Oct 20

52Home for Christmas

2017 at 9:37 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre

With Christmas right around the corner (at least that’s what my kids tell me) you may want to check out what Mike and Janelle have been up to at 52Home. When they’re not wrangling their kiddos, they have been wallowing in sawdust and paint prepping for the season. Check out their website for ideas for everyone on your list this year.

Oct 13

Recipe for a Happy Marriage

2017 at 7:49 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Marriage

Recently I watched a cooking show where the celebrity chef and her husband were celebrating a milestone anniversary. The cook shared her “recipe” (ha!) for a strong marriage: “I try to make him happy and he tries to make me happy and it works!”

As far as I know, this woman is not a Christian, but she unwittingly shared marital wisdom straight from Scripture. Proverbs 31:12 describes the godly wife: “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” We should do our husbands good—try to make them happy—all the days of our lives.

How simple is that! We don’t need to go through each day with a mental marriage checklist, trying to figure out if we’ve ticked off all the boxes, feeling guilty and discouraged when we miss or mess up. We don’t have to remember a long list of do’s and don’ts. Instead, we can wake up each morning and ask: How can I make my husband happy today? How can I do him good? And then do it.

While it may be simple, this wifely enterprise is not easy. Easy is something “achieved without great effort,” but to do our husbands good requires deliberate, intentional effort. It takes thought and planning. It calls for tenacity so that doing our husband good doesn’t get buried under other responsibilities. Making our husbands happy is not going to happen serendipitously or on the fly; but if we are intentional, and put in the effort, we will get happy results.

Even if your husband is not seeking to make you happy, God’s grace is still at work in your marriage through your faithful, daily obedience. As it says in 1 Peter 3:1-2: “even if some [husbands] do not obey the word, they may be won without a word, by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” Your good for your husband can be used by God for the eternal happiness of your husband.

The good we are to do our husbands is not an exhaustive list of benevolent deeds; rather, we are to do the specific good that blesses our husbands. We are to do him good. So ask yourself: What defines “good” for my husband? What makes him happy? That’s the good you are to do. What blesses my husband might not be what blesses your husband. So personalize this verse. Put your husband’s name in it.

And a wife is to do her husband good “not at first only, or now and then, when she is in a good humor, but perpetually.” Remember how it was, at first? Nothing made us happier than to make our husbands happy. Then come kids and bills and life gets complicated and overwhelming, and our desire to do him good takes a back seat. We still want to do him good, it’s just not as important as it used to be. But even though “good” might look different in different seasons, we are to perpetually seek to make our husbands happy. When is the last time you thought, how can I do good to my husband today? Let’s make this our simple, daily goal.

As of today, I have been married for 15,627 days. And I’m painfully aware that I have not done my husband good all of those days. Instead, some days, I’ve done him harm. Some days I have been selfish or impatient. Some days I have been disrespectful or ungrateful. Some days I have been intent on getting the speck out of his eye, all the while sporting a log in mine.

Thankfully, and to my surprise, my husband doesn’t seem to remember those days. Even more amazingly, God doesn’t remember those days. “This is the great mystery of the gospel in the blood of Christ,” wrote John Owen, “that those who sin every day should have peace with God all their days.” The only way we can do good to our husbands all the days of our lives is because God does good to us. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Ps. 23:6).

Each day that you do good to your husband is like pouring sugar into a cake batter—it makes your marriage sweeter and sweeter. Some days will be harder than others, but if you persevere in this simple goal—to make your husband happy—you will get much happiness in return.

Oct 5

Book Recommendation: A Small Book about a Big Problem

2017 at 7:26 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Resource Recommendations

My father-in-law has a fun Christmas tradition of putting a little book in each of our stockings. He does it as a joke, really. The books are all those little hardbound ones you find at a bookstore checkout line. My husband has been given books on baseball and Yogi Berra and mine (since I turned forty) have been about surviving old age. We all rifle through and read a few of our favorite quotes out loud, and then the books are forgotten after that. But that’s the point: a few laughs on Christmas morning.

The latest book by Ed Welch may be the size of a stocking stuffer book, but it’s not a cobbled collection of his writings by some junior editor. This little book has been carefully crafted into fifty short chapters to help us meditate on what God’s Word has to say about anger. The idea is not to read it all in one sitting but to keep this topic in the forefront of your mind, for a few minutes a day for roughly seven weeks. Welch explains in the intro:

“Why fifty days? We receive so much information and have so little time to reflect. As a result, we might be able to remember some facts but not be affected by them. A week later we won’t even remember them. This is why there are fifty daily meditations. One-a-day will work better than skimming a long book for new information and then moving on to the next thing in your life.”

When a pre-release copy of this book came into my hands, I started to read it as research for our next book on emotions, but I was immediately absorbed in the content for myself. I must confess I didn’t stick to one-a-day but devoured all fifty readings in a few days (we happened to be on vacation at the time, so I had extra time for reading). Then I went back and reread it much more slowly. I plan to do it again every year or two. This book has been for me what I imagine Ed Welch hoped it would be for every reader—a convicting, encouraging, hopeful book that has helped me take real steps of repentance and change in the area of sinful anger.

Even though I don’t think of myself as an angry person, it is a sin I am more familiar with than I care to admit, and this little book challenged me to take it seriously, all while providing biblical, practical, grace-filled help for change. Often I hear women say, “I never knew I was an angry person until…” I got married, or had kids, or had to work with this boss. And if you haven’t had that “Aha I have an anger problem” moment, it is probably in your future. So don’t wait. Get A Small Book About A Big Problem now. With the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit, purpose to grow in patience and peace over the next seven weeks. Think of it as an early Christmas present for yourself.