Do You Like Me?

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“Do you like me?”

“Mommy, do you like me?” my 4 year old asks me as I wash the dishes.

“Of course, Elijah, I love you!” I respond.

“But do you like me?” he asks with his big brown eyes peering into mine.

A question like that begs for reflection as I try to figure out why he would question whether I like him or not. Surely he knows I love him!

Then as I thought about it I realized what he is really asking.

He knows I love him. He has no doubt about that but deep inside he just wants to hear that I like him too. How can you help but love someone you like? So in his mind if you like someone it’s automatic that you love them too.

You have to realize a little bit about this sweet boy of mine. He’s a friend to everyone. He doesn’t go anywhere without having made a new best friend. He has always been that way.

One year at a large meeting of churches there was a time for Missionaries and their families to stand up in front of the crowd. They invited anyone that wanted to go up there and pray with the Missionaries during a song to do so. Elijah in all of his young excitement burst up there to find a new best friend to pray with.

Yet the question still lingers, “Do you like me?”

We all want to be liked. Don’t we?

That’s why we are afraid to make mistakes. We want people to like us and be our friend and the friends we already have we don’t want to lose.

Elijah’s question reminds me of the question Jesus asked Peter.

Peter was going through a rough time in his life. He had chopped a soldier’s ear off in order to defend Jesus from a whole army. Jesus told him to stop and healed the man’s ear. Then Jesus went with the soldiers without a fight. While outside waiting for Jesus’ trial, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Then he ran away as Jesus was killed.

Jesus rose from the dead and revealed himself to the apostles. 

Peter must have still harbored doubts as to his purpose on earth. He was at a point of wanting to give up on his ministry. What good was he after he had denied Jesus? What was he supposed to do now? Finally he throws his hands up in the air and announces to the others, “I’m going fishing!” And his friends followed him.

Then Jesus shows up. The apostles are in their boat and Jesus shouts to them from the shore. Peter jumps overboard and swims to the shore. Then this conversation took place.

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?’

He saith unto him, ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.’

He saith unto him, ‘Feed my lambs.’

He saith to him again the second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?’

He saith unto him, ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.’

He saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’

He saith unto him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?’

Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, ‘Lovest thou me?’

And he said unto him, ‘Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.’

Jesus saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ “ – John 21:15-17 KJV

Peter was sad when Jesus asked him this 3 times. Peter knew when he returned to fishing he was giving up on the ministry that Jesus called him to and he was influencing those around him. The other apostles that returned to fishing were following Peter not Jesus.

So Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me? Do you even like me?”

Things changed for Peter that day. He rededicated his life to following the Master.

Do you love Jesus? Do you like Him?

Don’t just tell Jesus you love Him. Show Him by following Him everyday. It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do for Him yesterday.

Today is a new day. Start now!

If you want to know how or where to start feel free to contact me. I would love to show you from the Bible how to have a closer walk with the Master. 

Do you already have a close relationship with God? How about your family? Would you like your whole family to draw closer to God and each other?

I’m working out my blogging plans for 2015. If there is a subject you or your family are struggling with that you would like me to talk about in a future post please don’t hesitate to ask. We have big plans this coming year for building up our Rock Solid Family and I would love for you to join us.

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 KJV

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Week 3 in Argentina: Buenos Aires and Posadas

We have just finished our third week of our time here in Argentina. We have only one more week to go before we fly back home to our family in the United States. The time has been going by so fast. We have been staying very busy and meeting so many people during this trip that it is hard to get it all into these blog posts.

Let me just say that these posts are more of a summary of our trip. We have learned so much more from this trip that these posts would be very long if I wrote it all. So for now I will stick with the summary and later fill in some details when I have more time.

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We felt like we stepped back in time at the Train Station in Córdoba.

Wednesday, September 17: We packed our bags, got some empañadas, and took our luggage to the nearby train station. Scott had already reserved a room on the sleeping car for us to stay in during our overnight trip to Buenos Aires. It may have been quicker to take a bus but the train would be more comfortable and it was the same price as one night in a hostel. Scott had never ridden on a real passenger train before. I only riding a small one for a field trip in school. A train ride in a real sleeping car was a fun new experience for us. 

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Scott took this picture of me writing in the train’s dining car.

I could write a whole blog post just about the train ride but this is suppose to be a quick summary of the whole week! So I will just say for now that we really enjoyed the train ride and took a lot of pictures. Maybe I can share some of those in a later post.

Thursday, September 18: The train dropped us off at the station in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Scott and I found a hotel. We then ventured out to explore a little of the city.

We had our picture taken beside a giant over 200 year old rubber tree. We walked through the Recoleta Cemetery. Recoleta is a very old and very famous cemetery in Argentina.

ricoletta landscape aboveAfter touring the cemetery, we toured the museum inside the church next door. The church has a very interesting history. The monks that once lived there had a 12 acre orchard and vegetable garden where the cemetery now stands. I have a lot of deep thoughts in places like this.

IMG_20140918_173338My husband and I looked out a window over the orchard where Recoleta Cemetery now stands. What would the Monks that gave up everything to live a life of poverty say about their beautiful orchard turning into a cemetery that boasts the city’s most valuable real estate?

Those windows are the same windows where monks would kneel looking out over their garden and pray. They vowed a vow of strict poverty. They denied themselves earthly pleasures. I wonder if that orchard and garden was the one thing they were allowed to enjoy.

Now it is a place for people to tour and for those who can afford to pay to be buried in the most coveted resting place in Argentina.

Friday, September 19: We took another train to a neighboring town of Pilar. While there we met a wonderful Missionary family, the Greenwoods. We learned a lot from them. The Greenwoods have been Missionaries in Argentina for 9 years. They answered many of our questions and shown us many things about life in Argentina.DSC02008

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The grill at Sigue La Vaca in Pilar

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Scott preaching in Spanish at Iglesia Bautista Independiente in Pilar, Argentina

Saturday, September 20: We attended the Greenwoods’ Mission for their Evangelism Ministry. We passed out tracts in the city’s plaza area where many people were enjoying the weather. We were impressed by how open people were to receiving the tracts the group passed out. Sunday, September 21: Scott accepted Bro. Greenwood’s invitation to preach that morning and gave a message from Acts 16 about following God’s call through closed and open doors.

Monday, September 22: They took us to an all you can eat buffet called “Sigue La Vaca” translation “Follow the Cow”. The food was really good!

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We rode right above the driver’s seat on the bus to Posadas. This was my first time to ride on a two story bus.

After the meal we walked around a shopping center. Then back at the Greenwoods’ home we packed our bags and got ready to catch the bus to Posadas.

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The waiter brought our galeto on a sword at La Querencia in Posadas.

Tuesday, September 23: We arrived in Posadas took a taxi to the hotel. I got a little bit of a sunburn. Okay, for me it was a lot of a sunburn but that’s just how it is with sensitive skin and Rosacea. I don’t have to be in the sun long before my face is as red as a beet.

Argentina is in the southern hemisphere below the equator. That makes their seasons opposite of ours in the United States. Right now it is Spring here in Argentina and the north is hotter than the south.

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A view of Encarnación Paraguay from the shores of Posadas, Misiones, Argentina.

Wednesday, September 24: We take a walk around Posadas. We escaped from the heat during the siesta hours and then went back out to walk along the river. From the sidewalk we could look out across the river to Encarnación, Paraguay. 

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Working on recording everything while at the hotel in Posadas.

Thursday, September 25: Scott and I checked out of our hotel and had breakfast in their lobby. Our bus was scheduled to leave that afternoon so I stayed at the hotel with our bags while Scott went to talk with someone at a church a few blocks away. The man he talked to explained some of the beliefs of their association of churches. Not all Churches that call themselves Baptists believe the same things. After Scott got back we both sat down to get everything written that we’ve been learning. After we worked on our computers for a while, we called a taxi and went to the bus station heading back to Córdoba.

Scott and I are in the middle of week 4 of our journey. It’s been a full month.  After this week’s post I will share several posts taking a little deeper look at what we have seen and learned during our time here in Argentina.

Thanks for following along with us. As always if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments or by email. Stayed tuned for week 4 which I will post towards the end of this week.

 

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

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Hello from Argentina!

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I laugh every time I see this picture. My dad dropped us off at the airport. Would this be considered a selfie/photobomb? :)

My husband and I are in Argentina right now. We arrived Thursday, September 4 around 4 p.m. Argentine time.

Our flight was supposed to land around 5:30 a.m. in Córdoba, Argentina. However there was a big storm and our flight was diverted to Mendoza. We waited about two hours on the plane for the storm to lift in Córdoba. Then they let everyone off the plane. We were rescheduled to fly out that afternoon.

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Just got off the plane in Mendoza.

We found out when we arrived at the airport in Mendoza that we left our checked luggage at the airport in Miami, Florida. I now have a new appreciation for packing carry on luggage well.

We finally arrived in Córdoba and got ourselves a city bus card. We decided to try out one of the hostels. It was a little cheaper than a hotel and they usually have private rooms available.

I really think the Lord had us arrive at the particular hostel we finally chose at the time we did on purpose. You will see what I mean here in a little bit.

We arrived at the hostel and it was pretty clean. They had a room that wasn’t a private room but no one else was in it. They said we could have that room to ourselves for two nights but it would be booked over the weekend.

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Scott and I waiting on our breakfast at the Hostel.

We went ahead and took the room. There was a double bed in the room and 3 sets of bunk beds as well. I told Scott that there was a bed for each of the kids in there.

That evening Scott struck up a conversation with the clerk at the front desk. The clerk had asked what Scott did and why we were visiting Argentina. Scott told him that he was a pastor of a church in Texas and that we were here to talk to as many people as we could and get all the information we need to possibly move our family here.

The clerk was very friendly and said that he knew a guy that led a group that practiced English. He said that they often talk about Spiritual things during their practice sessions.

We put our things away and were about to head out for the evening to find food when the clerk showed us on his computer where the group met. He said that they were having a session that very evening at 7:30.

We went out, stopped by a store for a couple of items we needed and then headed to that meeting.

Sometimes I’m a pretty nervous person… Okay, I’m often a nervous person when it comes to doing something different that might be embarrassing. In those situations I often have to give myself a pep talk that it will be okay.

So there I was knowing we were about to walk into a room of complete strangers and crash their meeting. Sure the clerk said it was okay for us to just show up but what if he’s wrong.

We arrived at the address the clerk gave us. We were a half hour late. I took a deep breath told Scott I was nervous but I knew this is what we are supposed to do.

We walked into the café and saw a lot of older people playing scrabble. Then in a back room we saw another group sitting around a table visiting. I waited a second while Scott asked them if they were the group we were told about. They were totally blown away with how we found them. They told us later that they had been praying for more Missionaries to come to Argentina.

We also found out that the hotel clerk was a friend of the session leader’s ex-girlfriend. It had been several years since they had last met. He was so surprised when we told him who it was that recommended them.

The group discussion was about God. Before we got there they had each drawn a picture that gave their thoughts about what they imagine God is like. Then they went through and discussed what they drew and what they thought of when they drew the picture. It was a very good and open discussion.

Scott was even able to share his thoughts about who God is and confirm the truths that were spoken by some of the others. During the class there were a couple of guys that believed in God but were not sure who He is.

The story came up about blind Bartemaeus and how Jesus asked him what he wanted. It seemed like it should be obvious what it was that Bartimaeus wanted but Jesus asked him anyway. Bartemaeus asked to receive his sight and Jesus healed him. He didn’t force Bartimaeus to be healed. He gave him the choice of whether he wanted that change to happen in his life or not. The question was then bounced around the room. If Jesus were to ask you what it was you wanted, what would you ask for? That my friend is a very good question.

After that meeting we went out to eat with our new friends. Most of them were actually involved in a Christian Ministry in the city and that English practice time was one of the many ministries they have to connect with people.

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Scott enjoying some Yerba Mate during the Friday Bible Study. I will have to explain more about Yerba Mate in another post.

After we ate with them they asked if we had any plans for Friday. We told them that we did not and they asked if we would like to come to their mission team’s Bible study and meeting.

We did go to their meeting that next day and met their missionary and learned so much. They fed us afterwards and I practiced speaking Spanish with the ladies as we prepared the meal. Yo corté el pan. (Bonus points for translating that sentence in the comments.) :)

Our lost luggage was delivered Saturday night. I was so glad because that gave us clean clothes for services.

Sunday we visited two churches. The first I think was a Community Church that was recommended to us by our new friends. Then Sunday night we visited a Baptist Church in town. We really enjoyed the services there.

We also met another Missionary at the Baptist Church. Scott also met him through FB messenger. One of the friends we made Thursday had told him about us. He and his wife invited us to eat at their home Monday evening. So much to write about and not enough space to share it all here. I’ll write more about Monday on another post soon.

I must share one last little thing. Scott was telling another man in the hostel about what God has been doing for us and could tell that every time he mentioned God the man chuckled. It’s hard to say if he thought Scott was just talking foolishness or if he was just laughing out of nervousness of the subject being brought up.

Another man Scott talked with Sunday night told him that he believed the world didn’t need missionaries. According to that man missionaries take away people’s free choice. They oppress people. Scott told him that it was actually the opposite.

Missionaries come to spread the good news that can free people from their bondage. A missionary isn’t to force his beliefs on people. He presents the truth to them in love and gives them the option to accept God’s message or not. It’s really education and opening people’s minds. What’s oppressive about that?

Here is the real problem.  Those who have experienced God understand who He is. Those who have never had that experience simply can’t understand until they have that moment that they finally trust Jesus and turn to Him for salvation.

If you don’t believe what I am saying was brought about by God who sees, hears, and knows exactly who I am and what I need. Then you have never had that experience with God. You need to talk with God right now and ask him to help you understand. Ask him to let you experience Him.

You know God did that for blind Baritmaeus. He asked Jesus to return his sight. God answered and his life was changed completely.

Have you experienced Jesus? If Jesus were to come to you tonight and ask you what you want, what would you ask for? Let us know in the comments.

“And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, [thou] Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, [Thou] Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” – Mark 10:46-52 KJV

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Joy of Salvation: Jonathan’s Testimony

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Not quite the Salvation Armor but Jonathan is awful cute in it. :)

Jonathan was wanting to be saved for a long time. His desire began after Hannah was saved about 2 years ago. You can read her salvation post from April 4, 2011 entitled “Two Birthdays!!!

Hannah was so thrilled about being saved that she would tell Jonathan how to be saved while he was still very young.

We do not pressure our children to be saved. We want them to understand completely what they are doing and why. 

Jonathan did not understand that he was a sinner. We taught him that sin is the bad things we do. In order to be saved he needed to realize he did bad things and feel sorry about those bad things he did. 

Jonathan did not feel at all convicted of his sin when he was younger. So whenever he would ask us how to be saved we would explain that first step and then tell him that God knows he wants to be saved but until he understands what sin is God keeps him safe. 

Earlier this year, Jonathan was finally understanding that he was a sinner and really wanted to be saved. We were sure from how he talked and answered our questions that he wasn’t just wanting to join the “saved club”. 

He agreed that he was a sinner and I read him the Bible verses “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 

Jonathan understood what he needed to do. I even had him tell me how to be saved. He had all the head knowledge. All he needed to do was ask Jesus to save him. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I wanted him to say the prayer for himself. I don’t like having a child quote a prayer I made up. I want them to understand that they are talking to God when they pray just like they talk to me. Jonathan wasn’t sure what to say in his prayer. I asked him if he wanted me to write a prayer that he dictates to me and then he can pray it. He agreed and he wrote a very nice well worded prayer. Telling God that he was sorry for his sins and that he wanted to be saved. 

After that prayer he looked at me and asked, “Am I saved now?” 

I looked back at him and said, “You tell me. Are you saved?”

“I don’t know.” He shrugged.

“Did you really mean what you said? Were you serious?” I asked.

“I don’t know. How can I be serious?”

Weeks after we had this conversation Jonathan still wasn’t sure. Whenever we would talk about it he was still stuck on whether he was serious or not when he prayed. He also wasn’t sure if he was sorry enough for his sins. 

He didn’t like sinning and he knew sinning was bad but he wasn’t sure if he was sorry enough. You know this is a good question to ponder on a while. Are we really sorry for those bad things we do? Are we serious? 

Committing your life to Christ is a longterm commitment. You shouldn’t take these things lightly and I feel Jonathan was truly weighing it all out in his mind.

Finally, Wednesday, August 20, Jonathan figured it out.

After our Bible Study that Wednesday night Jonathan told me that he wanted to be saved. I sent him to have a talk with Scott. When Jonathan came back he looked rather sad that he still didn’t understand.

I asked him, “What is it that’s holding you back?” 

“I don’t know how to be serious?” he said sadly.

“Are you serious right now?”

“Yes, I’m serious that I really want to be saved!” he replied.

The next part he was worried about was whether he felt bad enough about his sins.

He named a few things that he knew he did wrong.

I asked him if it made him feel bad that those things were holding him back from being saved. He said that he didn’t want to go to hell.

I explained that it was his sin that would cause him to go there. I then asked him if that made him feel bad. He agreed it did. 

He wanted to know how to not do bad things. 

I explained that he couldn’t be good by himself that only Jesus could help him. All he needed to do is ask Jesus to forgive him. It was at that point he closed his eyes and said a silent prayer. 

He opened his eyes and asked me, “Am I saved now?”

I replied, “You tell me. Are you saved?” 

“How do I know I’m saved?” he asked.

“Didn’t Jesus say in the Bible that He would save you if you ask Him to?”

I love seeing the light come on in a child’s face when they just figure something out.

He understood. “So I’m saved!”

“Did you ask Jesus to save you?”

“Yes! I’m saved!”

“Do you want to go tell Daddy?” 

“Yes!” He runs off to the other room shouting, “Daddy, I’m saved!”

Scott came into the living room to hear the whole story and to give Jonathan a big hug. Jonathan then ran around the house telling all his siblings the good news.

The next day Scott and I overheard Jonathan witnessing to Elijah, “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. All you have to do is call on the name of the Lord!” 

Elijah who is only 4 and doesn’t quite have this all figured out yet hollers real loud, “LORD!!!” 

Jonathan has been wanting to tell everyone about what Jesus did for him. Even today he told us that when he grows up he wants to tell people about Jesus. 

It’s my prayer that he never loses that joy of his salvation and that desire to share his testimony with everyone.

Do you have that joy? When was the last time you shared it with others? Feel free to practice sharing that joy with us in the comments. Don’t stop there though. Go share that joy with the rest of the world. 

My next post will be written in Argentina. I plan to post a lot during this month. Pray for us! We fly out tomorrow morning. 

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

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Drowning

swimmingpoolI can’t swim!

I sputtered trying to grab the edge of the pool but it was too slippery.  My head went under. I splashed and reached for the concrete that I should have been able to hold onto. I never thought that concrete could be so slippery when wet.

“Help!” I whimpered as the water covers my head one last time.

I was 8 or 9 years old when I jumped off the diving board into my dad’s outstretched arms. He set me safely on the side of the pool.

“Don’t get back into the water,” my dad warned. “Walk over to the shallow end with your mother.”

I looked and saw my mother waiting with my sister all the way on the other end of the pool.

It is much warmer in the water.

I disobeyed my father.

All these thoughts flash through my young mind as I sputter my final cry for help.

Cry for help? It sounds more like a whisper to my ears. Why can’t I project louder when I really need someone to hear me?

But someone did hear me. Strong hands lifted me up and set me back on the side of the pool. I was rescued. I was saved.

Grateful for the second chance at obedience, I walked to the other side of the pool.

This wasn’t my last time to mess up. However I learned to be quick to repent and ask for help when I need it.

This story parallels another time I was rescued. I was 7 years old when I first began to realize I made mistakes. I was not perfect.

I knew what sin was. I knew I should repent. Repent of what? That was my problem at 7. I didn’t know what I was repenting of.

How can you ask someone to help you if you don’t realize you need help?

I was 10 years old when I finally figured out that I couldn’t figuratively swim by myself. I was miserable from guilt of the sins only I knew about. I remembered every lie. I remembered every time I stole. I remembered every time I fought with my siblings.

These things weighed on me and I was miserable. I wanted to get out from under the pressure of guilt.

At church camp I cried out for help. Finally I admitted I couldn’t take care of this problem myself.  I gave my life to Christ and He immediately rescued me from the deadly waters surrounding me.

That burden of guilt has been lifted off me. I am forgiven.

I am free. No longer drowning in a sea of guilt and shame.

Many times people hear that word “free” and think it means, “Oh, I’m okay now I can just do whatever I want.”

No. It means I am free to do what God wants me to do. It was His grace that gave me this new life. I now want to obey the rules He gave me in the Bible.

Yes. I still mess up. I will always make mistakes.

My dad still loved me even after I disobeyed and could have drowned. In the same way God still loves me even when I mess up.

Just like my dad wanted me to obey after I was rescued, my Heavenly Father wants me to obey now that He has rescued me.

No more getting back in the water to drown. Now I am walking the good path that God has laid out for me to walk.

Do you remember a time that you disobeyed? Did you learn a lesson from the experience?  You can either share them in the comments below or reply by email. I would love to hear your stories.

The school year is almost over and the rest of the year will be pretty jam packed with activities. However I am making it my goal to get back on track with my writing and take you along on our journey. Thanks for not giving up on me. :)

~~ Anastacia ~~

 

 

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Husbands, Love Your Wife

In my last post I talked about Not Why but How I Love My Husband. There were lessons there that could apply either direction. My husband follows that same pattern in showing his love for me.

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Our Wedding Day — November 28, 1996
My husband wrote a melody and sang it to me during our wedding.

Today I want to go deeper into how a husband should love his wife. Did you know that the Bible actually addresses husbands directly on this one? Yes. There is specific direction in the Bible for husbands to love their wives.

It is easy to be infatuated with someone when you first meet. However infatuation fades with time. 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

 

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Ephesians 5:25-33 KJV)

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. 

 A husband that loves his wife should be willing to give his life for hers. Just like a parent that loves their child would rush into ongoing traffic risking their own lives to save the life of their child. A good husband will protect his wife. Just like Jesus loved us so much He willingly died to pay our debt.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Jesus Christ takes care of His church in order to present it to Himself.

A husband needs to be the spiritual leader in his home. A husband that sets out to raise his family to follow God can look back over his life and present his family before God.

I picture that day as I stand beside my husband in Heaven and we look over all of our children that were also taught to follow God. I imagine my husband saying, “Lord this is the great work you blessed me with. Here is my family. I present them to you.’

I know God would say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Alright, guys, here is a verse that shows it’s okay to be selfish. Yep, the more you love your wife the more you love yourself.

It does not mean to love your wife for selfish reasons. It means that if you love your wife the way you should love her, then she will be a blessing to you and will help you. In essence the better you treat her the better life will be for yourself.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

What do you do when you are hungry? You eat.

When you feel dirty? You bathe.

Tired? Rest.

That is cherishing your body. 

How do you cherish your wife?

Hold her when she is crying. Feed her when she is hungry. Do what you can to provide what she needs physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

We are a part of God’s body. Each member of his body has a purpose. The eyes see. The ears hear. The hands pick things up. They may be individual parts but every part is one with the body. They all work together. 

God made husbands and wives to have different abilities and to work together as a team.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Once you are married you no longer live with your parents. You are now on the same team as your wife. Together you honor your parents but do not side with them against your wife. 

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

It is amazing and hard to understand the similarities between a husband’s relationship to his wife and Jesus’ relationship with His church.

This is how a man loves his wife just like he loves himself. A love that will do what is best for her.

That does not mean to be like a parent making your kid eat her vegetables.  But do what is best for her as a partner. Encourage her. Be her biggest fan! 

and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Wives, don’t undermine your husband’s efforts. If you see he is trying to show you love, accept it and encourage him as he steps up to being the real man and husband God would have him to be for you.

He needs your encouragement not criticism.

Don’t criticize. Encourage.

Husband’s do you love your wife like this? Wives do you let your husband love you this way? Go ahead and tell me about it here.  

If you don’t have this kind of relationship there is no better time to get started than right now.

Get your marriage back how God would have it be.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Right here my husband and I were going to have our first podcast for you but… Podcasts are a lot harder to pull off than we thought!  So… after a million takes (slight exaggeration) we decided I should go ahead and post this and we’ll keep trying. One day we’ll stop trying so hard and probably have a perfect podcast. :)

So instead I want to share this blog post I recently found over at Time Warp Wife.  Check out When You Love Your Wife You Love Yourself for another point of view.  

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Charity in a Loaf of Bread and a Pair of Socks

It has been a little while since my last post here. My children are sick and I’ve been working over time to get them well before Christmas. Overtime being in the hours I would normally sleep.

CUTSKidsKing

Our children posed with one of the 3 Wise Men who made a special appearance at a local church for their annual Christmas Under the Stars walk through Bethlehem.

I do have a special story that I shared as a guest post on Joan Hall‘s blog entitled “Charity in a Loaf of Bread and a Pair of Socks“. It is a story about a Christmas day several years ago where my family chose to do something for others before opening any presents ourselves.

You can read all about it here.

Tomorrow is my birthday and right now all I want is everyone to be well. If you would please pray for us. I will try to get another post out over the weekend and will update everyone on how we are doing. In the mean time enjoy my Christmas Story.

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Alone in the Crowd

This time of year many people are excitedly running around decorating and planning activities and parties. Their time is spent looking at lists and deciding what to get for that cousin or this aunt. Sometimes it is very easy to overlook those who are lonely. In fact we may not even realize, they are alone in the crowd.

Ah. Did I just describe you? Are you that lonely person hiding in the crowd. Sure there are a lot of people all around. Your family. Your friends. I know. I’ve been there.

Maybe you feel like you simply don’t fit in. You try to go to that party or you go to that family gathering. Then again maybe this year you are considering not going at all. Would anyone even notice that you are missing this year?

You go on your computer and take a look at your email. No one wrote you a personal note just to say, “Hi! I’ve been thinking about you.” It used to be special to receive a note in the mail. Now it would even be special to receive a friendly message in your inbox.

Then you go to your favorite social media site. Is it Facebook, Twitter, or Google+? You sit at your computer or stare at your phone and watch the endless line of chit chat taking place. Everyone is buzzing around with holiday cheer.

Look at that family picture. Oh look, they saw Santa. Christmas parade? That is a lot of food!

Everyone has something going on. You may wonder, “would anyone notice if my internet went down and I couldn’t post for a month or even a year? Would they notice if all I said was ‘Merry Christmas’. What if they don’t see those two little words among all the pictures?”

And then you found this post speaking just to you. Do you know you are special?

You. Are. Special.

Perhaps no one realizes you are lonely. Have you been hiding your loneliness behind that smile? Wipe your tears now. I have good news for you.

You are not alone.

Let me share a story with you. Many many many years ago there was a man named Elijah. He was sent to deliver a message to a king. The king and queen didn’t like the message and sent an army to kill the messenger.

Elijah hid in a cave and became very depressed. He was all alone. No one was left. All of the people he knew had turned from God. And the people he tried to share God’s message with want to kill him.

Then God told Elijah to stand on the top of a mountain.

First there was a strong wind. God wasn’t in the strong wind.

Then there was an earthquake. He wasn’t in the earthquake.

Then there was a fire. He wasn’t in the fire.

Then suddenly God appeared… in a still small voice.

You read that right…  a. still. small. voice.

God didn’t make a loud announcement and point Elijah out to the 7,000 people that were still following Him. He simply, quietly spoke to Elijah.

God may not be revealing Himself boldly or loudly right now. Perhaps He wants you to stop and listen carefully to His still small voice calling out to you.

“You’re not alone.”

“You are special.”

He knows how many hairs there are on your head.

He knows everything about you. Even those feelings you hide deep down inside, He knows. He really cares about you!

God is calling out to you. All He asks is for you to stop and listen.

He will never leave you nor forsake you. That is real commitment.

Are you listening to His still small voice speaking to you? Do you know someone that needs to hear this message? Are there others in your life that are lonely just like you? 

They may be too busy hiding in the crowd to hear God gently beckoning.

Perhaps you can be the messenger that delivers God’s message of love in a still small voice to them.

stillsmallvoice This is Day 26 of 31 Days Building Commitment based on my free book “Don’t Quit“.

If you know someone that is lonely and needs this message, feel free to share this post with them. If you have shown God’s love to someone or had His love shown to you please share in the comments. I would love to hear about it.

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Jonathan’s 6th Birthday

We called Jonathan to our room the day before his birthday. 

“What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?” Daddy asked.

“A German Chocolate Cake with a pickle on top!” Jonathan replied without hesitation. 

“A pickle?” I had to ask. “Do you want a real pickle on top or a picture of a pickle?”

“A picture of a pickle.” Then he thought a little bit about it. “You know instead of a German Chocolate Cake, I want a Russian cake with an alligator and a number 6 candle on top.”

jonathan6thbday

Jonathan with his 6th Birthday Cake.

We have a tradition with our children that they get to pick their birthday cake. With six kids, I try to reserve big parties for highlight years. This way I don’t have to figure out whose turn it is to get a party. Besides we have our own portable party with 6 kids.

“I don’t know how to make a Russian cake. Would it be okay if Daddy just wrote ‘Happy Birthday’ in Russian on the top?” 

“Yes. That would be fine.” He said very matter of factly.

“What kind of toys would you like?” Daddy then asked.

“Well.” Jonathan replied, “You see… It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you what kind of presents I want. And well, it wouldn’t be any fun without a surprise. So that’s why I can’t tell you because it wouldn’t be a surprise!”

So Scott and I set out to surprise our Jonathan.

This is the perfect example of his big 6 year old personality. He has a lot of energy and is a very affectionate young man that loves wrestling and hugs.

siblings He was born the biggest of my babies at 11 lbs. 4 oz. That is why I call him my Little Giant. He can be rough and tough at times. We can picture him being a security guard. He also has a super big heart that might surprise you what he understands and feels. That is my Little Giant. chewtoy

Isn’t it amazing how different every child can be? Do you ever stop and appreciate the uniqueness of each of your children? Go ahead and brag about your kids in the comments. Any comments directed toward Jonathan I will read to him. :) 

Even though I am not including this in my 31 Day Building Commitment series, I still feel it goes along with commitment. We need to take the time to recognize each family member’s uniqueness. 

This week is interesting as we only have the younger 3 children for a few days. That is why I took so long to get this written. Whenever the older siblings are gone the younger ones have troubles figuring out how to entertain themselves which leaves me with a small window of time to write. I will be continuing to blog but it may be a touch sporadic this week. I’m sure I’ll have interesting things to share. 

Thanks for following!

~~ Anastacia ~~

 

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True Love and Commitment in Marriage

Elisabeth asleep with her hands in my sleeves

Elisabeth asleep with her hands in my sleeves. The picture is a little blurry because it was dark in the room.

I am sure some of you may have missed my posts over the weekend. I decided that if I was going to write about love, marriage, and commitment that I needed to be living it. So this weekend I went ahead and put my writing aside to enjoy my family.

Yes, I could have blogged from my phone. But which is better being in karate class with my family or sitting on the sidelines typing a blog post with my thumbs?

I could have stayed in the car while my family went into the store to buy art supplies, but then I would have missed the chance to offer hospitality to friends we saw in the store.

Saturday night I could have blogged but then I would not have been playing my ukulele while my husband played his viola. And then there was the chess game we played together.

Sunday afternoon, I chose to not worry about writing. Instead, I enjoyed watching our children play with their friends after church. We hadn’t seen our friends in a long while and it was a blessing that they visited us.

We had a Bible Study at our church Sunday night. After we got our children to bed, I chose to sleep instead of write. A well rested mother makes for a much happier family.

This morning I read a book to my 3 youngest children while their siblings were working with some animals on a neighbor’s ranch.

This afternoon I agreed to let my son have a pet rooster. I originally planned to let him start with chickens and eventually have a rooster. However my mothering heart realized he was on a humanitarian mission to rescue a rooster that was destined to possibly be someone’s next meal. A pet rooster might be good for him.

I rocked my baby to sleep for a nap. I do not rock her to sleep at night but for a nap, I do. She is growing up so quickly and I know it won’t be long when she won’t let me rock her anymore. So I rock her with her hands stuck up my sleeves. I haven’t fully figured out why she likes to stick her hands up my sleeves when she is tired but she does. I guess she finds comfort that way.

My husband came home and I listened to how his day went before he left with our son to pick up the rooster. They came back with not only the rooster but a hen as well. I guess they didn’t want the rooster to be lonely all by itself.

And while my husband was gone with our son, he told me I should get this blog post written. So I started this post. I also answered what felt like a million questions.

I then rocked the baby to sleep for the second time. Who was so rudely awakened by a brother coming in asking more questions at the top of his voice.

I can’t stop life from happening around me. Sometimes I have to put what I want aside for my family. I can’t be angry with my children for wanting my attention when I would rather write. My husband needs my attention too. Life cannot be only about me and what I want. I need to also keep in mind others and what they want.

This past weekend I chose to live out building commitment instead of just writing about it. That is what this world needs after all, someone to stand up and set an example of what a committed marriage and family should look like.

Have you ever had to give up something you really wanted in order to show commitment to your family? Please share with me in the comments.

Right now our children are in bed and my husband is washing dishes so I can come in here and finish this post. That is what true love looks like. Doing what we wouldn’t want to do otherwise for the good of the one we love.

This is Day 18 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Tomorrow we will continue the series where we left off Friday with finding commitment after divorce.

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