A Woman’s Beauty and Strength: Dangerous or Delightful?

A Woman’s Beauty and Strength: Dangerous or Delightful?

Can we talk? Just you and me, girlfriend?

A woman’s beauty is one source of her strength. But everything depends on how you use it.

As a woman, you are powerful, beautiful, strong, smart, vulnerable, intuitive, and resilient. When God made you earth and heaven smiled, and you completely took Adam’s breath away. You are the expression of the part of God Himself that longs to connect, communicate, and nurture life, intimacy, and so much more. As John Eldredge describes it, every woman has a beauty to unveil.

In part because of your combined beauty and strength, God’s enemy has unleashed his most destructive weapons against you ever since the beginning. You have survived indescribable pain, loss, and torment. You’ve faced the worst that evil can dream up.

And yet you are still here! The assaults on your body, mind, and soul have not taken you out. You may feel down, but you’re not finished yet!

But the question is, What Will You Do Now?

You have two choices.

You can use your beauty and strength to wreak havoc on everyone around you. You DO have that power.

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More Than Gratitude: Trusting God for ENOUGH

More Than Gratitude: Trusting God for ENOUGH

Joy in the MorningThere’s something powerful about relishing the enough-ness of where you are and what you have right now. It’s more than gratitude, although that is important. Some call it the abundance mindset, or the glass-half-full mentality. I call it trusting God to be ENOUGH.

Think about your prayers. How many of them are requests?

  • Please heal me of my sickness.
  • Please bring me the money that I need.
  • Please bring me a spouse.
  • Please fix my spouse so that we are happy together.
  • Please bring more people to my church.
  • Please give me more opportunities to expand my ministry.

It’s right to bring our requests to God; we are told to do that in Scripture. But if your relationship with God is based primarily on asking Him for things when you need or want help, you’ve made God into a heavenly vending machine; put in a prayer, get out a blessing.

How long would your relationship with your spouse or a good friend last if most of your conversations with them sounded like your prayers – you’re always asking for things and never listening?

If you’re a parent you know what it means to want to give good gifts to your children. Jesus said our Heavenly Father feels that way about us. (Matthew 7:11) But you also know that if your children are always focused on asking for – and receiving – things, they are not likely to mature into happy, productive, responsible adults.

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What to do if you Feel Unloved

What to do if you Feel Unloved

Unwanted. Rejected. Second class. Fifth wheel. Unimportant. Not good enough. Lonely. You feel unloved, and it hurts.

You want to be Number One to someone. Perhaps you never felt that from your parents, and you desperately hoped – expected – that you would find that in a spouse. But the right person hasn’t come along. You keep secretly hoping you’ll meet The One before it’s too late, but it’s not looking real good for you right now.

Or you’re married and you’ve discovered that a ring on your finger doesn’t mean you’re Number One to someone in the way you had hoped. You’re disappointed. Why do you feel so lonely and unloved? Wouldn’t your spouse treat you differently if they truly loved you? This Marriage Misery is worse than being single! At least in that case you wouldn’t have your hopes raised – and then squashed into nothingness.

I so badly wanted to be Number One to someone for many years. I was outwardly successful, had friends, and experienced quite a lot of freedom and joy – but I was alone. Some of the people around me were nice enough, but nobody loved me. Not really. Not for me, the whole of me.

Does “God Loves You” even apply to you?

You might say, “That’s just sour grapes. God loves you. And that’s enough.”

You’re right – God loves me. And you. But how does that become enough?

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Suffering in Marriage

Suffering in Marriage

Suffering in marriage is common. I’m honored to be posting over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. Thank you, Sheila Wray Gregoire, for the opportunity! I hope you’ll check out all Sheila has to offer, and read the full post there.

Suffering in MarriageMarriage isn’t supposed to be about suffering, is it?

There may be a few marriages where everything goes smoothly and life is truly “happily ever after,” but truthfully I haven’t known any marriages like that. I considered my marriage very happy, happier than most, but it was not devoid of suffering. But it was actually those challenging aspects that brought me the greatest satisfaction and became the most valuable.

Suffering in marriage is a touchy subject. That idea may immediately bring up thoughts of abuse, control, manipulation, addiction, violence, and any number of other painful and destructive ideas. I just want to get this out of the way right now: those behaviors are never OK. Never. Period. End of story. If there is abuse, manipulation, or violence going on in your marriage, get some help now!

But there’s a whole other aspect to “suffering” that is much more common, perhaps universal.

As human beings we are basically selfish, and when two selfish people become joined in marriage there is certain to be suffering.

You are certain to be hurt if you get close enough to someone, and you are certain to hurt them also. And life has a way of bringing its own suffering in a thousand different ways. It’s not a matter of if, but of when. But it’s what you do next that really counts.

Suffering can crop up in many different ways. Your spouse wants sex when you don’t, or you want sex when your spouse doesn’t feel up to it – over and over again. Your spouse develops a serious illness. Your teenage child gets involved in drugs. Your baggage or your spouse’s baggage from your family of origin spills over into your life now. You’re forced to choose between a job you love and doing what’s best for your marriage or family.

Your suffering may be larger or smaller than someone else’s, but it feels really heavy – and probably unfair.

I hope you’ll check out the rest of this post over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. There I talk about how to tell the difference between “good” suffering and “bad” suffering. I’d love to see your comments and questions.

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Raging Against Death: The End of the Story

Raging Against Death: The End of the Story

Bible with Dead LeafYou can handle a lot – for a while. You can handle separation from your sweetheart if you know you’ll be greeted with an embrace on your return in a few days. You can put up with a horrendous mess as your kitchen is being remodeled – for a couple weeks. You may be able to tolerate the grueling radiation or chemo for your cancer while you count down the six weeks until it ends. Knowing the end of the story makes things easier.

But what if you don’t know the end of the story? Jim Collins writes of his interview with Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was the highest-ranking United States military officer in the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner-of-war camp during the Vietnam War. Tortured over twenty times times during his eight-year imprisonment, Stockdale was credited with helping other men deal with the torture, instituting an elaborate communication system among his fellow captives who were often held in solitary confinement, and exchanging secret intelligence information with his wife through their letters. When questioned about what allowed him to make it through that time with his sanity intact, he credited his ability to be both brutally honest about his present circumstances and at the same time confident that he and the others would get out and prevail in the end. He told Jim Collins,

This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. (Good to Great, p. 85)

Jim Stockdale was confident of the end of the story even though none of the circumstances around him provided evidence of such. That makes me think of our own circumstances – and of the end of the story that we are each a part of right now.

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