Monday, March 7, 2011
I was looking for inspiration for MOPS and realized it is Mardi Gras today. Not being from the south, I didn't know much about it, but in doing some research about the holiday, I was having a hard time correlating Mardi Gras with MOPS until I came across the Kings cake. I had never heard of this but if the word cake is in the description I figured it was at least worth looking into. Turns out it was exactly what I was looking for. Apparently, this cake is served during Mardi Gras to celebrate the last "hurrah" before the start of Lent the next day. Traditionally, there is a baby in a slice of the cake, whoever gets the baby is said to have good luck in the next year...
So this got me thinking about Lent, as a new believer I have never given anything up for Lent and honestly didn't know much about it. So I started looking into the tradition and found that it is mostly a Catholic tradition that involves giving something up for the 40 days before Easter to signify all that Jesus gave up for us. I began to think about that and began to feel this pull to at least consider it and to discuss it with my kids. The first thing I thought of was giving up desserts, I don't eat a ton of them, but when I do I love them! So in talking to my 4 year old about Lent and giving something up I mentioned giving up desserts and she began to cry, maybe she is a little to young yet!
I do like the thought, though, of giving up something that I enjoy, in the name of Jesus. I think of the sacrifice that Jesus made for me, for us. He gave his life so that we could live our lives to the fullest. As a new believer, I look at my life 2 years ago before I accepted Jesus and look at it now and realize that I am a completely new person, so much better and so much more whole than I was without Jesus in my life. I owe him my life, certainly I can give up some sugar for 40 days to thank him for all he has done for me! The other side to Lent, as I see it, is to spend more time each day with Jesus. I don't think that giving up the occasional dessert without any further reflection is all that this season has to offer. I plan to spend more time each day reading and reflecting on the bible, more time in prayer (which is admittedly the weak point in my faith), and most importantly, more time listening for the word of God. I am amazed at how much I hear from Him when I take the time to listen for His voice. So, off to have a piece of Kings Cake!!!
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I Love My Husband
I thought I would share some of what I have learned about loving my husband through reading Elizabeth George's " A Woman After God's Own Heart". I feel like her book encouraged me to re-examine how I was treating our marriage and how I viewed my husband. She discusses the greek words for "love" Agapo (unconditional love, ie. how God loves us) and phileo (friendship love). George states that we are commanded in the bible to love our husbands with both types of love, we are to not only love our husbands as lovers and life partners, but as also as friends. I think that in the business of everyday life, that aspect gets pushed to the side. She gives some amazing advise on how to work on that aspect of marriage, but the one that really stuck with me and has changed my attitute was the idea of putting my husband as my first human priority, after God. At first this seemed like an obvious statement, of course he is first, I married him, right? But in thinking about the last 6 years of life, I realize that our three kids have taken first priority in my life, as much as I don't enjoy admitting that I have been putting my husband down at the 4th slot, that is where he was. It is so hard as a mother to even see that, with the meals, laundry, potty time...it seems to never end. By the end of the day I am ready for bed, not to work on expanding and growing a friendship with my husband. But, over the long haul, that is exactly what our marriage needed, a growing of our friendship, and my husband deserved the respect of being put back into the slot of first priority. Of course, the mother in me balked and said "but the kids NEED me". What I wasn't realizing though, was that by putting my children first every time, I was not giving my husband the respect he deserved as the husband that God had chosen for me. I also began to realize that the kids need to see a strong, healthy relationship in their parents if they are going to have any hope of having healthy relationships as adults. So, after admitting to myself that yes, I needed to change, I began the hard work of figuring out how to do it. I started by really listening to him: to the things he needs, wants, likes, doesn' t like, and then actually taking the steps to implementing those thoughts into action on my part. It doesn't sound like much, but when I actually began taking the time to truly listen to him with my undivided attention, how much I was able to learn about the things that make him happy and unhappy. George's book, in some respects, seems to value the "1950's" wife, and a few years ago I would have laughed at that, but as a new believer in the way of Jesus, I take her suggestions to heart. Little things like having the house clean when he gets home, the kids are fed, teeth done and have jammies on so that it is time for video and quiet time, hot breakfast in the mornings and nice quiet dinners in the evenings. I feel like these are ways in which I can show my husband that he is a priority in my life, that I am so proud of him and what he brings to our family, and that he is my best friend. We certainly have more work to do to get to the point that I believe God would like for us to be in our relaiionship, but I thank God for showing me this starting point.