After I had Brooks and made the decision to stay home with him full time, I knew I would need an outlet and a good support group of friends to surround myself with. So, I asked a friend of mine if she would want to start a mom's bible study group. I was so excited when she said yes! I was looking forward to Brooks having some kids to hang out with (I realize that doesn't mean much right now since he is a newborn), I was looking forward to having people to bounce ideas off of when parenting got hard or if I had questions and I was really excited to build friendships and do life with a good group of women. It didn't really dawn on my until closer to the date we agreed to start, that I would actually have to lead discussion! We have been a part of a life group for a few years, but I never actually taught or came up with a lesson. To be honest, I have always felt a little unqualified and I still do! But, I'm trying! I can't say that anything I have taught over has been great, but this last one was personal and challenging in a good way, so I wanted to share.
My word for the year is ACTION - turning my good intentions into actions - and one of the examples I used dealt with upping the ante a little in the wife department. For instance, I'm usually home when Trevor gets home from work and my good intentions say "Get up! You are excited to see him so go give him a big hug and kiss!" But my action is usually staying put and saying "hey, how was your day" and continuing to work on whatever I'm doing. It's November and I can't say that I have mastered that goal...but I'm a work-in-progress! So, since this was my word for the year and this is the area that I am still working on, I thought I would write a bible study on amping up the status of love expressed in our home. So here is goes.
*HOW DO YOU THINK OF YOUR HUSBAND? (Who is he, what is he striving to be, how has he grown, what does he do for you, what does he do that allows you to do what you do, if someone said to describe your husband, what would you say, etc...)
I had everyone get out a piece of paper/notecard and write the answer to this first question. I decided to write a list, others wrote paragraphs and some wrote their spouse a letter. I gave everyone 3-5 minutes to do this and then we all shared what we wanted.
*DO YOUR WORDS AND ACTIONS TOWARD YOUR HUSBAND ALWAYS REFLECT THE WORDS YOU WROTE ON YOUR LIST? (Do you say these things to him? Does the way you talk and interact with him reflect this list?)
Proverbs 27:15 says A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day.
QUARRELSOME: argumentative, confrontational, nagging, contentious, disrespectful
The opposite is RESPECT: notice, regard, honor, prefer, defer to, encourage, love, admire
Ephesians 5 states that wives are called to respect their husbands and husbands to love their wives. Of course the opposite is true, wives loving their husbands and husbands respecting their wives, but usually women feel respected when they feel loved and men feel loved when they are being respected.
Ephesians 5:22 says For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
*THAT WORD, SUBMIT, SEEMS TO HAVE A BAD REPUTATION WITH MANY WOMEN, SO HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THAT WORD/VERSE TO SOMEONE QUESTIONING?
I liked what we came up with as a group. We felt like Genesis 2:18-24 answered it the best.
Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him." So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the opening. The Lord God made a woman from the rib and he brought her to the man. "At last!" the man exclaimed. "This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken from 'man.'" This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
We are our husbands helper. We were created from him and are united to him.
*WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WERE DISRESPECTFUL TO YOUR HUSBAND? DID IT WORK THE WAY YOU WANTED? DID YOU GET WHAT YOU WANTED? IF NOT, WHAT COULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?
I'm assuming most of us would say, whatever the situation, it did not end the way you wanted. For me, if I sum up in one word what I could have done differently, it would be respect! Had I approached the situation in a loving and respectful manner, I truly believe the conversation would have gone a lot differently.
Here are a couple more questions to think on...
*BOB GOFF SAID THIS, "TELL PEOPLE WHO THEY'RE BECOMING, NOT WHO THEY WERE." HOW COULD THIS CHANGE THE WAY YOU SPEAK TO YOUR SPOUSE? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS IDEA? AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU ARE USED TO?
*WHAT'S SOMETHING YOU'RE HOPING WILL CHANGE IN YOUR MARRIAGE? HOW CAN YOU START HELPING IT CHANGE?
*WHAT'S THE STATUS OF LOVE EXPRESSED IN YOUR HOME AND HOW CAN YOU UP THE ANTE?
When I began this bible study, I was searching the internet for a couple things and ran across this sermon. So, here are two ending thoughts.
1. Keep a journal (or the paper/notecard we used) of what is true and honorable about your husband Pray for him in these areas. Tell him these things - encourage over nag. Philippians 4:8 says Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Think about what is worthy of praise.
2. We are incredibly powerful in the life of our husbands. They need us. They don't need us to condemn them, Satan is already doing that. They don't need us to criticize them. His enemies are already doing that. They need us to encourage them. Say "I'm here to help, I'm here to help you become more like Jesus. I'm here so that you can lead our family in the purpose of Jesus. I know you can't do it alone and I'm here to help."