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[original post 6/5/16]
"admonish the young women to love their husbands" Titus 2:4
Last week my daughter casually said to me. "Why do you make everything look so "magical" when you post pictures on Instagram, Mom?'
I thought before I answered her back.
"Because a lot of the time, this is the way I see things, Presley. I could focus on the negative and the awful, but I have to make a choice to focus on the GOOD. The magical."
Then, I shared this verse with her:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
Many days in life are not so magical. In fact, they are downright ugly.
This, my friends, is where obedience comes in. Summer of Obedience, remember?
Through obedience we focus on the good.
Through obedience we focus on the lovely and admirable.
Through obedience we make a choice to change our mindset.
Life is not always magical. But life with a changed mindset, focused on Jesus, will be more magical than your little heart can handle.
This has nothing to do with our circumstances. Our circumstances can scream chaos, loneliness, betrayal, poverty, tragedy...
But, it is how we choose to process these things that change how we view them.
I like to call it a heavenly mindset.
Many would see it is "naive" to think that way.
Oh, but on the contrary, it takes a mind and heart full of resolve and the strength of Christ to be able to see the magical.
It's believing in God and His Promises more than we believe in our circumstances.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
My husband and I have been married almost 18 years.
Marriage is HARD.
It is a choice.
If I focus on the ugly, I would be a miserable wife. And at times, I have been a miserable wife.
I have blamed him for many things when really, it was my own self-disgust that made me dislike him.
We cannot love others if we don't first love ourselves.
Matthew 22:39, commands us to "love others as ourselves".
If we are finding it hard to love others, we need to put a big flashlight on how we love ourselves.
I'm not talking about conceit or vanity. I am talking about loving who God made us to be. Content with His design and mold for us. Content with our assignment and portion in life.
LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. Psalm 16:5
When I am at full on disgust over myself, I find my relationships suffer. Especially my marriage. It gets hit the hardest. By far.
It takes obedience to trust that God is working in my marriage. It takes obedience to forgive my husband when he has hurt me. It takes obedience for me to hold my tongue instead of lashing out to my husband. It takes obedience to pray for him when I would rather spit on him. [eek]
I honestly believe that the biggest test of our love is through our marriages. It is truly the most difficult relationship I believe we will ever encounter on Earth. [no offense Lem]
Look around you. Look for thriving marriages. It's not human love that keeps them alive. It's obedience. It's choosing to trust God and His plan for marriage instead of our own plan. It's choosing every single day when we wake up to love our spouse despite what the day brings.
It's an acceptance that our assignments as wives is to love, honor, and respect when we have no reason on Earth to do so.
It's an acceptance and surrender of our own happiness in order to honor and promote the happiness of our spouses.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
This is a hard teaching. For all of us.
It goes against the grain of the world. The world tells us to put ourselves first. To look out for number one. To find happiness above anything else.
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 5:13
When we lay down our lives in order to honor, love, and serve another over ourselves, we find true JOY.
We should never feel like martyrs or speak of our down-trodden situation in order to receive compassion and praise from others for "hanging in a tough marriage". This is not laying down our lives. This is not the love that Jesus speaks of. This is self-pity and self-absorption.
True obedience brings overflowing joy and a harvest of fruit. We will never regret obedience, especially when it comes to our marriages. We will not look at obedience as a chore, but as a pleasure.
1 John 5:3 says, "This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome."
We will instead be filled to the rim with more joy than we can handle. It will spill over into your man's life. It will bubble over into the lives of your children. It will seep into the fabric of all of your relationships.
Serving our husband's will become delightful. Even when nothing in them has changed.
Our hearts will change.
Our attitudes will change.
Because we have discovered the secret...
"The Joy of the Lord is my strength" Nehemiah 8:10
We know that not a single act of obedience is ever wasted. God sees it all, and He's a lavishing Father.
life really is magical,