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Archive for Just for Her

Jul
11

P-A-C

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerPAC, by Pam BassNo, I’m not going to write about PAC-Man, although I did enjoy playing that video game in the 80’s. What does PAC stand for? Let me tell you: We all walk around with these invisible letters above our heads. No, really, we do! We all speak in one of three voices.

The P stands for Parental: It’s that Parental tone of voice that we usually acquire when we become parents. You know that voice: “Do your homework/Take out the trash/Brush your teeth”. We hear our parents’ voices in our own head, whether or not we are now parents. Along with those commands and directives, maybe your parents also were nurturing:

“Way to go/I know you can do that/You’re great at _______!”

The A stands for Adult. It’s that voice we usually take on somewhere between 17-25 years of age. We speak like an adult; its the tone of voice we’d use with an equal, a friend. It too can have positive or negative aspects to it. The negative Adult can be critical, condemning, or complaining a lot. The positive Adult can be encouraging, uplifting, and so on.

The C stands for Child, as you’ve probably guessed. What do children sound like? They too can be positive: “I will pick up my toys now mommy/ I love you daddy/ I did my homework.” Or they can be whining and complain: “I don’t waaaannnttt toooooo/ No, I won’t!/ Do I hhhaaavvve tttoooo??”.

So, what letter are you in, when you speak to your husband? Healthy married people stay in the Adult to Adult mode or voice. It’s the healthiest tone of voice; it’s the nicest, kindest voice we use. We use it with our girlfriends a lot. The reason I wrote about this is that I’ve seen mature, nice, adult Christian women use their Parental voice to their husband. What’s worse, is that they (sometimes) justify it by saying, “He’s my 4th child” or “He’s acting like a child!” I encourage women to be on guard against this kind of thinking. It is very disrespectful to our husbands. It teaches our kids the wrong thing. We want our little sons and daughters to respect their spouses’ don’t we ladies? Then we must model what that looks like. It begins with me, my tone of voice.

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Jun
30

What Kind of Farmer Are You?

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerWhat Kind of Farmer Are You by Pam BassI have been seeing too many couples lately, who have been married 25+ years, and who are ready to divorce.  The problems have been there for a long, long time.  They are reaping what they have knowing or unknowingly sowed. It is a bit hard to think that they did not know what they were doing, but in my office, the sad but truthful facts are right there. Painful and in plain view, for us to see.  I am no farmer, but I do know that if I plant lettuce, I will not reap tomatoes!  If I sow beans, I will not grow corn!

How do they not know? you might ask me.  My guess is that

1. they (or one spouse) saw and ignored it;

2. they tried once or twice to uproot it;

3. they thought it was NBD (No Big Deal) at the time;

4. they lied to themselves about #1-3.

Denial is part of the problem usually.  Deception is right up there, beginning with myself:  I deceive myself, I think its NBD.  I tell my clients that that is a Red Flag Waving!  Jeremiah 17:9 states: “The heart is deceptive above all else; who can know it?”  Another Red Flag is when you start a sentence with, “It’s just a little problem” or “He’s just like that/he’s always been like that”. Or some version of that.

You can’t say, “she’s just a little pregnant”.

You look the other way.

You don’t want to deal with it now.

Later, you tell yourself.

You work around the problems, hoping they’ll “just go away”.

Resentment begins to build.

You begin to pull away or turn away from your husband.  You tell yourself lies and make adjustments and concessions.  “I’m taking care of the kids! They need me more!”  “It’s only for a little while, just ‘til I get my business up and running, then we’ll take that weekend getaway”.  “It’ll get better after the kids ___________”.

Galatians 6:7 warns us that we “reap what we sow”.  Are we sowing words of affirmation into our husbands’ soul?  Are we sowing kind deeds?  Are we answering harsh words with a gentle response as Proverbs 15:1 tells us?  Am I going regularly to the Lord asking Him to cleanse my soul, so I don’t deceive myself?  What seeds am I watering today that will bring forth good fruit and not bad fruit?

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Jun
19

Some Thoughts on Power, Prayer, and Pleasing

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerSome Thoughts on Power, Prayer, and Pleasing by Pam BassI’ve been reading in 2 Chronicles lately, through my daily bible reading plan. It always amazes me amidst all the wars and violence of the Old Testament there are verses tucked away that speak to me. One verse in ch. 25 is, v. 2: “Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”  It appears he started off well, but it didn’t stick. [he didn’t finish well?] He did seek God via a prophet and in verse 9b it states: “The man of God replied, “the Lord is able to give you much more than this!” But it seems that God’s abundance wasn’t enough for him. His son Uzziah then becomes king at age 16 and “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done.” He rebuilt towns, he sought God, and listened to Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of the Lord. And as long as the king sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (v26:4-5).

What’s amazing is I think we’re a lot like him: we start off well in our marriages, saying to ourselves, ‘I’m gonna be respectful, wise, kind, and loving; I’m gonna be the modern version of the Proverbs 31 lady”. And bless our hearts, we try and try. But then he does something stupid or unkind, or totally thoughtless, etc. and we stop trying. We stop seeking God on our marriage, on ourselves. We think, ‘well, he’s not doing his part, I’ll just quit doing my part and wait for him. After all, he’s supposed to be the leader (head) of our family. This is not good, ladies.

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May
17

Running the Race

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerRunning the Race by Pam BassI was out riding my bike this morning.  The trail was particularly busy for a Saturday.  After going a little ways I saw a water station.  That’s when I noticed a bunch of runners with numbers on them.  Ah, a race is going on.  Then I saw the yellow mile markers (whoa, I was already on mile 6, not really!).  Then the seven mile marker came up.  And I remembered my running days: 2 blocks, 3 blocks, ½ mile, 1 mile, 5k, 6k, 10k, and finally made it to my goal of 10 miles before I turned 40 years old.  As I looked at their sweaty, wet, tired-looking faces, I had a number of thoughts run through my mind: What race are they in? Are they running for a special cause? What could I say, if anything, to encourage them?  So, I was at my turning-around spot (of 5 miles, in case you’re wondering) and I stopped and asked one of the monitors some questions.

She informed me that it was the 10-mile Peak to Peak race. She was there to make sure “the kids didn’t change the direction of the signs.”  So, as I rode on I decided that it would probably be nice and kind to give a thumbs up signal to the runners. So I did. Then I added a few words like: “good job!” “keep going!” “almost there!” “way to go!” I tried to smile too, though sometimes I don’t think I did. Some ignored me. Someone said thanks. Most seemed to be listening to their iPods. I thought, “they probably wonder who this crazy lady in a green shirt is and why is she doing this?” I did it for a couple of reasons: Read More→

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Apr
18

Busyness is not Next to Godliness

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerBusyness is Not Next to Godliness by Pam BassI’ve been hearing people say over and over, “I’m too busy” “We wish we could, but we’ve got something going on”.  I wonder, why are we Americans SO busy?  What’s the point, really?  Going at breakneck speed drains us, stresses us out, makes us grumpy—or at least it does me!

How can I reasonably expect to hear God’s voice if my head is overloaded with stuff? My to do list, my fears, worries, prayers? My head is overflowing with noisy thoughts! I believe I need to go on a walk, dump out all my feelings, thoughts, concerns, you-name-it. And then wait.  And wait some more.  God is not going to jump in my head when a few seconds opens a space.  I believe He’ll wait ‘til I have a receptive heart. And I think to have that, I need to clear my head first.  Sometimes, I think God speaks to our hearts through our heads.  So, ergo, if my head is overflowing, how can I possibly hear God’s voice?  I need to make room for Him. So, I need to get rid of stuff in my head first.   I need to invite Him in so that I can listen to Him, not for me to dump all my stuff on His lap. (Although at times, that’s a good idea too!)

Sometimes I wonder:  “What if, every God-fearing person really slowed down and listened to God’s voice and actually did that crazy thing they heard in their head?” Like, give $20 to that homeless man? Or join that mentoring teen program? Start a non-profit to bring shoes to shoe-less kids in Haiti? Or  to collect all their neighborhoods’ unused items and reuse, or give them to Goodwill, or to orphans in another country? Foster a child. Adopt an orphan. Go use your talents/skills and help provide clean water to the millions who don’t enjoy fresh, clean, uncontaminated water like we Americans do. Or whatever the crazy idea. It’s probably not that crazy and maybe God is calling YOU to do that idea. Everyone can have their own corner of “Crazy for God.”

This ties in with another thought about why we don’t do those ideas listed above.

“I’m too busy”  “I wouldn’t know where to start” “I can’t do that!.”  “What would so n-so think?”  Most of our excuses our fear-based, not love-based.  2 Timothy 1:7 states, that “For God has NOT given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind” (KJV) Shouldn’t I be motivated by the love of God? He is the One who first loved me (1 John 4:19) 1 John 3:18 states, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth”.  My love for others must be put into action.  I know some are saying, “But I’m  (we’re) just too busy!” Was Jesus “just too busy” to stop and help, heal, pray, or give? I don’t think so. Maybe we should stop and adjust our priorities. I know I have to at times! I don’t presume to say I’ve got my act together!

Our culture doesn’t help-it keeps pushing us to go, go, go and never slow down! I for one remember a time when Sundays were really a day of rest. NO, I’m not 100 years old, but old enough to remember stores being closed on Sundays. I for one, would support any team or league that purposefully CHOSE to NOT have games on Sundays. I’m just saying you might want to consider that. Jesus was never hurried or rushed.  He didn’t say, “Aw, come on Peter, James, & John! I have to finish this, and get moving. So hurry up!”

Here’s one take away point: quit one activity this week. If  you’re in your car driving your kids around, try and carpool with one of the other parents. Trade off babysitting  It worked great for ours and another couples’ marriage. No money involved and our kids loved it! And it help keep our marriage healthy and happy. Win win!

 

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 know and trust what God tells us in His word.  Find out more at www.pambass.com   

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Apr
12

Wanting a Fire by Night and a Cloud by Day

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerWanting a Fire by Night and a Cloud by Day by Pam BassI have been reading in Numbers lately.  Yeah, not straight through 🙂 My bible reading plan gives you about four chapters at a times and jumps around quite a bit.  So, one day I’m in Psalms, next in the New Testament, and now, in Numbers.  I am always amazed how God does two things:

  1. Gives me a fresh word or thought from some passage I’ve read a million times;
  2. How reading each day draws me closer to Him and also increases my desire to know Him more.

After you’ve been a Christian for awhile, you sometimes get lazy. You skip  a few days. You tell yourself things like, “Oh yeah, that fire and cloud story; I know all about that.” You take God for granted. Okay, maybe it’s just me who does that. {Confession is good for the soul! We on the Protestant side could learn a few things from our Catholic brothers and sisters.} This topic of confession is a “Look-there’s-a-bird!” moment, my thanks to Patrick Lencioni. {Google him, he’s pretty funny and has a number of good things to say about leadership, work, life}. But, I digress.

In Numbers 9, verses 15-23, to be exact, we find God leading His people. How? “This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud changed to the appearance of fire. When the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel followed it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel camped.” Basically when the cloud lifted and moved, then would move. Then stay wherever they were,  whether it was two days, a month, or a year. (v. 22).  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish following God was that simple. I don’t know if I’d call moving every two days, two months, or two years easy, but I’m drawn to the clearness and certainty of it all. “Yep, the cloud’s a moving, time to pack up Jethro!” Okay, no doubts, no confusion. Simple enough. In our American hustle and bustle, I wonder if God did make us a cloud by day and fiery cloud by night would we even notice it?  If we did, would we follow it? Read More→

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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→

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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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