Friday, January 31, 2014

Am I a Wife Living Well?

At the beginning of the week, I had these grand plans to write a fantabulous post based on chapters 6 and 7 of Women Living Well. After coming down with a sinus infection/upper respiratory infection, I have decided to just directly answer the questions Courtney posted on her site. Maybe at a later date I will revisit this topic and write out the post I was originally intending. 
So here goes....
Chapter 6 Questions "The Time-Warp Wife"
1.)  We all have husbands with different needs.  What are some areas you already help your husband?
I think the number 1 area I help my husband is filling his stomach. LOL In all seriousness, I absolutely LOVE to cook. I love trying new recipes, making up my own recipes, and loving on my husband through serving delicious meals. This love for cooking is not natural by any means. I used to be the joke of the family when it came to cooking. I recall when I was 12 or 13, I was at my older sister's house and I wanted to make myself boxed mac and cheese. At that age boiling water and noodles should not have been difficult. However, I didn't stand over the pot, forgot that I was cooking and burned the pot before I even got a chance to put the noodles in. From that point on, no one in the family allowed me to cook. I finally started learning in 2006 when I started watching "30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray." I would watch every evening after work and after a while I started to attempt the easiest recipes. After several months of good and bad experiences, I really started to flourish in the kitchen. I loved that I can make delicious meals and even my roommates started requesting me to cook. Now that I'm married, I am so thankful I tried to cook again because I love to see the smile on my husband's face after he takes that first bite. It makes my heart soar.
2.)  Read Genesis 2:18 and the context there. What are some areas where you could work to be a better source of support and encouragement?
Genesis 2:18--And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." (NKJV)
The area I struggle in the most is making sure the home is always inviting. When we first got married, I moved into my husband's one bedroom apartment. While the apartment was quite large, I never fully felt like it was my home because he had it situated according to his preferences. When we brought my things into the apartment along with all of our wedding presents, the large apartment started to feel even more cramped to me. Now we live in my mother's house, also quite large, and yet I still have the same feelings because I do not feel comfortable disturbing the things she has in the home. We have way too much furniture and possessions crammed into the spaces we use and I just haven't been able to make heads or tails of it. I have recently been more diligent about keeping things as orderly as I can, but I still falter at times. There are days I know I can do better, I just don't know how. 
Another area I am working on is walking through the home and praying over the house and our family. I am not completely efficient at this but I am slowly becoming more comfortable with this. 

Chapter 7 Questions "Marriage in the Age of Media"
1.)  What affect has media had on your marriage?  Are there any boundaries you need to put in place to protect your marriage?
Media has had a large affect on my marriage. I love watching television, my husband loves to play video games, and we both have smart phones that at times put walls between us. It is quite common for one of us to complain about the other's media habits. I have given up watching many of the television shows I used to watch because they were not edifying in any way. In the chapter Courtney talks about shows where "women wear the pants." I used to watch so many shows like that and never realized how much of an impact they had on my view of marriage. After I stopped watching the shows and started reading scripture about God's view of a wife in Proverbs 31, Ephesians, and other passages, my thoughts have changed and I now see what my role in marriage is to be. I still struggle as I am learning and applying the principles of the scriptures but I know over time it will start to feel more natural to me.
2.)  Read Proverbs 14:1.  How does this verse pertain to media?
Proverbs 14:1--The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. (NKJV)
Depending upon what shows, music, and websites a woman views or hears, she can either set a positive or negative atmosphere in the home. Also, the amount of time spent on these activities is a factor as well. As Courtney points on in the book, media is amoral. It depends on how the media is used or what kind of media is used depends on if it is good or bad, uplifting or destructive. I spend a lot of time on Christian blogs and websites, bible study online through Facebook, and watching television shows that are fairly decent, however, they can still tear my family apart if I forsake my responsibilities as a wife and mother. How I run my household determines the health of my marriage and family. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Intentionally Focused Week 1 Wrap-Up

For the next eight weeks I will be doing the Good Morning Girls bible study entitled, {Intentionally Focused.} At the end of each week I will write a post about what I've learned throughout the week and how I am instilling the Word of God into my heart so that I can live my life more for Him and less for me.

Some of my goals for the study are:
1. Stay committed and finish all 8 weeks.
2. Memorize at least 5 of the 8 memory verses.
3. Stay up to date with the Facebook group I lead.

This week's study was an introduction into living our lives intentionally focused on Christ. The main verses we studied were:

Ephesians 5:1--Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

Psalm 90:12--So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Hebrews 12:1--Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Ephesians 5:15,16--See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Philippians 3:14--I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

My first challenge in completing this study was figuring out a time to set aside for my bible study. I have an eight month old who is not quite on a schedule throughout the day so planning to do the study during her naptime would not work. She usually takes a three hour nap but not at a specific time (not by my choice.) So I prayed about it and 5am was what Jesus laid on my heart. I actually have been balking at this time for quite some time now (at least 6 months). My fleshly desire for sleep outweighed my desire to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit until I was desperate to make changes in my life. Since I'm doing a study called "INTENTIONALLY Focused," I think it be important I make INTENTIONAL effort to do that. So 5am it is! 5AM! FIVE AM!

So Monday rolls around and I wake up at 5am. Drag myself out of bed. And practically sprint to the coffee maker. Haha I open my laptop (it's an online study BTW) and pull out my notebook and bible. I say a quick prayer and I turn to the first scripture for the week Ephesians 5:1-14 and read. I write out verse one for my SOAP journal entry and just stare at the words for what seemed like an eternity (I'm still not fully awake.)

Then it hits me. I sent a few verses to one of the teen girls in my church about Jesus getting up and going out to pray {Luke 6:12 and Mark 1:35}. I'm reading about imitating God and those verses about Jesus getting up in the morning before daylight literally snapped me out of that half sleep mode I was in. It was at that moment I was absolutely determined to be up every morning at 5am to make sure I am able to put in the time and focus on Christ before the busyness of the day hits me like a tidal wave. I am committed to my 5am time with Jesus at my dining room table Monday through Friday.

Now that I am finished with this week's study I see a thread woven throughout the scripture passages that I studied. If you are to be an imitator of God, you need to first use your time wisely because your time on earth is so limited and you don't know how long you really have here. So you need to remain focused on imitating Christ's example everyday so that you can gain a heart of wisdom. You also have other examples of men and women of faith to learn from. The specific names are listed in Hebrews chapter 11 but you are reminded of this "cloud of witnesses" so that when you are tempted to sin you can remember how these witnesses remained faithful to God and finished the race well. To run the race well, you need to be cautious, diligent in your walk and once again pay close attention to the time you have available and capitalize on every opportunity to live for Jesus. Then, and only then, can you see the grand prize in the distance. But you can't give up. You need to continue to strain every muscle with an outstretched hand towards the finish line until you can grab hold of your prize, the heavenly call of God.

{Memory Verse}


Post in the comment section below...
How are you being intentionally focused in your walk with God?

What are some changes you need to make in your life so that you can live more intentional for Christ? Read Psalm 90:12 and Psalm 39:4,5.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Women Living Well Book Club--Week 2

In chapter 4 of Women Living Well, Courtney discusses the effect the media has had on society and ultimately our walks with God. Just a few years ago, it was more common to only have a home phone cord attaching it to the wall. Growing up we had a rotary phone hanging on the wall in our kitchen. I clearly remember when my mother purchased a cord so long, my sister could take the receiver from the kitchen through the living room and down the hall to her bedroom. I'm sure when she got in there she had to sit right inside the door on the floor because that cord was stretched to the max at that point. There was no hiding that she was on the phone talking with someone. Today, it's so easy to hide how much time we are spending on the phone, texting, or private messaging people because with not just cell phones, but smart phones that literally puts the world at our finger tips, we can hide so much. We can claim to be living for God but really we're just wasting our time on nonsense.

We also can get caught up in social media through our phones and computers. I have found myself spending so much time on Facebook scrolling through endless status updates and chatting with friends many times about nothing. I'm not so big into other avenues such as Twitter and Instagram. I have accounts but don't use them all that often. But I do get lost in Pinterest on occasion looking at home decor and recipes for food. I also read homeschool forums every day. I call it preparing for the days when my daughter is old enough, but really it's just idle time that could be spent doing more important things.

This week I started a new bible study through Good Morning Girls called Intentionally Focused. So far this week I have realized that I need to be a true imitator of God by studying His Word and praying so that I can know who Jesus is and His will. Then I can be an imitator and shine His light for others to see. I also need to realize my days on this earth are short and I do not know how long I have so I need to be diligent and cautious with the things I do so that I do not waste time. Ephesians 5:15-16 say, "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (NKJV) Circumspectly means to be diligent, perfect, careful, cautious. Redeeming means to buy up, improve opportunity. I need to be cautious with my time and redeem or improve my opportunity to live better, more intentionally focused on Jesus. I want to be like the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:27-29 "She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.'" (NKJV) I can only be a blessing to my family and be praised if I watch over my household properly. To do this I need to be wise with my time and not allow idle moments to steal my focus. These days are short and I have a purpose to fulfill. I am determined in 2014 to be disciplined and live my life as if each day is my last by keeping my eyes intentionally focused on Jesus so that I can be an imitator of Him.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Women Living Well Book Club--Week 1

I am following along with Courtney Joseph's book club of her new book, "Women Living Well." The book club is at her blog For each chapter, I will be answering the questions that go along with the book club.

Chapter 1--
1. On a scale of 1-10 (10 = great; 1 = stinky) , how is your walk with God right now?
Through 2013 I desired to have a better walk with Christ. I struggled with staying disciplined with my quiet times because I had a very difficult pregnancy the first half of the year and then struggled with finding balance with everything in life with being a new mom. So for 2013 I would say I was about a 3 or 4. I am determined to change that in 2014. I have several goals that I am pursuing to make this happen. I am reading through the bible this year along with a teenage girl I mentor. I will be keeping a journal focused on the word Submission. I will be reading Women Living Well and being involved in the book club. And I am doing the Good Morning Girls bible studies throughout the year starting with “Intentionally Focused.” Through all of these I am sure I will have a much better devotional life this year than I did last year.
2. What would you say is your greatest hindrance to carving out time to meet with God in your busy day?
My biggest hindrance to carving out time is not having a schedule. Having a newborn has made for a very unpredictable life but now that my daughter is nearing her first birthday I am seeing her naturally entering a schedule that I can work with to make time with God.
3. Grab your Bible and read (or google) Hebrews 11:5-6. What does verse 6 state that we must do and believe if we want to be like Enoch?
We are to have faith in God. We need to believe who He is and diligently seek Him. We must be devoted as Courtney explains in her book. Enoch’s name means devoted. Enoch lived his life completely focused on God. I’m sure everything he did, said, and thought was always focused on pleasing and glorifying God. That is how I want to live my life so that my daughter and anyone else I am around sees this and sees Christ ultimately.
4. What is one intentional thing you can do this week to begin creating space and solitude to earnestly seek after God?
My plan is to wake up early in the morning tomorrow (5am) and do my devotions before my daughter wakes up at 7am (her usual time). I have dreaded making this change because it is so early but sacrifice is what I need to do to make this happen. If I sacrifice my hour or two of sleep, Christ will give me the strength to get through the rest of the day. I will be forced to lean on Him and that is what He asks us to do.

Chapters 2 & 3--

1.  From Chapter 2:  When, where and how are you studying God’s word right now?
I plan to wake up at 5am each morning to do my bible study. I will sit at the dining room table and pull out my books from my bible study/prayer basket. I just recently came to the decision to create a study/prayer basket. I learned of this idea from my Pastor's wife about two years ago. I never implemented the idea and then a couple of months ago I came across a YouTube video of a woman explaining what she keeps in her prayer basket. I decided that I should do the same because otherwise I leave my books spread out all over when I'm finished and it just makes the house look cluttered. I will be study God's word using the Good Morning Girls bible studies and through studying my word for the year and scripture focus for the year. I will also be reading through the bible this year but not for studying sake. The reading is just to be immersed in God's living water each day.

2.  Read Luke 5:12-16 – what was Jesus doing here?  How can we, as busy women, follow his example?

In this passage Jesus healed a man who was suffering from leprosy. When people learned about Jesus healing the man, others who were ill came to hear the things Jesus said and be healed. Due to being swarmed with people all of the time, Jesus made sure He took time to pray. He did this by going out in the wilderness alone.

3.  From Chapter 3:  How can you improve your prayer life this year?

Before reading chapter 3 of "Women Living Well" I planned to keep a prayer journal this year. I will have a list of people and situations that I will pray over each day. I will also write out my confessions, prayers, praises, and answers to prayers. As Courtney explains in the chapter, I will start doing consistent prayer walks through my house to pray over my family and our household. In GMG we have a prayer list each week with group members' prayers that I can add to my prayer list. Whenever family or friends ask for prayer, they will be added to my list. I also will write out scripture to pray back to God. This will help me when I need to pray aloud. I get overwhelmed with praying aloud so having God's word already written out as prayer will give me things I can start prayers with until I become more comfortable. 


How would you answer these questions above?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Towards the end of 2013 I started praying and thinking about how I wanted to do better in the new year in my walk with Christ. I felt like I wasted away an entire year. Granted I tried with doing some bible studies but I never finished any of them. I was inconsistent in my bible reading, and had an almost non-existent prayer life. I am determined to turn this around through several goals. 

1. Read through the bible in a year. I am doing a chronological reading plan and using the Chronological Guide to the Bible for background info. I have also challenged one of the teen girls at church to do this with me. We are holding each other accountable and learning from each other along the way. 

2. Word Focus. I will be keeping a journal on one word throughout the year. The word I chose is Submission. I struggle at submitting to authority and I am determined to break this flaw. I need to be in submission to my husband, my pastor, government authorities, and most of all Christ. By focusing and praying on this throughout the year I know Christ will teach me how to submit. 

3. Focus Scripture. Similar to the Word Focus I will be focusing and praying through a scripture for the year. My scripture passage is Proverbs 31:10-31. I know most would say I should choose just one verse, but this passage has been on my heart for a long time and I really need to just study it out, pray it out, and memorize it. I want, no, I NEED to become a better wife for my husband, a better mother for my daughter, a better friend, and mostly a better daughter of Christ. 

4. Bible study. Most of my bible study time will be done through the Good Morning Girls online bible studies. The first study of the year is entitled, "Intentionally Focused." This study answers so many of my prayers I had at the end of 2013. In August of 2013, I was given the opportunity to attend the Women Living Well Conference. At this conference I was inspired and encouraged by some of the most amazing Christian women I had never met!! LOL I had read most of their blogs as I searched throughout 2013 how to live a better life for Christ. My main search was a bible study on Proverbs 31. Through this search I came across which led me to and then Each of these website encouraged me to live life for Christ through blog posts and videos. I saw that a conference was coming up and I knew I should go but we just couldn't afford it. I prayed for God to make a way for me to attend. I think a week or two later I saw that was having a raffle for two tickets to the conference. I submitted my entry and I WON!!! I went to the conference and I cannot tell you how much I learned that day. I met these amazing women that I was learning from and was just inspired to do more and live better. So I am determined to do just that through continuing to read their blogs and encourage as many women as I can to read them.

5. Prayer. Another journal I want to keep is a prayer journal. I want to write out my scriptures every day so that I can stay focused as I'm praying and when prayers are answered I can see how much God is hearing me. I tend to lose faith when I don't realize He's actually answering my prayers. It's a flaw I want to change and I think this is something that can help me. 

All of these goals will take time and discipline but I think as the year goes on, if I stay faithful they will become easier and like second nature to just get up and start my day with Christ. 


Share your thoughts below:
What are the things you are doing to strengthen your walk with Christ?