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Archive for Just for Her

Mar
28

Why Your Marriage Matters

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerpam-why-mattersI’ve entitled my blog When Marriage Matters for a couple of reasons:

  1. It sounds good
  2. 5 people agreed with me that it sounds good
  3. It really does matter.
  4. It is succinct
  5. I forgot this reason already 🙁   (and five is a much better number than four!)

What I’d like to share is why it matters and what purpose marriage provides society. Don’t worry, I won’t share a million links on studies or that. I think this comes from the “Common Sense” vault that we all share. What any great society has shown is that the family is the bedrock of a great society. The bedrock of a great family is, of course, a great marriage.

Marriage affects everyone. It is the foundation for one’s views on marriage, how we treat our future spouses, and how we raise our children, to name a few. We learn about life, how to deal with stress, anger, joy, sadness, shame, all while living under our parents’ roof. Their marriage affects us greatly and in many ways we don’t or didn’t realize until we left and started our own marriage and family. In short, we learn how to treat one another via our parents’ direct and indirect behavior we saw demonstrated in their marriage. We see the good, bad, and the ugly. Hopefully, we also see some joy, happiness and peace that they model for us.

I believe that marriage matters greatly even though its’ been knocked down and dragged through the media mud in the last several decades. Unfortunately, those attempting to follow God’s ways on marriage have also been adversely affected. A lot of people believe the lie, “Well, God wants me to be happy, s/he’s not making me happy anymore, so divorce is okay with God.”  Another popular (but so untrue) lie  is “the kids will adjust; it really won’t negatively affect them/they’ll bounce back—look, I did!

Our American culture has consistently and persistently chipped away at the following:

  • The basis of marriage
  • The value of marriage
  • The definition of marriage

I think it’s been very hard for Christ-followers not to be affected by all the clamoring and noise about marriage, just like it’s hard to go into a bar and not smell like smoke when you come out

Or to go to a rock concert and not have your ears still ringing. Or like getting near a swimming pool without getting splashed. We’re surrounded by negative statements and doubts about marriage wherever we turn. The media is quick to jump on our mistakes etc and loudly proclaim, “See, you guys can’t even do it right!  And indeed we cannot get it right, not without Jesus.  I cannot respect or love my husband without Jesus giving me the strength to. Because I don’t always feel like loving him or respecting him. I am very selfish.  I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it! That attitude is very destructive in marriage if left unchecked. A quick look at 1 Corinthians 13 should help motivate me back to square one: Am I being patient with my spouse? Am I being kind? Am I not getting my own way? Am I being selfless? Pleasant and not irritable or resentful? Read More→

Feb
13

Embracing the Me God Made Me to Be

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Meek & mild. Calm, cool, and collected.

These are all words that I wish described me.

But they don’t. At all. Just ask my family or friends. I would get they would use words more like stressed out and energetic (said somewhat sarcastically.  Sarcasm runs in our family).

I have always carried a deep desire to be like Mary. To sit at the feet of Jesus and listen.  To sit and soak up the wisdom of the Jesus-like women in my life.

However, I am truly bad at sitting to listen.  The sitting aspect I have down – it’s just the sitting AND listening that I can’t seem to manage.  I’m more like Martha – I need to be DOING.

Maybe I’m uncomfortable with the solitude necessary at times to hear what God is trying to tell me.  Maybe I’m trying to avoid the conviction of the Holy Spirit, so I keep moving, moving, moving; hoping I can DO more, BE more, and prove myself worthy.

I have tried to stuff myself into a meek and mild skin many times.  However, it just never sticks.  I tell myself that the next time such-and-such situation arises, I’m going to handle it with calm reserve.  And then the situation comes to pass and I FREAK OUT and start doing, managing, organizing.  The calm reserve I promised myself has flown out the window and I feel like I’ve blown it yet again.

Just As I Am

Recently I was watching some videos online of two Christian women speakers. The first was quiet and meek, the epitome of a Mary in my mind. That’s what I need to be like, I thought.  I started a fresh list of personality changes to get to work on that would make me more like this woman that I admired.

Then, the next speaker stood up, and took center stage. She loudly announced that she was about to get all fired up. Oh here we go, I thought. This gal is like me. My eyes were rolling before she even had a chance to get started.  I assumed that if she was loud and excited she couldn’t possibly be a good teacher, because that is how I feel about myself. However, as she spoke, something within my was drawn to her.  Her excitement was catching, her passion was inspiring, and it was obvious that she was God’s woman through-and-through. Even though she was loud and a little zany and … a little like me.

I saw myself in her. But, more importantly, I saw Jesus in her.

And I realized that God can use me exactly as I am. Don’t get me wrong, He’s continually making changes within me. But my personality, who He created me to be, is EXACTLY what He meant it to be.

He can use my crazy, kooky, loud personality to glorify Him, just as he can use a mild-mannered sweet girl.  It’s not our presentation that matters. It’s our hearts.

That realization has given me freedom in a whole new area. The freedom to be myself, to share Jesus in my own kooky, zany way.  That realization has brought me JOY as I realize that God truly loves me and uses me just as I am.

 

Hallelujah!

Sing to the Lord a new song,

His praise in the assembly of the godly.

Let Israel celebrate its Maker;

let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.

Let them praise His name with dancing

and make music to Him with tambourine and lyre.

For Yahweh takes pleasure in His people;

He adorns the humble with salvation.

Psalm 149:1-4

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Jun
23

The Single Ladies: Part 2 – M&M

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Joy Jochems - Single Moms BloggerchocoMy apologies upfront for luring you in with thoughts of chocolaty sweetness.  Maintain that picture if it helps (or grab a few to munch on!), but promise me this: you’ll not discount the message when you discover whose initials we’re actually representing.

For the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of leading a women’s Sunday school class on Mary and Martha. (Was that a sigh I heard? I know their story is “over told” in Christian women’s circles, but hang in there with me! They have something to teach us about being a single lady, about being a Christian woman. Tradition and most commentaries do agree that neither woman married.) I continue to learn from and to be challenged by the things Scripture recounts about these two extraordinary women.

Our goal here is not to rehash service vs. sitting. We’re not trying to dissect intentions or personalities. What we are aiming for is nuggets of truth about relationship with Jesus as exemplified by Mary and Martha… 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
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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Oct
22

The Fonz and Happy Days

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerAre you old enough to remember that show? Happy Days, with Henry Winkler as “The Fonz” and Ron Howard,as Richie Cunningham. METV plays reruns of “all those old shows old people like,” as my youngest would say. Little does he know, soon enough, his children will be saying that to him, and thinking he is old and those shows are weird.

The Fonz & Happy Days, by Pam BassWell, I got home from work tonight and wanted to  unwind a bit and it was on. There’s an episode where Richie’s little sister, Joanie, wants to grow up real fast, and so plans to run away from home. Richie is trying, unsuccessfully, to talk her out of it. Fonzie, as is always the case, comes to the rescue. (You should really watch a few episodes on YouTube or METV. The shows dispense a lot of common sense and wisdom IMHO).

So, “the Fonz” is explaining to her that she “shouldn’t do what I did.” First wisdom nugget:  Learn from someone else’s mistakes. I’ve yet to hear someone say to me, “Well, I’m so glad I had an affair like John/Jane did. It all worked out perfectly.” Not once. Nor do I ever think I will hear that. Yes, I KNOW that is easier said than done! But think of all the pain that they’ve brought upon themselves and their family. Do you want that? Read More→

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