Sweet Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas For Him

Valentine’s Day is today.  Did you put any thought into how you will make your man feel loved?

Sometimes it starts with an idea you heard someone else mention to get the brainstorming started.

Ladies, I have it on my heart that we should seize this opportunity to SHOW SOME LOVE to our husbands!!

Let’s put some action to the words we say! We say we love them? Then how ‘bout we spend 30 minutes one day on our lunch break and cut out construction-paper hearts and allow (ok, BEG) our children to staple or tape them into decorative heart garlands? Decorating even in silly ways shows you took time FOR HIM!

How bout we take kids grocery shopping and make a big deal about the food items you choose for him.  “Let’s see, what do you think Daddy’s favorite vegetable is? Let’s get what we need to make Dad’s favorite dessert! He will be sooo excited, won’t he? Preparing this special meal is how I can demonstrate how much your daddy means to me!!”  These are examples of using it to train your children.  Don’t you want your daughters to SHOW their love demonstratively to their husbands when they grow up?  Wouldn’t you want your sons to feel loved by their chosen one?  You are teaching them the kind of woman they will one day want to choose for themselves!!   

As the saying goes, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!” HAHA!

How about getting out a glass jar and writing on beautiful slips of paper the following: various character qualities you love about him, fun memories you’ve shared with him, moments he said something or did something that touched you deeply, etc.  These are way better than a $5 greeting card!

What are some other important ways that speak love to your man?? How about some one-on-one time?  Foot massage?  Arranging for a sitter (instead of buying a fishing pole) for some REEEAAAALLLL one-on-one, face-to-face time, if you get my drift.  I don’t want to gag or disgust anyone, really.  But God did make man with a sexual drive, and we are (should be) his only way of meeting those needs.  Let’s take it seriously. And when you do, be prepared mentally & physically.

This is IMPORTANT to our men and it should be important to us. It makes them feel loved, valued, and honored.

If you need more suggestions, just ask. I can’t wait to hear how it all turns out!!

Happy Valentines Day!

We would like to thank Cristie Harrell for sharing this post.

Champion Your Husband

During the month of January, we will be reposting some of the top posts from 2018. We hope these will encourage you and connect to your heart. Stay tuned for all new posts coming in February 2018!

Editor’s Note: This semester we’ve been focusing on Titus 2 and the mentor relationships Paul encouraged older women to share with younger women. It’s our prayer that as you read the real-life experiences from different women within our campuses you’ll be uplifted and inspired to respond to God’s truth in this season of your life.

One of the things I love about growing older is that I can look back at my life and see all the times God has answered prayer, gone before me, worked things out, shut a door, opened another, or taught me something that only He could. Several months ago, I was working through a Bible study that asked this question: Have you ever learned some biblical truth straight from God without textbook, training, or human teacher?

In 2004, Curtis took a church in the Lubbock area. Wade was two, and I was pregnant with Bethani. The church was without a pastor for about 6 months and needed someone who would help them become stable and healthy again. Curtis dove in head first, and before long the church began to thrive. For the first few years, Curtis wasn’t home much. After two years, I was pregnant with Emmalee. I was neck-deep in the season of raising babies and being pregnant.

I didn’t feel like I had a role or a purpose.

I felt vulnerable and began to believe the lie that Curtis was choosing the church over me. I became resentful of and offended by the church. They had Curtis all the time, and I would’ve liked for him to come home long enough so I could take a shower!

One day I fell apart before the Lord. Sobbing, I asked Him to help show me what to do and how to feel. God met me right there, right in the middle of my pain and brokenness. He said, “As Curtis’ wife, you have the power to sabotage or to strengthen the ministry I have given you. This is your choice. I have a purpose for you. It will change as your season of life changes. If you stay in a place of offense and resentment, you won’t be able to see this purpose. Curtis needs you to champion him on, not hinder what I’m doing through him.” Woah.

This didn’t have anything to do with Curtis OR the church. It was about my response to the trials in my life.

I didn’t want my offense to sabotage our ministry, so I asked God to give me the grace to love the church like Curtis did. He showed me my role and purpose during that season. I made the hard choice to be obedient and submissive to all God called me to be, and in doing so, my heart was softened toward the church. My roots shot down deep, and it stabilized our future. I decided to champion Curtis on in his calling, and he championed me on as well. It was such a sweet movement of God in our marriage and in our ministry.

If there is anything this “older woman” can tell you “younger women”, it’s this: Champion your husband! Ask God to show you your purpose during this season. With obedience and perseverance, submit yourself to the will of the Father, and your husband will champion you on as well! Remember that God is our number one Champion who has paid it all for us!

We would like to thank Allison House for contributing this post to the blog.

You Want Me to What?

During the month of January, we will be reposting some of the top posts from 2018. We hope these will encourage you and connect to your heart. Stay tuned for all new posts coming in February 2018!

We’ve all heard of the Proverbs 31 woman, but what does it look like to be a Titus 2 woman?  After reading and reflecting on Titus 2 I began to wonder which category I fall in. Am I one of the older women that God is calling to train the younger women or am I one of the younger women that still needs guidance?  To be honest, I think I’m a little bit of both.

My husband and I recently celebrated 11 years of marriage. We married very young at the age of 19. I think it’s safe to say that a good percentage of young brides get caught up in the big day and the actual act of marriage ends up falling short of their expectations. Over the last 11 years, there have been “words of wisdom” on being a loving, godly wife that I have passed on to younger women that I feel like God wants me to share.

  1. Do not try to change your husband, period. Love your husband for exactly who God created him to be. If you attempt to change your husband, you will rob him of joyfully fulfilling the purpose that God has for his life. Sometimes as wives, we tend to fall into the trap of nagging our husbands about the things that we wish they would change. Proverbs 21:19 states, “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”  Ladies, let’s do our husbands a favor and love them for exactly who God created them to be.
  2. Invest in love languages! The best way to love your husband is to invest time and resources into figuring out his love language. My husband’s love language is quality time. By quality time, I’m not referring to long walks down the aisles of Hobby Lobby. I mean going hog hunting with him or walking long dirt roads searching for arrow heads. Although these may not be my favorite things to do, I love doing them with my husband because I’m investing in our marriage and doing something he loves to do.
  3. Pray for your husband.When I have a hard time submitting to my husband’s authority, it’s usually because his ideas don’t align with mine. So what do I do?  I pray for my husband. I pray that God will align our thinking and our hearts and help me to be submissive to my husband’s authority with a cheerful heart.
  4. Enjoy the little things and don’t take life too seriouslyMany times, as young wives and mothers, we’re so consumed with the opinions of others that we allow those opinions to captivate our every thought. Enjoy your husband, enjoy your kids. Don’t take a single moment for granted, simple as that!

Young wives and mothers, take heart. Seek out life giving relationships with women who can pour wise counsel into your life. Older women, rise up and be good examples through your actions of who God calls us to be in our homes.

Cassie Mogg contributed this post this week. She and her family attend the Plainview campus.

One Simple Truth

Editor’s Note: This semester we’ve focused on Titus 2 and the value of godly women mentoring young ones in their faith and everyday lives. Our prayer is that you would be encouraged as you read to connect with God in these areas of your life and obey His voice.

About 10 years ago, I learned one simple little secret at a women’s retreat that has truly changed everyday life at our house. You’ll never see it on the cover of Vogue magazine in a list of top 3 ways to please your man, but it will bring satisfaction to your marriage that the world can’t imagine. Are you interested?

Here’s the secret: The way I treat my husband in the first 1-2 minutes when I see him at the end of the day makes all the difference in showing him honor and setting the thermostat for the rest of our evening together. I often think of this saying and believe it’s God’s heart:

“Treat your family like guests, and your guests like family.” 

When a guest comes over, I want them to know they’re important, valuable, and welcomed. So, I stop what I’m doing, and I go to meet them. I wouldn’t dream of not looking up from my work, or of not getting up off the couch to greet them. I look them in the eye, welcome them, hug them, and tell them I’m so glad they’re there! But when my husband comes home? How is he greeted? Does he feel important, valuable, and welcomed by me?

In Titus 2, we’re told that God entrusted us as women with managing our homes, which includes setting the emotional and relational thermostat!  I challenge you to start intentionally meeting your husband with a smile, a hug, and a genuine gladness that he is home…in a FRIENDLY way. At first this may not feel like it comes from your heart, but as I’ve done this for years, it’s become a simple act that is now rooted in honor and respect for my husband. My home is the domain God’s given me, and I want my husband to feel welcomed there. If you have young kids and the house is scattered with toys, pick them up when you know he’s getting close and teach your kids to get the house ready for Dad. I’m not talking about perfection, but about teaching our kids how to plan for honor.

Older kids need to be trained to stop what they’re doing, walk up to Dad, and greet him with a hug and acknowledgement that he is home. We have a teenager now and still try to practice this every time Gabe walks in the door at the end of the day. We get lazy and selfish, and sometimes she and I have to remind each other to do this. It’s not natural—which is why it has such impact. But we are not natural people! And we don’t live natural lives! We live powerful lives where God’s kingdom comes to earth in our homes and relationships.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”  Romans 12:10

Honor begins at home. Once your husband is sure that the emotional environment he’s walking into is neither HOT or COLD, I bet you’ll have a chance to tell him about your day. And he may even tell you about his. I dare you; try it!

Jill Moudy from our Plainview campus contributed this post.

Marriage & Martyrdom

Editor’s Note: This semester we’re focusing on Titus 2 and all the different ways it can impact our life in this season of life. Our prayer is that you are encouraged by these posts to see what God would have you apply to your life.

My husband and I joined a marriage Life Group this semester, and we’re going through the Love & Respect curriculum by Emerson Eggerichs. I’m loving it.

Recently, I saw something I don’t think I remember hearing before. The Bible is anything but silent about how husbands and wives show love and respect to each other, but here’s the deal. Eggerichs said husbands are to apape (self-sacrificial love) their wives (Ephesians 5:29) and wives are to phileo (companion-type love) their husbands (Titus 2:8).

When I heard this, I felt like the Spirit of God told me, “I’ve never asked you to be a martyr for your husband. And when you operate from that place, it isn’t godly.” I knew exactly what He meant. It’s the I-Have-to-Do-EVERYTHING-Around-Here-and-No-One-Cares attitude. And it implies that my husband is killing me.

Many times, we as women have no problem sacrificing for our husbands. We cook for them. We clean for them. But we resent them, and believe me, they know it. They see the activity and busyness, but they’re pretty sure we don’t like them.

So what do I do?

When I operate from a martyr mentality, it should be a red flag. I need to speak up and ask for the help I need, because God didn’t call me to lay my life down for my husband the same way He called my husband to do so for me. Usually the help I need is not for my husband to do ALL the chores around the house. I mostly desire his closeness and appreciation for who I am.

He can’t read my mind. I may have to use my words and tell him that my heart hurts. You know what? Every time I’ve told him how I’m really feeling, he’s listened and loved me in a way I can receive it. How can I not respect and fall in love with this man all over again when he goes to war for my heart’s freedom?

In return, I’m called to be his friend. John Eldredge  hit the nail on the head for me in his  2-minute blog Ransomed Heart as he fleshed out what it means to be my husband’s help meet, to phileo (not fillet) my husband.

Trust me. DO NOT miss this.

When I get God’s heart for my role as wife, so much falls into place in my marriage. He’s not calling me to be the loser. Did you know there doesn’t even have to be a loser in my marriage? But when I get out of whack here, I experience major bouts of frustration, anger, and bitterness.

Ask God to reveal His heart to you. He will show you how to take the first step out of martyrdom and into freedom.

Jodi LaFrance wrote this post. To learn more about her, please follow this link.

Seen & Heard

Seen & Heard

This week we asked Kendra Huckabee of the Lubbock Campus to share a little bit of how she loves her family well during the Valentine’s Day holiday.

This past weekend we took a day trip to Clovis, NM, of all places, to take our boys to a traveling dinosaur event called Jurassic Quest. Think robotic dinosaur museum (or circus…whichever you prefer). Throughout the entire planning process, buying the overpriced tickets, and honestly, even on the drive there I kept thinking:

“Why in the world are we doing this?”
“This better be worth it!”
“The things we do for our kids…”.
But seeing my 3 ½-year-old dinosaur fanatic’s face light up at every turn immediately made me glad that we chose to take the time to do something he loves. Loving my family is one of the most important jobs I have. Although it has taken me some time, learning to show love to each member of my family in a way that speaks to them individually and makes them feel seen and known is the best way to do it.
John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to love people. It’s so cool to me how when Jesus healed people, had an encounter with someone, or spoke into someone’s life it was different every time. He didn’t have a “How to Love People” checklist that he followed. He simply knew them and loved them in a way that was specifically meant for them.

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He doesn’t care the cost, time, or distance it takes to show his love towards us.
I would have much rather stayed home this weekend in my pajamas drinking endless cups of coffee than standing in the cold watching my son move dirt around with a paintbrush to uncover a “fossil”, but I would have robbed myself of a chance to show love and my son of a chance to receive it.
I’m so thankful that I chose to move my SELF out of the way this weekend so that we could shower our son with love in a way that spoke to his little dino-loving heart.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, chocolate and teddy bears have never really been my thing, but loving my people is! My goal this Valentines, and every day, is to take the opportunity to speak my family’s love language. I pray that you, too, will take the time to love your family in ways that make them feel seen and known. Whether it’s something simple like their favorite candy, or a random trip to another state to see robotic dinosaurs, learn what and how they love and show them love in that way.

Some things that have helped me learn how to love my family:

The 5 Love Languages books by Gary Chapman
DISC personality test
Simply spending time with them

 

This post was written by Kendra Huckabee from our Lubbock Campus. To learn more about her, follow this link.

Loving Your Husband

Titus 2:3-4 says that older women are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands.

The word love in that verse (philandros) is only used once in scripture, and is an affection shown specifically by a wife for her husband. This leads me to believe that a wife has the unique ability to show unconditional love to her husband in a way that nobody else on earth can. Wow – what a privilege!

Through living out this gift of marriage and walking with many wise women, the Lord has taught me a few very practical ways to love Kirby that have helped us cultivate a rich, life-giving marriage.

Pray for Him

Pray that the Word of God would dwell richly in your husband. Pray that he would prosper in all he does. Pray for him as you fold his laundry. Find specific passages of scripture to speak over your husband. Our prayers are powerful and life-changing.

Serve Him

In the middle of writing this, I asked Kirby to share some practical things that I do that communicate love to him. To no surprise, dinner made the list. If you know Kirby, that statement won’t surprise you either. The man can eat! But through his sort-of comical response, he reminded me that service doesn’t always have to be extravagant. It’s the everyday. He serves me in more ways than I could number, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to love him through serving him right back.

Protect and Build his Reputation

Proverbs 31:23 is a statement that, at first glance, seems a little out of place. The whole passage describes a woman that we all desire to be, and simultaneously get frustrated with because she sometimes seems out of reach. In verse 23, it states, “her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders.” I believe that his wife had a role to play in building her husband’s reputation and in his being known and respected. Ladies, we’ve been given a true privilege in being able to know our husband so intimately. Let’s use that privilege in a way that highlights his strengths, builds his reputation, and sets him up for success in life. We really do have more power in this area than we usually give ourselves credit for.

Get to Know Him

I know this one sounds redundant, considering we’re talking about the man we married. But I didn’t realize when I first married Kirby that he doesn’t express or receive love in the same ways I do AT ALL. We’re polar opposites. I feel loved most through quality time, physical touch, and acts of service. Coming into marriage, I thought that that was how to make anyone feel loved. However, I learned that Kirby feels loved the most through words of affirmation and gifts. Get to know how your husband receives love best. Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages can help get you started in discovering your spouse’s love language, as well as your own. It’s well worth the investment.

God gave us a true gift in our husbands. I pray that as women we would make the most of every opportunity to show love, honor, and respect to our men. As we do, may our homes and our marriages be blessed beyond measure.

This post was written by Catherine Dunn. To learn more about her, click here.

The Words You’re Probably Avoiding

Finances. Budgets. Bills. These are words most couples dread, right?

This topic has been on my heart, so I wanted to share a few principals we follow that I believe bring peace to this area in our finances.

  1. Tithe/Give. If you’re on the fence about tithing, I can promise you it’s worth it to be obedient to the Lord. When we follow His word and do as He asks, abundant blessing follows. Our first couple years of marriage, our combined income was below the poverty level, and yet, we followed this principal of giving 10% of our income to the Lord—and we never went without. God has always provided everything we need.

We’ve always had the mindset that everything we own is God’s, and from the very beginning, we’d ask him, what do you want us to do with your money? My dad used to tell me, even as a young girl, “You can’t out-give God.” How incredibly true! From the beginning of our marriage, we not only tithed, but we prayerfully considered giving to specific ministries every month. At first, we couldn’t give much, but as we were diligent to give away the little that we had, God quickly and immeasurably provided a blessing in return. With every raise we’ve ever had, our question has always been—Okay, God? How much and where to?

  1. Save. We saved enough for a down payment to buy a house within one year of being married on an income that certainly felt teeny-tiny. Want to know how? We save 10% of our income each month. 10%–that’s all. Give 10, Save 10.

We’ve been supernaturally rewarded by being stewards of our money in this way. We’ve been married 9 years, and we’ve paid off roughly $90,000 in debt. Today our only debt is our house, which will be paid for in 13 years or less. I don’t say that to brag—in fact, I was humbled when I started totaling it all up in preparation for this post. But because I know it’s possible to tackle what might even feel impossible, I want to encourage you: it can be done!

  1. Mutually submit. We get paid twice a month, and we immediately tithe and save 10%. We do it on the gross income (though we don’t think there’s anything wrong doing it the other way), so we’re a little more stretched. What’s left after that is the money we live on and the money we give away.

So what do I mean by mutually submit? Every couple has a spender and saver—and sometimes to more or less varying degrees. Whether you’re one or the other, remember that every financial choice you make affects your spouse. You’re communicating love and respect by how you spend your money (or by what you withhold in spending).

If your spouse has asked you not to purchase something or to be conscious of the “leftover” money this month, then honoring that amount is the way you honor him or her.

And I believe the Lord blesses us, not only when we honor each other with our spending but when we honor Him with our money as well.

I know money isn’t everyone’s favorite subject, but I hope you’ll be encouraged this week. If your bills feel too high, if your savings feels too low—begin to ask the Lord how He wants you to steward your money (and then be obedient! 🙂 ).

His word is true. Psalm 23 begins,

The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not lack.

Believe that, my friends. He will always provide for you!

This post was written by Laura Brandenburg. To read more about her, click here

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Dearly Beloved, We are Gathered Here to Witness…

I am an old married lady. Well…not really old, just old married. A conference I attended a few years ago brought to my awareness the rarity of my marriage’s condition. Apparently, being first-time married 20-plus years and my husband and I both having parents with 45-year first marriages put us in a minority of around 10% of the nation’s population.

I remember celebrating our fifteenth wedding anniversary at a nice restaurant in Albuquerque. Our waitress inquired how long we’d been married, and when we told her fifteen years, she looked surprised and said, “Wow, that’s a really long time!”

Our culture is becoming increasingly unfamiliar with marital commitment.  I believe we have a unique opportunity to communicate a kingdom message to those around us by building marriages that endure.

If you are like me, I imagine you are not thinking your marriage is your primary evangelistic tool. And, if you are like me, you might even cringe at the thought of how you’ve “witnessed” to others in the past (Thank you, Husband’s 1990’s Wardrobe, for being an all-too-easy prey of wifely jokes). But let me encourage you with the words Jesus spoke to his (very imperfect) disciples in John 17: 20-23:

I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one… And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me… May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

If we think about the context of this passage, very few of us would tie it to marriage. Most of us relate it (and rightly so) to the universal body of believers. It is about being unified, and not fighting over nonsense like church building carpet colors.

But stretch your minds for a moment with me:  the context of marriage is definitely “becoming one” and living in unity. Therefore, we have a position to communicate a message through our marriages.

As an old married person but with limited space here, I’d like to offer one pointer for marital harmony and improving our kingdom witness: Speak kindly ABOUT your spouse TO others.

Years ago, before Lyle and I married, we decided there are enough people in the world who tear others down, so we needed to build each other up, especially when we’re in conversation with acquaintances. We all know how easy it is to unload on a friend about your husband’s pile of dirty socks, but do we realize the detriment that can do to our kingdom impact?

In Titus 2:5 (Amplified Version), Paul asks wives to honor their husbands so that the Word of God would not be dishonored.

People of the world often only see the Word through how we handle life. If we, as wives, speak praise of our husbands, we will honor our men, and thus help create an enduring marriage.

Who will be witnesses of our message?

This post was written by Shelli Jarvis. To read more about her, click here. 

Seeking Wise Counsel

Proverbs 12:15 says,

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.

The Message Version of Proverbs 19:20-21 says,

Take good counsel and accept correction—that’s the way to live wisely and well.

Don’t we all want to be wise? Don’t we want to live well?

Listening to advice—namely, seeking wise counsel—is hard, but I’ve found that it’s essential in all areas of our life, especially in our marriages.

Howell and I were having dinner with three other couples a few months ago, all of whom had been married anywhere from ten to twenty years longer than we have. Somehow the topic of counseling came up, and every single one of us shared how counseling had positively impacted our marriages at one point or another.

I’ve been thinking about that since then. Some people might have a certain fear about counseling, especially marriage counseling. Maybe it feels like failure—and they want to keep holding on to the secret that their marriage is falling apart. Maybe it feels too personal—and they don’t want someone all up in their business.

Can I tell you the truth, dear friend?

It’s neither shameful nor scary.

Bringing your “stuff” into the light brings freedom and healing—and wise counsel becomes a balm to those broken places.

There’s something about an outside perspective that helps you see things in your marriage, in yourself, or in your spouse that you couldn’t have seen otherwise. And wise counselors have good tools to help us better understand each other.

Howell and I went through some intense counseling early on, and I genuinely believe it set us up for a solid foundation. We learned so much about ourselves—as much as we learned about each other.

In those first few years of marriage, when we would argue, I would want to leave—the room, the house. Always, I wanted an escape. And Howell would say, “But Mary Ann said we should…”

And for whatever reason, that worked. (FYI: Mary Ann was our counselor. :)) It’s not that she had a certain power over us, but when he said that, it would remind me of my behavior: what the root of it came from, what it meant to me, what it communicated to Howell. And I would remember: I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want to be the person who leaves in an argument, who can’t settle a disagreement, who can’t listen to wisdom.

And so I would stay, and I would talk, and I would listen.

We have the power within us to choose how we behave. I suppose the second step of counseling is application, right?

Wise counsel comes in many forms—not only the professional kind (though it is a worthy investment!). You can also surround yourself with wise counsel—your parents, your mentors, your friends. Always, the Bible instructs us and gives us tools for how to live.

Even now, Howell and I seek wise counsel when we make big decisions, especially financial ones. We have people in our lives who speak truth to us, and we heed their advice.

If you’re struggling today—especially if your marriage feels like it’s failing, I encourage you to seek wise counsel and heed good advice. May it bring healing and freedom and restoration to your relationship.

This post was written by Laura Brandenburg. To read more about her, click here

*Note: If you and your spouse need to see a trusted marriage counselor, please contact the church office for a list of referrals. 

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