Saturday, April 30, 2011

Murder and the Mystery

My husband and I are complete opposites.  He is easy-going and laid back.  I am tightly-wound and high-maintenance.  He enjoys being spontaneous every now and then.  I have a panic attack if the schedule changes without 24 hours notice.  He is perfectly happy just hanging out for hours in his pajamas on Saturday mornings.  I am awake and showered by 6:30am every single morning without fail.  He delights in science fiction.  I really could not care less about Star Trek.  Make me laugh or make me cry, but please do not make me scared, grossed out, or confused when I pay good money to see your movie.

Because we have different personalities and temperaments, there are times in our marriage where conflict arises.  The loving banter that flows through our everyday conversations suddenly takes an ugly turn and selfishness and anger abound.  Let's just be honest - there are moments when I want to choke that sweet, precious man of mine.  (And I'm sure I drive him to the brink of insanity on a regular basis.)  When I am filled with rage, no matter if it is truly his fault or if it is the result of my own indiscretion, it is sometimes difficult to move past the rage and embrace forgiveness.

Jesus taught about the consequences of our anger.  In Matthew 5:21-22 He says, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire."  Clinging to a spirit of wrath and bitterness towards my husband is a great offense to the holy God.  As a follower of Christ, I am called to honor God in all of my relationships.  When I choose to let anger accumulate in my marriage, it affects not only my husband, but it also affects my daily walk with my Heavenly Father.

So how should I view the relationship I share with my husband? One of the most well-known passages regarding the interactions between a husband and wife can be found in the fifth chapter of the book of Ephesians.  Paul makes it clear that wives are supposed to submit to their own husbands, "as to the Lord" (Eph. 5:22).  And husbands are called to love their wives "as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Eph. 5:25).   Paul goes on to say that "this mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" (Eph. 5:32-33).  The marital bond was designed by our Creator to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church.  Therefore, husbands must love their wives in a sacrificial way, and wives must respect and honor their husbands.  In doing this, we radiate the truth of the gospel message to a lost and dying world.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I love books.  I am an avid reader, even though the circumstances of life sometimes prevent me from indulging in this pastime.  I can remember reading the entire Babysitter's Club series and I loved Nancy Drew novels with a passion.  I cannot wait until my daughters reach the age where they can enjoy those books as well.  They already have a substantial book collection, which they love to peruse on a daily basis.

For the past couple of weeks, my book of choice has been a biography about the life of Amy Carmichael entitled A Chance to Die, which was written by Elisabeth Elliot.  Amy (love her name, by the way) was a missionary who settled among the people of India and rescued little girls and boys from those who would have taken advantage of them.  Amy had no children of her own, and did not consider herself the mothering type.  Yet the Lord blessed her with a family of girls and boys, young ladies, and older women to care for and lead.  She was a remarkable woman of God.

A few days ago, I read a passage from this volume that tugged at my heartstrings.  It says that Amy and the ladies that aided her in taking care of their ever-growing household were learning that if Jesus Himself was willing to wash the dirty, street-worn feet of the disciples, "then no work, even the relentless and often messy routine of caring for squalling babies, is demeaning" (Elliot, 182).  She goes on to say that "it is not the business of the servant to decide which work is great, which is small, which is important or unimportant - he is not greater than his master" (Elliot, 183).

It can be very frustrating to walk the road as a stay-at-home mommy.  There are times when I think, "If I have to pick up one more Cheerio, or change one more yucky diaper, or break up one more argument over a 25 cent toy from McDonald's, I think I might scream."  Sometimes I welcome a phone call so I can go sit on the bathroom floor and talk to an adult for five minutes while my children sit outside the door trying to figure out how to break in. 

It can also be extremely rewarding to be a stay-at-home mommy.  Cuddling in Eden's princess tent as we read a book, caring for bumps and boo-boos, hearing Eden and Caroline giggle as they play together, and being able to share spiritual truths as we encounter the basic elements of our day are some of my favorite moments.

Jesus was more than willing to serve in many capacities in order to show His love to those around Him.  Am I greater than my Master?  Absolutely, positively not.  So I should follow His humble example and view every moment as an opportunity to bring glory to Him, whether I am singing His praises in front of hundreds of people or changing the fifth dirty diaper of the day.  May He receive honor, no matter what the task.

As Amy Carmichael wrote - "Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do Thy will, O Lord our God" (Elliot, 242).