a much larger sum of money!

2. Because they acted quickly and closed the deal before the end of the year, we were spared from owing additional income tax for 2012!! Rumor has it that we may even get a refund! That is a huge answer to prayer!

3. They have promised to finance a house in our present community, and will roll the amount we still owe into a house over here. Our lease will be up soon, and this arrangement should enable us to get into a house of our own!!  :)

So, we are praising God for delivering us from this bondage!  We know others who still have "underwater" houses to sell, so we know we don't deserve His Mercy or Grace!  We were in a hopeless situation and He came to our rescue, proving that nothing is impossible with Our God!  We give all Honor and Glory to Him!

Part 4 of Our Christmas Miracle coming soon!  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Our Christmas Miracle {Part 2}

Welcome back! This is part 2 of a testimony that I started sharing yesterday on Our Christmas Miracle.  If you missed it, I encourage you to read Part 1 here.

As I shared yesterday, because of our financial situation caused by our unsold house, we were anticipating a bleak Christmas; however a couple unexpected things happened!

First of all, we started receiving some cash gifts anonymously in the mail, which were a tremendous blessing and encouragement!! While we could have used that money to buy Christmas presents for the children, we took a family vote and it was decided that we should save that money to buy food. The children had a great attitude and said they were fine with not getting any presents, but they wanted to be able to eat!  :)

However, I did end up using $100 of the money that we received to buy a gift I thought the whole family could enjoy together -- the complete set of Sue Thomas F.B.Eye DVDs. We were already Sue Thomas F.B.Eye fans, but we only had some episodes that I had recorded when the show was still being aired back in the early 2000's.  We now own all the episodes and are enjoying watching this fantastic, family-friendly program daily!  :)  

145663: Sue Thomas F.B.Eye 5 Volume Set Sue Thomas F.B.Eye 5 Volume Set
By Johnson Brothers Holdings

Inspired by a true story! With hearing dog Levi by her side, deaf woman Sue Thomas uses her unique lip-reading ability to help the F.B.I. tackle tough cases. But her trademark common sense, humor, and faith also catch the eye of handsome agent Jack Hudson! Each volume features 11 episodes, and is approx. 8.5 hours total. 15 DVDs. Closed-captioned.

Because I purchased the DVD set above, I knew there would be at least one present under the tree!  Also, because the children draw names every year for the Annual Sibling Gift Exchange, I knew each child would have at least one gift from a brother or sister. However, I had no idea what an abundant Christmas we would experience!!

The older children (those with jobs!) were all motivated to buy Christmas presents for their younger brothers and sisters (and even for ole Mom and Dad!), so that in the end, we had more presents under the tree than ever before!!  Alan quipped that he should have tried this strategy years ago! ;)

In this picture you can see the gifts spilling out way past the Christmas tree, while Alan was reviewing our year and reflecting on all we had to be grateful for. (Especially the way God relieved us of the house burden!!  Check back tomorrow to find out exactly how He did that!)

I was so blessed by the generosity and love demonstrated by the older kids!!  They were all concerned about the younger children and wanted to make sure they had a good Christmas! They showered them with gifts motivated by genuine love and selflessness!  My heart was overflowing with gratefulness to see their love and concern for their younger brothers and sisters!!  That was the best Christmas present I could have ever received!  :)

The older kids weren't the only ones to demonstrate generosity!  The younger kids gave generously from their resources, as well!  Bethany dug into her "treasure drawer" and wrapped up special items for each person.  Alan was the lucky recipient of some pencils and sticky notes, while I got some warm vanilla sugar body lotion! 

The older boys get a kick of out of giving gag gifts, especially to their Dad and to their now married brother, Josh, so our day was filled with plenty of laughter and fun! 

This is Alan with his new Dollar Tree plunger!  ;)

I was also amazed by the creativity shown!  Matt loved the target that Taylor made for him!! He couldn't wait to rush outside and shoot his bow!!

And Taylor wins the prize for most creative wrapping!!  :)

What can I say?  The Christmas Day that I feared would be full of gloom and doom was instead filled to overflowing with the selfless giving of gifts, the amazing love between family members, the healing balm of laughter, gratefulness to God, and feasting!!!  

That's a miracle all in itself!

Come back tomorrow for part 3 of our Christmas miracle!  :)

Many of these photos were taken by my daughter, Ashlyn. Click here to read her blog and see some of the moments she has Captured.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our Christmas Miracle {Part 1}

I don't know why it has taken me so long to share this story with you -- other than I just didn't know where to start.  Plus, it has been time-consuming to collect my thoughts and sit down and write this. But, in keeping with one of my purposes for continuing my blog, and because I want to preserve this testimony for my own children and grandchildren -- I know that I need to sit down and share this amazing story of God's providence and provision in our lives. So, here is my attempt at describing our Christmas miracle.

As you may know, if you've followed my blog for awhile, we moved to the Georgia Coast about 2 1/2 years ago.  (Click here to read the first in a series of posts about our move.)  That was right about the time the bottom was really dropping out of the real estate market, and houses were just not selling.  After having our house on the market for several months with not as much as a nibble, we were grateful when a family wanted to lease our house. 

Renting out the house seemed like a huge answer to prayer and kept us afloat.  However, being a landlord has its own downfalls.  We experienced various, large unexpected expenses related to the upkeep of that house, plus we had the nasty surprise of learning that the extra rental "income" pushed us into the very unpleasant situation of owing a considerable sum of money in income taxes.  :(   :(   :(

We managed to hang on, but then in November, we learned that our tenants would be moving out the end of December, leaving us to resume the mortgage payments, utilities, and maintenance costs associated with that house, on top of our rent, utilities, etc. on the house we are leasing here.  Not only that, but we would still be facing additional income taxes for the second painful year in a row!  It was at that point, that we reached a real crisis!

We decided that we had to try to sell our house before the end of the ear.  I knew it would take a miracle to sell our house at the holidays, but I started praying that God would sell it by December 31st, which would save us from having to resume all the house-related expenses in January, and keep us from owing additional income taxes too.  I started praying for a Christmas Miracle!

At first, we were full of faith and hope, confident that God would see us through, but as the days ticked by, a feeling of despair and hopelessness took over.  I reached my lowest point on Thanksgiving Day, when the impossibility of the situation bore down on me and my husband both.  I'm ashamed to admit it, but I spent the day crying off and on, had very little interest in the big feast I had prepared, and had anything but a spirit of thanksgiving! I was even more overwhelmed with hopelessness when I learned that the couple living in our house had been refusing to show the house to potential buyers, because they didn't want to have to clean the house and show it!!)

Because of our financial crisis, we agreed for the first time in our married life to not exchange Christmas gifts at all. I'm not talking about a light Christmas -- I mean we decided to buy nothing for our children for Christmas.  I knew that the older kids would all understand, but it was pretty difficult to not buy anything for our younger children!  On one hand, I knew that Christmas was not just about the gifts, but on the other hand, I couldn't imagine waking up Christmas morning to a totally bare Christmas tree and no presents for excited little children to unwrap.

But God is so merciful and does way beyond what we can ask or think!!!!!

Come back tomorrow for part 2 of Our Christmas Miracle!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's Cooking? Sausage, Potatoes and Beans

Need an easy crock pot meal?  Give this one a try!

Take a 3 pound bag of red potatoes; wash and quarter, or cut in eighths for larger potatoes.  Place in bottom of a large crock pot.  Sprinkle generously with seasoned salt.

Coarsely chop one large, sweet onion and add to slow cooker on top of potatoes.

Then add as many frozen green beans as you have room for.  Sprinkle with pepper and maybe some garlic powder or whatever you want.

Then top with 2-3 pounds sliced turkey sausage (the kind that comes in a horseshoe shape!).

Pour 1 quart homemade chicken broth/stock over all.  Put on lid, squishing down contents as needed!  Turn slow cooker to High and cook for about 5 hours.  (That was the perfect amount of time for me, but cooking time varies according to each slow cooker.)

This is what the meal looked like when we got home from church. It was a simple but satisfying home cooked meal, easily rounded out with some bread and butter and a tossed salad. Give it a try the next time you need an easy-to-throw-together meal for your family!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Marriage Monday: Loving Your Husband When You Disagree {Link up}

Marriage Mondays

Welcome back to Marriage Monday! I am in the midst of a series on Loving our Husbands. Last week, I considered a difficult topic - how to love our husbands when they hurt us. If you missed that post, you might want to click on the link and check it out. Make sure you check out the comments too, as I received some great feedback on this post!

Today, I want to talk about loving our husbands when we don't see eye-to-eye. Marriage is a one-flesh relationship that should be characterized by unity, but for various reasons, including the facts that men and women look at things differently, opposites often attract, and we all have sin natures, it is a given that there will be times when you and your husband disagree over issues that are very important to both of you. I'm not talking about trivial things, such as where you're going to dinner. I'm talking about the big issues and major life decisions that have a huge impact on the direction the family takes. How do you love your husband when you strongly disagree about important issues??

1.Treat him with Respect

It is so important to always treat your husband with respect, whether you are seeing eye-to-eye or not. There are ways of disagreeing with respect. Yelling, name-calling, hitting, slamming things, and other violent behaviors are not among them.

Always remember that a soft answer turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1) Be gentle, kind and respectful even when sharing opposing views. If you find you can't disagree respectfully, call a truce, and bring up the subject again another day.

2. Ditch the Pride

Pride is the primary cause of contention. (Proverbs 13:10) So many disagreements can be diffused with a spirit of humility rather than pride. 

If you have to always be right and always "win" any argument, then you can be confident that you are dealing with the sin of pride. God says he resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Not only that, but Proverbs 15:25 says the Lord will destroy the house of the proud!! Your husband will also resist and react to your prideful spirit, making it virtually impossible to reach a point of peace and unity.

3. Remember Who the Enemy Is

It is helpful to remind yourself that you and your husband are on the same team! Your husband is not your enemy -- Satan is. He seeks to kill, steal and destroy. He wants to kill your love, steal your joy and your unity, and destroy your marriage. Don't let him!

4. Make a Wise Appeal

When you are seriously burdened about the direction your husband is leading the family, a decision he is making, or an issue in his life, you should consider making a wise appeal. Carefully prepare your appeal based on facts rather than emotions or feelings. Then consider how important right timing, an appropriate setting, and an humble spirit are in presenting your case to your husband. Much wisdom about making a wise appeal to our husbands can be gleaned from the book of Esther. 

5. Pray for God to change his heart.

Sometimes our carefully researched and appropriately presented appeal will still fall on "deaf" ears. At such times, we have to be willing to "tape our mouths shut" and just pray about the issue. Proverbs 21:1 says that, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will." God is in the business of changing hearts, and he can and will change our husbands' hearts when we get out of the way!

An Illustration from my Life:

In our first decade of marriage, my husband and I reached an impasse several times, when we both held strong and opposing views on key issues that would drastically alter the course of our lives. These were major, life-changing issues, such as whether I would continue my career or stay home to raise our children, whether we would homeschool or send our children to the government schools, and whether we would use birth control or allow God to control our family size.

I will share about one of the most contentious issues we tackled -- how our children would be educated.

I first learned about homeschooling when our oldest daughter was about four. I was very impressed with the first homeschooling family that I met, and became very curious to learn more about this "strange option" called homeschooling. As I read and researched and prayed about it, I began to feel very strongly that this was the right educational path for our family. I feared that our oldest daughter, who was very smart, sensitive and imaginative, would not do well in a public school classroom, and I desired to impart our biblical values and godly character to her. However, the more I became convinced in my heart that we should give homeschooling a try, the more my husband dug in his heels and refused to even consider such a "fanatical" idea! At one point he boldly stated, "Over my dead body will we ever homeschool!"  ;)  Of course, he laughs about that rash statement now!  

Finally, I realized that all of our attempts to discuss this issue ended in arguments, anger, hurt feelings, and tears. However, as her kindergarten year approached, it was an issue that had to be faced and a decision made. Since my husband refused to read any of the persuasive books on homeschooling that I had been reading and carefully planting where he would see them, ;) and because I was an English major and former technical writer, I decided to write a "treatise on homeschooling" and present it to him. This allowed me to eloquently present my side in a factual, persuasive manner, with works cited to back up my points!  :)  It also enabled me to share everything that was in my heart without getting emotional or angry.

However, after reading my carefully written appeal, my husband was still not persuaded.  :( I knew that I had done my best to present my side, and I felt very strongly that homeschooling was what God was calling us to and that it would be the best thing for our family, but I knew I couldn't talk my husband into it. I had already tried that! ;)  God directed my attention to 1 Peter 3:1 -- 

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,

I knew that I must shut my mouth, stop my arguments and appeals, submit to my husband, and just pray that God would change his heart. It was through much prayer and my commitment to have a meek and quiet spirit and to submit my will to my husbands, that the Lord eventually changed my husband's heart!! How exciting and faith-building it was for me when my husband announced that he had changed his mind and was agreeing to a "trial period" for homeschooling! We took it a year at a time for the first couple years, but that "trial period" eventually extended to 23 years and counting of home education for our family!  :) Praise God!

Your Turn to Share:

How do you respond when you and your husband don't see eye to eye? Are you able to disagree with humility, love, and respect? Do you have a testimony that you can share of how God changed your husband's heart as the result of a wise appeal and/or prayer?? I'd love to hear your story! Please share so we might all be encouraged!

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Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!



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