Wisdom for Wives

"Be diligent to know the state of your flocks …"

All Dressed Up for the New Year!

Team Singapore fireworks display from Singapore Fireworks Festival 2006

Singapore Fireworks Festival, image credit: Ngoh Seh Suan (Creative Commons)

Happy 2016!  I hope you enjoyed your celebrations of our Savior’s birth.  I myself did have a merry Christmas.  However, even though it’s only the second day of the new year, our decorations are already down. I’m pretty sure this is a record for me. I took them down this morning, quite happily. With each string of lights unwound, and every ornament returned to storage, I was putting 2015 behind me.

It’s not that 2015 was a bad year, really. Sure, there were challenges, but the year also brought many, many blessings. Still, I found myself struggling with sadness throughout the year. Come December, I had little appetite for decking the halls. I have to confess that my kids had to drag me into the Christmas season. (I thank God for them!!) Pretty much the only reason the Christmas tree made it up is because they started begging to decorate as soon as Thanksgiving dinner was over. So, the first weekend in December, I relented and brought in the decorations from the garage. I left the kids in charge, but I have to say, once they got started, I did start to feel more festive. I pulled up last year’s Christmas playlist and danced around the living room while my elves adorned the tree.

But not every night leading up to Christmas was so jolly. To be honest, celebrating Advent was a struggle. One night when my daughter came looking for me, I tried to negotiate:  if we could skip Advent that night, I would make it up to them with jumbo deluxe activities the next night. Well, she wasn’t having it.  😀  But I’m glad she did not take no for an answer. (And I’m extremely glad for the list of Advent activities that I so cheerfully posted back in 2014; also somewhat incredulous that I had the energy to cut and paste 25 little red and green envelopes.  Fortunately, some activities require little to no planning, which came in handy on the nights where I had the least energy. I also gave myself a break and did one hands-on/food activity per night, instead of two).

Anyway, I’m so thankful that we took the time to read the Scriptures about the birth of Jesus, even when I did not feel like it. It did me well to sing, “Joy to the World” and “O Holy Night,” when my preference was to stay in bed.

Things started to turn around a few days before Christmas. I was alone in the car, listening to a news program on the radio, and a song that played briefly during a transition caught my attention. I intended to check the station’s website to find out the name of the song. It was a melancholy tune, and I realized that the reason I wanted to download it is because it would make great wallowing music. I could picture myself listening to it loop over and over again. And it seemed to me like I was making a plan, a conscious effort, to reject joy. I was choosing despair. It’s not merely that I was overly focused on my problems (though I probably was). Or that I needed to focus more on my numerous blessings (though it probably would have helped). The joy of the Lord is independent of my problems and my blessings, and I was paying no mind (literally) to joy.  Joy depends only on Him.  Along with love, peace, gentleness, and more, the fruit of His Spirit—that lives within me—is joy. And here I was selecting a playlist for an anti-joy party.

But God has my clothes picked out for a much better party:

I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

This is not to say that I merely flipped a switch that afternoon, and I expect to be sadness free forevermore. Or that every day of 2016 I will feel as hopeful as I feel today. I know that some days, I will have to make a conscious effort to choose joy. But I don’t ever have to find joy, conjure up joy, or create it.  It is always available to me because He is in me.  And He will never, ever, ever forsake me.

Thank you for stopping by,

Susan

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Hide-the-Word Wednesday: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Like many people, I paid a great deal of attention to the news this past weekend.  It was a lot, even for me.  On Saturday, I consumed news in one form or another for almost the entire day. That night, I watched the Democratic debates and went to bed shortly after.
My first waking thought on Sunday, was of the candidates’ statements about recent events.
I was saturated.
I can think of much better things to saturate my mind with.
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Orange River, Upington, South Africa; Image credit: Paffy under Creative Commons

Is there anything taking up too much space in your mind?
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Hide-the-Word Wednesday: Enjoying the Ride

This summer each of our children received some money from their grandparents, to spend as they choose.  For the past few days, the youngest has been asking–very earnestly :)—to be taken to the store to buy some Legos (more Legos, that is).  Today, Daddy agreed to take him and so they’re on their way.  I didn’t go with them, but I have to imagine that their in-car conversation is about the amazing structures that Little Man is going to build, or perhaps the French fries he’d like to get on the way home.  Maybe he’s telling Daddy about his day.  Or he might be asking Daddy whether Legos existed when he was growing up.

I’m pretty confident that my son is not asking whether Daddy knows the way to the toy store.  Or how an internal combustion engine works.  He’s probably not checking to make sure that Daddy uses the turn signal, or pointing out cars that might be about to enter their lane.  He knows that Daddy knows the way, because he’s seen Daddy drive there before.  I’m pretty sure he’s just enjoying the ride.

You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?  😀  Our Lord knows the way!  He made the way.  HE IS THE WAY!  He’s not alarmed or dismayed by potholes or roadblocks.  He sees it all coming and He has a plan for where is taking us.  We have a capable pilot in command, and a tank full of gas.  We need only trust Him, and enjoy the ride.

How would life be different if we truly believed that God knows the way?

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Two-Year Blogiversary and Giveaway!

birthday candle

image credit: amazon.com

Thank God for another year at Wisdom for Wives!  I’m so grateful for what God has shown me the past two years, and that you all have allowed me to share it with you.  I’m also glad to have made it past my initial doubts about starting a blog discussing finances in marriage.  Even though I’ve been passionate about the topic for years, part of me was sure it was a terrible idea. 😀  For one thing, I knew that it would require talking about my feelings, my challenges, and my failures—three of my least favorite topics!  I was also sensitive about saying anything that might offend someone.  AND, I’m not such a great steward myself.  So how, I wondered, would I be able to encourage others in this area?  But of course we know, our testimony is not about what we get right.  But what He does perfectly.

Speaking of perfection, earlier this year I was quite discouraged about areas of my life in which I felt like I hadn’t grown or changed, including stewardship of my time.  Some weeks or months later I asked God to let me see change in just one area.   The answer to that prayer may have been the Make Over Your Mornings 14-day online course.  Developed by Crystal Paine, the Money Saving Mom, the course is designed to help you create “a morning that is in line with your life, your strengths, your family’s needs, and your unique situation.”  Since completing it in June, I have started an evening routine that has made such a big difference in my mornings.  I’m pleasantly surprised to be keeping it up throughout the summer and hope it will stand up to the real test when school starts again.  🙂  The course also covers setting and achieving goals, and it has helped me make progress with a small business that I hope to launch this year.  So to celebrate this anniversary of Wisdom for Wives, I would like to purchase the course for one of you!

To enter the giveaway, comment below on one area in which you’d like to grow or change.  I would be honored to pray with you about it.  I will select a winner at random from the participants who comment by 11:59 PM (UTC-4, Washington, DC time zone) on Tuesday, August 11. Then come back on Wednesday, August 12 for the announcement of the winner!

Thank you as always for stopping by,
Susan

{Disclosure: I am not receiving any compensation in connection to this post or giveaway.}

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Hide-the-Word Wednesday: Pillow Talk

I’ve shared before that it usually takes me only a few minutes—if that—to fall asleep every night. But last night I was so anxious about a situation that sleep did not come right away. After a while, I thought about how all this worrying can’t be good for my health. Then I realized that I was worrying about worrying! What a mess!!

Thank God for an idea better than counting sheep:  why not “Bible myself to sleep?” I searched my memory for any long passages of Scripture. My kids memorized a big chunk of Philippians 4 last year, and fortunately I picked up some of it, too. And so I started: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice …”

I don’t know for sure how long I lasted, but I’m pretty sure that I was asleep before verse 19.

And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:19

image credit: Jimmy Palma Gil under Creative Commons

Do you find yourself lying awake with worry? Or is bedtime your one-on-One time with the Lord?

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