Monday, September 19, 2016

What Happened to Faith?

Faith seems to be a rare commodity in our country.  Is it any wonder, though, that we have lost faith when we look at the state of our society?

We’ve lost faith in a government that once governed “for the people, by the people.” It has become greedy for power and control – unconcerned for the needs of the people.

 We’ve lost faith in the values that once resonated strongly in the hearts of our country.  Now, there is no right or wrong.  It’s all about what works for “me.”

We’ve lost faith in a justice system that once ruled fairly and just but is now influenced by the power of money.

We’ve lost faith in a healthcare system that has over-inflated the cost of care while under-inflating the quality.

We’ve lost faith in a banking system that once looked out for its customers but now crushes their dreams for the almighty dollar.

We’ve lost faith in the security of jobs because it’s become too expensive for employers to higher full-time employees.

We’ve lost faith in our welfare system because too many people just don’t want to work.

We’ve lost faith in churches that sugar-coat the truth to bring in numbers.

We’ve lost faith in the value of babies.  Too many believe that if they can’t see it, it must not be real.  They call it the right to choose.  It explains why many can’t grasp the concept of faith.

Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” 

We’ve lost faith in the institution of marriage because it’s easier to bail out then to put forth the effort required for a healthy marriage.   

It saddens me how our country has turned its back on God.  He once made us the greatest nation in the world, but our lack of faith in Him has disintegrated us to a state of mediocrity. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the enemy trying to pull me down in the faithless pit of fear, depression, disbelief and doubt.  It’s a vicious cycle we get caught up in.  The more dismal the world looks, the more difficult it becomes to keep the faith.

I refuse to ride that cycle anymore.  I believe that God still desires for us to have healthy marriages, healthy lives, healthy careers and a healthy government.

2 Chronicles 7:14 -“If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Please join me in prayer for our marriages, our country, and our faith.  We can heal this land and our marriages if we turn to God with faith only as small as a mustard seed, but mighty enough to move mountains.

Monday, September 5, 2016

They Just Don't Get It - Part 2

I know I may come off pretty strongly with my thoughts about mothers staying at home with their children instead of working, but I speak as someone who’s struggled through it.  Looking back, I’m more than grateful I spent that time at home with my children.  They were very special years that I would never have recovered, especially once they started school.  It was well worth giving up all the “things” and “career” I thought I would miss out on.  The bottom line is that children develop faster and are emotionally healthier when they spend their first five years at home with their mother or father. We will have more years with our children as adults, so our job is to be there to prepare them for adulthood in the short time we have them as children.  For more information, go to: http://www.babycenter.com/0_staying-at-home-pros-and-cons_6025.bc


If we weren’t such a material-hungry society, it would be much easier for mothers to stay at home.  Besides, you’ll probably never hear anyone say, on their deathbed, “I should have spent more time in the office.”

Back to the original article – staying at home with the children alleviates a lot of the problems brought on when both parents work.  Most women prefer to be at home doing the mom thing.  (As always, there are exceptions.)  As I said in the last article and many times before, that’s what God made us to do.  Our society misconceptions have caused us to doubt our inner desires because it now goes against the norm.  That’s where a lot of the struggles with working women begin.  Then add a husband who doesn’t know how to pull his weight around the house, and it’s an equation for all-out war.

So what do you do when you are caught in the midst of a battle at home for “who’s gonna do what?”  Here are a few ideas for you to try to begin the journey to peace in your home.

First of all, you need to learn to be patient with your husband.  They (most men – except Bill and Tom Ammons and a few others) really don’t get why you want the house so clean or have to wash the dishes before you go to bed.  They were made to toil the soil and bring home the bacon.  When my husband lived alone as a bachelor, he would pile dishes in the sink and wash them once a week.  He came to me with a completely different idea of what our home should look like.  I’ve had to retrain him to see how important it is to me, while at the same time, I’ve also lowered my standards so I don’t get so frustrated when things are out of order.  I have known a few men who are completely OCD about cleaning, but that’s a whole other set of issues, in my opinion.

Sit down with your spouse at a time when neither of you are hungry, tired, angry, or not feeling well, and discuss who’s going to do what chores around the house and with the children.  Tell your husband what you expect and leave him room to negotiate with you.  Work out a schedule that works for you both.  He may have difficulty sticking with it but don’t be afraid to remind him.  And remind him again, and again (without nagging).  If it continues to be an issue, plan another time to sit down and rationally discuss it once more.  Pray together, first, and ask God to give you both the wisdom and the right words to solve this problem.  Involving God can make all the difference.

Be sure to affirm your husband – often and all the time!  He may not do it as well as you do, but who cares?  (Other than you, who will truly notice? It really doesn’t matter what your mother or mother-in-law think about how your house looks.)  Men love to hear those affirming words.  I know, we as women do one hundred times what most men do at home without one word of encouragement, but you still need to praise him.  If you want your husband to willingly be a part of the housework – AFFIRM HIS ACTIONS! 

I always tell my husband how romantic and sexy it is when he does the dishes.  He now washes dishes with a smile on his face, and I’m always sure to reward his work.  Surprisingly, a little effort from men goes a long way for women.  There’s nothing wrong with bargaining, either.  For example, when he’s feeling romantic, say to him, “Honey, how about helping me clean up the kitchen first, or let’s just sit and talk for 10 or 15 minutes and then we’ll go do our calisthenics in the bedroom.”  You’ll find him willing to scratch your back if you scratch his.

Slow down your family activities.  If you feel like every moment of your day is filled with activity, give up something.  You need to get back to quality family time, not busyness that fills a calendar and keeps you apart as a family.  Have dinner at the table as often as possible.  Get your children involved in cooking and cleaning up as soon as they are old enough.  Take advantage of this time and make it an enjoyable intimacy for your family.  Turn off the television, computers and smartphones for a few hours.

Take time for yourself.  A frazzled, trying-to-do-it-all working mom is going to be of no benefit to anyone.  Even more importantly, make sure you have enough quality time with your spouse since attention seems to be the main need of most women. When we lack it from our husband, the crazy side of us appears - you know, our alter egos who yell and scream about little issues that don’t deserve such fanfare and aren't the true culprit of our reactions.

Turn it over to God.  Look at the positive things your husband does for you and your children.  Most importantly, be sure to start praying together every day with your spouse.  You’ll be amazed at how God can melt away all the silly little issues before they can turn into insurmountable problems.

Monday, August 22, 2016

They Just Don't Get It!

One of the most common problems I hear with couples, especially the wife, is that the husband doesn’t help enough around the house and with the children.  In these days where 90% of women work outside of the home, they still do most of the housework and the caring of the children.                                                                                                                                                    

A friend of mine, who is a hairdresser, once told me of an elderly woman who came into her shop one day.  In a leisurely conversation, the woman told her that she thought women were stupid.  They worked hard for “women’s liberation”, only to gain one more thing to do.

My friend took offense to this statement until she started thinking about what the elderly woman meant.  What have we, as women, gained from being “liberated” besides a full-time job on top of taking care of children, a house and a husband?  My friend began to realize the truth of the elderly woman’s statement.

Although the world may tell women they are liberated by working at a job outside of the house, it has only served to imprison them deeper into debt and into problems in their marriages and with their children.  And how many affairs start at the office between people who are struggling at home?  Besides, very few women have fulfilling jobs that give them a sense of purpose.

Because the wife also works, couples buy houses at the top of their budget, leaving no room for the loss of a job or the possibility of the mom staying at home with the children.  They fill that house with furniture they can’t afford except by monthly payment on a maxed out credit card that they may never be able to pay off. One woman, who works as a church administrator, grimly confessed to me a sad fact when she looked at her family’s budget.  She realized that if they had not bought “the bigger house”, she could have stayed home with their children.  It was too late, though.

Because the wife also works, the children will have to be raised by a daycare system that pays minimum wages to its workers.  Daycare workers don’t last very long because it’s a difficult job with low pay, and so the children will not find a lot of stability with those taking care of them.  The wife will also need to pay for clothing for a job and gas to drive to and from work.  Add that to the price of daycare and many mothers would be better off not working.

Because the wife also works, she comes home also exhausted, but carries on to make dinner, clean-up, bathe the children and get them to bed.  There are some husbands who will help, but it doesn’t come naturally for most to offer to lend a hand.  They have to be asked, and asked, and maybe asked again to help – something women have a hard time doing without appearing to nag.  (Is it any wonder?) 

Women get frustrated that they have to ask in the first place, and men get frustrated that their wives nag.  When unresolved, these issues easily lead to divorce. 

Women can become executives and pull a six figure income, but at what cost?  The family sacrifices a dad who works crazy hours to support them, but what about a mom too?  Most women I’ve talked to who work would prefer not to.  They’d rather be home with their children, but once they get caught in the spending cycle that a working wife can offer a family, it’s too late.  That cycle seems to grow larger as more income is added.  Do we really need all that stuff?

Granted, there are situations where the wife has no choice – maybe the husband is out of work or has medical issues.  I commend you women for your hard work, and I pray that your husband takes up the slack at home!  Single mothers definitely need a supportive family to help them get by.

So what do women do?  First of all, I think we need to realize that men aren’t the enemy.  Women’s lib brainwashed us with the idea that we need to somehow be "equal", even excel beyond them; we want to be treated the same if not better.  In God’s eyes we are equal - with different roles, but it’s the world that has created this unattainable dream of happiness and wealth, opposite of what the Bible tells us. 

We must also understand that striving to obtain “equality” between men and women is like saying apples and oranges are equal, the same. Men are different beings than women and the sooner we acknowledge that, the easier life with them becomes.  They just don’t get it (our craziness and our roles) and we have to acknowledge, to ourselves, that they don’t get it.  We also have to accept their differences instead of trying to mold them into a clone of ourselves who’ll take care of the children and houses as well as we do.

Please join me next week as I discuss some ideas of how to get men to "get it".  If you have succeeded in overcoming this large hurdle in your marriage, please leave a comment or email me to share your thoughts.  I’d love to hear how other women have successfully dealt with this.  lesters@rpm-ministry.com.  Thank you!


*As usual, there are exceptions to these generalizations.