Building a Godly Marriage by Leading Together

marriageMARRIAGE: When marriage hurts, you may wonder if you’re destined for continual disagreement and dissatisfaction. Or is their a path forward, together? Discover how you and your spouse can lead together while respecting God-designed roles in marriage.

Your path forward is a plan on where and how to lead your home.

Leading Together?

Often we equate leadership in the home to specific roles, obligations and expectations. Did you know that biblical teaching on marriage is really more about following Christ than who’s in charge in the home?

There are five biblical words that capture the heart of the Christian leadership model in the home: stong, sacraficial, spiritual, servant, and support. The first four describes the husband’s role in a godly marriage. The fifth is just for you, the wife.

Five Leadership Keys

For Husbands:

  1. Strong (intentional, pure, engaged, addressing the issues)
  2. Sacrificial (putting others before self, unconditional love)
  3. Spiritual (investing in spiritual growth, modeling godly character)
  4. Servant (humble)

When a husband is a strong, sacraficial, spiritual, servant leader of home, wives want to follow, don’t you agree?But when a husband abdicates his leadership responsibility,conflict and disunity result. There is hope. So if you are in this position as a couple, don’t settle for a “less than wonderful” marriage. Rather, seek help from your pastor or a biblical counselor, in person or by Skype.

For Wives: 

5. Support

So how does a wife lead? She leads by supporting her husband. Counterintuitive, isn’t it? Does this mean she brings home the bacon while her guy binges on Netflix? Oh dear Lord, no! A wife supports him by helping him become the strong-sacraficial-spiritual-servant-leader that God wants them to be. And one part of this is speaking the truth in love. You have a voice!

When a Husband Abuses His Role!

However, if you’re in an abusive relationship, God provides two primary ways to safety.

One way:

One is calling the authorities for protection and justice. If you believe you or your children are in danger, dial 911. God has provided you governing authorities and to the civil laws for your good.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-2

Another way:

Get the church involved. Consider following Matthew 18 if your husband is in sin. Here’s a foundational text in Matthew:

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

By faith believe God’s truth that when both spouses embrace God’s design, your marriage will begin to improve. If only one spouse embraces God’s design, you will still see improvement but more slowly.

But rejecting God’s design continues the spiral downward toward conflict and disunity. What you are going to learn in counseling is how to embrace God, each other, and healthy biblical leadership in your home.

There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage. –Martin Luther

Free Resource!

Download: Here’s a download that show you how to apply the 5 leadership keys to your marriage. Thank you to Biblical Counseling Center for developing this resource.

Sharing hope with your heart,

 

 

2 Steps to Restoration After Regret

regretIs regret messing with your peace? Is it so painful that you’d like to erase a part of your past? Let’s look at regret — what it is, the two main types, and how to move toward restoration.

Regret Defined

Regret is feeling sorrow or remorse for something you did or failed to do. Sometimes it turns into disappointment. This feeling of regret can be turned toward God as you seek him in your pain. Or it can become discontentment, even despair.

Discontentment is an ugly response to regret. It describes a person’s dissatisfaction with what God is doing in his life at the moment. She may have self-pity and see herself as the undeserving victim of unfair circumstances. 

Regret Due to Human Error

Regret may result from an honest though awful mistake. Dr. Erwin Lutzer shared the story of a missionary airplane mechanic with an excellent service track record. One day while tightening a bolt, he was called away before he finished. He forgot to return and complete the bolt tightening.

The consequence of this one mistake proved disastrous. The plane took off. Gasoline leaked from the place where the bolt was loose. The plane caught on fire and all seven people on the plane died. Without a doubt, this mechanic wished he could erase the past. He feels deep regret.

Regret Caused on Purpose

This type of regret results when you choose a certain path that you know is wrong. The Holy Spirit impresses on your heart the your ugly choice rubs against God’s will but you continue on.

Think Peter the apostle.

He denied knowing Jesus Christ three times, then the rooster crows. Peter weeps tears of regret and emotional pain.

And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept. Mark 14:72, ESV

2 Steps to Restoration

1. Bring it into the open.

Pushing down the past smothers you. Did you know that the more you try not to think about the regret, the more focus you direct toward it?

God’s plan for moving forward requires facing the past and acknowledging the sin, the pain, and the fallout.

2. Move forward.

To move forward means forgiving, repeatedly if necessary, letting God deal with those who have sinned against you, and continuing to respond in a godly way regardless of how they behaved.

 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19, ESV

When you choose God’s solutions, an upward and forward movement begins! It’s time, don’t you think, for a fresh start? Christ and His Word will move you in the right direction if you let Him!

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24, ESV

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Do you need help finding peace? I’d love to help you!

Sharing hope with your heart, I’ll provide you with solution-focused biblical counseling. Contact me today and we can set up an appointment in person or by Skype. (I’ve counseled women, couples, and families in five continents.) Check out more about me here.

Counseling Hearts to Hope,

Help for “Harmless” Addiction!

addictionIsn’t it true that addiction may look harmless?

Yet anything that enslaves you harms you. Thank God, He empowers you to overcome an addiction.

Hard work helps. Workaholism harms.

Eating good food — satisfying. Bingeing for comfort — sad.

Clothing your kids in cute outfits rocks. A shopping addiction hurts.

Karrie’s story

Driving her minivan to the mall, Karrie* told herself she’d buy only one outfit for her seven-year-old daughter. She had made this promise last week and broke it. “I can do it this time,” she pep-talked. Three hours and many shopping bags later, she collapsed on her couch and cried. “I can’t do anything right.” (*not her real name)

Her challenge? Overcoming an addiction by loving God most of all.

What’s an Addiction?

An addiction is a bondage of the heart and body to something that produces immediate pleasure or relief. This bondage becomes increasingly destructive over time. It rules the heart, promising the sensation of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

Addictions have an object, such as:

  • Visual stimuli like pornography or television;
  • Ingested substance like food, alcohol, or pills;

Indulging in addiction brings short-term pleasure. But in the long term, the soul and body experience pain and decay. Relationships suffer. Bank accounts shrink. And the lie of “just one more” deceives.

Disconnected!

If you think Christians are immune to addiction, think again. When our craving conflicts with Scripture, we don’t always live according to what we say we believe. Karrie says “Jesus is Lord” at church on Sunday, and on Monday she itches to shop. Her husband says he loves his wife yet views pornography.

This disconnect is described in Scripture. In Romans 1, the apostle Paul says,

“We all know many things about God and his law, but we suppress those truths when they interfere with our wants and desires,” writes Ed Welch in Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave.

“As a result, it is as if we practice two religions. We believe one thing, but really believe another. . .(that) we can make the laws we live by, not God.”

When you or I reject Christ’s rule, we become enslaved to something. We exchange the wonderful for the unholy because we want self-rule. The created thing enslaves us. We become cold to God.

How to Get Free

Most important to overcoming an addiction: Invite a stronger power to rule. Consider Jesus’ question,

Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? Matthew 12:29

Here are two more important ways to overcoming addiction:

1. Pray to be mastered by nothing but the Lord and pursue knowing Christ.

2. Confess your sin and repent, or turn away from addiction. You cannot go half-way. You need to totally eradicate it.

Now What?

If you love Christ, then you have everything you need to overcome an addiction.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 1 Peter 1:3

Yet spiritual battles cannot be won alone. Addictions like to stay private. God invites people dealing with addictions of any sort to share their struggle with the church of Christ. The church is people who say Jesus is Savior and are growing in their love for God and one another.

Yes, the church is full of sinners. Yes, some churches have significant problems. But a Bible-believing group of believers will welcome the hurting and help them.

And some people struggling with addictions want the advantages of biblical counseling too.

If you’re interested in someone coming alongside you, listening to your story, and helping you find hope in Christ, please contact me or one of the vetted biblical counselors listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory.

 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20.

Blessings of hope for your heart,

Is Dieting. . .Sinful?

dietingDIETING: Millions of women are on a diet now. Is dieting wrong in God’s eyes? Is it (gulp) a sin?

Diets. Gotta love them, gotta hate them.

We women love them because losing weight helps us look better and feel energetic. We hate them because we may feel deprived, grouchy, and fearful that we’ll gain back the pounds we worked hard to lose.

I have a crazy Weight Watchers story. It begins what I was age 10. You can read part of my crazy story here in the intro of my eBook, Fit for Life.

Back to the BIG question:

So Is Dieting Sinful?

The quick answer: no. In itself dieting isn’t bad. In fact, caring for yourself by eating right is good. But dieting can turn bad. It depends on your attitude. What’s your attitude regarding food and self image? Do you hate how your jeans fit?  Do you call yourself awful names if you go off your diet?

Are you more concerned with what people think than what God says?

If you fear that eating certain favorite treats like ice cream, chips or cookies will prompt you to binge or if you believe that eating your favorite treat is “wrong” (even if the Bible doesn’t teach that it is), then you must not eat it, says Elyse Fitzpatrick, a leading biblical counselor and author of several books including Love to Eat, Hate to Eat.

The bible says that if you compromise your conscience, you sin.

He who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

This passage primarily speaks to food offered to idols (which was a problem when the apostle Paul wrote this epistle), yet the biblical principle holds true: anything that compromises your faith is sin, including faithless eating.

The upshot: If you believe dieting or cheating on your diet is a sin, then it is sin for you. If not, then feel free to choose a weight-loss plan.

Listen to Paul’s words on sin and grace.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

If you choose to lose weight by dieting, select one focused on lifestyle changes and teaches healthy habits to keep you Fit for Life.

What About Gluttony?

dietingDerived from the Latin gluttire meaning to gulp down or swallow, “gluttony” means over-indulgence of food or drink to the point of extravagance or waste, gluttony has a spot on the infamous list of the seven deadly sins. While I’ve never heard a sermon on gluttony, the Bible speaks against it. (Check out Proverbs 23:20,21.)

In a strange twist, under-indulgence of food is also gluttonous because it is an extreme use of food. For some, the problem is anorexia nervosa, which troubled a food disordered counselee, who eventually found healing as she determined to put God first and to bring glory to him in everything she did. We also kept in regular contact with her medical doctor and nutritionist.

She learned to enjoy eating food, a gift of God. Indeed. Paul declared,

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:4,5)

4 Quick Self-Care Food Tips

1. Cut out or reduce sugary drinks like soda. (When my husband corked the a while back, he lost 15 pounds in three months and feels more energetic, especially in the afternoon.)

2. Drink a glass of water before a meal or when you feel hungry between meals. Drinking water makes you feel fuller, helping you to reduce portions easily. Hycration also helps you think better.

3. Eat colorfully. Have lots of veggies and fruit on hand, washed and ready to eat. You’re less likely to crunch a cookie when you’ve set out baby carrots, snap peas, bananas, and apples.

4. Decide NOT to diet. A diet is an eating plan you go on and off, typically regaining the weight you lost. Instead, listen to advice from MayoClinic.com:

Combining a healthier diet and more activity is the best way to lose weight and keep it off for the long term. Take your weight loss and weight maintenance one day at a time and surround yourself with supportive resources to help ensure your success.

This is exactly the approach of my ebook Fit for Life, with a strong biblical emphasis. God created you to shine.

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Counseling hope to your precious heart,

Write Where You Hurt

Write Where You Hurt
Write where you hurt! Wouldn’t you like a valuable tool to help you heal?
A tool that helps you uncover truths and connect dots?

Don’t like journaling? No problem. Draw or doodle bits of your story. I’ll give you a prompt in a sec.

Did you know writing and drawing are healing? All you need is a pen or pencils and paper. Remember you’re writing only for yourself, your healing.

A couple decades ago, when I sought counseling for a childhood emotional wound, journaling gave me an outlet, a way to put my pain on paper, to write where I hurt. Through writing my real I discovered the lies I told myself — such as, “You’re defective” — and began replacing them with the truth: God values me. I used a journal method like this one.

Once I made three-dimensional art: first a drawing, then I singed the edges of the paper, and finally put it int a Ziplock baggie. Each step of this artsy journaling had meaning and helped me understand my anger and the thoughts fueling it.

Are you ready to try writing/drawimg to heal? 

The Prompt

The writing/drawing prompt: What is your “God Chose Me” story? This chosen story describes your experience of saying, “Yes, God. I will serve your Son.”

He snagged me at the library. Where did God first meet you?

The Why

A life problem–it could be anything–may bump you hard, tempting you to doubt your own salvation. You may think, Am I really saved? By putting your chosen story on paper, you have a physical reminder that God is with you. You can review your story at any time, bubbling up joy in your heart.

The How

1. Decide if you’ll write or draw your story. If writing, use lined paper or a journal. If drawing, use a plain paper without lines. The size is your choice.

2. Your chosen story has three main parts: before Jesus was your Savior, when Jesus became your Savior, after Jesus became your Savior. Just think: Before, When, After.

Pray and ask Jesus what He wants you to say in word or picture. Don’t worry if it’s good enough. Let him take over the process. And write where it hurts.

Counseling Hope to Your Heart,

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5 AMAZING NAMES GOD CALLS YOU!

Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!

In this delightful, four-color ebook, you’ll discover the precious names God calls you. Today so many Christian women don’t fully know their wonderful identity in Christ. Isn’t a time to know yours? Filled with scripture, photography, personal stories, and encouragement!

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