Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love Always--Day 13

Where is the ME in Mommy

Love always hopes.
Make a brain web today of the things you hope for.  What are your heart's desires?  What do you hope will happen?

Think of a time when you felt hopeless.  What did "hopelessness" feel like?  How did it turn out?
"Hope looks beyond a cure for disease, a solution for a problem, an escape from pain, to an assurance from God that life has point and meaning in spite of disease, problems, and pain. Hope looks to the promise of the final victory of Jesus Christ over all that hurts and kills. This is the hope that gives us courage to praise today and face tomorrow with expectancy even when we do not expect the problem to be solved." (Lewis Smedes, Love Within Limits, p. 103)

How do we draw on that kind of hope? It comes from being filled with the Spirit. We ask for the gift of the Spirit which Jesus came to give us. We open our hearts and minds to receive that which we need, when all things seem to be hopeless and we are tempted to despair. We believe that God who loves us, will give us the hope we need, to sustain us.
Pray for God to give you a spirit of hope.

Today, write a hope list.  Each of you should have an individual piece of paper.  On that paper, write down 3-5 areas where you have given up hope in your marriage.  Write 3-5 areas that you still have hope in.

Pray together for God to deepen your level of hope and encouragement in your marriage.  

#1 Wait

Don’t talk right away about your list of how your marriage could be better. It is not meant to be a list on how bad your spouse has been! To be honest, some of you might never have an opportunity to share this list with your spouse.

#2 Confess

When you have fallen into temptation to giving up, you need to confess your sin to God. It was not God who wanted you to doubt His plan.

#3 Ask

Ask the Lord to restore hope to the very areas that you have given up hope. It might be something so simple as your husband expressing his gratefulness for your hard work. Or it could be the ability to live with your selfish spouse in love and kindness.

#4 Anticipate

Give God the opportunity to answer your prayer in His time and way. We do this by telling Him and yourselves what you want, why you think your marriage should have those things, and a willingness to do what is needed for it to be done including waiting a long time. Wives must not nag, hint or manipulate to get what they wish. Husbands must refuse to commandeer their wives into what they want.

#5 Share

It is natural to want to share your list with your spouse. If your spouse asks to hear your list, then you are free to share it with him or her. If he or she does not ask, then just keep it between you and God. Remember you ‘two,’ God and you are a team working together in hope. Each day you will seek Him for these things and watch for how He begins to accomplish this work.

Spend some time examining your children.  How naturally does hope come to them?  Where does their hope come from? Pray with your children.  Praise God for their childlike faith and ask that He fill you with hope as pure as theirs.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love Always--Day 12

Where is the ME in Mommy

Love always trusts.
The more I look at the scriptural aspects of love, the more I realize how bad I am at love.  Reagan does not always trust.  In fact, Reagan almost never trusts.  ANYONE. 

In your journal, make a list of who you really trust.  Once you have your list, pick one person and make a list of qualities that makes you trust that person.  What are the qualities you trust in people?
Now think about a time when you trust was broken.  What happened?  What was your response?  Were you ever able to re-gain trust in that person? How?

Take your husband for a trust walk.  Blindfold your husband and walk him around the house.  Make sure you keep him close and safe.  Now, reverse roles.

Discuss trust. Was it easy to physically trust your spouse?  Is it easier to trust someone with your physical being or your emotions?  In what ways do you need to start trusting one another more? 

As a family, do a trust fall.  Have kids stand on a chair and fall backwards into your arms.  Let your kids know they can trust you! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Always--Day 11

Where is the ME in Mommy

Love always protects.
What comes to mind when you hear "protects"?  What does protect mean?  What does it look like?  Do you feel protected? 
Infidelity is a huge marriage killer.  What makes people unfaithful either physically or emotionally? How do you protect your marriage?  Your family?

Talk with your spouse about times you've been uncomfortable or misunderstood a relationship.  What made you uncomfortable about the situation?  What made you feel insecure?  

Discuss as a couple what you will do to ensure neither of you falls into emotional or physical infidelity. 

Have a series talk with your kids today.  Explain stranger danger or the "no touching where your swimsuit is" rule.  Perhaps come up with a "code word" and tell your kids that they never let anyone into the house or get into a car with anyone who doesn't know the code word.  P.S.  When I was a kid, our code word was "Uncle Tom." 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love Is {NOT} ... Day 10

Today I'm sharing my "Love Is" challenge with Shell at Things I Can't Say. I really just feel like pouring my heart out about the lies I believe!

Where is the ME in Mommy

Love does not ... delight in evil but rejoices in truth.

Take a moment to get real with yourself.  In your journal, make a list of "things" you believe about yourself--good and bad.  For example, I'm a hard worker or I'm fat. 

Look through your list.  Circle all the items that are true.  What's left?  Look at the lies.  Why are they lies?  What affect do the lies hold on you?  How do the lies of this world hold you back and defeat you?

Pray for God to show you how you look to HIM so you will know the truth and be free to walk and enjoy in who you are in Christ.

Play a game of True or False with you husband.
For each of these statements write True or False.  If the answer is true, give examples to prove it!

1. I can name three of my spouse's closest friends.
2. I know my spouse's favorite TV show or movie.
3. I know what turns my spouse on sexually.
4. I know what has been stressing my spouse out lately.
5. I know a special time in my spouse's life.
6. I know my spouse's "love language"
7. I know how my spouse likes to spend his/her free time.
8. I know where my spouse would like to travel to.
9. I know my spouse's favorite meal.
10.  I know three of my spouse's hopes, dreams, or goals. 

Spend time chatting and learning about one another.  It's a win-win game (but if you are the competitive type you can always wager foot rubs).

Help your children know the truth--that God loves them for who they are! Affirm your children at least once today.  Affirm a character quality (not external quality like "pretty" or "handsome").

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Love Is {NOT} ... Day 9

Where is the ME in Mommy
Love is not ... a record keeper of wrongs.
I'd be lying if I didn't say I totally struggled with unforgiveness.  It feels so powerful to be in the position to forgive someone--or not.  But unforgiveness is not healthy for us!

Examine your heart.  What people/instances cause you bitterness or pain?  Reflect on a particularly painful memory and ask yourself, "have I forgiven them?"

If you harbor resentment and an unwillingness to unforgive, consider what it is costing you.  Does it make you bitter?  Do you think about the person/situation over and over?  Does it cause you to be angry? Do you feel burdened? Hurt? Betrayed?
These feelings are the bad fruit of the sick weed of unforgiveness. 

It is hard to forgive.  Sometimes it feels impossible.  If you are in a position where you feel you simply can't forgive, then say a little prayer "God, help me to forgive."  He can and he will, if you are willing to be open.

Ask your spouse to share with you a hurt you have caused him.  Don't defend your actions; don't justify bad behavior; don't belittle his feelings.  Ask to be forgiven.

Today model forgiveness for your children.  If they are disobedient and require correction, discipline them but be quick to offer forgiveness.  If you do something wrong, seek out your children.  Apologize and seek their forgiveness. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Love Is {NOT} ... Day 8

Where is the ME in Mommy
Love is not ... easily angered.
Honestly, anger is my emotional drug of choice.  It feels good to be angry, doesn't it?!? That "ha, I got you!" feeling isn't healthy, though!

Set a time for three minutes.  Get your journal and something to write with.  For the next three minutes,  write down things/people/situations/events that make you angry.  Don't think--write.  Fast.  Let it out.

Now pray through the list.  Pray that you would not be easily angered.  Forgive the people who make you angry.  Forgive yourself.

If anger is your drug of choice, consider spending some time examining "roots" of your anger.  Are you really using anger to cover up another emotion (like I do)?  Is something deeper, like unforgiveness, going on?


Ask your spouse how he knows you are angry.  What is the "fruit" of your anger?  Are you quiet?  Do you sulk?  Are you demeaning? Do you stomp about?  Get to know what anger looks like from your spouse's perspective.

Seek his wisdom on how you can more appropriately handle your anger as it concerns him.

And don't get angry when he tells you this :)

Commit for one day to NOT get angry with your children.  Be calm and mild-mannered toward them. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Love Is {NOT} ... Day 7

Where is the ME in Mommy

Love is not ... selfish.
Think back to the last time you were called (or felt) selfish or self-centered. What were the circumstances?  Were you actually being selfish and self-centered?

In your journal, comment about what selfish looks like to you.  How does selfish act?  How does selfish sound?  What are "things" selfish does?  Does selfish worry?  Insist on being right?  

Is there a common thread that causes you to be selfish?  If so, pray today for God to reveal it to you and to help you overcome it!

Today, commit to being generous toward your spouse.  Think of him before yourself.  Do something special for your spouse.  This could mean getting him a small gift, making his favorite cookies, or letting him sleep in.  Whatever you do, do it with a generous and self-less spirit.

Do the same activity for your children.  Is there something they love to do that you hate to do (like play with playdough or go to McDonalds)? Today, be generous to you children. Don't be selfish with you time.  Do something THEY want to do for as long as THEY want to do it.