My Husband Will Never Change (and I’m so glad!)


My husband was up at 5:30 this morning. I listened as he gathered his workout clothes and tennis shoes, and then proceeded to the kitchen to prepare his protein shake. As the whirring sound of the blender died down, I snuggled deeper into the covers, adjusted my pillow and fell back into some serious REM sleep. Early morning workouts are not my thing—at all. My husband’s morning ritual is one that I am very familiar with. You see, my sweet husband is pretty much the same person he was when I married him more than 20 years ago, in spite of my impassioned attempts to change him. (Young wives, re-read that last statement!)

He loves to exercise. He is very “routine driven”. He likes alone time much more than people time. He takes each day as it comes rather than talking a lot about the future. And he is much less into communication/verbal dialogue than I, keeping his own thoughts to himself unless prodded to do otherwise. He’s also a big sports fan and has trouble sitting still for very long, whereas, I can watch 2 or 3 movies in a row or read an entire book without leaving my comfortable chair.

In the early years of our marriage, we had lots of “discussions”, mostly initiated by moi, about how we could improve our relationship if only he would do such and such. I made numerous ill-fated (although well-intentioned) attempts to change him in one way or the other—to make him more communicative, more social, more engaged, less strict about his routine, etc. I did use a gentle approach—because that’s the way I am—and wrote lots of nice lists and notes for him which I placed in obvious, accessible places around the house. And I prayed for change.

For a time I lost sight of some very important facts:

  • God’s unique design for men was intentional. And he made men and women different for a reason. Your husband is not meant to be just like you.
  • No human being is—or will ever be—perfect in this life, including the aforementioned, moi. This is why leaving a marriage thinking “the grass is greener” is never a good idea.
  • True and lasting change in human beings must come from within.
  • It’s easy to see the beautiful things about your spouse if you just look for them.
  • Marriage is and will always be more give than take. It cannot be successful unless at least one of the parties involved has a selfless, servant attitude. (preferably both, of course!)
  • Most husbands just want simple things out of life. Things like peace, acceptance, respect and, oh yeah, good food.

Over time God taught me these valuable lessons and today, life is more peaceful and settled— but still fun and exciting! We can’t change our spouses. We can pray for their growth, love them, respect them, and make our homes a warm and relaxing place for them, but we have to leave the rest to God. We need to focus instead on our own relationship with Christ, becoming the best partner we can be under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m so glad I was unsuccessful in re-making my husband. After all, God made him just right the first time. These days I am more grateful than ever to hear that buzzing alarm clock at 5:30 a.m. given the fact that my husband survived open-heart surgery just a year and a half ago. His life is a precious gift to me. And I’m glad he is still the same man I married all those years ago—even if I will never, ever, convince him to sit down with me and watch all four emotional, riveting hours of “Gone With the Wind”!



Posted in Divorce, Marriage, Spiritual Encouragement | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Simple Things That Make My Heart Sing!


I sing in two different choirs. My own church choir, which is like a family to me, and a large statewide choir (500 strong) that sings at various events and churches around our state several times a year. Participating in these two choirs is an important part of my life and brings me great joy. It lifts my spirit and fills my soul to sing praises to the King of Kings with other believers. It makes my heart sing.

But, there are  other, non-musical things in my life that make my heart sing, as well, like:

Enjoying a full house, noisy once again as my independent young adult children come home for a holiday or family event and interact with each other in fun and teasing ways—a vivid display of their unbreakable family bond.

Walking with my husband on a sunny day, under the shade of the oak canopy that stretches over our quiet little country road—engaging in deep conversation or just holding hands in silence.

Lying on the beach with a book in my hand, lulled into relaxation by the hypnotic sound of the undulating ocean waves and the warm caress of the summer sun.

Sharing moments of growth and epiphany with other women of all ages who have come together for Bible study and encouragement.

Seeing glimpse of spiritual ownership and growth displayed in the lives of my young adult children, a confirmation of God’s grace and mercy to an imperfect yet well-meaning mama.

Enjoying quiet, uninterrupted private times of prayer and devotion with the God of the universe on my humble back porch.

Holding my very first grandchild and seeing in his eyes the hope of Christ for the next generation.

These simple things make my heart sing.






Posted in Marriage, Parenting, Spiritual Encouragement, Thankfulness | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

5 Daily Habits for Effective Christian Living


Living a purposeful and effective Christian life with a spiritual mindset doesn’t come naturally to us. In general, we are more earthly minded, haphazardly rushing about our day completing tasks, going to meetings, running errands—focusing on the urgent, but not necessarily the important duties of life. Few of us have ever taken the time to develop a plan of action that will lead to a more effective and purposeful spiritual existence. Here are 5 practical steps we can take each and every day to maximize our impact in our little corner of the world:

  • Encourage a family member with a note, a kind word or a helpful act. Everyone needs regular encouragement. Our husbands need to hear that we appreciate them, our kids need to know that we’ve noticed their progress and growth. I mean, who doesn’t love a note in their lunchbox signed with a heart, or a message scribbled in lipstick on the mirror? How about a Bible verse taped to the closet door? A little note only takes a minute. A simple act like taking over a person’s chore for the day or giving them a spontaneous back rub can really lift their spirits. You know what actions speak love to your child or to your husband. Plan to implement one of those actions each day.

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

  • Encourage someone outside of your family by sending a text (it only takes a second), writing a card, or paying a visit. We all know someone who is either in the midst of a health crisis, going through family struggles or just needing some encouragement. Maybe there is an elderly widow or widower in your church or neighborhood who needs to see a smiling face or to simply know that someone cares. Loneliness is a very real struggle in the waning years of life. On days when you find yourself with a little extra time, maybe you can bake a pie or deliver a flower bouquet to someone in need. The point is to look outside your family each day and think of someone who needs encouragement. Then, be Jesus to them.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:8-10

  • Meditate on God’s Word. Find some time in your day for a few moments of quiet solitude to read and meditate on the Bible. His Word is our instruction manual for living. It is also God’s love letter to us—a view into his very heart. How can we possibly know God and his purpose for our lives if we never read his Word? If you’re not sure where to start, use a daily devotional as a guide, choose a book of the Bible to read through over a few days, or just begin where the spirit leads. You may have to be creative in finding time. If you work outside the home, perhaps you can slip away to your car at lunchtime, or get up early in the morning before the kids. The Bible is a treasure trove of insight, wisdom, and comfort. Dive into it every day!

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

  • Spend time in prayer. Prayer is not a magical, mystical practice; it is simply a conversation with God. We pray in order to take our struggles, fears and questions before Him seeking mercy, healing and help for ourselves and others. In addition, it is through prayer that we thank and praise God for all he has done for us and for all that we have. The time and place are not that important. In fact, prayer is to be an ongoing attitude of the heart. We have access to God anytime, anywhere, and for any reason. He is always waiting patiently to hear from us.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

  • Invest in your personal health and wellness by getting some exercise (this could mean walking the dog or working in the garden—no gym membership necessary!) and taking the time to prepare a healthy meal or snack. Like it or not, it is through these imperfect human bodies of ours that we minister to others and carry forth the message of Christ to the world. Therefore, we need to have the energy and stamina to complete the task. That means making sure there is some sort of physical activity in our day and that we eat, in moderation, a variety of the delicious and colorful foods that God has provided for us. Rest is another important component to health and wellness that we often overlook. Make time for a nap or plan to get 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Or, just step away from your life for a few moments and do something relaxing that you love. (reading!)

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.                                1 Corinthians 6:19-20

If we can incorporate these 5 habits for Christian living into our daily routine, we will become more effective in ministry and in life as we learn to: love and encourage others, develop our relationship with God, and take care of our earthly temple. Let’s begin today!



Posted in Spiritual Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Life and Loving God: Counting the Cost.


I do love my life. I love that I have a comfy home in which to live. I love that I can go and buy things that aren’t just necessities. I love that my children are healthy and happy. I love that I have a hard-working husband with whom I can share life. I love the beautiful sunny and warm state in which we live. I love this season of life when most of the birdies have launched from the nest and I can slow down and relax—choosing to spend the majority of my time doing things that I enjoy.

But, do I love my life too much? Have I forgotten God’s call for me to take up my cross, forgo the trappings of this temporary life, and follow Him? Have I been willing to make sacrifices of time, money, convenience and pleasure to further His mission in the world? How about you? Does your life bear any evidence of self-sacrifice? Have you come to love the pleasures of this world more than God?

God’s Word has a lot to say about the danger of loving this world too much. In John 12:25, after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus spoke to his followers saying, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, let him follow me; and where I am there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, him my Father will honor.”

When Jesus spoke these words, he was foreshadowing his impending death on the cross and also letting his disciples know that they risked actual death in following Him. But, this is also applicable to us today as we seek to follow Christ. We are called to live with a passion and devotion for Him that is greater than the love we have for things of the world—greater even than our love for our own family.

In Matthew 10:37-39, Jesus says, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.”

You see, when someone becomes a Christian they often experience conflict within their family because of it. I have heard countless friends talk about the problems they’ve encountered when trying to talk about Christ, or faith, or even church with their unsaved family members. Unfortunately, becoming a devoted and fervent Christ-follower will often mean a separation of sorts from family who would hinder your relationship with Christ. In addition—on this concept of loving God more than family—we as parents can sometimes, without realizing it, set our children up as idols, loving them even more than God himself.

There are several passages in the gospels where Jesus talks about taking up our cross and following him. The first is in Matthew 16:24-25: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'”

The exact same message of taking up our cross and losing our lives for the sake of Christ is repeated in Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23.

 This message implies a life of sacrifice and struggle as Christians seek to share God’s love and hope with the lost world. It is not supposed to be easy, my friend. And coming to love the world too much as we go through life can certainly derail our mission.

The hypnotic rhythm of comfort and affluence is a tactic often used by Satan to strengthen our love for the world and to make us ineffective as Christians.

It takes sacrifice to minister to an elderly neighbor or a sick friend. It takes time and commitment to serve in your local church. It takes courage to speak the name of Jesus in your workplace or neighborhood. It takes self-denial to give money to ministries and missions. And that’s if you never even step outside of the good ol’ USA! There are those who have sacrificed so much more than the average Christian today for the cause of Christ around the world. In fact, many have paid the ultimate price.

Does your life bear evidence of a devotion to Christ that is greater than your love for the world? Have you truly answered God’s call to take up your cross and follow Him?

This Easter season let’s take inventory of our lives. Have we been lulled into a spirit of complacency when it comes to sacrifice and service? What can we leave behind to follow Christ? Are we finished with easy and ready to do hard?

There is no doubt you and I are free to appreciate and enjoy God’s blessings in our lives but, we are also called to give back— to love God more than anything this world has to offer.


Posted in Spiritual Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope for the Terminally Ill: A New Tent for Eternity

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1 (NKJV)

It is so hard to see loved ones suffer. As we shared prayer requests in our Sunday school class this past week I noticed that every one of us had been touched by—or knew someone who was currently affected by— cancer. It is certainly a dreaded and life-wrecking disease having no mercy for the young nor the spiritually devoted.

In the case of young innocent children or godly saints in the prime of life, we ask ourselves, “Why? Why would God allow this to happen? What good could possibly come from it?”

I don’t know the answer to these questions. But I know that God, in his infinite wisdom, is not caught off guard. He is still in control and he still loves us with an everlasting, incomprehensible love—the kind of love that would sacrifice his only Son so that we could be with him forever.

There is one thing that I do know. Our life. This life—is but a blink in time. Whether I live 5 years, or 90, it is still only a single teardrop in the sea of eternity. Our physical bodies were not designed to last forever. However, the Bible says that we have a “building from God”, an eternal body, that will replace this wind-torn tent we currently inhabit. And that is the body in which I will spend eternity with God.

If you are mourning a friend or family member with a terminal illness, first of all, take the opportunity to share Christ with them. Assure them that as a child of God, they have a new and marvelous eternal body waiting for them. One that will never grow old, never wear out, never succumb to cancer or any other illness or disease. Help them to see the beauty and hope God has planned for them in a brand new heaven and a remade earth. Remind them that you will see them again!

And in the time that we do have on earth (which God has prescribed for us), let’s live every moment for his glory; loving, serving, growing—taking care of this temporary vessel–but always keeping in mind the fact that this life is not the end.

Posted in Salvation, Spiritual Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment