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Archive for Marriage Articles

Mar
25

It’s Good Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’

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high crossFor those who follow the church calendar Good Friday is a special day, one of the high religious days among many Christians. Personally, I think it is a good one to remember and celebrate.

Overall, apart from a few exceptions, I do not like special days. As far as I’m concerned, every day I get up and take nourishment is a special day for me.

Everybody seems to have their own special day and I find it rather difficult to keep up on all of these “special days.” If a person would honor and celebrate every “special day” posted on the calendar there would be no days to get any work done whatsoever. And, as luck would have it on my side, I would miss a very special “special day.”

I am in favor of setting aside one day a month as the official “special day” of the month in which everything that anybody wants to celebrate during that month could be included. That way we could get the celebrating of special days done and then we can get back to business as usual.

One of the most frightening phrases a husband can hear is, “Do you know what anniversary it is today?”

Every husband has been backed into a corner like this sometime during his marital career. I for one say it is not fair. Because everyone knows special is as special remembers, which puts husbands at a great disadvantage.

It is not that men cannot remember, a man’s memory is limited and so he must be very selective. And to be honest about this, anniversaries are simply not on any man’s radar.

I learned this very early in my relationship with the young woman who graciously accepted my invitation of matrimony.

We had been dating for around a month and one night when I picked her up to go out, she said something that confused me. “You know this is our first anniversary?”

My confusion lay in the fact that an anniversary had to do with something yearly. I had only known her for several months at the time. I know time gets away with a person, but this was rather ridiculous. In the short time we had known each other, it was impossible for us to have an anniversary of anything.

It was at this point I did something, although innocent enough at the time, that I have regretted the rest of my life. I looked at her and laughed. Read More→

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Mar
18

Excuse me, but I just gotta be me

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I refuse to answer for anybody else because it is a full-time job trying to answer for myself. I must confess, though, I sometimes cannot give a good answer for myself. I can give an answer, but not a good one, and when it comes to answers, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage demands good ones.

For one, I am not an actor. I want to make that very plain to all and sundry. With me, what you see is what you get. I suppose when you boil it all down, I am just not smart enough to be a good actor. I am not even smart enough to be a bad actor.

Putting all of this in context, I must confess that my wife believes I am a great actor. I have tried to dissuade her from this opinion, but up to this point, I have not been successful. When she thinks of me she always says, “And the Emmy goes to…”

Some examples need to be given here to show my point.

Just the other night we were at a restaurant with some friends, having a good time, or so I thought. I must say when I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll. But all during my “roll,” I kept feeling somebody under the table kicking me. I ignored it thinking perhaps our friends did not quite know what they were doing.

Finally, both of them excused themselves to take a break and when they were out of hearing distance, my wife said to me, “Will you stop acting so foolish?”

I looked at her, not quite knowing what she was referring to, and said quite innocently, “But, my Precious, [it’s a name I use when I’m in trouble but don’t know why] I’m not acting.”

She gave me one of “those looks” and said, “Stop acting foolish.”

Another example comes to mind.

I remember she was trying to explain something to me one time. I do not know what it was now. It was something to do with something in the garage, a place I have not been for years, and I was not connecting the dots, as they say. She was going into a long dissertation on what needed to be done and I was just standing there staring at her. I was trying to understand what she was saying, but nothing was clicking upstairs, if you know what I mean. Read More→

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Mar
04

For a Short Month, February is rather busy

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RosesUsually, I am not one to get all excited about holidays. At my age, I do not need the confusion and these holidays take more away than they actually give, if you want my honest opinion. Even my birthday is something I am not too excited about anymore.

I did not realize that February, which is the shortest month of the year, had more holidays than just about any other month. There is a holiday to celebrate every day of the month; from Groundhog Day to Valentine’s Day to President’s day. It is hard to keep them apart. Sad is the husband who confuses Valentine’s Day with Groundhog Day.

I could understand how someone might confuse President’s Day with Ground Hog Day. The confusion is obvious. What if after the next presidential election Punxsutawney Phil was elected president by mistake. Or, would it be a mistake? I have to think about that a little more. Instead of, “You’re fired!” we would hear, “Six more months of winter!” I am leaning towards the latter.

Did you know that there is a “Tooth Ache Day” in February? Seriously? What a toothache has to do with February is simply beyond me. Don’t ask me what it is or what they are celebrating. Maybe it has something to do with the Tooth Fairy. It makes my tooth ache just thinking about it.

All this confusion of holidays has had a negative effect upon me but the one holiday I cannot afford to overlook is Valentine’s Day. If I give attention to some of these other nonsensical holidays, it might compromise my ability to remember Valentine’s Day. You know what would happen if for some reason I forgot Valentine’s Day?

Or, if I got my February cards mixed up and gave her a Groundhog Day card on Valentine’s Day. At that point, I would have to say to Punxsutawney Phil, “Move over I’m coming in. And forget about six more weeks of winter.”

I have often wondered why we celebrate something as romantic as Valentine’s Day in the shortest month of the year. If it was up to me, and it certainly is not, I would make Valentine’s Day the only holiday to celebrate in February. After all, it’s enough to celebrate during the month.

Also, if it was up to me, and it isn’t, I would have only one holiday per month. Maybe every year rotate the monthly holiday but have only one holiday for that month. That, to me, would make more sense. Read More→

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Jan
14

Love Is Patient – Part 1

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You should really be careful for what you pray for.  God can and does answer!  I’ve been thinking a lot these days about the following:

  • Identity  (What is it? What is my identity truly?)

  • Patience (What is it really?  Why is it so hard? What does it look like in real life?)

  • Community (What is true community?)

  • Labels  (Is ‘christian’ really an accurate description or not? Is Christ’s Image bearer a better term?)

So, just a little light pondering for the past month.  Back to the title.  I have told others a lot, and also tried to practice just the first two lines of the famous and familiar “love” verses.

You know, “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Cor. 13:4-8).

I’ve been thinking of how patience actually acts or looks like, so I prayed, “God, please help me to really BE patient today.”  So, I go to bible study and then to the grocery store.  I have 15 items, so I go in the Express Lane.  The lady ahead of me thinks something should be less.  Of course, I think to myself, I prayed for this. No big deal.  A minute goes by. I didn’t time myself.  I wasn’t really in a rush, so I thought, I’ll just go to the other Express Lane and I start to move, but then 2 people beat me there. Ok, I’ll just stay here.  They’re calling for a manager. Now, this is where I start to be impatient. I start looking around at the other lanes hoping to change lanes.  The manager comes, and it’s taking him awhile. Another manager comes and  tells a nearby clerk to ring me up on another Express lane (there were 4 all together). She can’t; the previous clerk (now on break) had locked everyone out. The manager apologizes. I say “no problem” and tell him I prayed today for patience and now I get to practice.  But I think I am not that patient.  I feel my emotions more now; I’m getting annoyed, frustrated, etc.

But I don’t have anywhere but home to get to. No scheduled appointments, the weather is fine. No rush. No big deal, right? Then why am I NOT able to just chill out and wait patiently?

So, the clerk on break comes back and starts ringing me up. (The lady with the problem has just finished.) He spills my blueberries over his scanner and starts apologizing.  Then he starts re-ringing everything up. (Some computer glitch.)  Now, I’m pretty annoyed and now I just want to get out. “This is ridiculous! This is taking SO LONG!” is in my head, loud and clear.  The manager comes over again.  Outwardly, I think, I tried smiling, but inwardly, I’m going crazy.  Over what, really? I feel the tension inside. The manager apologizes and says, “Thank you for your patience, I gave you 5% off your bill for waiting so patiently.”

I am surprised; I don’t think I deserve it, though I thank him for it.  My clerk goes and gets me new blueberries.  That takes awhile.  I get to my car and think, ok, better next time. God has a sense of humor.  What could I have thought or felt? Cliche as it is, what would Jesus have done?

Now, you may be thinking my story is over. Nope.  As if to make a point, or to just drill it into my thick skull, getting out of the parking lot was awful! I do just sit and wait. And wait. And wait some more.  At this point I am tired and I realize I cannot change anything.  The cars are blocking me in.  I’m thinking “this is round #2”, and I’m feeling nothing really.

So, in Part 2 I’ll go over some more thoughts on what Jesus might have done in my place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pam Bass is a wife, mom, and licensed Christian counselor, who has helped hundreds of people over the last 23 years. She desires wives especially to be cognizant of the way the American culture can influence our stated Christian values. Through her blog, she hopes to encourage women (in particular) to be, know, and trust what God tells us in His word. Find out more atwww.pambass.com .

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Dec
16

Missing the Obvious

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerWhew! It has been one crazy busy year!  I can’t believe it’s December already! How about for you? It seems like only yesterday I was enjoying my son’s high school graduation party, and now, he’s been gone a whole semester! Where has the time gone?  I bet I’m not the only mom saying that.

Missing the Obviou by Pam BassSo, I don’t remember if I mentioned that when our first son left for college, here in town, that he forgot his pillow.  Here, all four of us had done the “let’s-check-every-room-to make-sure-you-have-everything” drill and somehow, we ALL missed that his pillow was still on his bed!  We had a good laugh last August.  Well, imagine my surprise, when son #2 almost did the same thing!  And he had given his older brother such a hard time for doing the same thing!

How could we miss such an obvious item?  It’s not like your pillow fits in your hand and is tiny.  It’s not like it was hiding behind his chair or in his closet.  It was in plain sight all the time.  It reminds me of a popular YouTube video a few years ago.  I forget what the researchers were testing, but the results were humorous to say the least.  They showed 20 people, ten in white shirts, and ten in black shirts, throwing around a basketball.  They asked you to count how many times the ball was thrown between the white shirts.  Then after you said “7”, they’d ask you about the gorilla. What gorilla? Then they replayed the video and had circled the gorilla that was clearly walking across and in between the players!  Talk about missing the obvious! Read More→

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Dec
11

From Ashes To Beauty

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ivetteThis is not really my title.  I am borrowing it from the Old Testament, Isaiah 61:3 to be exact.  I was listening to a song on my playlist today (you know  I like old songs–I’m always getting inspiration from them!).  This one is from Toni Braxton’s song,

“Un-Break My Heart.”   This is a very sad song, and I sometimes play it when I am feeling very sad.  I know, probably counter productive, but somehow it helps.  I dunno how exactly, but it does.  Maybe you can relate?

Anyway, it’s  about someone breaking someone else’s heart and walking out of their lives. That is always sad, especially when the two were married to one another.  “Don’t leave me in all this pain” is one of the lines.  When people are in pain, we don’t like it; we want out of it ASAP!  We want our spouse, sometimes the very person who hurt us in the most unimaginable way to “come and take these tears away…to un-break my heart.”  This is probably what I’d call the theme song for the faithful spouse when they find out their spouse has cheated on them.

Most people assume that affairs will naturally lead to a divorce.  But that is not true in most cases.  A brief survey states that 17-35% will end in divorce.  In my experience, if it’s the man who has had the affair, it won’t end in a divorce.   If the woman has had the affair, it takes a pretty tough guy to forgive her and keep HIS vows to her, IMHO.  But it can, and has been done.  Just ask God.  Or ask Hosea.  Or ask the many, many couples whom I’ve helped restore their marriage.

You see, I have had the recent pleasure of meeting with several couples who came to me 1-2 years ago with the pain of finding out their spouse has had one or more affairs, over the course of their marriage (15-40 years).  It is hard to see the pain, the betrayal in the faithful spouses’ eyes.  It is humbling to be one of the first people who see and hear their pain.  The first several sessions, if they have just found out, are raw, very raw with many emotions: anger, hurt, fear, disappointment, rage, confusion, to name a few.  The list goes on.  They are in a state of emotional shock, even if they suspected s/he was cheating on them.   Read More→

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Dec
04

Live Here, Work Here

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toy1Live Here, Work Here,” is one of the mottos used in our household.  Simple. Short. Profound. Okay, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch, but I really don’t think so.  It’s a foundational principle of households since the beginning of time I think.  I’m no historian per se, but if you grew up on a farm, you contributed to the running of the farm as soon as you were physically capable.  Nowadays, I see far too many parents, well-meaning of course, who do the work of 2 or 3 people, while they’re fully capable children are sitting around on their butts.  This is should not be!  There is only heartache to reap when you knowingly sow these seeds of irresponsibility into your child.

When you live in a household, unless you’re disabled, you should contribute to the house by actively doing something that does good.  The good you do for the house will also truly give you a number of things.  But first, here’s a few ideas of what children can do to contribute:

1-6 year olds can pick up their toys, put them away. They can do more than we think.

7-12 year olds can empty the wastepaper baskets; carry small (then bigger) items in from the store; make their beds; unload the dishwasher; set the table/clear the table; help with raking leaves/shoveling snow.

If you have pets: provide food, water, clean up after them, walk them, pet them/play with them, etc.

13-18 year olds can either help with preparing, making meals, shopping for groceries; doing laundry; picking up other children; babysitting their siblings.

19-25 year olds can pay partial rent, pay in part, for THEIR own phone, insurance, etc

By teaching your children to help out it gives you:

  1. A much need break from said activity
  2. More respect as the authority in the house
  3. The ability to specifically guide their natural talents, abilities, etc
  4. The satisfaction that you are shaping your little people into fully functional, responsible and respectful citizens.

Read More→

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Nov
16

If Not For You

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What is your marriage modelingI really like old songs.  I like the lyrics.  I like the music.  It’s my generation I guess.  Just like today’s music will be someone’s generation 40 years from now.  When they are old, like me, they will reminiscent and enjoy “the good ole days”.

So, the song I heard is today’s title.  “If not for you…” written by Bob Dylan, sung by Olivia Newton-John.  So, as I was singing along, in my car, I thought about my life, and what, “if not for you-my husband” would my life be like?  You see, we’ve just returned from celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary.  So, yes, I’m waxing nostalgic!  It’s been a crazy few months, with my father-in-law in and out of the hospital, and my mom’s mastectomy.  Lots of traveling across the country.  Lots of emotions–a roller coaster ride to say the least.  So to get away, continuing connecting, having fun, and just enjoying one another’s company and the place we went to was well worth it.  Please don’t skip going away, even if it’s not the best time.  Trust me, we’ve been out at least 5 or 6 times that we so-so.  But I strongly believe celebrating one’s anniversary is a good discipline.  Plus,  you’ll enjoy the really great times when you remember those few so-so ones!

* I would not be the wife, mother, woman I am if not for you dear.  For you have positively influenced me to be greater than I could have ever imagined.  I would have probably still been single unless you pursued me.  Out of all the other woman, you choose me. The same holds true, I sincerely hope, that if not for me, my husband would not be the man, husband, father he is and has become.  We all both still on the path, holding hands, walking it together.

* I wouldn’t have had an equal, yet different, partner in which to journey through life together, through all the good times and yes, the bad times. Two equally imperfect people, male and female, making a go of this thing we call marriage.  A great thing, that we believe God created.   And He created us in His image.  I believe marriage refines you both.  It takes your rough edges, and your spouse helps you smooth them out. Although your spouse is also the one who gets cut the most with those earlier sharp edges.  

* I would not be living here.  Well, I would have never have thought this is where  I’d actually WANT to live when we first got married! This state wasn’t even in the top 30!  But this is where my husband had a good job.  I slowly adapted. In hindsight, I’m glad this is the city and state we raised our sons.   Read More→

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Nov
06

Something I wish I knew before I got married.

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by Kayla Nickles

wedding 011I thought that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I married my husband at the age of 19, right out of high school. I grew up listening to my mom and dad talk about how they met and when they got married. I grew up watching my mom and dad hold hands, and flirt with each other out in the open, I rarely saw them fight or be mad at each other. They always made sure they told each other that they love each other and they made sure they showed it to my brother and me. I always would say to myself, “I’m going to find something like that, even if it takes me forever.”

When I found who I was looking for, I began to read the Bible and different books about being my husband’s “Help Meet” and “How to get through the first year of marriage”. Those were helpful and still are. I’m not saying that books aren’t a good way to prepare oneself. But to truly understand what the author of the book is talking about, you’ll have to go through the situation yourself.

Anyway, I felt confident that I had exactly what it took to be a great wife. I thought that I knew everything there was to know about my situation. I was going to be the best wife ever to my sweet, loving husband that seemed to have nothing that I didn’t like about him. I didn’t expect anything out of him then, I thought.

When I decided to marry my husband, boyfriend at the time, I didn’t realize how much pressure I was really putting on him and I to be perfect for each other. I didn’t realize how much I was really ignoring and looking past all of the things that really mattered. I was looking past the things that I wish I would’ve seen, before I got married.

Like:

1.I am a selfish, selfish person.

When I got married, I didn’t realize how selfish I really was. I didn’t realize how much of myself I put before my husband. I didn’t know how much expectations I really had for my marriage, until after I got married.

I expected everything to be picture perfect. I expected to find through every situation that my husband knew exactly how to treat me; that he knew how to read my mind. It hurt me and made me angry every time my husband didn’t live up to those expectations. It hurt my pride and made me start to resent him. It made me think that he didn’t love me as much as I loved him. I always thought that if he really loved me, he would know exactly what to do to make me feel better. I thought that he SHOULD do whatever he could to make me feel better. I was sacrificing so much, why wasn’t he doing everything in his power to make me happy? Why wasn’t he treating me like the princess that my mom, daddy, and grannie always treated me like? Was there something wrong with me? Was I not what he expected? He certainly wasn’t what I expected; did I make a mistake marrying him? Read More→

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Nov
05

God’s Laws – Still Relevant?

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openbibleToday I want to focus on a few verses I read the other day.  They’ve been stewing in my mind for the last several days.  They are from Psalm 119, a psalm written by David about God’s laws and how he loves them, learns from them, and how so important they are for him.  And us, I might add!

 

Ps. 119:5: “Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your principles!”

v 6  “Then I will not be disgraced with I compare my life with your commands.”

v 7  “When I learn your righteous laws, I will thank you by living as I should!

v 8   “I will obey your principles.  Please don’t give up on me!”

 

Consistency is a problem, isn’t it?  We know we should be consistent in soooo many areas:

our eating (“less fat, carbs, junk food; more protein, etc.”)

our drinking (“more water, less soda pop, coffee, wine, etc.”)

our disciplining of our children  (“parents should agree/be on the same page”)

our exercise (“walk 3-4x/week, 40 minutes each, or go to the gym”)

our relationships (“speak less, listen more, be kind, be gentle; speak the truth in love”)

our emotions (“be not angry, sin not in your anger;”  “forgive one another;” or  “be kind, gentle considerate of others”).

our finances (“tithe 10%, give to the poor, save for a rainy day, pay down your credit card debt, etc.).

There’s probably a few categories I’ve forgotten.  But hopefully you get the picture.

Consistency means “ showing steady conformity to character, profession, belief or custom”.  Whose character are we studying?  Who are we imitating? If there’s one thing I know, we humans are easily sidetracked; we easily forget things; we easily fail.  We easily it seems, forget what God has done for us and to us.  He has extended to us His infinite grace.  We should accept it, and then pass it onto our spouse.  But sometimes, we’d rather play judge and jury and condemn our spouse, without a trial even.  We judge, yell even, and punish them.  Yet we forget that we are guilty as well.  That brings me to the next verse. Read More→

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