I have set a goal for November to tell as many people as possible why I am thankful for them. Being specifically acknowledged for who you are is one of the best gifts. Words. Words are gifts.
I want to help you all tell some people how thankful you are for them this Thanksgiving Season so I whipped up these printable note cards for you to use. There are 22 cards all with lovely fall images,quotes and a corresponding Bible verse on the back. Just print them on card stock, cut them out, write a personal note and hand them out.
I plan to use them in my daughters lunch, slip them in my friends purses, leave the under some windshield wipers...and who knows what else. Follow me on Instagram to see how I use them all November.
This is a follow up post to The Faith To Not Grow Weary.
Whenever I write about the fact that my husband is an unbeliever I get a lot of responses. They are always quiet whisper responses…a private email, a personal message on LinkedIn, a phone call. They are almost always “me too” responses.
Me too…I have that problem.
Me too…I feel that pain.
Me too…I get weary.
Me too…thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.
I have been thinking long and hard on the responses I invoke. It is never my intention to wallow-or help others to wallow. For Christ came that we may have life and life abundantly. He came to earth to bring the Kingdom near so we could live in freedom. If He’s given us the gift of abundant life, then surely we should walk under the banner of that gift. I don’t think anyone has ever been won to Christ though sulking.
I share simply to enter in. I know the subject of being married to an unbelieving spouse is somewhat taboo. People don’t like to talk about it or don’t know what to say about it. Or often when they do have something to say about it-it’s all wrong. For example, a couple of weeks ago I was at a Pastor’s conference and I was speaking to a fellow teacher of our church. The subject of my husband sporadically attending church (because he has not yet come to faith) became the topic of conversation.
Now, in my mind, I was celebrating that sporadic was better than never. I was counting the ways I see God wooing my husband-even though my husband doesn’t see it yet. My friend across from me saw something else. He said, “You know what Pastor Rick would say if you guys weren’t married yet? He would say don’t get married.”
Hmmmm…long pause while I try not to reach out and strangle the young man for trying to strangle my hope. Isn’t it funny how we know our task is to build each other up in Christ but a thoughtless comment derails our purpose. The Bible warns against this. A lot! Proverbs 18:21, Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 17:28, Proverbs 15:4, Matthew 12:36, just to name a few. I decided to let it slide. He is young and still has much life before him to learn the lessons only learned through time on this earth. We all deserve grace when we speak out of turn, and Pastor Rick has nothing to do with this, so I can’t hold someone else’s careless words against him.
But it does remind me of the importance of entering in. God gave me my unique situation and my unique gifting to minister to people who have the same struggles. Same goes for you, same goes for the young teacher with the careless words. You see words are never careless if the pain of the recipient is felt. It reminds me to stay in my own lane.
So here is the thing. We ARE married and there is nowhere in the Bible that says leaving an unbelieving spouse is a good thing. It says the opposite. Study it.
Here is the OTHER thing. I feel that God trusting me with an unbelieving spouse is one of my greatest honors. It is one of my hardest trials, but one of my greatest honors. God sees something in me that He knows can lead my husband to him. If you are married to an unbeliever or living with an unbeliever or friends with an unbeliever than God sees something in YOU that can lead that person to HIM.
It flips the situation on its head to no longer be about the unbeliever, but about you. It becomes about how God is pursuing you. Stay with me as I elaborate. If God sees something in you that can draw people to Him but you haven’t figured out what it is yet, then the dilemma is not the unbeliever but rather you seeking out God’s will for your life. This is about the relationship God wants to have with you, the things God wants to teach you. Because when you know God in such an intimate way that His presence rests on your shoulders when you come and when you go then people won’t be able to help but want to know him too.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them”. I don’t think my husband coming to faith rests on my actions. We don’t serve a God that keeps score on a merit based system. His blessings are given freely through His grace alone. I am just saying that if I draw close to the Lord and get to know Him in such an intimate way that I begin to reflect who he is in a powerful way, and in doing so His kingdom is brought near through my daily living, that it will be a beacon to my husband. A lighthouse shining the way. Then as God woos my husband through others he is more receptive.
Is all this easy when you break it down to the day to day trials of being human? No. But is it worth it? Is it worth the suffering to be closer to Jesus and to have hope my husband will come to know Him? Yes. Every bit worth it. Times ten. For where there are trials. There is opportunity.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
James 1:2 NLT
This is part 2 of posts about living with an unbelieving spouse. Read The Faith To Not Grow Weary HERE
It is common for us to confuse our gifts with our purpose. In fact, most people will spend their entire life developing their gifts, focusing on their gifts, and never scratching the surface of their purpose.
Purpose is eternal, gifts are a means to accomplish the purpose. For example, my gifts are speaking and writing and connecting people. My purpose is using those gifts to lead others to Jesus. I could use my gifts for many things and never lead a person to Jesus.
Using your gifts for God is not easy. It requires a daily dying to one's self, setting aside your personal ambitions and selfishness. It requires setting aside accolades to do the less popular. It requires thought and work and discipline. But it is so worth it. Folks, if you know the feeling of living in God's will, it is a high with no comparison.
So how do we live in the will of God and use our gifts in alignment with our purpose? Well, this is our journey, isn't it? It's what our time on earth is all about, answering this one question and acting on the answer. Let me help point you in the right direction.
Last week, I attended the Purpose Driven Conference at Saddleback Church led by my Pastor Rick Warren. This conference had about 1000 attendees of Pastors and Church Ministers from all over the world. All with the same focus, how they could use their giftings as Pastors to grow their church and lead more people to Jesus.
I listened as Pastor Rick taught how to create the proper balance of worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry in your church. The information was amazing and all based on scripture. But something really stuck with me that Pastor Rick spoke about. One of the reasons I love my Pastor is that he preaches the Bible in such a way that it makes sense to even a non believer. (Part of His Church growth strategy.) He has a way with words and a way with making the Bible relative.
He said, "If you want to see the Church grow. Do what Jesus did. Jesus came to earth and interacted with people. He met their needs, loved them, and was interesting as He taught them. He planted a church and preached reconciliation, he equipped leaders, assisted the poor, cared for the sick and educated the next generation."
Those seem like simple enough tasks, right? We could all use our gifts to focus on one of those goals couldn't we? And if we did, we would be fulfilling our purpose of growing God's church.
What are your gifts? Are you using them in the context of your local church and to spread the gospel?
I LOVE WHEN YOU COME HANG OUT WITH ME ON SOCIAL.
I am sitting at my desk on a dreary Tuesday morning and I come upon an email. Distraught with a weary heart I scanned over the words not really absorbing them until I read these words...
“So, sweet one, in pursuit of our gracious Father's heart, ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’ (Colossians 6:9). Live for Him, love Him, and be loved by Him.” ~Kaylene Yoder
You see my husband is not a believer. Besides the obvious, this also creates division in the leadership of our family because we both have a different lens through which we love others. One self-centered and one God-centered.
Every once in a while, like a thief in the night Satan tries to wrap his slimy fingers around my hope. His grip tightens with each critical comment from my husband, with each harsh word that knows just where to jab. As I shut down my emotions to protect myself the chaos takes over the joy in my home. How does hope turn to despair so quickly? They don’t call him a sneaky devil for nothing.
His grip tightens and squeezes the gentleness from my responses until I start looking much like the old self-centered version of myself. I cry out to God, “How long must I endure? How long must this go on? Could today be the day you redeem him? Could you please make him whole today? This is too hard. I can’t keep on loving and being kind all the time when I am faced with this! He can’t treat me this way! He can’t yell at the kids like that! He can’t be that selfish and get away with it!”
“So, sweet one, in pursuit of our gracious Father's heart, ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’ (Colossians 6:9). Live for Him, love Him, and be loved by Him.”
How He slays my selfish heart with his Word and the word of those that love Him. “In pursuit of our gracious Father’s heart”. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Pursuing God, accepting His grace and offering it to others so that they may see Him through you.
It is the sweet reminder of His amazing grace that spurs me to move towards anger with gentleness, snide remarks with soothing words. It is what helps my ears tune into the hurt behind the rage and pray that God will help me be a healing balm and not add to a festering wound.
But before I can be any of that, I must first be filled. So I come to the throne of my Creator and ask for Him to make my heart new today. I ask him to pour his refining fire on my mind so that all resentment and frustration gets lost in the embers of grace. I ask Him to pour out his love into my weary open hands so that I don’t look for it somewhere else. I ask Him to fill me with His spirit so that I may act out of self-control and with eternal ambitions.
And He does, because He is God. Unwavering and unfailing in His love.
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Be sure to read my follow up post to this one:
I'm just a girl, standing before my God, knowing that He loves me and wanting others to know that love too.