Three Ways to Love Your Husband

These are three lessons I am learning that are making me a happier wife!

Focus on the positive.
I heard of a man who kept a little book and wrote his wife's faults and failures in it! Isn't that horrible? And yet, as we are naturally so self-focused, it is so easy to focus on the negative rather than on all the positives.
It's good to write down or at least think of things that you are thankful for about your husband every day. Make it a habit to notice every positive thing about him and thank God for it. It's amazing what a difference it can make to your attitude! You will probably realize you are married to the best man in the world! :)

Listen to him.
Does your husband make comments about what he does or doesn't like? Maybe foods he would like you to buy, or meals he doesn't like, or clothes you or the children wear that he doesn't like. Does he mention things that would like you to do?
Listen and pay attention to his wishes. Do your best to please him, instead of making excuses why you shouldn't. Unless, of course, his wishes are clearly wrong. It's not always possible or realistic to do what he wants, but most of the time it is, although it may call for some unselfishness on your part! But you will be happy, knowing that you are honoring the man God gave you.

Learn to appreciate his way of showing love (love language).
My husband shows his love in different ways to me. Words of affirmation are very important to me, while they don't mean a whole lot to him. Acts of service and gifts are more important to him. So there are many times I have been offended because of what he has or hasn't said to me, and yet he might have spent the afternoon making me dinner or he brought us some treats on his way home.
Its easy to feel unloved when your husband shows love in a different way to you. But it's unnecessary.
As I am learning, you can either spend your life wishing he would become more like you, or you can look for and appreciate the ways that he shows love.
I read this the other day and it made me stop and think. It was written for men and it was about marriage. She won’t always readily translate the oil change to love, though it means that.
Something like an oil change can mean the same as the words "I love you" or a box of chocolate, or a bunch of flowers, or a night out at a restaurant etc!


Lessons from Martha

Whenever I've studied the story of Mary and Martha before, I've usually gotten two lessons out of it.
1)Have your priorities right
     The eternal is more important than the physical.
2) Don't be so busy serving Jesus that you have no time to spend with Him

But this time I've learned new things about Martha and realized that I can relate to Martha very well! These lessons especially apply in our homes, since our husband and children are the ones who are the closest to us.
(But before I begin, Martha wasn't all bad! She loved Jesus. She had faith in Him. She welcomed him into her home--she was very hospitable. I have much to learn from her there.)
3)Martha questioned whether Jesus cared
"Dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?" She should have known that He did.
I'm sure there are times when I've started to have those doubts. Does God really care?
"Casting all your cares upon him for he cares for you."

4) Martha became very stressed unnecessarily
Martha didn't need to be that busy. She had too much on her 'to do' list. Sometimes I get very stressed simply because I am trying to do too much or I want things perfect. My priorities aren't quite right. When I start getting super stressed, I need to stop, refocus, simplify and prioritize. I remember one time trying to get to an appointment on time. I was getting very grumpy with my children and just feeling so stressed. Guess what? I was still early and had to sit and wait in the waiting room! All that stress wasn't necessary!

5)When Martha became too busy and bothered, she became cranky.
Because Martha became focused on her work instead of the Lord, she became very grumpy.
When I get my eyes off God and get overly busy, I begin to snap.
6) Martha blamed Mary for her problems
When I get too busy and then cranky, I begin to blame others, usually my husband! But Mary wasn't the problem, Martha herself was the problem!! She was getting worried and flustered unnecessarily. She was too busy.
7) Martha felt sorry for herself
That's me too, sometimes! Self-focused and full of self-pity for poor me who is so overworked and uncared for like Martha!

8) Martha was critical and accusing
She was critical of Mary, accusing her of not helping and accusing Jesus of not caring about her.
When we get too busy, its so easy to be critical and accusing, just like Martha. If not in our words, in our thoughts.

9) Martha put Mary down in order to lift herself up
Martha put Mary down in front of Jesus. I may not always go so far as to do it verbally, but in my mind I can put people down and lift myself up. I can compare people to me, as if I am perfect myself!

10) Martha was irreverent to Jesus
Martha first of all accused Him of not caring, then commanded Him to rebuke Mary. She forgot who she was (a sinner) and who she was talking to (the Creator of the universe!)
When I am feeling like Martha was feeling, my prayers aren't always so reverent either. My prayers can be very selfish.

11) Martha implied that by sitting at Jesus' feet Mary wasn't doing anything.
There are always so many things to be done, that sometimes its hard to see the value of a quiet time with God, reading His Word and praying. The physical things can seem much more important.

12) Martha needed the rebuke not Mary
She must have expected Jesus to rebuke Mary, but instead He rebuked Martha. She was the one who needed it! I wonder how many times I've complained about someone else, when I was the one who needed changing. I remember one time I was very annoyed because my husband had just rung to say he was coming home late from work. Dinner was on the table and we had visitors staying with us, so I was annoyed that he hadn't told me earlier so I could have just planned dinner later. So feeling like Martha, I called the visitors for dinner. One of them asked me why Johan wasn't home. I explained that he had to work late. His comment was, "Wow, he must be tired." Although he hadn't know what I was thinking, it was a rebuke to me. Here my husband was working long hours and would be very tired when he came home. The last thing he needed was a complaining wife to come home to! I got an attitude adjustment real quick!

13)When Jesus spoke, Martha had to listen
Martha was too busy to listen to Jesus, but when He said, Martha, Martha, he got her attention. She had to listen then. And when we get too busy for God, sometimes he has to trip us up somehow to get our attention so that we will listen.


A Means to an End

For two months, my baby was in the Nicu. It was interesting to see how things were done. Everything was very orderly, practical and very clean. Everything was on wheels so they could be moved and the cleaner could clean underneath.

But the point of the Nicu is not to have a clean, organized place. The purpose is to get babies well and home again. All those other things are just a means to an end. They are important, but they are not the purpose in themselves.

When I came home from the hospital I had been away for 2 months. So there was 2 months of stuff to sort through and put away. There were gifts and new things to find a place for, baby and maternity clothes to sort through and then the children came home. And of course, a new baby to care for! At first I was just so happy to be out of hospital and and all together at home again.

I started to write down what needed doing as I usually do.  Then I quickly became very overwhelmed! So many things to do. I started to feel like my purpose each day was to get things ticked off my list. 

I had to stop and think, "I'm home! I'm out of hospital. Take it easy and don't worry about all the things that need to be done. Just enjoy being home and with your children again."

Also the thought came to me, "My house will never be perfect like I would like it to be. If that's my goal each day, I'll always be disappointed. It's just not possible. Keeping my house in order is just a means to an end. My goal is to have a happy home for my husband and children. In order to do that, I do need to keep things clean and tidy. I want my husband to have a nice place to come home to. Also, I can't enjoy doing something with the children when the whole house is upside down. But sometimes in order to have a happy home, I need to let things go a bit. A happy home is more important than a 'perfect' home.”

Keeping your home in order is important. In Titus 2, it says we are to be 'keepers at home.' It's part of our job. But before that on the list it says to love your husband and your children. That is the goal!


...To Love Their Children

"It hurts so much because we loved you so much." A father who lost his little daughter wrote these words on her tombstone. She was killed when a crazy driver crashed into their van.

Giving her a cuddle after the procedure was done.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in a café in the hospital while my baby was having a procedure/surgery done for her heart. A friend texted me asking how I was. I admitted, "I'm afraid to get too close to her because then it hurts more. I know it sounds horrible, but I hope you understand." That friend has a child with health problems and she did understand. But her advice was that I shouldn't try to protect myself like that, even though it seems the easier thing to do. She said it's better to hurt and feel the pain.
I'll add that it had been a stressful morning. Lydia needed to go to another floor on the hospital for the procedure to be done. We walked along as the nurse wheeled her in her cot. Because of a broken lift, we had to go a very long way around. On the way, Lydia's oxygen levels started dropping quite low and she started to turn blue. The nurse got quite stressed. Another nurse passing by stopped to help. When we finally got down to where we would leave her, there was a boy in the bed next to Lydia. He got wheeled through doors that said MRI. The mother followed him through the doors then came back and burst into tears. I got out of there as quickly as I could before my tears started! I thought, "I shouldn't have come. I can't handle it!"
The day before, the doctor and anesthetist had laid out all the possible risks involved until I was starting to wonder if she would even make it out alive!
So maybe you can understand why I didn't want to get too attached to her. But I'm very thankful for the advice that my friend gave me. I decided I would take it.
I also found it hard being separated from my other children for 2 weeks at a time. It was easier for me to just put them out of my mind that it was to Skype with them, because then I missed them more. It might have been the easy way out for me, but what about my children? I realized that it wasn't nice for them for me to disappear completely out of their life.
I read this statement that a mother wrote, after her husband died of leukemia. "Loving someone really well means that you hold on and stay close even when it doesn't feel good---it hurts more than words can say."
Having a baby whose needed so much hospital care has made me afraid to love too much.
But the other night I was thinking about this as I sat up with my baby. She has been having problems with reflux and couldn't go back to sleep until she threw up.
I thought, "It might hurt more to love, but imagine how horrible it would be (if something happened to Lydia) to know that I hadn't loved her like I could have. Surely that would be far worse."
Love is the only thing we can do for our children. We can't stop accidents from happening and we can't keep them alive and healthy, but we can love them!
And that is exactly what God wants us to do.
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, Titus 2:4


He Giveth More Grace

Two weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed a dinner together at a Chinese restaurant, desert at Burger King and a nice walk through a beautiful Domain afterwards. It was a lovely evening but afterwards when I returned to the little hospital room where our baby lay, a horrible feeling of helplessness and depression came over me. Lydia had been in hospital for 2 months since birth and it looked like we would be in hospital with her till she would have heart surgery and recover from that--maybe another 1-2 months. We were separated from our little children and a long way from home. There seemed to be no end in sight--no light at the end of the tunnel. I thought in despair, "I've had all I can handle. Isn't two months long enough to be in hospital?? I just can't do it anymore! I want to go home. I want life to be normal again."
Then the verse came to me "He giveth MORE grace."
I was reminded that God's grace for me will never run out. There is always MORE no matter how big my trials are or how long they last! God would give me MORE and MORE grace for as long as Lydia had to be in hospital. MORE grace, MORE help, MORE joy, MORE patience and MORE peace.
And He did!
Thankfully things changed and we are now home with her until surgery. Although I do not look forward to going back again, I know God will give MORE grace when the time comes.
God will give MORE grace to raise the special needs child He has given us.
Do you ever feel like you're at the end of your rope? That you've had enough?
Maybe a hard marriage, a difficult child, the challenges a new baby brings, financial struggles etc.
Or maybe you are worried how you will cope with new challenges in the future.
Remember, God gives MORE grace!
What a great promise!


In Acceptance Lieth Peace

I read this little poem in a devotion book in the first two weeks of my baby being in hospital. For the next two months I memorized it and repeated it to myself often! Such a valuable little lesson God has being teaching me through the trials of having a sick baby, being separated from my other children and spending so much time in hospital. I learned to pray for God's will to be done rather than begging for the problems to be fixed and for my life to be normal again. I've been learning to accept the trials rather than fighting them. It's amazing the peace God gives even though the time is still difficult.
And when God does give us what we want, we appreciate it so much more!
In the last week were told unexpectedly that our little girl was well enough to go home until her surgery. I had accepted the fact that we would have to stay at least another month in hospital till she could have surgery. So it was a lovely surprise, and I have never appreciated being home so much before!
Otto Koning, the missionary who tells the Pineapple story, said something like this, "We accomplish far more by surrendering than we do by begging and pleading."


You Have This Moment

Recently I met a mother who has twin babies. One of her twins is in intensive care but the other one is fine. Her sick twin nearly died at one stage. She said that someone told her, “You only have the moment.” That thought helped her.

Thinking about it, it's actually quite Biblical. We have no guarantee that we have tomorrow, but we do have this moment.

We may not have our children tomorrow, we may not have our husband tomorrow, we may not even be alive tomorrow, but we do have this moment to show love and spend time with them.

The people we see today, we may never see again. But we do have this moment to be friendly.

Our friends may be gone tomorrow, but they are still here today. Be a friend while you have the chance--It may not be there tomorrow.

It's so easy to put things off or to waste the precious moments we have. But this moment is the only guarantee we have.

I was just reading in the newspaper thismorning of a man who has been told he has 9 months left to live. He said he wants to spend that time making memories with his family. Making the most of the moment.

Life can change so quick. Last week my children were staying with me next to the hospital where our baby was. At 1:00 in the afternoon I was told our baby needed to be transported to another hospital first thing the next morning. I had the afternoon and evening to organize for the children to go back to my parents place and to get packed up. I was glad I had spent the week that I did have with them making memories and having special times with them.

Make the most of this moment. It may be the last one you have.

James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.