Follow Your Heart?

No doubt that you have heard the saying follow your heart. But who or what is first in your heart? Who or what will you follow?

Is Jesus first place in your heart or have you placed Him to the side and given first place to another. Maybe it is a thing or an activity or a person – something that has become your heart’s desire. Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself.

>Are you willing to sin in order to get your heart’s desire?
>Do you just have to have romance in your life?
>Are you expecting another human being to provide fulfillment?
>Do the small decisions that you make throughout your day reflect wisdom and consideration regarding obedience to Christ?
>Do you make wise decisions regarding your sexuality?
>Do you scheme or manipulate to get what you want?
>Are you moving toward Jesus or further away?

It is not enough to be merely acquainted with Jesus. His rightful place is intimacy with you. Just like everything in our solar system revolves around the sun, our lives should revolve around the Son. He is our life source and our wisdom source. You might be asking – how do I get there? First, you must have come to a place in your life where you have put your trust in Jesus’ finished work on the cross. He made the required payment for your sins on that cross. “It is finished” He said. There is nothing more that you need to do or can add to it. He wants your trust – your faith in Him. After this, begin the spiritual disciplines.

>Let Him renew your mind each day by reading the Bible.
>Make daily decisions and choices by considering them through a “biblical lens”.
>Ask God daily to empty you of yourself and fill you with His Spirit.
>Recite scripture in order to chase ungodly thoughts out of your mind.

This is a process. When you fail, get back up, ask for forgiveness and move forward. Ask yourself, are you moving closer to Him or away from Him?

Sister Power

The following post was written when I visited The Big Apple for the first time in my life. Walking the same streets where a couple dozen women began a revolution so many years ago, I realized that with the advent of the internet and Facebook, I could begin my own revolution – a counter-cultural revolution.

In the 1960’s Betty Friedan and a couple dozen other women began planning the women’s liberation movement. Within a few years, these women organized and marched down NYC’s 5th Avenue where Friedan declared that no man, woman or child would escape the nature of the revolution that they had begun. I believe that this marks the beginning of the erosion of the family – after all, biblical scholars believe that when the women in a society go against God’s plan, that society will be negatively impacted and sometimes doomed.

You may be a regular attender of a good solid biblical church and even involved in regular Bible study but don’t think that you are immune to the infection of growing up during this revolution. I believe that every woman alive today, has been influenced and has some part of her thinking that needs to be renewed. This was me. I was in church every week. I was involved in regular Bible study both corporate and individual. It wasn’t until I was involved in a Bible study that specifically addressed these issues that I began to see all of the areas that my thinking was incorrect. God has had me on a journey since that study, where He is pruning the wrong thinking right off of me. I won’t lie to you. In the beginning it wasn’t easy but I have grown to welcome His pruning. It is bringing beautiful fruit forth in my life and relationships.

That is the story of how I am being blessed but I would like to propose that we God fearing men and women can start our own revolution. This would be a kind of counter-cultural revolution where we team up and bring back biblical femininity. If two dozen women in the 1960’s were able to completely change the way that women, men and children think, why can’t we show society the truth about how God designed men and women?

Betty Friedan believed that a woman would never be happy until she stopped serving her family and started putting her own needs first. Has this made women happy? Actually most women seem as though they are still searching. I believe that a woman can only be happy and find fulfillment when she is living out her life the way that God created her to.

I need your help. Many men and women are reading these blogs. Thank you for your readership. Would you share them too? Would you invite your friends to like the page? I cannot do this without you – I’m just one woman typing as I sit in my living room. Please join with me and we will change things together with our own counter-cultural revolution.

I May Be Your Best Friend But I’m Not Your Buddy

When I choose a subject to write about, I carefully consider whether or not it is a subject that others can relate to. I definitely think that there are millions of women that can relate to this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Where did my gentleman go? The one that rang the doorbell oh so many years ago and instantly won my mother. He treated me like a gentle flower. Now, from time to time, he forgets that I am a woman and treats me like I’m his buddy. You know the one – the buddy that your husband wants to watch football with and can make bodily noises without the fear of judgement. This is the friend that he is so at ease with that the humor goes from clever and funny right to the bathroom. These two friends communicate in gruff speak and grunts.

Sorry honey – I’m not your little buddy. I’m your wife. Remember me? I was that girl that made your heart go pitter patter. I am that woman that works to make your home a place of peaceful refuge, heals the hurts and kisses your boo boos. I am the woman that works hard to look like a woman. Please don’t get me confused with Bubba. I want to be treated with gentility in your actions, words and tone.

I realize that you view me as your best friend but I’m not that friend. I love watching football together with my feet up on the coffee table. I am well aware of your foot fetish dear and by putting my polished toes up where you can see them, you are reminded that although I may be your friend, I’m not your little buddy.

If You Please

Do you feel that you only matter when others are pleased with you? Do you find yourself excessively happy when others show approval but depressed when they don’t approve of you or notice you? Do you find yourself on a cycle of elation, then empty and depressed? If any of this sounds familiar, you are probably working overly hard to please people. Right now, you are on the hamster wheel but there is hope – you can get off and break the cycle. You will find happiness, peace and contentment when your goal is to glorify God whether that pleases people or not.

Try to remember that humans are fickle and often others think much less often of you than you would like them to. I struggle with this myself and I will tell you that I believe that I will always struggle to some degree but thankfully I have found that examining my motives prior to acting has been a key to change. I routinely ask myself the following questions.

Am I doing this for God or for my own glory?
What do I want or expect for doing this?
How will I feel when others don’t respond positively?
Am I willing to accept the outcome even if it is negative?

It is a good thing to please people. You can be a very pleasing person without being a people pleaser. Be a God pleaser. In your pleasing, serve God first. Serve others so that He will be glorified. Learn to discern between a request from others that you should accommodate and one that you should say no to. Not every request requires that you drop everything or inconvenience your spouse or children in order to accommodate. There is a balance here. We do want to teach our children to serve but the requests can be never-ending and spouses and children can begin to resent servanthood. Remember where your first responsibilities lie.

Take some time to think about it. If the request is not an emergency, you have time to consider it before giving your answer. This is also a good time to consider whether or not you are being controlled or manipulated. You are not helping if you allow a controller or manipulator to succeed.

In order to have victory over the people pleaser cycle, you may need to tell yourself some truths. Start with reminding yourself that your value does not come from whether or not people like you or approve of you. Also, remember if you choose to say no, your requester will figure out a solution. Their crisis does not automatically become your crisis. Finally, remind yourself that it is a futile attempt to try to keep everyone happy.

I hope that this blog helps my fellow people pleasers to gain some freedom. You can do this – it just takes a little retraining.

The Who and the Why

Why do I write? It is not because I have nothing else to do. It is not because I’ve always had a burning desire to write. I write for two reasons. First, writing is therapeutic for me and second, I hope and pray that these words will reach the eyes that need to see them.

How is writing therapeutic? Well, I have been able to talk about the things that have happened to me. I even write about things that are happening right now. Good and bad. Madeline Eatenton is an authentic woman and everything that I have written about, I have personally experienced. Some experiences have been painful. Some experiences are crushing me as I write this but I am confident that I will be victorious. I have struggled against God, with God and for God. I am a work in progress, just like you.

My hope is that this blog will help someone and this is the motivation that keeps me writing. It is what drives me to write even when I am busy living my life as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend, business owner and volunteer. I have truth to tell and I believe that God wants me to share with you, what He has taught me and what He is teaching me. I have written on some subjects that are controversial among Christians and the Church. Controversial because sometimes we are behaving as legalistic prudes or we are clueless about what God intended about healthy marital relations or we are simply in rebellion against God’s intended order for man and wife and their family.

I have not arrived, but I am striving to believe God’s promises and I desire the peace that surpasses all understanding more now than ever. I have accepted that God knows best what a woman should be and I want to be that woman. Is it easy? No. Doing the right thing no matter what, is hard for me. Is it worth the sacrifice and work? Yes. It has been the most fruitful work that I have ever done. This work benefits me and all of those around me. If you have been resisting God on the issue of biblical femininity, I encourage you to step out and trust Him. He knows exactly what kind of woman He wants you to be.

I have never written creatively prior to starting this blog. I had just a few things that I wanted to say. A friend encouraged me, so I started a blog. 77 posts later, I still have some things that I want to say. So I keep writing. By the way, thank you for reading.

That’s Just Not Me!

Thank you for your support of my last blog post entitled Deep Within. As a result of this post, a very hot topic has surfaced and I would like to explore it further. As a reminder, in my last post, I shared a heartfelt statement from a hurting woman. Here it is again for your review.

I am your greatest earthly treasure, sitting on the shelf. You pour yourself into things that will be tossed tomorrow. Look at me! Strangers and acquaintances affirm me today and maybe tomorrow but you don’t see my gifts. Look at me! You see my adornments and your hands examine the jewels but you don’t look deep enough to see my heart and mind. Look at me! You praise my efforts but always with a suggestion. Look at me! I am only a whisper away, invisible with tears in my eyes. Look at me! What do I want? I do want you to love my adornments, I do want you to praise what I do and I do want you to know who I am, deep inside of my mind and my heart. Who am I? Don’t look at me but look deep within me.

A wife has a deep need for her husband to look deep within her and understand who she is. She needs to be treated with sensitivity and gentility. She needs to be really listened to – not fixed or brushed off with a quick solution. Let’s look at the attitude of “that’s just not me”. If a husband communicates this attitude through his words and/or actions, his wife is likely receiving it in the following ways. She might receive this as “you are not worth the effort of stepping outside of my comfort zone in order to learn how to be sensitive” or “you are a loser – so I don’t need to serve you – you are fortunate to even have me as a husband”. With enough of this treatment, a wife will feel empty, unimportant and begin to believe that she has little value.

When a wife has the courage to talk to her husband about these issues and he withdraws, gets defensive or even aggressive, she begins to feel emotionally unsafe and eventually won’t even attempt to confide in him at all. Obviously, this is a detrimental development in a marriage. Your wife may be fully committed to you but she isn’t happy – she probably feels like she is dying inside. If after all of this, a husband still clings to “that’s just not me”, I would say that he has not fully grasped the concept of sacrificial love. He may be an excellent provider and a good father but he is not willing to sacrifice his own comfort in order to love his wife. In order to love, we need to love with the method that the other person needs to be loved.

On a slightly different note, some husbands when on the hot seat might choose to believe that they are loving their wife because sometime in the past, they have looked deep within and affirmed her. If you have been reading my blog, you have noticed that my style is direct. This is what I would say to that – husband, why do you want sex again? She gave it to you that one time. Spouses need regular nourishment to thrive. Having a meal every once in a while will not sustain your spouse.

It is true that this may not be who you are. As I have already said in the previous post, it is not natural for her to let you lead, put you before the children or attend to your sexual needs but hopefully she is doing these things in order to love you. Love her too. Don’t make her feel that she is doing this life without her partner. It is who you can become.

Deep Within

The following statement was written by a real woman. She wants to share it with you because she firmly believes that there are many women who can relate to her struggles and she wants them to know that they are not alone and that there is hope. She entitled it Look at Me.

I am your greatest earthly treasure, sitting on the shelf. You pour yourself into things that will be tossed tomorrow. Look at me! Strangers and acquaintances affirm me today and maybe tomorrow but you don’t see my gifts. Look at me! You see my adornments and your hands examine the jewels but you don’t look deep enough to see my heart and mind. Look at me! You praise my efforts but always with a suggestion. Look at me! I am only a whisper away, invisible with tears in my eyes. Look at me! What do I want? I do want you to love my adornments, I do want you to praise what I do and I do want you to know who I am, deep inside of my mind and my heart. Who am I? Don’t look at me but look deep within me.

This was written by a woman during her darkest moments. It is not an earth-shattering statement but to her it comes from deep pain. I agree with her that many women are struggling with similar thoughts and feelings. She is not a depressed woman – in fact, she is very happy and strives for contentment. She is an ordinary woman and just like most women, her tank occasional becomes empty. Men, this post is not intended to heap more upon you but God says that you must love your wives. So do you want to know how to love your wife? Simply study her. Don’t cram right before the test. Make her your lifelong learning project. There is nothing sexier than a man learning about what makes a woman tick. I know it’s hard and it requires effort but sorry men, don’t you think it takes effort for her to let you lead, put you before the children and make your sexual needs a priority? You see, these things are foreign to her, just like it is foreign to you to study your wife.

Women are relational, soft hearted and responsive. Women have a deep need to be understood. If you remove the outward beauty and all of the tasks that she completes, you will find her essence. Her essence is her qualities and character. It is her own unique set of gifts given to her by her Creator. Does she seem to attract the unlovely? Is she kind and thoughtful – putting others above herself? Is she extremely sensitive to the moods of others? Does she love others even though she gets hurt? Does her heart of compassion move her to take action? This is her essence.

Essence does not equate with problems. Husbands are fixers and too many times, a husband wants to fix these types of things in his wife. He might see her qualities as more of a curse. Men, please examine your motives. Why would you want to fix her? Do these qualities in your wife inconvenience you? Instead of trying to fix her, I would suggest that you embrace and cherish these qualities.

Try to look deep within her heart and mind to see and appreciate her essence. Praise her and brag on her for these qualities as well as her beauty and the tasks that she completes. As a woman ages, her physical beauty will change, the volume of tasks that she can complete will reduce but it is her essence that will remain and even become more beautiful in time. I know that you love this woman. Give her hope and look deep within her.

Find a Way to Getaway

Previously, I wrote about the importance of dating your spouse and some practical ideas on how to do this. I would like to expand on the idea of kidnapping your spouse for a night or two away.

I realize that this can be a challenge for any couple, no matter what season of life that you are in. Maybe you have younger children who cannot be left alone or even if your children are old enough, your schedule might be the problem. Finances are almost always tight. There are a few things that you can do to work around these challenges and I highly recommend that you make a getaway with your spouse important enough to make the effort.

If your children are young, you probably know of another young couple that would be willing to take the children in. You can pay them back by taking their children. You might even know of a grandparent type couple that would love to watch your children. If your schedule is restrictive, carve out at least 24 hours. Cancel obligations if you must – your marriage is worth it. If finances are an issue, borrow a friend’s remote cabin and take groceries. As a last resort, just the two of you can stay home but be aware that the distractions of home will attempt to pull you away from each other. However you have to do this – just do it.

You’ve planned it – now what? Well, put simply – a lot of sex and just being with each other. Not the kind of sex and time together that you share at home. Things are too scheduled at home. Honeymoon type being together – living in bed, clothing optional – morning, noon and night but even better. Why better? Better, because after years of marriage, hopefully you know each other better. Men, slow down and enjoy every inch of her body – your wife has many erotic zones on her body. Women, just relax, have fun with your husband, let him see you and wear him out. This is the most fulfilling exhaustion that a man can experience. Each of you will have memories of your honeymoon love flooding back and the closeness that you felt in those days will return. Sex between a husband and wife is a beautiful expression of love and it is the glue that holds you together.

There is something magical about getting away with your spouse. The cares of this world melt away and for a brief time, it is just the two of you again. You’ll take this reclaimed closeness back into your day-to-day life and life becomes sweeter.

After returning from our last getaway, my husband told me that he couldn’t wait to go again. He explained that he craved having that kind of time alone with me – the world disappeared for him and for a time, it was just him and his bride again. Planning a getaway can be an overwhelming task but the rewards will leave you looking forward to the next time.

I Think That You Have Something in Your Eye

Today, as I was cleaning the refrigerator and because of my lack of care, I dropped an egg. I watched the egg fall, then shatter and splatter it contents – it was a mess. Once the egg fell, there was nothing that I could do – it was doomed to be destroyed. This is exactly like our relationships. When we fail to use care in our relationships, they often are shattered and destroyed.

1 Peter 3:8-9 tells us to be in harmony with each other by being sympathetic, loving, tender and humble. It tells us to not repay evil with evil or revile with reviling for this is what God called us to do. To sum it up in one word – be merciful. So, does this mean that we should never ever confront one another? After all, the Bible does say judge not, lest you be judged.

To answer this question, we must always look through a lens that views the Bible in its entirety – the big picture. This protects us from clinging to one verse and applying it out of context. The Bible clearly teaches that we are to judge but carefully consider whether or not we are judging using God’s definition of sin. We must never judge using our self-righteous definition of sin.

Part of biblical fellowship requires admonishment of one another but there are attitudes which must be critically considered before you attempt to correct another person. First you must:
>Examine your own heart and life. Be brutal with your own sin. Your log may be blocking your view.
>Examine whether your desire to confront, stems out of being overly concerned about an offense against yourself. If you are more concerned about yourself than restoring the other person, your motives are not right.
>Examine whether or not the offense is considered to be sin by the standards of God’s Word.
>Examine whether or not you are enjoying their sin.
>Examine whether or not the sin or weakness is destructive to self or others.
>Examine whether or not this is a one-time offense or a pattern in the person’s life.
>Examine whether or not this offense can be overlooked.
>Examine whether or not you have a relationship with this person. Without relationship, your message will not be well received.

Now, after this examination, if you believe that you must confront, how should this be done? Think in terms of truth and love – never anger. Too many people confront others with only truth. Without the accompaniment of love, the message will not be received well and they will leave feeling misunderstood and alienated. Your goal in confronting, should always be reconciliation with God and if necessary, with you. For possible reconciliation to occur, your message must be seasoned with humility, patience and mercy in both your words and attitudes. You must communicate that you understand that you are a sinner in need of grace too. Offer your concern as a possibility, not a conclusion. Assure them that you realize that you may be incorrect and that they are accountable only to God. The other person should be able to feel compassion and understanding from you. Many times, drawing a person out with questions is an excellent way to reach them. Your method should testify to God’s power in your life.

Many times, even though we have confronted correctly, the other person may get angry and defensive. Remember, you are not God or His Holy Spirit. Allow God to do His work of conviction. Your responsibility is to provide words that communicate grace and let God do the rest.

Now, if someone confronts you, don’t dismiss it. Go to God. If you would also like to ask others, carefully choose individuals that you know will be honest and trustworthy. Don’t go into justification mode. Don’t get angry. Try to see the blessing in it and the courage that it took for the person to confront you. Really consider if any of what was said is true and then take action to correct it.

To summarize, recognize that we all lean toward self-righteousness. Examine yourself thoroughly for self-righteous attitudes. Determine whether or not the offense is a biblically defined sin. Determine whether or not this is a one-time offense or a pattern of sin. Consider whether or not it can be overlooked. Use words and attitudes that communicate truth with love, humility, understanding, patience and mercy. Do not attempt to make them accountable to you.

Be encouraged – it is possible to restore and be restored. It is possible that relationships not only remain intact but actually become stronger.