The Women Living Well Book Club – Chapter 8 {Banishing Bitterness}

Book Club chapter 8

Let’s Discuss Chapter 8

Today I want to share some thoughts with you from Elisabeth Elliot’s book titled “Let Me Be a Woman”.

Elisabeth writes:

Who is it you marry?  You marry a sinner. There’s nobody else to marry.  That ought to be obvious enough but when you love a man as you love yours it’s easy to forget.  You forget it for a while and then when something happens that ought to remind you, you find yourself wondering what’s the matter, how could this happen, where did things go wrong?

They went wrong back in the Garden of Eden.  Settle it once for all, your husband is a son of Adam.  Acceptance of him – of all of him- includes acceptance of his being a sinner…

We love reality tv but here's our reality

You will less likely turn into a nagging wife if you recall continually that it is not only your husband who leaves undone those things which (you think) he ought to do, and does things which (you think) he ought not to do, but that you, too, have erred and strayed like a lost sheep, sinning daily by omission and commission.

The consciousness that we are alike in our need of redemption is a liberating one.  For there will be times when you find yourself accusing, criticizing, and resenting.  You begin, almost without realizing that you are doing it, to make a mental list of offenses, anticipating the day when some straw will break the came’s back and you can recite the whole list, sure to add at the end “and another thing…!”

But you will find yourself disarmed utterly, and your accusing spirit transformed into loving forgiveness the moment you remember that you did, in fact, marry only a sinner, and so did he.  It’s grace you both need.”

Ah yes, grace.  Grace changes everything. Grace helps us banish bitterness in marriage.

who we are at home is who we really are (1) (2)

 

Let’s Discuss:

Often times it is the single women who are told that they need to find contentment in their singleness…but I think married women need the same exhortation.

We must find contentment in our marriages.  That’s what this 3 minute video is all about:

(If you can’t see the video – click here to view it)

Discussion Questions:

1.) When conflicts arise in marriage – and they always do – how do you tend to handle them?  Are you cranky or critical?  Do you suddenly become a history expert and bring up old wounds and mistakes – his not yours?  Or do you become withdrawn and sulk, refusing to deal with the matter?

2.)  Read Hebrews 12:15. What does it mean for something to take root and spring up in the world of plants (and weeds!)?  Why is it dangerous for bitterness to do the same in our heart?

For extra discussion go to the forum and click on the thread that says Chapter 8.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

Discontent Americans

 

 ”But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” ~ I Timothy 6:6

 This quote below is one I’ve saved because it reminds me of how easily we can grow discontent and unaware of the amazing lives we have been given by God in America.  A few of the stats are now off since it’s from 2006 but the message is one we still need to be reminded of.

~written by Craig R. Smith and published on WorldNetDaily.com at Thanksgiving, 2006.

“Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the country just isn’t happy and want a change. I started thinking, ”What are we so unhappy about?” Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year? Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.

Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You maybe upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.

Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67percent of you folks unhappy.”

 

Ouch right?  We are so blessed…and though this is an unstable time with the economy, job market, and fear of terrorists - we have soooo much to be thankful for and God calls us to just be content with food and clothes – look how much MORE he has given Americans!

Praise His name today!  Give thanks and teach your children to give thanks too!

Walk with the King,

 

 

My Meeting with Kylie Bisutti, Former Victoria Secret Model

Tuesday Morning Kylie Bisutti, former Victoria Secret Model, was in New York City on Fox and Friends doing this. 

And Tuesday evening she was in Ohio at a Starbucks, doing this!!!

Kylie graciously gave of her time, to share her story with me and my 2 friends – Diana and Clare (Peak 313).

We chatted for nearly 2 hours and I wish I could share every last detail with you – but it was not an interview (although my rapid fire questions may have felt like it was to her lol!!! This girl is fascinating!). It was truly just a casual meeting of sisters in Christ exchanging God stories!

Kylie has a new website at KylieBisutti.com where she has shared both her testimony and heart. She writes there:

“I Quit Being A Victoria’s Secret Model To Become a Proverbs 31 Wife

I started my modeling career at the very young age of 14. It was always my dream to become a super model and to be a Victoria’s Secret model was my ultimate goal in life. I felt like I was born to walk the runway and at the age of 19 I achieved that goal. I walked in my first Victoria’s Secret runway show…

I selfishly desired the attention that I was getting and I gave in to worldly ways… UNTIL I had a very gracious and convicting AWAKENING! The Lord knocked me off my feet and showed me where to find true happiness and self worth. How to be truly beautiful (which has NOTHING to do with external beauty) and most importantly how to truly live a life for Him and His glory and not my own. As I studied the word more, I desired to be more Christ like in the way that I was living. I wanted to be a better example to young women. I wanted to be the wife that God made me to be and the one my husband deserved. (we were recently married before the whole Victoria’s Secret thing happened) I wanted to be honoring to the Lord in all things. So, I stopped modeling lingerie, and skimpy bathing suits. I told myself I would never be on a men’s magazine again, and I decided to be more modest in the way that I dressed.” ~Source Link

 OH ya – I like this girl!  She has my heart! 

And I have to wonder…is there something that God has been convicting you of? Maybe there is something you are doing that you love BUT you know God is not pleased with.  Maybe it feels like the sacrifice would be too high to quit.  Kylie had reached the epitome of modeling but when God convicted her, she obeyed her convictions, took a leap of faith and sacrificed it all.  She did not know what God would have around the next corner for her but she trusted and went forward.  And she testifies to the peace she has on the other side.

Her story inspires me to remember that all the world offers is empty and that we serve a worthy Savior!  He is worthy of sacrificing all!

To follow Kylie visit her blog at KylieBisutti.com or follower her on Twitter @VSKylie.

Walk with the King,

 

Clare just put up a more detailed post about our meeting with Kylie here: http://peak313.com/featured/my-meeting-with-ex-victoria-secret-model-kylie-bisutti/

 

Creativity and Contentment – Making Your Home a Haven

Today we have a guest!  She is one of my favorite bloggers and she recently took a one year break from blogging and now she’s back with a brand new blog name (Grace Full Mama)  AND she’s going to be speaking at Relevant with me – which means I will see her in 2 short weeks!!  Hooray! 

 

Joy is the wife to a missionary pilot and they, along with their five kids, live in Indonesia.  Joy is a proud wife, blessed mommy, runner, homeschooler, reader, thinker, home-maker, lover of nature, and most of all, an undeserving recipient of amazing grace, and grateful daughter of God.  Joy’s heart is to encourage women to revel in their job as mommy and wife, and to see it as good and needed work.  She blogs at Grace Full Mama.

Joy writes:

You might think that missionaries don’t struggle with wanting material things or perhaps that we are “above” wanting things to look nice.

 Not so.

 I, just like the next girl, like pretty things.  As a child, I dreamed of a little farmhouse with a cute picket fence beckoning you to come to the porch and sit a while.

Fast forward to life in a tropical city.  My idea of a dream house never included gecko poop on the walls or pythons in the backyard.   I never dreamed of the mold in the corner of every cabinet, ants marching in at every stray crumb left on the counter, or my couches that are meant to be “outside” couches but, alas, are in my living room. 

 And I struggled (still do at times). And, I would sigh, and dream of a walk down Target aisles.  A trip to the craft store.  And wish that my life looked different.

Over several months God began teaching me contentment.  He brought this verse to me, the words of Paul,

 “… for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Philippians 4:11

 

                        (printable on left found here and book here)

 He showed me that I can to be thankful for the gifts that I already have.  Focusing on all the gifts that are right around me.  Embracing the beauty that has been given to me, the beauty all around me, and using what I have to create more beauty in my home.

 And you know what comes of choosing contentment? Peace.  Love.  Joy.  And those are certainly things that help to make a home a haven!

And it frees me up to be more creative.  It has forced me to think outside the box, look for different ways to create.

 So, in an effort to see beauty, here are the things around my home that I have done to create beauty with what I have.  No, I am no decorator, but it is a space that is beautiful for my precious family and for those who visit, and that is what is important, isn’t it?! 

 

 

A while ago, a friend paid me a huge compliment.  She said that I am really good at decorating with the senses…. peaceful music, good smelling candles, and soft lighting.  I was thrilled, because that is exactly what I want for my home.  And they are 3 three things that are simple AND cheap! 

 

 Do I still struggle with contentment?  Sure I do, every time I look at my couches!  But, as I choose to embrace the things that the Lord has given me, I cannot help but be grateful; and that translates into a welcoming, peaceful home for all that enter.

 

How about you?  Do you ever struggle with being discontent?  And how does choosing contentment help with making your home a haven?

 **Thank you Joy so much for sharing these thoughts.  I asked Joy to write on contentment because long ago she wrote a post about her couches…that challenged me to the core.  I am SO glad her voice is back in blogland ;)!

Walk with the King!
Courtney

*Visit Joy at GraceFullMama.com

 

 

How To Deal With Disappointment in Marriage

Anonymous wrote:

For the marriage series, could you cover disappointment? Going into a marriage thinking you are on the same page spiritually, but you find out after that you’re not, and not knowing before the “I do’s” that there would be such an issue with laziness? Resentment sets in, and years get lost while hoping and praying for your husband to be the spiritual leader and provider that you thought he was going to be? It affects every aspect of the relationship, and it’s hard to reconcile your life and dreams with reality, especially as time passes so quickly.”

Another Anonymous wrote:

“I am experiencing the same issue. Thank you for your consideration on this topic.”

Dear Anonymous,

I am so sorry for your disappointment :(  Please know that you are not alone.  We all experience disappointments in marriage.  I hear 3 concerns in your question: Disappointment with expectations; Disappointment with your husband’s spiritual leadership; and  Disappointment with your husbands work ethic.  So let me address these issues one at a time.

1. Disappointment with Expectations

False expectations can be formed while dating.  As you both try to win each others hearts,  both parties put their best foot forward and seek to please each other.  The reality is character qualities that we did not see during the dating years will rear their ugly heads as new seasons of life bring new challenges.  Does that mean we married the wrong person?  No!

How we handle our husband’s short comings reveals more about our own character than our husbands.  Bitterness, resentment, harsh words and a critical spirit are not character traits our husbands expected to see in their wives.  The truth is usually both parties change a bit in the way they selflessly love. 

So what do we do?  Let go of your expectations, remain steadfast in faithfulness to your marriage vows and remember that you married a sinner who needs grace – the same grace Christ gave us at the cross.  Look into his eyes – deep into his soul – most likely there is a hurting man inside.  He may be suffering from fear of failure, insecurity masked in a big ego, maybe wounds from childhood, and wounds from your marriage.  Pray God brings a spiritual and hard working role model into his life.  Disrespect rarely motivates a man.   So try something new in your marriage – sit down and write out 5 things you love about your husband and tell him! 

2. Disappointment with husband’s spiritual leadership

This problem is a serious epidemic in Christian marriages and possibly the #1 reason Christian marriages are failing.  It is very hard for wives to respect and follow a man that they are not trusting to lead them in God’s ways.  But disrespect is rarely a motivator for a husband.

The reality is you can’t change your husband.  And that’s a hard pill to swallow because it is a true loss and hardship in marriage.  BUT God can change your husband and sometimes he uses you, the helpmate, to change him but often it’s not with your words but through your actions(I Peter 3).  Please take a moment and read one of my previous posts titled “Thriving In A Spiritually Mismatched Marriage.” It talks about the common pitfalls of women in this position from the “holier than thou attitude” to falling into a pit of despair, heartache, feeling over burdened, fear, loneliness, and longing.  This is a very real problem that you must give to God daily.  Cling to Jesus and let him lead you. 
 
3.  Disappointment with husband’s work ethic
 
All husbands have their strengths and weaknesses.   This is where the grass is not greener part comes in.  While you may struggle with your husband not working, another wife may struggle with her husband working too much.  While these issues need to be discussed and addressed - as wives we must guard our hearts against discontentment.  Discontentment kills the oneness that God created us to have in marriage.  
 
If this causes a serious financial issue, I suggest you write out a letter to your husband.  Pray over it for 1-2 weeks and rewrite it until it is loving, kind, gentle, filled with grace and truth while being transparent and open.  Pray for God to reveal the right time to approach your husband.  Then when the television is off and the kids are not in the room, read the letter to your husband.  Leave the results in God’s hands and if he does not listen then I encourage you to watch this video about how to bring our needs before our husbands time and again respectfully.
 
In conclusion, all of the above issues need to be bathed in prayer.  If your marriage is on the brink of disaster and you have done all of the above – I encourage you to please see a pastor, elder, an older woman you trust or call a Christian counsellor. Focus on the Family has a 1-800 number that you can call Monday through Friday 6am to 8pm. It’s 1-800-232-6459.
 
I am praying for you – May God Bless your marriage ten fold!  
 
Walk with the King!
Courtney

Thriving In A Spiritually Mismatched Marriage


Deanna, answered: An unequally yoked marriage is a difficult path to walk. But I want to encourage you by saying that one can have a happy, fulfilling marriage with an unbelieving husband. You do not just have to survive your spiritually mismatched marriage, but you can actually thrive in the midst of it.

On November 14th, I (Deanna) celebrated 28 years of marriage with my beloved unbeliever. God has had to do a mighty work in my heart and I have come to know my Lord and Savior intimately as God has taught me how to be a godly wife to a man who had no interest in spiritual things. My life verse has been, “I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)

As I reflect back over the years I would like to share with you some of the Pitfalls to having a marriage that thrives:

First, I had a “Holier Than Thou Attitude”. I esteemed myself above him because I was a Christian and he was not!! Oh my!!! God’s word says: Phil 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.”

Second, I had a judgmental attitude. I was often mentally critical of his actions and words. I felt since my husband did not seek God, how could he speak into my life! I used sarcasm as a weapon. I played the martyr and treated my marriage as a cross I must bear for being unequally yoked. I did not treat my husband with respect. Ephesians does not give us an option on respecting our husbands. It does not say “if he deserves it” or “if you feel like it”,” if he is a Christian or not”- just to respect our husbands- period! (Ephesians 5:33 “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”)


My focus was on my circumstances.

I focused on the negative attributes of my husband.


I
focused on my pain and heartache
I felt when I was sitting in the church pew alone…again. Looking around with envy at all the couples wishing my husband was next to me.

I focused on the burden of being the spiritual leader in my home. I focused on not having the spiritual under girding from him because sometimes moral support was not enough.

I focused on my children not having a godly dad. I focused on the weight of teaching and nurturing the spiritual upbringing of our children.

I focused on the pain and despair I felt when my teenage son decided not to go to church and his excuse was “Dad doesn’t, so neither am I”

I focused on the fear that would well up inside of me when I faced the reality that my husband may never accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. This fear fueled my tactics of manipulation and scheming in an attempt to get my husband to see his need of a Savior! Before I knew it, I felt responsible for his salvation!!!

I focused on my loneliness and spiritual isolation.

I focused on the deep, deep heartache of not being able to share anything spiritual with my husband. Yes, I could tell him how God answered prayer or how God’s word touched my heart, but he does not understand. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

I focused on the longing I had for the day we could worship and rejoice together over God’s blessings to us.

All these desires and strong emotions are valid and real, but my focus was wrong. My focus had to change from my circumstances to Jesus. I was tired of being miserable. I wanted that abundant life that I read about in the Bible. I began to cry out to God and asked Him to change my heart. I asked God to help me die to self and began to consciously choose to yield and be submissive to God. This allowed me take on a submissive attitude with my husband also.


I prayed for God to renew my love and passion for my husband. I prayed for God to show me how to respect my husband when I did not feel like it or feel he deserved it. Through the power of the Holy Spirit I was able to love and serve my husband with joy, placing his needs above my own. When I am feeling frustrated, lonely or angry I cry out to my Rock and Redeemer. In Christ I can be gentle and kind, desiring to be a blessing to my man. When I fail, I ask for forgiveness and try again. 1 John 1:9, Ps 116:1-2

So, how do you deal with a husband who doesn’t believe but you do? 1Peter 3: 1-4 says, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words, by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Abiding in Christ enables a believing wife to live with and thrive in a happy marriage with her unbelieving husband. It is about a daily, sometimes minute by minute laying down of selfish ways, forgiveness, not neglecting God’s word or quiet time with your Savior and being obedient to God’s word- and pray, pray, pray. (John 15)

Here are some practical ways to apply God’s word:

1. I am paraphrasing 1 Peter 3:1, Keep your lips zipped. Allow your actions to speak of God’s love. Wait for the prompting of the Holy Spirit to use your words.

2. Read or study your bible, visit with Christian friends or teach your children godly principles when he is not around.

3. “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Cor 11:3 It is very important for your husband to know he comes BEFORE church activities and friends.

4. Take your frustration, anger, loneliness or hurt feelings to God first. Pour your heart out to Him and allow Christ to quiet your heart and heal your wounds. Then, if necessary, address the issue with your husband. (Ps 62:8)

For more encouragement, I recommend the book “Beloved Unbeliever” by Jo Berry

Do not give up hope. After 27 years of prayer my husband accepted Christ as his Savior!!!!!

~Deanna
Today’s post is a part of the “Put Your House In Order” Series. Please visit the ladies below for more on Parenting, Decorating, Cooking and Finances!Walk with the King!

Thank you to Tammy from Tammy Labuda Photography for her photos today. Tammy is a friend from my college days at the Moody Bible Institute. She is a Wedding and Lifestyle Portait Photographer based out of Dallas, Texas and she is willing to travel to you if you need a photographer. To see more of her portraits go to Tammy Labuda Photography or “Like” her Facebook page.

So I asked a friend and woman I admire – “How do you thrive in a spiritually mismatched marriage?

My Battles With Loneliness

After posting the picture of my Good Morning Girls Group, I received a few comments and emails from sisters in Christ who are lonely and long for Christian friendships. My heart broke, as I can recall the seasons in life where I was caught in the dark cloud of loneliness.

I remember weekends in college in Chicago, when most of the girls either went home or out on dates with their boyfriends – I was homesick. I would sit in my dorm room alone eating popcorn and listening to George Winston’s Pachabel’s Canon play on repeat for hours(I still do this! lol!). I never did go out on dates in college – not once – I was dating Keith long distance. I poured over God’s word on those long weekends and filled in the gaping dark hole with God’s presence.

Finally, I married Keith after 4 long years apart and we moved to Columbus, Ohio for him to finish college at Ohio State University. I was in a new town – with a new name – with a new job – and a new church. I recall walking into my first Bible study in the new church and no one greeting me. I sat alone and was very uncomfortable. I had made some non-Christian friends at work. But I longed for a safe refuge of Christian friends where I could let my guard down and be myself. It took about 18 months before I developed my first “real” Christian friendship…it was a long lonely 18 months.

Then I moved home after 7 years away. I had finally made Christian friends back in Columbus – but here I was “alone” again! I pulled out a prayer journal from my first week home and I had written in there… “Help me Lord to not get into a rut of self pity as it is hard in a new town with no friends.” Looking back it’s humorous. I wasn’t in a new town? I was in my hometown. These weren’t new friends? They were old friends. But I was scared – I had changed in 7 years – so had they – would they accept me?

David, “a man after God’s own heart”, was lonely. In Psalm 25:16 he said to the Lord, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” David turned to God.

If we choose to turn away from God in response to our loneliness we will go down a very cold road
. Job and Elijah felt so alone they wanted to die. Jeremiah wished he had never even been born. Satan can use this time to enter sinful thoughts into our minds such as self pity, self-centeredness, bitterness, anger, and jealousy. We may attempt to put a band aid on the pain by turning to the television, alcohol, shopping, binge eating, or excessive computer time.

But, the only comfort I ever found was in releasing my needs to God in prayer and then trusting God. If you are struggling with loneliness today I encourage you to read Psalm 84:11,12. Place your trust in God, then go one step further and delight yourself in God as the rest of Psalm 84 says.

Stop being jealous, stop shopping, stop suppressing the pain with food. I testify as one lonely sister to another (*tears are stinging as I write this next line because God has taught me this truth through tears over and over and over and I pray with all my heart you will grasp this) - it has been in my trusting and delighting – that God has filled the God shaped hole inside of me, to the brim.


In time, God will bring you the fellowship you long for but never let your friends replace your Walk with the King,

Hip Homeschool Hop Button Raising Homemakers

Do Not Be Courtney

(This post is basically a disclaimer…the next time someone thinks that I am trying to make cookie cutter marriages, or parenting or homemaking I will send them this link – so just humor me for a moment while I publically get this out! lol!)

Some time ago, a reader bumped into me while I was out and about. She began to share her feedback on my blog. It was transparent and honest. It was friendly while at the same time inquisitive and seeking some explanation for why I write some of the things that I write. While there were a plethora of topics we covered, at the end, the part that disturbed me was that though I have said many times on this site that “you should NOT try to be like me.” It appeared she did not receive that message. Ugh!

So let me explain – You should never seek to be me…you are amazing – God created you with all those gifts and talents so different than mine that your life would be wasted if you tried to be me.

As Chris Brogan says “be you hard. You’re going to do so much more than me. You’re going to change your space. You’re going to… nail it. Why try to be me. I’m going to falter at some point and you’ll have forgotten about comparisons. You should. Be you. It’s way more fun.”


The Biblical principles that I share on the blog should be the same for all of us – but how we apply them will look different in every home.

I open the doors to my home via this blog to simply say “come on in and take a peak. This is how I do it. If it could be of help or encouragement feel free to join me on my journey. I am here to serve God and you BUT if this blog does not serve you there’s this little red X up in the corner that you should click.”

Now of course, I don’t want to chase you all away!!! lol! I love you guys! BUT I am not trying to gain followers of “Courtney” but rather followers of Christ. That’s who I am. I’m a flawed follower of Christ.

Jesus Christ said in Luke 9:23 If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” I am learning how to live the crucified life one step, one day, one month, one season, one year, one decade at a time. God has used marriage, parenting, and homemaking to bring out my ugly sin and sanctify me and that is the process that I am sharing here with you – sanctification. On my own, I am feeble at best.
If you need a friend to journey along side of you in your life long pursuit of following Jesus – I’m in. But if you are trying to be like me…this is going to backfire – I am going to fail you and you will hate me in the end.

Rejoice in your uniqueness. Nail being you! Have fun being you! Delight in our differences! Do NOT be Courtney.

Walk with the King!