Home – Building a Foundation


image courtesy of Master Isolated Images

Kim shares:  I have been listening to a series on WLJN from Pastor Chuck Swindoll over the past few weeks, and it has been so insightful into the life I live, and the marriage and family life I have.  One of the most powerful questions I’ve heard from him was along the lines of, if your house was to burn to the ground, would you still have a home?  This made me think about the relationships I have with my husband and children.  If our house was to burn to the ground, would my family fall apart because we’ve lost all of our “things” or would we draw together  with what we share and the home life we have created?  It helped me realize how important this journey of developing relationships is and how important it is to first start at home with my husband, well after God of course, and children.  I’m learning that people are the most important “things” here on earth, and that some of building up our “home” includes giving my husband respect and creating a oneness with him, and the willingness to grow, which all eventually builds up our children.

At our last MOPS meeting Pastor Matro talked about respect, and he said our children learn respect mostly from us, as we are their parents.  What better way for me to build my relationship with my husband than to learn how to show him respect, as this is also showing him love, all the while teaching it to our children?   I’m learning that respect means to honor his decision, especially in front of the kids, even if I don’t agree with it, but talk about it later.  That respect means to listen to what he has to say and not view it as less than what I think my point of view is worth.   I’m learning that respect is also part of accepting him for who he really is, faults and all, and loving him anyway.  This is definitely a work in progress as sometimes Mike tells me I am being disrespectful and I don’t even realize it, or I catch myself after it’s too late. However, we have gotten to a point in our relationship that instead of him getting angry and yelling at me or me getting defensive with him for pointing out what I am doing wrong, God has given Mike calmness and a forgiving heart and me the wisdom to listen and see life through my husband’s eyes.

By listening and respecting what he has to say and his position as a man has helped our marriage a great deal.  As now there are two points of view instead of just mine.  This has also allowed me to understand and connect with my husband on a more intimate level than ever before.  I can see his confidence as a husband and father growing.  Also, by giving him a chance and seeing how he responds to situations, before me jumping in, has made me see how smart and capable he truly is.   However, I’ve had to say many prayers and ask God for the words to speak to my husband in ways for him to understand and feel respect and not be offended, and courage to pray for him and forgive him even when I didn’t like him.  I’ve also prayed for God to lead me and help me to be the kind of wife Mike needs and to help Mike be the kind of husband I need.   And God has been faithful.In

Genesis it talks about wives cleaving to their husbands.  What does that mean?  Well Chuck Swindoll put it in a way that made it so clear to me.  He said, “the bible does not say cleave to your mother or father and the bible does not say cleave to your son or cleave to your daughter, no it says LEAVE your mother and father and cleave to your wife.  Two shall become one.  They were naked together and felt no shame. Genesis 2:24-25   Wives your husband should be the most important, not your children, not your mother, not your father.”

Since I’ve heard this, I’ve realized how important it is to build up and love my husband as number one over our children, since essentially our souls carry a connection.  Two shall become one… and be naked and feel no shame.  Wow, I look at my marriage so differently now.  I always knew that we were on the same team, but now I can view my husband as being part of me as his life affects mine and together we affect our children.  I see that it is ok and right to be so trusting, open and vulnerable.  Naked with him not only physically but also emotionally, and feel no shame as he loves me, broken past or not.   Even though trusting people is an extremely difficult task for me, it’s time to move forward and trust my husband as one, and  I have faith that God will help us through it.

Also I believe one of the biggest building blocks to our foundation is our openness to grow.  Mike and I have almost been divorced, three times actually, and we still have “issues” to work out.  But now that I’ve opened my heart up to working on myself and growing and healing from my past, it is amazing to me the things God has been showing me.  Once again I have said that things need to change, the only difference between this time and last is that I can see that I am part of the problem.  I needed to learn to respect, to trust, to listen, and show unconditional love to my husband as well, not just our children.

As for my marriage, I’ve always looked at it as Mike needed to change.  Granted sometimes I still feel he does, however now I can hear God when he says, “Kim it’s time for you to grow and work on yourself instead of trying to change your husband.  It’s time for you to heal.”  Chuck Swindoll says, “It’s your job to love your husband and God’s job to make him good.”

I need to “ Love’em and lead’em,”  both my husband and children.  And it has been so worth the hard work of healing and growing, and leading my family on this spiritual journey. It has been so worth the many months of praying for God to work on my husband and soften his heart and then waiting for answered prayers.  Some still unanswered.  But, for the first time in years I can say “I love my husband (and myself) with all of my heart.”

Mike and I are the foundation of the “home” we are building. I’m finding out that the stronger we are, the rooms of our children and the rest of our home becomes naturally sturdy.  I can admit my marriage and family life isn’t perfect, and I am still learning how to listen, respect and love my husband and two very different children.  I’m learning how to be one with my husband and grow in our marriage.

I’ve seen Gods work in me and Mike, and also our children and it gives me strength to continue this journey through the difficult times.  God has helped me to see new things.   I see more love, happiness and fun in our home.   I see support and encouragement, and best of all I see more of a family unit.  I also can see a terrific man as my husband and as a father.   I can write this with a happy and content heart because of where my marriage and family life has come over the past six months even, but the journey continues.    I like to believe that if our house was to burn to the ground we would still have a home.

1 Peter 3:1-2  Wives, follow the lead of your husbands. Suppose some of them don’t believe God’s word. Then let them be won to Christ without words by seeing how their wives behave. 2 Let them see how pure you are. Let them see that your lives are full of respect for God.

Genesis 2:24-25  24 That’s why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The two of them will become one. 25 The man and his wife were both naked. They didn’t feel any shame.

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Pure Faith

Kim shares:

In my life I have learned how important it is to pray because I have experienced answered prayers and have seen others experience it as well.  Sometimes the importance of talking to God is overlooked or when asking for prayer, people don’t really believe God will answer.  Someone once told me, “God is not moved by tears alone, but by pure faith.” Basically saying that I could cry my eyes out for help for me or someone else’s situation, but if I didn’t truly believe there was a faithful God who would answer me, it didn’t really matter that I was “praying.”

When I first began learning how to talk to God, I didn’t do it much because I just didn’t know how, and I was scared I would do it wrong.  I’ve learned He doesn’t judge or criticize, if anything He’s joyous.  Looking down smiling, saying well done, happy that I am reaching out to Him.   I’ve learned there is no wrong way if I have a true heart.  I found out it was as easy as talking with one of my friends, or not even saying anything at all, as God knows me that well.

Fellow MOPS mom and friend, Cris, helped teach me the basics. I remember a couple years ago asking, “Now how do you pray? What do I say? How do I start?” I don’t know how many times.  An important thing I learned from her is learning to give thanks to God always.  I have done my best to see that in any situation when praying for family members, friends, or myself that there is always something to be grateful for.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience Gods peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

I thought this was a beautiful prayer worth sharing from Saint Theresa

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that
has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to
sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
‘Worry looks around,
Sorry looks back, Faith looks up’

 

Listening and Loving

Kim shares:

I’m reading this book titled Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, by Judy Ford. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read it, but I find myself skipping around through the pages reading and then re-reading it over again, and am moved by every section I read. Ford offers advice and examples, which is very helpful. It is a book essentially about parenting, however, I feel as though I can apply it to other relationships in my life (like with my husband).

In the book, there is a part called Listening from the Heart and I found it so fitting in relation to our little exercise last meeting, when we spent some time focusing on listening and not interrupting the other mom for two minutes, but also being able to speak free and clear without any interruptions ourselves. I found out two minutes really is a long time. I also found the experience eye opening. Not only for what I found out about myself, but also that someone else had their own story to tell.

In Wonderful Ways to Love a Child it says, “Listening from the heart means not jumping in with your point of view, but rather hearing what life is like from your child’s perspective.” I found this to be true when sharing at MOPS. I found when listening just to two different people I had the same perspective and life experience as one and different from another, but I would have never even learned about these women without genuinely listening that night.

As I tried to write this article about listening, I found it a struggle. I prayed for God’s help. He led me on a journey through this book and I learned so much about myself. Mostly about listening. I found myself guilty of interrupting and even sometimes finishing other people’s sentences, thinking I knew what they were going to say. I found out I was hearing but not really listening all the time.

In reading, God led me to two other sections in the book titled Really Love Yourself and Allow Them to LoveThemselves. It says in the book, “when you accept who you are, you will not be afraid to grow, to learn, to change.” I realized that God needed me to see that my listening skills, or lack there of, was something that I needed to change. However I needed to love myself enough to see those imperfections, and allow myself to be open to change.

What better way to show someone you love them than to listen and find out about them and their point of view, what their story is. I think God is trying to show me that by listening, I am allowing myself to love someone else and show them love, by knowing that their story is important enough to be listened to. I am a work in progress and I pray that God continues to open my heart up to change if need be.

The section Listening from the Heart helped to show me the importance of listening, but loving myself is where the change begins. Here is an excerpt from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child (And if you get a chance you should check out the book):

“Listen From Your Heart

Listening from your heart is completely different from listening with your ears. Few people know how to do this, and very few parents listen to their children this way. Listening from the heart means being genuinely interested, open, and caring. It means being eager to hear, to learn, to be astonished-without the need to argue, interrupt the flow, or give advice (the really hard part!) Listening from the heart means not jumping in with your point of view, but rather hearing what life is like from your child’s perspective. It is listening with a sense of wonder. When you listen from your heart, your child feels safe to tell all, for a child who is with a receptive adult opens up and shares freely.

When Jake was caught cutting high school, he was upset and called his dad, John, insisting he pick him up right away. While driving to the school John reminded himself not to jump to conclusions but to allow Jake to do the talking. Jake told his dad that he didn’t want to return to school that day, that he needed time to think. So instead of scolding, lecturing, or dispensing advice, John took his son for a walk and continued listening. Jake talked about everything from soccer to grades to money. The more John listened, the more Jake shared. He talked about his girlfriend, sex, and his future. Because of John’s heartfelt listening, what might have been a confrontation softened into an intimate father-son conversation, ending with Jake listening to his father’s point of view.

A child who is upset needs sensitive listening where few words are exchanged. Remember that old saying “Oh” or “Hmmm” is sometimes enough; the fewer words from you, the better. Don’t try to coax for more information than your child wants to give. Crystal cried and gasped for air while she told her mom how Lissy wouldn’t share the dolls. Fortunately, Mom avoided the tendency to fix the problem. She listened, nodded in understanding, and, as often happens, within an hour or so Crystal was playing with Lissy again.

A child who is crying does not want to be asked questions or be given advice. In fact, he wants you to understand without having to explain. When your child has finished crying or is no longer upset, you might ask a simple question, such as, “Something happened?” or “Bad day?” Too many questions and your child feels defensive. Some children will share more; others will want to keep it to themselves, and you need to learn to respect their way.

Listening from your heart will heighten the sense of closeness with your child, and many times you’ll discover that your gentle, quiet listening is all that’s needed for your child to find his own solution.”

 

Dear God I thank you for the journey you are sending me on of love and self-discovery. I also pray that you are with other moms who choose to take that journey and may not know you. Please help me learn to listen and not just hear what you, my family and friends have to say, and help me to understand the importance of another’s point of view. Also, please help me to love myself everyday even with my imperfections. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Caring For Each Other

Kim gives a personal testimony of how MOPS has blessed her familyWe’d love to hear your story, just add it in the comments!
    I had just received a phone call with a delivery time for dinner and given directions to my house to one of my fellow mops moms. I felt loved and cared for during my time of great sickness.  Then my mother-in-law called and I told her the good news. She had the hardest time understanding why I would get dinner delivered to our family.  Her words were, “I’ve never heard of that before.  Yeah, I can see family doing that, but you never see a group of people doing that for community.”  And it was at that moment it hit me.  MOPS are like family and no you don’t see just anybody delivering meals to those in need.  I felt so proud responding to her statement with “Well, that’s what we do.  We take care of our mommas.”
    I am so privileged and blessed to be a part of such a special group.  There are many amazing and caring women, who are there at the moment anyone is in need of help.
    It feels so different to be on the receiving end of the caring part and it was difficult for me to reach out.  One of the lessons I think God meant for me to learn was that it is ok and a must to ask for help when I’m in need.
    Dear Jesus, Thank you for the work you have done and continue to do in our MOPS group.  I am part of an amazing group, and with your help it touches the hearts of so many moms.  Please encourage those moms who are struggling to ask for help when in need, to reach out.  Allow them, and in turn others, to be blessed by giving the gift of giving.  Amen.

A Praying Mom

Kim Gordon, one of our fellow MOPS moms, will be contributing devotionals each month.

It’s amazing how childhood experiences, good and bad, shape our lives and help determine who we will be as adults.  We all have a story to tell, with numerous experiences, and I am so blessed to be able to be a part and share our sons with him.  His story starts not quite six years ago, but now a new chapter begins with school.
As I struggled with trusting this crazy world and sending our son off, placing him in the hands of teachers and other children, made me realize how much I actually had to put my trust in God.  Trusting that He was going to protect our little boy from the evil in the world, but also trusting that God has so much good in store for him as well.
I came across a prayer that I would like to share, simple yet sweet. It is called Bless this Little Child, Lord.  I usually insert our children’s names.
Lord, look down from heaven above and touch this special child with love, Protect and guide this little one, till each and every day(or night) is done:
Remind us often that it’s true: This little life is a gift from you.
A miracle you’ve sent our way! Lord, bless this little child today.
Amen.
I lean on the fact that God loves our children more than we ever could and that He will protect them, but that we also should ask for that protection.  Matthew 7:7-11 states, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
I am making it a priority to pray for our children every day and ask God for help, for I know the Lord is faithful.  It is a privilege to listen and pray for our son through the early chapters in his story, for its a story that is no one but his: a story that with the grace and wisdom of God I am able to help shape here on earth as his praying mother.