Thursday, April 24, 2008

Older women... (2) love their children.

"Motherhood can be both exhilarating and exasperating."

"Our perspective of motherhood should not be defined by our diverse experiences and fluctuating emotions."

"It's in the midst of the trials and challenges of motherhood that the command comes to love our children. Once again the Greek word phileo is used to describe the kind of love we are to show. As with our husbands, we are to love our children with a tender, affectionate, and passionate love."

"No profession requires harder work or greater sacrifice than motherhood."

"Because mothering requires constant sacrifice, the temptations to resentment, complaining and self-pity are always close at hand, But such selfishness will quickly sap the strength of our love for our children."

"As mothers, we have a choice. We can either resent the challenges and demands that accompany motherhood and persist in our selfishness, or we can draw from God's grace and receive His help to cheerfully lay down our lives for our children."

"Our only genuine source of refreshment comes from God."

"If Jesus needed to withdraw frequently and pray in order to receive His Father's help and strength, do we suppose we need such times any less?"

"In our effort to enjoy our children, we must never become tolerant of sinful behavior or lenient toward worldly compromise."

"Far better that children should cry under healthful correction, than that parents should afterwards cry under the bitter fruit to themselves and children, of neglected discipline." -Charles Bridges, 1846

"The avoidance of discipline is an expression of hate, not love." (Prov. 13:24)

"We naturally want our children to like us, to approve of us. However, we must never allow this desire for our children's approval to control our mothering."

"Are you inclined to think of your children as: work, responsibility, sacrifice, burden, more work?"

"The psalmist used words to describe children: heritage, fruit, reward, arrows."

"Our speech and actions are shaped by our thoughts."

"What is the ultimate purpose of a phileo kind of love? It is nothing less than the salvation of our children's souls. This is the chief end of mothering."

"No one has more potential to influence our children to receive and relfect the gospel than we do as mothers."

"'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness' (2 Cor 12:9); So if today you missed opportunities to show a tender love, or if you neglected to pray for your children, or if you were impatient with them, and even if you lost your smile and feel like a complete failure as a mother--take heart! God's grace is sufficient for you."

Marg's words: more excerpts from Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.
As I think back to when our children were small, we made lots of mistakes, but one of the hardest things to endure was being criticized by others for our choices in raising them. I've never understood why we can't support one another as parents and just know that most of us are simply trying to do the best we know how at the moment. Even now, as the majority of our children are teenagers, there are certain unbiblical attitudes and actions that we cannot allow in our home. Others might think we are harsh in our handling of situations, but usually they don't really know the dynamics of our home. One goal we have is our desire for our children to please the Lord in their choices, not just pleasing us.
Parenting is not an easy thing, but the rewards are worth it. I just pray we can lift each other up and encourage one another. I know there are certain individuals who have helped us tremendously in making wise parenting choices. We need to not be afraid to share our burdens and concerns with each other.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Older women train the younger... love their husbands

phileo - this word describes the love between very close friends. It is a tender, affectionate, passionate kind of love.

agape - refers to a self-sacrificing love.

Paul chose phileo rather than agape to describe the kind of love we are to have for our husbands.

Paul didn't use agape in describing the love we are to cultivate for our husbands. He chose phileo. In fact, in commands specifically related to wives, agape is never used.

Husbands, in contrast, are specifically commanded to love their wives with an agape kind of love.

I believe that Scripture's specific commands to husbands and wives regarding their duties in marriage attest to our respective weaknesses. Men may be weaker in showing sacrifical love and are therefore exhorted to undertake it. But I believe women are generally weaker in exhibiting an affectionate love- thus the instructions given to us in Titus 2.

This command to phileo does not include a contingency clause.

Loving our husbands with a tender and passionate love is not something that happens automatically in our marriage.

We are not naturally prone to love. We are not naturally inclined to be passionate and respectful toward our husbands.

Loving our husbands-as biblically defined-is a learned response through the grace of God. The good news is that God is eager to teach us this love.

Sin destroyed my tender love.

Where sin is present, warm affection dissipates. Anger, bitterness, critiscism, pride, selfishness, fear, laziness- all vigorously oppose tender love. This love cannot survive in a heart that harbors sin.

In order to cultivate and maintain a tender love for our husbands, we must guard our hearts against sin. Our emotions are a warning system God graciously gave us to attract attention to the sin in our hearts. When we're not experiencing loving feelings toward our husbands, that's an alarm going off; there may be sin that needs attention.

Whenever our "sin alarm" (unloving feelings) goes off, we must examine our hearts and repent of any sin we find there. This is how we maintain a tender love toward our husbands.

When we see our husbands as sinners like ourselves-sinners in need of God's grace and mercy- it strips away any intolerant, critical, or demanding attitude we may be tempted to have.

Sometimes as wives we are more inclined to concentrate on what our husbands are doing wrong than what they are doing right.

We must choose to focus on our husband's many commendable qualities.

How long has it been since your heart really squeezed when you looked at him? Why is it you have forgotten the things that attracted you to him at first? Your husband needs to be told that you love him, that he is attractive to you. I want you to start changing your thought pattern.
How much better to admire him actively!

Our husbands should always remain first in our hearts and in our care.

To cherish means to hold dear, to care for tenderly or to nurture, to cling fondly to, or treat as precious.

We should prefer their company above all others. We should find genuine pleasure in serving them, and we should take an interest in what they enjoy.

God gives us grace to cultivate phileo- not only during courtship or our first year of marriage, but for our entire married lives.

Marg's words: all of the above sentences are excerpts from a book I am reading: Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. So far, it is one of the best women's books I have ever read. It has spoken to me so much. After being married for 27 years, I can tell you that if you put this kind of phileo into practice in your own marriage, the results will astound you!

God's blessings as the Spirit prompts you to not just have a good marriage, but a mind-blowing awesome relationship!