Monday, January 30, 2012

Courageous: How Women Can Do Their Part

Thanks to The House FM, my friends and I watched a free showing of Courageous last night.  Everyone loved it.  What a touching film it was.  Although the message of the movie is directed at fathers, there are important lessons all of us can benefit from.

As a student of relationships, marriage, and broken people, the message to fathers and men definitely came close to my heart.  I have written several posts dealing with the same message:

My Plea to the Guys
A One Woman Man
Making the Stand
"Can this man pastor me?"
Rise up Warrior!

Although I highly recommend men watch the film and read these previous posts, I will not be speaking to the men in this post.  I am keeping the same topic, yet speaking to the young ladies, single or not.  While it is true that following and submitting come easiest when your husband or father is stepping up, we have no excuse to control when they are passive.  In fact, our role requires just the opposite.

First, we need to examine our hearts, for from them everything else flows (Proverbs 4:23.)  As I said in my post Trust, Follow, Submit, our relationship with God directly affects our heart attitude toward the male leader in our life, (whether it is a father for a single woman, or a husband for those who are married.)  Do you trust God even when you don't agree with what he is doing?  Do you blindly follow him every day of your life, trusting that he will guide you with his right hand?  Do you love him whole heartedly without a second thought regarding your circumstances?

When we can answer yes to all these questions, a gentle and submissive spirit (1 Peter 3) will follow quickly after.  God is the ultimate source of our love (1 John 4,) and without him, it is impossible for us to look past our pride and fully love and respect the men in our life--regardless of how they may or may not step up.

Ephesians 5:21 says, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."  How in the world do we expect to see this happen when we haven't even submitted to Christ?  How can you obey your father with respect when you don't see Christ as the leader of your own life.  When you put your whole faith in God, you are agreeing to follow his protection, guidelines, and gifts.  God puts parents in the lives of single girls to protect, pray, and guide them during this journey.  Respect the man God has provided for you.

After we get our hearts right, it will be easier to control our tongues.  Matthew 12:34 says "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."  This is why we must do things in the order in which God designed them.

Our speech is important because from one tongue, we have both the power to lift up and destroy (James 3:9-10.)  So if you want your husband or father to step up and lead you according to God's design, which do you think will be more helpful in accomplishing that goal?

            A) "Ugghh, Dad, why can't you just be more like Jamie's Dad?!  He always takes her on father-daughter dates, and buys her new clothes.  All you want to do is sit around and watch football!  What a pathetic excuse I have for a father!"

            B) "Dad, thank you so much for providing me with food in my belly and a roof over my head.  I am grateful to have a father in my life.  You have so much power that naturally lies within you.  It is a joy when release such leadership skills around Mom and I.  It's almost like watching Clark Kent turn into Superman!  I love you and am praying for more opportunities to see Superman."

If you guessed "B" you are correct.  Men have a deep need to feel respected, and yelling in their face that they are worthless only tears at their pride and makes them feel just that...worthless.  Ephesians 4:29 says we are to only speak words that lift others up according to their needs, words that will benefit those who listen.  I don't think arguing and complaining benefits anyone.  In fact, Philippians 2:14 says we are to do everything without complaining.

When a complaint comes to your mind from now on, why don't you try to flip it and say what you are thankful for instead.  For instance, say the microwave at home keeps messing up and this time you've really had it.  One more spark and your fuse is lit!  Instead of reacting angrily and complaining/screaming at your husband, how bout this:  "I am so grateful for all the cooking appliances you've provided me with dear.  I could stop and complain about this half-broken microwave, or I could turn around and take full advantage of an oven that works beautifully.  In fact, I think I'll show my appreciation for this oven by baking you a cake!"

A little over the top maybe, but you get the picture.  How can you lift up the man in your life this week?  What are some ways you can show him respect?  Do you pray for him regularly?  Are you submitting to him out of reverence for Christ?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Piggy Bank Woes



I have gotten into the somewhat tacky habit of texting myself reminders. Actually I don’t even send them because reading texts from yourself seems a little desperate. I save them all as drafts and look at them later because I’m not rich enough to afford a smarty pants phone that makes you breakfast in bed and helps you with Algebra. It’s not that I don’t have a healthy income. I really do. It’s just my savings seem to go through a sieve of seemingly harmless purchases.

Red Box? Oh please…that’s only like a dollar. I can get that!
        Caution: This justification only works
         if you go to Red Box once.
         Not if you rent romantic comedies
         back-to-back…to-back-to-back…

Consignment Stores? Oh yeah. I can for sure afford that vintage silk blouse.
         I go into these second hand shops 
         thinking everything is free.
         Turns out I spend more at these places 
         than I do at Nordstrom Rack.

Tropical Twist Trident Gum? 4 for $5?! Done.
         Wow. The store clerk has to restock 
         after I see signs like that.
         Congratulations Target marketing team. 
         You won.

 But as Gertie always says…
 “You’re single! You owe it to yourself! Get two of ­­__insert splurge here! 

…and you know what? She’s right. This advice is especially pertinent when it comes to clothing/accessories/shoe shopping.

It’s an investment.

Not like we’re husband hunting or anything we’re just…okay so yeah we are but it’s fine.

Nothing is more beautiful than confidence right?

Just turns out our confidence has a little bit of a price tag. 
From Anthropologie.


Hoping you are quite well in body and spirit,

Charlotte

Friday, January 27, 2012

A One Woman Man

Well I don't want the whole world, no
The sun, the moon, and all their light
I just want to be the only girl you love all your life
       --The Band Perry 

This one is for the guys--single guys that is.  Here's a little something to think about as you roam around the earth, doing what guys do.

I want you to know that you already have a wife.  She's out there, waiting for you.  God predestined the two of you to be together before the dawn of time.  He designed her personality, charm, body, style, character, and heart to match yours.  She is your ezer, as it translates.  Ezer simply means helper, and encourager, someone who will stand right by your side through thick and thin.  That's right, she was made to help you specifically!


God is going to give you this awesome woman to be your life partner someday.  In fact, he has been preparing both of you for quite some time now, just waiting for the perfect moment to bless both of you with each other.  Now, I will be honest, I do not know who she is.  I do not know your future wife, nor what she believes or acts like.  But, if she is anything like the wonderful Christian women in my life, I would bet a large sum of money that she thinks about you pretty often.

With all the Christian dating books, rings, and movements going on, I think women are really starting to understand the importance of their future marriage.  Almost all of my solid girl friends keep husband journals, yes, that's what we call them.  In these journals young ladies spend hours upon hours, praying and writing to their future husband.  

Many of these same Christian women are also spending lots of time learning about guarding their heart, so they won't waste time getting hurt by a Bozo.  They may be reading books, talking to God, or asking for advice, but one way or another I am sure she is faithfully waiting for you; her guide, her partner, her leader.  


Thinking about this type of faithfulness makes you wonder, what does she expect from you in return?  I think The Band Perry nailed the desperate cry of every woman's soul in regards to marriage, when the leader singer says, "I just want to be the only girl you love all your life."


Yes, even before you know your wife, she wants your commitment.  I realize this may be a huge and scary thing to do, but don't you want to be that kind of a man for her?  Eric Ludy in "When God Writes Your Love Story" puts it this way:

"Give her your heart, mind, and body now!  It's easy to run around from one shallow relationship to the next, meeting your own selfish desires.  But it takes a real man, a real lover, to keep one woman satisfied for life.  I guarantee you, the rewards of such a decision are off-the-charts amazing.  And she'll love you like a man longs to be loved."

Stop and ask yourself a few questions.  Would your wife be happy with the way you live your day-to-day life?  Would she feel loved or hurt by the way you give other women what is promised to be hers?  How can you make a commitment to her now?  What can you be praying for her about?  

Do you have what it takes to be a one woman man for life?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trust, Follow, Submit: How your relationship with God will affect your marriage.

The bible gives us a clear description of the character of a godly wife.  "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:24  And the verse continues on to say the husband is the provider and protector for the wife.  I don't know about you, but if someone is providing and protecting me, I think I would have a  large amount of trust and comfort with them.

Some of you disagree with me.  The thought of letting a man lead you while you blindly follow scares you to death.  That's fear creeping in, and that fear is not of God (1 John 4:18, 2 Timothy 1:7.)  This fear of not being in control, and not knowing the outcome of our future, reflects our faith in God.  In fact, it starts with God.  If you can't blindly follow God, and trust that he will provide for you, how do you plan on following your husband?

As a single woman, you should be using each experience and circumstance as a way to fall back and depend on God more and more.  That is, after all, the Christian walk (Luke 9:23.)  The more we depend on God, the more we let go of our own life and plans.  This is part of the life-long sanctification process we begin in Christ.  

Our earthly relationship with our husband is a reflection of our heavenly relationship with God, both directly influence each other.  Do you remember when you first fell in love with God?  Perhaps you are still there.  Everything is fresh and new in the morning.  You can't get enough of this wonderfully rich Bible!  Hours upon hours you spend praying and weeping, asking God to take more of your life to glorify himself.  Your every word hangs on him, and every conversation somehow turns to Him.  Your heart feels like it just might explode if you don't tell everyone about this wonderful new-found joy you are experiencing!  

God remembers your first love too...

"I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a young bride you loved me and followed me
through the desert,
through a land not sown."
Jeremiah 2:2

See, not only do you need God, but he needs you.  His heart aches for that special place only you can fill.  He longs to be your sole provider and protector--forever!  He makes promise after promise to you, in hopes of capturing your heart, only to be pushed and kicked away by each selfish plan and claim you make.

"Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you..." Hebrews 13:5

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness..."  Jeremiah 31:3

"...Call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."  Jeremiah 29:12

"Trust in [me] with all your heart, and [I] will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6 (paraphrase)

In chapter two of his book, God tells Jeremiah the two things his people have done that he considers sin.  First, they turned their backs on God, then they "dug their own cisterns that cannot hold water."  This means they took matters into their own hands by trying to control their own lives--obviously this didn't work because their cisterns didn't hold water.  (Jeremiah 2:13)

God wants to provide for you.  He wants to lead you and protect you, just like your earthly husband will.  Practice falling into God's arms now, so submitting and trusting becomes a natural habit that brings you peace and contentment.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Defining Your Daily Life



It’s been awhile since we’ve given some vital definitions.

We apologize.

Hipster
1.                    Proper noun.
a.    A person who got confused and embraces out of date artifacts such as records, high-waisted pants, the color mustard and coke bottle glasses and somehow pulls them off.

See also Urban Outfitters,  indie music and graphic tees.


“Shut up!”
1.             A phrase of the verbal nature.
a.    Something you yell when you are really excited or disgusted about something.
                              Ex:
·      “You got kissed last night?! SHUT UP!”
·      “You got that for $8?! SHUT UP!”
·      “You’re going to D.C. for the summer? SHUT UP!”

b.    The best way to silence your 6:55 a.m. alarm clock…
                                      …besides smashing it.


Girls Night Out
1.           An outing of the female class.
a.    An excursion made up of girls who want to escape the pressures of work, exercising and boys.
b.    Dominate topic of conversation: boys.
c.     Dang it.

DTR
1.             Acronym for “Define the Relationship”.
a.    A conversation that is generally initiated by the female at some milestone in a relationship.
b.    Typical phrases include:
·      “What are we?”
·      “Are we seeing other people right now or…no?”
·      “Well I thought since we’d kissed we were dating…”
·      “What do you mean by “open relationship?”

c.     Side-effects usually include pit in stomach, violent frustration, numb shock and 12 back to back playings of John Mayer’s single, “Friends, Lovers, or Nothing.”

Always Educating,

Gertrude and Charlotte 


Things a Single Girl Has Time For..Part 1

Lucky for me, Fridays are my slower days.  Last Friday I spent 2 hours on campus sitting through meetings, and the rest of the afternoon I have enjoyed with myself.  First, I spent an hour and a half talking to one of my closest sisters in Christ.  We talked about how stressful our week started out, but how glorious God made himself as the week went on.  Almost 2 hours--JUST GLORIFYING GOD!  How awesome!

After that I spent another hour on the phone with a dear sweet girl that I disciple.  She told me of all the things God had been teaching her, and how she is recognizing Satan's attacks against these things.  Another hour spent in worship! :)  How wonderful!

I then worked on some homework for an hour or so, which was really nice to get out of the way for the weekend.  But here comes the best part, after that I spent an hour de-salting a can of Planter's Cashews!  Yes, I sound crazy and pathetic, but oddly enough, no grocery store in my area sells unsalted Cashews, and I like to make my own unsalted mixed nut assortment.  Therefore, I unsalt all my Cashews before mixing them with my other nuts.  Moving on now...

 As I stood silently in my kitchen, carefully wiping the salt off of each individual Cashew, God began to whisper sweet blessings into my ear.  You know, this may sound silly, but one day you are going to wish you had time to sit around and unsalt Cashews.  This is one of the many blessings I have given to you to enjoy during this season of your life.


How true!  Satan attacks single people all the time, but when we really stop and think about what we have, it's actually quite wonderful!  All week God has been refilling my contentment jar with gracious thoughts and a thankful heart.  Why in the world do we complain about not having enough to do, enough people to talk to, or enough money in our wallet?  God is the ultimate provider.  He gives us everything we could ever need--and more!  


This season in your life may be throwing struggles at you left and right, but stop and make a list of what all you have to be grateful for!  Make a list of all the random-awesome things you can do now, that you may not be able to do later on.  You might even come across a can of nuts! 


Here is a list of some ideas to get you started:

  • Movie Nights!  I have a close friend who absolutely LOVES movie nights/days.  When given the chance, she curls up in a huge blanket and spends hours watching all sorts of movies that she alone enjoys.  She often talks of the relaxation and refreshment she gets from this activity.  This may not be rocket science, but when you graduate and get married, these opportunities will become less and less.
  • Long Walks with God- Another girl friend of mine spends hours in fellowship with God.  She often walks down to a lovely pond with her Bible and a journal, and just talks to him.  Enjoy the sunset, pray for your neighborhood, or get to know the heart of God, all of these things are precious moments that single people have extra time for.
  • Learn to cook and clean!  It's biblical, I promise!
  • Find awesome new hairstyles on Pinterest- This will definitely come in handy when God's perfect timing is revealed.
  • Hang out with people who aren't your age! Look around your church and see who needs a baby sitter, or some extra company.  Both little kids and older people have TONS of wisdom that you can pick up on.  I always have a blast doing this!
Whatever you decide to do, do it with all your heart (Coll 3:23) and do it to the glory of God.  Ephesians 5 tells us to live wisely because the days slip away faster than monkey on  a banana peel (my paraphrase,) so make the most of every season!  God has a purpose in each circumstance (Ecclesiastes.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coldplay's Paradise, African Style


This song gave me the chills. The Piano Guys+Alex Boye=Money. Download their free MP3 here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

If I Can't Have...



If I can’t have….                                                    
     Waffles for breakfast every morning…
              At least I can have….
                            2 strawberry pop-tarts between 
                                   Bio and Writing 220.


If I can’t have….                                                   
     A date with a boy taller than me…
            At least I can….
                         See over the crowd at Taylor Swift concerts.


If I can’t have….                                                    
      Straight A’s…
                       At least I can have….
                                  Better eyebrows than the professor.


If I can’t have….                                                     
      A full tank of gas…
                    At least I can have….
                                     A full tank of sass.


If I can’t have….                                                    
    A closet chock full of J. Crew clothes…
            At least I can have….
                        J. Crew magazine clippings wallpapering 
                                   my bathroom mirror.

If I can’t have…
            My hair dyed every month
                        At least I can have….
                                                Messy buns be in style.


If I can’t have….                                                    
A boyfriend…
                                    At least I can have….
                                                            A killer blog.

Forever Yours,
            Gertie and Char