Encouragement for Women

Entertaining Thoughts of Divorce

Divorce

For almost the first decade of our marriage, Jim and I were lost and confused—and miserable! We had little or no peace in our home. Arguments abounded. One thing led to another until we each were going our own way. Jim was consumed with his job. I was attending classes and obtaining a license in marriage and family counseling. (Can you hear me laughing? I think I hear you laughing!)

Entertaining Thoughts of Divorce

We each entertained thoughts of divorce. We were the proverbial flailing couple who was going down…and taking two young daughters with us. Why? Well, many reasons factored in, but a big one was that our love needed redirection. In the world of physics, matter is never lost—it simply changes its state. Love is like matter; it isn’t lost, it’s only redirected.

We see this with Isaac and Rebekah’s marriage in the Old Testament. Isaac’s love was directed full-on toward his wife Rebekah for the first 20 years of their marriage. But somehow it got redirected. After their twins Jacob and Esau arrived and the newness of having children wore off, their affections went from adoration…to adjusting to an expanded family…to choosing sides against one another.

Endangering Your Marriage

Children are a gift from God, but child-centered parenting endangers your marriage and family (as does being job-centered, parent-centered, hobby-centered). Isaac redirected his love onto his favorite son, Esau, while Rebekah showered her love on Jacob. Somewhere in the rough seas of marriage, this couple drifted apart.

This may be a tender topic for you. If your love has drifted … there is hope.

Engaging Your Spouse

Spend time in prayer, assessing upon whom or what you’ve redirected your love. Take a close look at your marriage and identify any potential threats that could cause division. Then, direct your love back toward your spouse. Your concern should be, “Is my love fully aimed at my husband/wife?”

Marriage is a work in progress. We can never think that our marriage has arrived, that we’ve reached the stage where bliss will reign without any effort on our part. But we can keep our marriage alive and vibrant–and away from the brink of divorce–when we direct our love toward and nurture oneness with our spouse. Make it a priority to find new ways to show your love.

RESPOND

Dear Lord, my heart’s desire is to communicate freely with my spouse and that there be no barriers between us. Guide us to keep our love directed toward one another. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

Order our Valentine’s Day Special, 20% off ($21.73) now through tomorrow only:

THREE (3) hardcopy books—

  • A Couple After God’s Own Heart
  • 15 Verses to Pray for Your Husband
  • Encouraging Words for a Woman After God’s Own Heart

PLUS a FREE 15-page devotional PDF (How to be a Closer Couple) and a beautiful Love Never Fails screensaver!

REFLECT

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Solomon 8:3)
On separate 3×5 cards, write out the area of biggest concern for yourselves as a couple.

  • Swap cards for a week
  • Carry your spouse’s care with you all week and pray daily over the contents.
  • In a week, share updates with each other.

REMEMBER

Valentine’s Day Gift Idea

Valentine's Gift

Are you looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for your husband? How about committing to these three things? They can make a big difference in your marriage!

Compliment Instead of Complain

It’s easy to get wrapped up in frustration over what our husband doesn’t do, rather than focusing on all he does do, isn’t it? The next time we’re tempted to complain about our husband’s lack of time or help, let’s instead thank him for a specific way he’s blessed our family. To do this, we’ll need to keep our eyes and ears—and heart!— open so we catch the ways that he expresses his love.

Care about His Day

A gracious way to begin each day is to simply ask our husband:

  • What can I do for you today?
  • What can I do to help you make better use of your time today?

Then we standby with our day planner, a willing heart to schedule his needs into our day, and a prayer to help in the ways he sees he can best be helped.

Consider Love and Respect

There are so many ways we can show our love and respect to our husband. Consider keeping this list (and adding your own) handy as a reminder:

  • Turn our attention away from our phone and computer and onto our husband
  • Actively listen without interrupting
  • Ask him to do something instead of demanding or telling him
  • Use gentle tones and sweet words
  • Lift him up instead of putting him down in conversations with others                     

RESPOND
Dear Lord, how can I express my love to my husband today? Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES
Order our Valentines Day Special
, 20% off ($21.73) now through February 14 only:

THREE (3) hardcopy books—

  • A Couple After God’s Own Heart
  • 15 Verses to Pray for Your Husband
  • Encouraging Words for a Woman After God’s Own Heart

PLUS a FREE 15-page devotional PDF (How to be a Closer Couple) and a beautiful Love Never Fails screensaver!

REFLECT
“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Print this card out to give to your husband on Valentine’s Day!

Valentine Marriage

REMEMBER

Dreading Valentine’s Day

Valentine's

Valentine’s Day is next week. Are you dreading seeing friends’ social media posts of bouquets and chocolates, knowing that your husband probably won’t offer such sweet gestures? More than candies and flowers, this holiday can deliver expectations (and disappointment) we have of our significant others.

Here’s an idea … let’s take the pressure off and plan our own celebration. Jesus said to do good for others without expecting to get anything back, and He tells us in John 13:34, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” What does this kind of love look like? Well, it is a sacrifice of self, which includes our expectations. This can be hard as it’s opposite of how our natural mind (and desires) works.

This kind of love involves effort, not merely emotion. It requires action, not just feeling. Such love comes from God and leads us to being content: “God­liness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Contentment is not based on circum­stances, but on the person of Christ. Because we possess all the treasures found in Him, we have all we need. When we learn this type of contentment, it’ll guide our expectations and works.

So let’s put this love into action! Think of something you and your husband both enjoyed in the past and then try to recreate it. It doesn’t have to be dinner and roses. It can be tennis, watching a movie, cooking, whatever. We can keep sweet memories alive ourselves without depending on our husband to come up with a plan. Then, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and date nights will be filled with joyful anticipation and without disappointing expectations.

RESPOND
Lord, I acknowledge my expectations and ask for Your forgiveness for resenting my reality. Instead of idly waiting for my desires to materialize, help me proactively make plans that bless my marriage. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES
Order our Valentine’s Day Special, 20% off ($21.73) now through February 14 only:

THREE (3) hardcopy books—

  • A Couple After God’s Own Heart
  • 15 Verses to Pray for Your Husband
  • Encouraging Words for a Woman After God’s Own Heart
  • PLUS a FREE 15-page devotional PDF (How to be a Closer Couple) and a beautiful Love Never Fails screensaver!

REFLECT
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

I’ll decide now that it is okay to celebrate Valentine’s Day or our anniversary on another date, when it’s most convenient for everyone’s schedule. It’s not the date that’s important; it’s the celebration of another year of marriage and love that’s important.

REMEMBER

Lonelier than Ever

Lonelier

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I thought being married meant having a companion, but I feel lonelier now than I ever did before”?

Loneliness is an issue most women struggle with, married or not. We’ll spend days alone … nights alone … even seasons alone. Husbands will travel, kids will start school and activities, friends will move, loved ones will pass. In these times of transition, solitude, and loneliness, we must lean on our relationship with God.

Before King David took the throne, he was a shepherd boy. His long days were spent in the fields with sheep—and with the Lord. How did he pass the lonely hours? David tended his flock, praised the Lord, and prayed to God (see 1 Samuel 17). He cultivated a firm knowledge of God’s powerful presence. This closeness to God helped David view his days of solitude differently—and accurately.

The same is true for you! As you run errands, do laundry, drive carpool, put in the hours at your job … remember to spend time with God through prayer. When you eat dinner alone or watch a movie by yourself, redirect your thoughts to God’s Word. When you’re close to Him, spending time in His Word, you see your situation clearly: God is there—with you, for you—to comfort you.

Physical solitude can be discouraging. When everyone else has left, let’s recall that God promises He will never leave us. And He does not break His promises. Pray for and cultivate a sense of God’s presence through prayer, worship, and reading God’s Word.

RESPOND
Dear Lord, when I feel distant from others, please draw me to Your presence. Thank You for being the one constant in my life. I trust that You are with me and will comfort me with Your faithful love. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES
What God Wants to Do for You
shares 24 sure promises from the Bible that show just how much God loves us. God has given us many promises tailored perfectly to our needs—learn how to call upon them with this wonderful resource.

REFLECT
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Who do I know that is in a similar stage of life as I am? How can I reach out to her to share God’s comfort and ease both of our loneliness?

REMEMBER

When You’re Not Sure How to Parent

Parent

I was a new mom when I accepted Christ as my Savior. My heart and mind were full of questions about how to teach my daughters about the God and His Word. One day as I read my Bible, my eyes landed on Deuteronomy 6:5-7. God amazed me by showing me His guidelines in three verses for raising my little ones. I read those verses so many times I finally memorized them.

Have you had days when you’ve wondered what in the world you’re doing as a mom? Take heart! God goes straight to the heart of the matter and packed these verse with clear communication to us parents. The first step? We must love God first. Why? Because we become what we love.

This is the reason Scripture instructs us straightforward about where we are to place our love. And not just some of it. The Lord goes further and demands all of our love. God wants us to love Him with every breath, thought, emotion and passion, and choice we make. He wants us to think of Him first and to desire to please Him above all else. And He desires for our love to be intense and complete

I’m sure you’ve people say, “There is no love like a parent’s love.” If you’re a mom or dad, you know this is true! From the moment a parent knows they have a baby on the way, all of our prayers, thoughts, and goals are channeled toward our little one. This tiny being completely consumes and preoccupies our time.

Now put the strength of this love into your love for God. This is how much God wants us to focus on Him … even more! The more we love Him, the more you and I will know about love. This will allow us to know how to love. The more we know how to love, the better you and I will love our own children. And this, by God’s grace, will make you a parent who can raise a son or daughter after God’s own heart.

A PRAYER TO PRAY
Dear Lord, You are the best Father, and I long to follow Your example of selfless love. I commit to loving You most so that I can love my child best. Amen.

MORE ENCOURAGEMENT
A Mom After God’s Own Heart offers moms practical advice and real-life suggestions for helping children, no matter what their ages, to incorporate God into daily life.

REFLECTION
“You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them…” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

How does the command, “love the Lord your God with all your heart” simplify the many parenting concerns that I have?

REMEMBER
When all your love centers on God, and when you follow Him with all your heart, you will qualify to lead your children to follow God too!

How to Make the Best Choice

CHOICE

Perhaps you’ve heard this little rhyme about making a choice: Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better, and your better is best.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I spent a lot of time in traffic. For years, I tuned in to easy-listening music on the radio. It seemed like a good choice as I passed my time in the car. After a while, I moved up the “better” scale, and I made a change to Christian worship. As time went by, I opted to listen to sermons. Then it hit me—why not listen to the Bible? Finally, one day I turned off everything and landed on what for me was the best choice for my car time—memorizing Scripture. Good to better to best!

God promises us in His Word that His ways are the best for us. In following Him and His ways, our devotion to Him naturally deepens. We can know His ways and choose what is best by following Mary’s example when, instead of being too busy with life, she instead chose to be still and to be present with Jesus. “And Jesus, answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But, one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'” (Luke 10:42)

When I was a new Christian, a more spiritually-mature woman shared how she spent her mornings after her husband left for work. She could have done anything she wanted—watched TV, hopped on the computer, chatted with friends—but she opted to pick up her Bible and have her quiet time. This woman paid close atten­tion to what was good, better, and best, and made the best choice.

Let’s not miss out on God’s best due to choosing the mediocre or okay. Each moment and each decision in your day, ask for God’s help to choose beyond the better choice to what is best!

A PRAYER TO PRAY
Dear Lord, Your ways are the best ways. I want to follow them all the days of my life. Amen.

MORE ENCOURAGEMENT
Proverbs for a Woman’s Day
gives you a clear view of the right path as you follow God’s wisdom found in the book of Proverbs. Are you stressed out by your responsibilities? At a crossroads in your life? Wondering what to do about a complicated relationship? Pick up a copy of this book today!

REFLECTION
“And Jesus, answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But, one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'” (Luke 10:42)

Does my schedule make room for spending time in God’s Word and in prayer?

REMEMBER
Consider these words of wisdom as you plan your day: “Daily I live with [one] fear—a healthy fear—that I will miss something God has for me in this life. And it is mind-expanding to contemplate all that He wants me to have. I don’t want to be robbed of even one of God’s riches by not taking time to let Him invade my life. By not listening to what He is telling me. By allowing the routine, pressing matters of my minutes to bankrupt me of time for the most exciting, most fulfilling relationship in life.” (Carole Mayhall)

You are Beautiful

BEAUTIFUL


Every woman wants to be thought of as beautiful. We’ve all tried different products, haircuts, and clothes to enhance our physical beauty. But, did you know God has a prescription for the kind of beauty that He esteems? Proverbs 31:30 describes a woman of such a beauty, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Here is great news: inner beauty is attainable for every woman.

It’s generally agreed on by most scholars that Proverbs 31 reflects a wise mother’s instruction to her son, Lemuel—who would one day become a king—on the virtues of a godly woman. This ode of praise for a virtuous woman became God’s outline of feminine character.

These words or instructions aren’t merely a man expressing some personal and unrealistic fantasy. True, it’s thought that King Lemuel wrote the words down, but he was simply repeating a female’s opinion of true beauty! Such woman-to-woman instruction about a beautiful-in-God’s-eyes woman encourages and inspires me.

This mother begins with a question—”Who can find a virtuous woman?” (Proverbs 31:10). Hopefully we can answer that question by saying, “Here I am!” You see, you and I can be this woman. God’s Word gives examples of many virtuous women: He points us to Ruth, who was “a virtuous woman” (Ruth 3:11); Mary, the mother of Jesus; Phoebe and Lydia, women who helped Paul and served the early church; and many more examples! Each woman feared the Lord and was truly beautiful from the inside out.

A virtuous woman is rare—a distinc­t, exceptional, treasure—but according to God, the Author of all beauty, you and I can become one. You and I can be beautiful in His eyes!

A PRAYER TO PRAY
Dear Lord, Your Word is clear about what true beauty is—to love and revere You. Help me be a woman of virtue … a woman who is beautiful in Your eyes. Amen.

MORE ENCOURAGEMENT
Beautiful in God’s Eyes 
shares more insights about how God defines beauty and reveals His plan for a woman’s success.

REFLECTION
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

What has been my impression when I’ve heard about or read the Proverbs 31 woman? Do I long to be a virtuous woman?

REMEMBER
Beauty is more than skin deep. It starts in the heart and works outward.

God’s Purpose for You

Purpose

Knowing your purpose as a Christian woman is important. To drift aimlessly through your precious days is tiresome, frustrating, and unrewarding. It would be a great tragedy to wake up one day and realize all you could have accomplished if you had focused on some worthy goals along the way.

But so many voices shout at us and suggest innumerous goals for us. How are we to pursue our purpose if we can’t pinpoint it? If we read it, God’s Word will rise above the clamor and give us the answer. And here’s amazing news … God doesn’t ask a thousand or even a hundred things of His women.

The Lord asks us to focus on a mere 10 things. These will help us pursue His purpose for us—to love Him and others, to serve people, and to reflect Him. Let’s take a quick look at this list in Titus 2:3-5 for the essentials on which to focus our time and energies. We are to be: 

  • Godly in our behavior.
  • Kind and truthful in our speech.
  • Self-controlled and disiplined.
  • Devoted wives to our husband.
  • Devoted moms to our kids.
  • Wise in our actions.
  • Pure on the outside and inside.
  • Focused on the management of our home.
  • Good to all we meet.
  • A teacher of good things.

It’s liberating to know and pursue your purpose in life. Are you already living out your purpose? If so, continue to focus your time and energies on it. If not, spend time examining Jesus’ life. Now that you know this list, His purpose for you is not as mysterious as you may have thought.

Pay close attention to His focus and confidence as He lived God’s pur­pose on a daily basis. Notice how He fixed His gaze on God’s plan for Him. And be encouraged! As a woman who is seeking God’s plan, you are already evidencing purpose. You are reflect­ing Jesus as you live out His instructions to “seek first the king­dom of God” (Matthew 6:33).

A PRAYER TO PRAY
Dear Lord, You are so gracious to give Your children a purpose in life. Help me fulfill it by loving You and others by living out this list from Titus. Amen.

MORE ENCOURAGEMENT
In Proverbs for a Woman’s Day, Elizabeth George takes you on a journey through the 31 chapters of Proverbs, which cover the matters closest to your heart. Don’t guess about the next step and hope for the best. Get a clear view of the right path as you follow God’s wisdom through this book!

REFLECTION
“Seek first the king­dom of God” (Matthew 6:33).

Of the 10 items on the list from Titus, which ones am I already pursuing? Which ones do I need to begin pursuing?

REMEMBER
God’s purpose for us—to love Him and others, to serve people, and to reflect Him.

When Everyone Is Looking for You

looking

Do you ever feel by the end of most days that everyone is looking for you? Well, in a small way, you are getting an idea of how Jesus may have felt on one particular day that is described in Mark 1:29-39. No matter how tired Jesus was,

  • He reached out and healed Peter’s mother-in-law in the house (verse 31).
  • He reached out and healed all who were waiting outside the house (verse 32).
  • He reached out to the rest of the city to help them (verses 33-34).
  • He reached out to all Galilee, to those in other towns in the area (verses 35-39).

How do you decide who gets—and truly needs—your attention and care? Here’s one way Jesus answers this question. The day after the super busy day just described, He prepared Himself for another people-packed day by getting up early before everyone else, disappearing to a quiet spot, and praying (verse 35).

The results? Prayer refreshed God’s Son for what would be expected of Him during the new day in front of Him. Prayer also gave Him direction for the day. And prayer can do the same for you. Like Jesus, check in with the Father for His lead. Then begin at home by being available to your family.

Drawn from Finding God’s Path Through Your Trials by Elizabeth George. In this helpful resource, Elizabeth discusses the hard times we all face and reveals how people can “count it all joy.” 

Checklist for Confidence       

Confidence

Anyone can become more confident. But the confidence that comes from Christ and points to Him as its source is based on trust—trust in Him.

Check your responses to these questions:

—Are you placing your full trust in Jesus?

—Is your confidence at full strength, or have you lost sight of your identity with Christ?

—Are you confidently serving your family, raising your children, ministering your spiritual gifts, and being a bold witness for Christ?

If you are struggling with self-doubt or timidity, follow these steps that will strengthen your confidence:

—Redirect your focus to Jesus and trust Him completely.

—Meditate on Christ and recall what He has accomplished for you as your Savior.

—Do your best to be the best parent, worker, and servant you can be.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You protect, sustain, and empower me for my many roles and responsibilities. Thank You that I can live and serve with confidence, knowing You are with me. Great are You, Lord, and greatly to be praised! Amen. 

 

Draw from Quiet Confidence for a Woman’s Heart by Elizabeth George. You’ll find this book to be a great companion for your season of trials and challenges. This resource will help you live a life filled with faith, hope, and trust built on the unshakable foundation of Jesus Christ.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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