Welcome to one of the new and exciting features At the Well - Training in Truth. This feature will be geared towards young, single, "ladies in training" that are already striving to live according to Titus 2. Here is today's post:
"A woman's heart should be so close to God that a man has to chase Him to find her." --C.S. Lewis
Being the romantic heart that I am, I found myself pondering this quote. I thought about what it means regarding my love for my future husband and my love for God. I realized, yet again, how much the Lord loves and cares for me, and how he will grant the desires of my heart. The man that He has set aside for me will be one who cares enough to search for God in order to find my heart. It will be a blessed relationship because God will have been the foundation of both our lives before they were ever intertwined.
My question then becomes, how do I focus my heart on you Lord, so that the right man will find me? How do I, or any young, single, woman, keep her heart pure, as the woman in Song of Solomon repeats, "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires" Song of Solomon 2:7 (NIV).
God speaks often on this issue. It often amazes me how thousands of years before I was brought into this world, God was penning verses that speak to the heart of this contemporary, modern girl.
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33 (NKJ)
"And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don't think I'm being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches." 1 Corinthians 7:17 (The Message)
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 (NIV)
When I read 1 Corinthians 7, I am convicted.
Convicted that there are times when I find my mind wandering and wishing, thinking life will be complete when ____(insert whatever comes next in your plan here) happens. I think about the "when if's" of life, only to miss out on today.
Today, God has me exactly where He would have me be. He is guiding me to become a Titus 2 woman. He is training me in Truth. He has a perfect plan for my life; a plan that He wants to see come to fruition. This leads me back to Matthew. When I seek His kingdom, I seek Him. I become one with His plan for my life. Plans that I am not privileged to. His plans, not mine.
I know, as Esther knew, that I was created for "such a time as this." The how's and why's and when's that invade my spirit are not mine to worry about. He is in complete control of today, tomorrow, and forever. While I am prone to wonder about my future, as I train in Truth, I learn to trust. Trust completely, so that one day, my heart will be so close to God that the man of my dreams has to chase Him to find me.
I want to remember this because I know we search sometimes and we don't see the "pearl," or we see it but forget to sell everything for it. It's kind of silly I think that we know better -- what we should be doing, and yet don't do it. I pray that I will not hold onto anything that keeps me from finding my treasure in the Lord.
Today I hope to touch upon a subject that is very near and dear to my heart, as well as my husband's. We have so much fun in our marriage and we both think fun is important in a marriage. This subject can be a bit sensitive and some might find it uncomfortable to talk about, but I am going to take the risk because I feel it is so important.
I want you to know right up front that I believe that the marriage bed is an unbelievable gift that is holy and pure. I pray what I write today will reflect that.
My husband and I flirt, I mean a lot of flirting! (with each other, of course!) It makes our marriage so much fun, and the intimacy only grows between us. When I say intimacy, I mean the closeness and oneness between a married couple, not just what happens in bed.
Below are just some suggestions of how to incorporate 'flirting' in your marriage. You know your husband better than anybody, what works for one might not work for others. I am merely suggesting that you prayerfully find ways to 'flirt' with your man!
Passionate kissing! Find moments to surprise your husband with a passionate kiss. Maybe on his way out the door in the morning. Imagine his surprise if you never do this! F.Y.I., brush teeth first.
Love notes/emails are a way to let him know you are thinking about him. We used to write love notes to each other all the time, we still do some, but emails come in handy too. Don't be afraid to have a little fun with these. You can always 'destroy the evidence' if need be. (wink) Sometimes it is easier to write things that we might be uncomfortable saying. Things we might like to do, or have him do. Be romantic, it is okay to make him blush!
'Flirty looks.' Apparently I have what my husband calls a 'saucy, come hither look.' He loves when I cast him one of these from across the room. You should see the smile on his face.
Dance in the kitchen, the living room, where ever! We have been known to grab the other person right there in the middle of making hash browns and eggs, spatula in hand and all, and just start dancing! He has even dipped me a few times. I squeal with surprise and the children all laugh and get excited. They see all the time that Mama and Papa love each other so much!
Whisper 'sweet naughties,' I mean 'sweet nothings' in his ear. Use your imagination and don't be shy, as long as you make sure nobody else is listening.
We have lots of 'private'words. They are just normal words, with special meaning. Nobody has a clue what we mean, it is our little secret. I of course can't tell you them because they are secret. Are there words that only the two of you know the real meaning of?
Be hands on! Touch him more. It might be a simple, gentle stroke on his shoulder or a tousle of his hair, (if he has hair ;-). Or, if nobody is looking, you might think of other places you could touch. Sometimes you will find us walking closely together at the store, even just brushing up against each other, so casually and non-chalantly, of course. This is a good time for that 'saucy, come hither look.'
Admire his physique. This is easy, right? Find something you like about his body and let him know you like it! I will grab hold of his arm and swoon over his 'guns,' as we call them. Maybe it is his derriere, or legs or smile, whatever! Frequently tell him how simply amazing he is!
Initiate a game of chase. We do this and somehow he catches me right at our bed and we plop down in each others arms laughing and kissing. Of course, in a millisecond we can occasionally have several small children on top of us. Everybody is laughing and squealing with delight.
Shower together. We have 'grown' into this one. I can promise you that in our early marriage I would not be caught naked, in the bathroom, with Brian, with the lights on! I promise. But, as our marriage has grown and walls have come down, we love a long, hot shower together!
We have found recently that we talk or reminisce about our times of intimacy. We have also noticed at times we are doing more talking about times of intimacy than we are having times of intimacy, if you know what I mean. Funny thing is, it seems like we are having more times of intimacy because of all the talking! Works for me ;-) The whole next day we might be reminding each other of certain things, or thanking the other for certain things. You get the idea, right?
Okay, I am going to step out just a little bit more here. I want to talk to you about how us women dress. I mean under our clothes or when we go to bed. I am all for modesty in all ways! But, I do think there is value in being just a little bit 'immodest' under our clothing. Do you know what I mean? I don't think there is anything ungodly or unholy about swapping out the stained, cotton, ten year old nursing bra for a pretty, lacy little number for date night! Or, some slightly uncomfortable little dainties to wear under your very modest skirt or dress. ;-)
Also, there is nothing wrong with having an especially 'immodest' nightie to wear on special occasions. Hide it under your big fluffy robe while the children are still awake and then give him a peek before you crawl into bed. You do know that men are very visual, right? I really do believe we can do these types of things in a tasteful and pure way.
Now, procuring these items are a bit difficult for a home schooling, mama of nine! I mean really, how comfortable is it to even buy bras at your local department store? Now, this crazy woman wants you to go buy little, lacy dainties? It can be done ladies, just be careful not to tuck them in your coat on the way to check out for fear you might get stopped by a security guard! Also, leave the children at home and wash your dainties secretly, I mean separately. ;-) Just a little FYI.
This concludes our lesson on Flirting 101. If you have any questions or suggestions of your own, please feel free to leave a comment or email me personally (You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded to me). Please don't throw any tomatoes, I am just sharing my heart here. I am fully aware that we all come from different backgrounds, have unique marriages, and different levels of convictions. Trust God, your heart, and your husband's wishes, not mine.
This was also not meant to put one more 'burden' on your already full plate, just a way to encourage some 'fun.' I personally find it is much easier to 'be in the mood' more often when my mind is there, and flirting is one way to put it there. Blessings and love!
This is a slightly older picture of us, but I think it best expresses the love we have. After more than twenty-one years of marriage, our love only grows stronger. All praise and glory to God!
We are honored to welcome back Jess from Making Home today At the Well.
Let's be willing to say it like it is: as moms of young children, the best place for us to be is at home.
That's just the truth. One can find all sorts of arguments about having the right to be elsewhere, exceptions (a widowed or abused single mom) and more, but the overarching, general truth is-- and we all know it -- children are happiest and best raised when mom is home with them and engaged in their daily lives.
It's strange that it's politically incorrect to say that moms are needed. At home. To be there for their children.
No one has a problem with a boss who says things like, "Jim is the reason for this company's success." Or, "Sandy holds this office together." No one gripes and says it's demeaning for a worker to be needed in their job. So why is there a cultural problem with saying that moms are needed by their children? It's the truth. And, interestingly, that is what God tells young women that they need to learn: to be "working at home," loving their children.
It can be good to attend a ladies' Bible study. It can be great to be a part of a co-op or playgroup. It can be wonderful to get together with a friend. These things can be quite beneficial. But on the whole, more often than not, young moms should be at home. God has given the privilege of conceiving, birthing, and nursing children to young women, and it is only for a season.
BUT "THEY" SAY...
"They" are always saying all sorts of things, aren't they? There are an abounding number of loud voices telling us that we "need" to get out... that we can't be mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually satisfied and stimulated at home... that our self-worth depends on having individual aims that are separate and distinct from who we are and what we do in our homes. And all too often, we believe it.
Some take it so far to say that if we have a brain, we ought to be using it for society. That other people can raise our children for us (because that's mindless work), so that we can contribute to the surrounding community (as though raising hard-working, honest, God-fearing children isn't a significant contribution). But even without these feminist notions in our brains, we still hear the common refrain: "You need to get out of the house more." Even within very godly circles, young moms can easily feel that what they are doing in their daily lives at home is not really the most faithful, godly thing they could be doing.
But what kind of world is it, really, where women are encouraged to feel negatively about being home with the very people who need them most? Where women are encouraged to get away from moments that bring great joy and delight? Where women are made to feel that their minds are only fully used outside the home? Where women are made to feel guilty when they choose to use their intellect and passion to infuse the minds of the next generation with a strong moral foundation, good common sense, and a broad, wise understanding of the world around them?
It is lousy, unbiblical advice that encourages women to abandon the God-appointed place of their sanctification and usefulness to Him. And for young moms, generally, that place is in the home.
OUR HOMES-- IN THE WORLD, BUT NOT OF IT
Our homes ought not be run according to the principles, wisdom, and priorities of the world. Even as Christians, this is an easy trap to fall into.
Sometimes it's difficult... minister's wives, for example, may be pressured or expected to take on more than they should while having young children at home. Young mothers who display any sort of spiritual depth will likely be asked to teach Sunday school classes, head up ministries, or contribute time and energy to "good" things. Young moms are often actively encouraged to join groups like MOPS, scrapbooking clubs, ladies' Bible studies, or other fine and fun activities.
It can be hard to discern what God wants us to do when other people are so vocal in telling us what we "need" to be doing. It may require that we learn to say "no." We may need to learn to graciously but unapologetically stand up for what God reveals in His word-- that God's general plan for young moms is to be doing the basics-- loving their husbands, loving their children, exercising self-control, living purely, and working at home, offering kindness to others and submission to their own husbands. It's not popular, but following God almost never is.
And sometimes you can even get lambasted for it by other Christians... that you need to be doing "more". Sometimes it is the very people who ought to be encouraging us to stay home-- the "older women" mentioned in Titus 2-- that ask or encourage us to be away from our homes. But regardless of who's doing the asking, we need to take to heart the things that God would have us learn and do as younger women, and implement these things into our lives.
When you are discipling little souls and training them to love Jesus while wiping their noses, tying their shoes, and cutting their meat into smaller bites, you ARE "doing more". It is a HUGE thing to be daily in contact with one or more young disciples that you are loving and training up in their faith. It is a HUGE thing to be available to answer their queries, tell them a Bible story, listen to lengthy explanations about the purpose of a new toy creation, or to pray with them at night when they are scared. It is a HUGE thing to be, daily and hourly, earning the trust and respect of a little person, so that they might later all the more fully trust and respect Christ.
It is a HUGE thing to "just" spend time with your children. Christ Himself spent three entire years with 12 grown men and some of them still took a while to really get it. And let's not forget that it wasn't all miracles and parables... sometimes, Jesus & His disciples were just sitting around eating fish, or taking a nap in the hull of a ship.
We as moms are given (Lord willing, if we are blessed to watch them grow into adulthood) potentially 18-20 years of daily interaction with our children. We are privileged to pray for and with them, "study" them-- learning their personality, their strengths & weaknesses, their skills, their interests-- and, in so doing, offer wise guidance as counsel as they grow, and serve them with kind affection. Spending time together, watching, teaching, learning, and loving-- these are no small things.
Should I strive to "get out of the house more"?
Sometimes I struggle here, particularly in an overseas setting-- I want to be able to communicate with my neighbors better. I wish I had more time for Turkish study. I would enjoy being able to share deeper things and communicate more clearly, instead of at a toddler-level of communication in this language. There is a natural pull there for me.
And sometimes, well-meaning others even give me that oft-offered advice, "you should get out of the house more." I know that from the outside, mine seems like a very cloistered life.
But right now, I have four small children... four little people I get to communicate with every single day. Four souls that I can impact and disciple every single day. Three men and one woman who I can begin influencing and shaping right now. I am doing big things and changing the world by discipling those that God has put into my immediate sphere of influence. And it's a job no one else can do in the way that God has equipped me to do.
Whether or not the world salutes it, whether or not the Christians around us value it, there is high value and eternal significance to this work of motherhood.
IT'S A BIG JOB... AND I WANT TO DO IT!
Day-in, day-out motherhood is not for the faint of heart. Our culture whispers lies about it, saying it's easy, insignificant, or that anyone can do it. But the difficulty of it lies in the facts about it--very few do it for the long-haul, and even fewer do it well.
I want to be one that crosses the finish line with exuberance. One that struggles through even the hardest of times with God's peace and joy, and thankfully walks through the good times. One who is a reliable, rock-solid source of comfort, strength, wisdom, and encouragement (all drawn from the wells of God's word) for my husband and children. One that doesn't come up with excuses of why I am the exception in God's plan for younger women. One who yields to the demands of the Potter who knows much better than I do what I was made for... I am striving to be a young mom who says, "yes, Lord. Yes. Here am I. Use me."
Jess is a blessed wife and mommy to four kids ages 7 & under, and lord willing a 5th little one in July. Disciple of Jesus Christ. Lifelong learner. Improving homemaker. People & personality watcher. Homeschool teacher. Recovering feminist. She tries to live intentionally, but sometimes really blows it. She doesn't write because she thinks she's got it all together, but because she enjoys examining and discussing what it means to live authentically as a Christian woman, wife, and mother. Persevering, pressing on and following after Christ aren't easy things... which is why Jess relies on Him to finish the work that He's begun in her. Make sure to stop by her personal blog Making Home.
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