Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Husband and Son

 

Pictured here are my oldest son and my husband. See that hat my boy is wearing? I teared up when I saw him in a flat bill hat. I always saw myself raising country boys in wranglers, boots, and cowboys hats. I had a brief time when I lived away from town on a little piece of land, with a creek in my backyard. But that time came to an abrupt ending and our lives changed and we ended up in town, then in a bigger town, then in the city. We’ve been in the city for 4 years, and I know another 4 years will pass by before I can think too much of it. But that’s life for you, isn’t it? We don’t always get what we want or think we’ll have.

Momma would probably elbow me and wink, saying something like, “Ya shoulda married a cowboy.” I laugh at the thought but I only joke. I love the man I married, and aside from the city part, I do love our life.

What really weighed down my heart after I cried about the city boy hat was the realization that I’ve already had 10 of my 13-15 years of influence on this young man. A friend’s husband recently took their boy on an adventure with the purpose of ushering in his new season. He is a young man and it is time to change the focus of his lessons and help him develop strength of character so that he will be a bold man of God and will be equipped to lead his family one day.

I need to do the same for my young man. I need to help him really focus on God and who God wants him to be – because while his momma always envisioned him in wranglers and a cowboy hat, I think God’s vision is better for him. (And I’ll be honest, I don’t know that he was born to be a country boy.) I believe who he is in Christ is far more important that what career he picks, what house he picks, or what he spends his spare time doing.

A pastor once told me that statistically, our influence on our kids is significantly reduced between the ages of 13 & 15 years old. That in that range the influence of their peers, other leaders and teachers, media, and the culture they are part of takes over. If, by that age range, we have not established people, peers, and activities around them that point them toward Christ and help them seek His purpose and plan, it is likely they will flounder in their faith and in other areas.

I’m sure it’s not a hard & fast rule and there are exceptions, but I don’t want to hope for an exception. I want to surround my young man with the resources and people and peers that will help him build his foundation on Christ. I want him to serve God first and foremost, and build the other parts of his life in accordance with living for Christ.

As I am writing, I am also realizing that I need to be on my knees giving these goals of mine to God and really letting Him speak to my heart about how to lead this young man, how to teach him, how to guide him. God knows exactly how He knit this boy together, and He has the master plan for his life. So I commit, once again, this young man to God as I pray for his future and make intentional choices to help him grow into all God has for him.

Eve’s Plight

I joke occasionally about the fall of man and who’s fault it is, but it is not something I usually give great thought to. I mean, it happened a long time ago, and I’m a sinner. The important thing to focus on, in my opinion, is the sacrifice of Christ and learning to imitate Him and live according to God’s will for my life. I am forever grateful for the grace of God, the gift of Christ, and the freedom from spending eternity without my God.

 

This morning, however, I started thinking about Eve. And the curse on childbearing. I actually wonder if that was a curse on intimacy, too – because in God’s design, intimacy leads to children usually.

 

3 months ago, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl.

 

I am now struggling with a lot of physical insecurity. My hair is coming out in clumps, I usually smell like spit up, and I’m extra saggy. Saggy is never good. I wonder often if I am even the teeniest bit attractive to my husband, and this has all been weighing me down. Not to mention, now I’m worrying about another little person, and whether or not I’m doing good enough as a Mom.

 

What does this have to do with Eve?

 

I don’t think, before the sin, she had these doubts. I think she was completely comfortable with who she was, and how she looked. She was confident in God’s love for her, certain of her husband’s love (and attraction) for her, and sure of her ability to do the work God had given her. She didn’t question herself for every little thing she did, she didn’t worry endlessly about what Adam thought of her. She knew she was beautiful, the way God made her to be, and she knew that God was pleased with her and so was her husband.

 

I envy that kind of comfortable. See, I don’t think she was proud, or arrogant, or walked around like she was better than anyone. She was free from the comparisons. She didn’t need to be better than anyone, because she didn’t see them in comparison to herself. She saw them as perfectly created by God. She saw herself as perfectly created by God.

 

I don’t think the curse just meant that labor and delivery would be painful, or that those 9 months leading up to labor and delivery would come with discomfort (heartburn, anyone?) I think, as is evident by them covering their bodies, they became suddenly aware of themselves in comparison to one another and the world. They were no longer basking in the comfort of being purposefully created.

 

There are so many angles to consider when we think on the fall of man, and our own personal sin. This is just one I’m pondering this morning.

 

Sister, if you are struggling, know you aren’t alone. I have been feeling especially broken lately and feel as though I am lacking. Know that God hasn’t left you in this time, and that there are lessons when we walk through things that are this hard. Know that He created you, He loves you, He wants you and He has a purpose for you.

My prayer is that God would use this time of brokenness to teach me. My heart aches deeply when I begin to wonder if I’m good enough, or attractive/desirable, or if I’m measuring up. I pray that God would use this time of hurting to teach me compassion for other women who are struggling, because if there is one thing I’ve learned, I’m not the only one who goes through these things.

 

How can I pray for you, dear sister? Please feel free to share your struggles and know that I will be praying with you for God to move in your life.

 

How Loving Your Wife Could Change the World

(Today’s post is a guest post, beautifully written by Jason Bender. You can learn more about him at the end of the post, follow him on Twitter, and visit his blog, too! Enjoy!)

As a husband, I know I’m supposed to love my wife. However, frankly, a lot of times I just forget.

Why is that? How could easily the single most obvious thing for a husband to be doing slip from my mind?

I think it’s because, as husbands, we don’t really understand the importance of loving well. We buy into this “happy wife, happy life,” and think that’s the end of it. We make the goal of our marriage simply out to be survival, to be at least average, or if we’re really compelled, even better than average.

Certainly, I’m not knocking on committing to stay together. But is it possible that this goal is rather short-sighted?

The problem arises where we forget to love well, because at times it doesn’t seem we don’t need to. When we’ve made the goal of our marriage surviving, or being “average,” our point of reference just becomes everyone else’s marriage. And as long as I’m doing at least as well, then we’re cool – we’re just fine. There’s no urgency to love well.

So let’s look again at what Paul really says to us husbands in Ephesians 5:25,

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

This verse is so important because it challenges us that not only are husbands to learn from Christ’s love, but they are also supposed to demonstrate Christ’s love to an un-believing world. In a sense as husbands, we receive the lead role in this movie called life, and we’re called to play the part of Christ.

Therefore, not only do I learn how to play the part by watching Christ, but when others watch me live
out that role – they learn about Christ from me.

Which begs the question, “What do they learn about Christ from me?”

Understanding that our love could have an eternal impact on someone else’s life puts the urgency back for husbands to love well. There is more at stake for me to love well than just my own marriage.
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IMG_0931Jason Bender is the author of the blog, “A Year of Being a Better Husband,” which features short, daily posts about his own journey of becoming the husband that God desires.
He lives with his wife in Pittsburgh, where he is a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, and a volunteer worship leader for Crossroads UMC’s East Liberty Campus.
You can check out his blog here, or follow him on Twitter @JBend8