Monday, November 22, 2010

One Flesh

"So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6

How many of us heard that Scripture at our wedding? (I'm raising my hand). I know that the idea that's typically expressed when we hear that Scripture is that when you get married to your husband, you are now one entity rather than two. The other day, though, I had a funny idea. Sort of funny. Okay, bear with me.

One of my favorite Scriptures is in Galatians 5 where Paul is talking about the flesh vs. the Spirit. "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." Galatians 5:16-17

In this context, "flesh" is something negative. The "works of the flesh" are things that we as believers need to shun. (Which we see in verses 19-21 of the same chapter).

Anyway, I just made the connection between this Scripture and the one that so many "unsuspecting" brides hear on their wedding day as they are gazing into their sweetie's eyes all the while enmeshed in white fabric.

Could it be that when united in Holy Matrimony that God desires us to be even less "fleshly" in nature? I'm thinking so.

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

Marriage (at least in my experience) is a refining experience. There is simply not room for two people of the same marital unit seeking after their own often conflicting desires.

So where does that leave us? Walk in the Spirit! You can't control your husband...but you can control yourself. You can pray for your husband, but as you do, pray for God to change you first if necessary (as my pastor's wife has often told me). Yielding to God and the Holy Spirit is the one surefire way for there to be "one flesh" instead of two in your marriage. Just think of how much more fulfilling and fruitful your marriage will be with less yucky flesh to deal with!

What are some tips you can share that have helped your marriage become a "one flesh" marriage?

Linking up for "Marriage Mondays" at Come Have a Peace 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Urged On By Faith

"[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go." (Hebrews 11:8, Amplified)

I have been meditating on this Scripture for the past couple of days.

Abraham (and Sarah) went forth into what God was calling them to do. They didn't know the "how" or "why" to the story...only that God spoke, and that was enough. He didn't "trouble his mind about where he was to go".

We also know that Sarah was in the picture somehow...supporting her husband.

A little background: In Genesis 12, God spoke to Abraham (Abram at that time), and told him to leave his home and all his family members to a new land that God was promising to him. God promised to make Abraham a "great nation" as well as prosperity, and descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5) Mind you at this time, they had no children, and Abraham was already 75 years old when God told him to leave his home!

Can you imagine what Sarah was going through when God spoke to Abraham? What would you think if God told your husband that you were supposed to leave everything you've ever known?  She had to be a woman of great faith as well to follow her husband out of the familiar. But we know she followed him because she was there to experience all the promises that came to pass.

We can also deduce that Sarah didn't hinder Abraham from going after his calling. He became the "father of many nations" and experienced many other blessings that God promised.

That's our role as godly wives as well.

While most of our husbands probably don't have that kind of calling on their lives, there probably is something God is telling them to do (if they have a relationship with God). Well, friend, that calling includes you! What are you doing to support your husband? What has God called you both to do? Are you acting like Sarah, and going along with what God has in mind for your family, or are you dragging your heels, and looking back (much like Lot's wife later on in Genesis 19:26) clinging to the familiar and all that's keeping you from the Blessing of God?

What can you do today to support your husband and help you and your family move into all that God has for you? What kind of things are keeping you from trusting God?

Linking up Here:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Big Changes

So, a lot has been going on around here lately. Obviously, not so much on the blog...but in the life behind the blog. I've really only been posting the Mommy's Piggy Tales posts- mostly because those are scheduled for Thursdays and I don't want to get behind on them.

A week and a half ago a little after 3 p.m., I received a call from my husband (who would have normally been at work at that time). It was an odd time for him to call, and I missed his first call. When he called back just a few minutes later, I knew something was up.

His voice on the other end said "well...they recommended me for termination...and it was approved."

A little background: he had been working at this job for about a year and a half. The first year had been pretty good, and we were seeing much increase from it. It was actually pretty exciting following his six month long unemployment. We were able to pay down a lot of our debt and get caught up on many seriously past due bills. But within the past several months, my husband had begun struggling within the "system" so to speak. It seemed like he would accomplish what they were asking him to do, only to then have the requirements changed on him. He came to a point where he was no longer allowed to work overtime...and then his "numbers" were so bad that he wasn't able to bonus...but a lot of people on his team had the same problem. And his employers weren't adjusting the requirements. We became aware that they were considering terminating him when he challenged his scores for the month of July...he was supposed to earn more for that month, and he felt he was scored inaccurately. He was denied for that and to add insult to injury, one of the supervisors added "we were actually considering recommending you for termination".

So I wasn't totally caught off guard by his termination, but it still came as a shock. In that moment, I knew not to freak out. We had spent a looooong six months before this job trusting God to meet every. single. need. that came up...neither one of us had a regular income, and I had recently taken "the leap" to become a stay at home mom. I know that we will be provided for, I think the hardest thing for me is that it happened right before the holidays. Actually, four days before he was terminated from his job, I signed up to become a consultant for a network marketing company so I could earn some extra money for Christmas and other "fun stuff" I wanted to do without "burdening" my husband with the extra expense. So once I get that up and running, we will have a little something (or more, depending on what happens with that) coming in in the interim. Aside, of course from God's supernatural provision.

So, we will be moving at the end of the month. We still have a few months left on our lease, but we simply can't afford to live here anymore. (That was something we were really considering before the job loss anyway). Especially knowing there is cheaper rent out here in our area. The place we hope to be moving to will be almost half of what we pay now. It will be somewhat smaller, which is the opposite of what I wanted for our family, but I can't really complain seeing that we will be spending so much less. Anyway, it's only temporary. And the landlord offers a six month lease. That's a lot more flexible than the 12-18 month leases we've been signing at our current location.

This turn of events is actually kind of a catalyst of a sort for my husband. He's starting to take this as a hint that he's not supposed to be pursuing this kind of work. (His last two jobs have been in the financial industry). Actually, we are well aware that he's not supposed to be doing this kind of work ultimately- I guess it's just been a "for now" sort of thing. His main focus and calling is music-related. He currently leads worship at our church. He plays just about any instrument you put in front of him. He started out with violin at age 5, and God just expanded his repertoire from there. He mainly sings, plays guitar and bass, and also plays drums frequently.

For me, this is sort of fun and scary at the same time. Many people in our circle understand and acknowledge that he shouldn't be wasting time pursuing another job in the financial industry. For me, though, I must admit that I'm struggling with the unconventionality of it all. Really, it just goes back to trusting God to meet our needs. I could sit here all day and talk about how I trust God, but if I'm not submitting to what my husband feels like he's called (or not called) to do, where does that leave me? I know everything is going to ultimately work out for the best..."And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28). But honestly, I could really use some prayer in the mean time!

I don't want to limit God to what our situation looks like in the natural. I don't think that's fair to Him. He is a BIG God who has big plans for our family. I know this. It is a little more difficult to actually walk that out though!

So, what kind of tough financial situations have increased or challenged your faith lately?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Our highs are in the mid-upper 80's...that's a far cry from the triple digits of a month or so ago!  But other than the cooler temps, there's nothing here in the desert to show me that it's a different season...except what's on sale at the market!

The other day, I picked up a butternut squash for 69 cents!  (I don't know if that's cheap for the rest of the country, but it seems inexpensive to me).  Anywho...I saw the squash, and I knew I wanted one, so I bought one.  But I had no idea what to do with it. 

Somehow I got the idea to turn it into soup!  I Googled a recipe, and well, I didn't have everything that the recipe called for so, I just made up my own version.  It turned out really good.  Here's how I made it:

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
4 cups homemade chicken stock
fresh nutmeg to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium.  Add all the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken stock (you could probably use vegetable stock if you prefer) (just enough to cover the veggies).  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 40 minutes.  Transfer probably 3/4 of the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth.  Use a potato masher to mash up the remaining veggies in the pot.  (I like this, because then you have all different textures in the soup- it seems more "rustic" this way).

Doesn't that look pretty? I started taking pictures of it because the colors reminded me of Autumn leaves. Lol!

I made a second batch to share at church yesterday evening, and I made a couple changes, and that turned out really good too!  Everyone loved it!  I omitted the sweet potato, and added two peeled and cubed regular potatoes.  I used store bought stock, so it wasn't quite as flavorful as the first batch, so I added salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ground ginger.  I think I really like the addition of potatoes...also the salt and pepper made a big difference. 

A couple more things about butternut squash:

I read that it was easier to prep the squash by leaving it whole and piercing it several times with a fork, then baking at 350 or so for about an can then cut it and easily scoop out the flesh of the squash...blah blah blah.  Okay, but for those of us that don't want to's really easy to peel and cube if you take a big (sharp) knife and cut off the stem and root ends, then cut it in half lengthwise...then cut horizontally at the part where it gets "skinny" so you have four pieces.  Then you can easily peel off the rind with a smaller knife.  It doesn't take that long with the right tools.  If you don't have good knives, then it's probably better to stick with the first method! ;-)

Oh! If you have some kind of gloves you can wear in the kitchen...use them!  Apparently there's some kind of sticky sap or something that is released from it as you cut it.  It got all over my left hand, and it really dried out the tips of my fingers.  At first I was thinking it was some kind of allergic reaction or something, but then I did some research and learned that many people have this issue with butternut squash.  It's not terribly worrisome, it does come off after several handwashes.  It was just a strange sensation that I would rather avoid next time.