This past summer, Bill and I celebrated our 35th anniversary with a memory filled trip to the west coast. Before the trip, I decided before to keep a journal that I entitled, “Thank You Lord...” I wanted to be keenly aware of God’s activity and gifts each day of the trip. And since it was a time to celebrate our marriage, I also wanted to think on and write the many ways I have to be thankful for Bill.
We truly treasured this time away. I admit I was a little sad to give up the restful, reflective time, but little did I know how God was getting me ready to go deeper in my understanding of thanksgiving.
This fall our women’s ministry class, “Beloved,” began reading “The Wholehearted Wife,”by Erin, Greg and Gary Smalley. As a co-teacher of the class, I began to study and read various resources. It was then that the Lord seemed to begin challenging my heart.
I remember reflecting on some particular notes from my study time. The first statement was, “God loves our husbands.” My initial thought was, “Well, that’s a given.” Then I began to realize that I don’t often thank the Lord specifically for His incredible love for my husband. For God so loved ______ (our husband’s name) that he gave his only Son. (John 3:16a)
When I spent that time thinking on Bill from God’s perspective; it had nothing to do with me. My heart was just rejoicing for His amazing love. It wasn’t based on my thoughts of Bill.
Please don’t get me wrong, it is good, right and necessary to thank God for our husband’s attributes. But for me, the Lord was revealing my selfish heart that often seems to look at even godly things from the perspective of how it benefits me. I am truly thankful for the forgiveness of sins promised as I confess my sins! (1 John 1:9)
I really had to chew on the next part of my notes, as well. In effect it was saying that God desires to help our husbands grow to be more like Christ and we are one of the tools He wants to use to change our husbands. That is a heavy thought. Wow, part of the reason God unites us with our husbands is to help each of us grow out of our sinful nature and into the person the Lord intended.
Ladies, we are to be a portion of grace that God uses in the lives of our husbands.
When I was thinking on the privilege of being a tool of grace I was reminded of 1 John 3:16, (HCSB)
”This is how we have come to know love: He l
aid down His life for us. We should also lay down
our lives for our brothers ."
How do we lay down our lives for our husbands? We must seek God’s Presence daily by reading The Word and talking to Him in prayer and confession. The Lord will guide us and enable us by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Thank You Lord for this high calling. May we each be found faithful.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.