Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Woman After God's Own Heart {Part 2}

After the disastrous marriage chapters, George gets to parenting. Again, she's a little over the top, but I appreciated a lot of what she had to say. Here's the part that I have questions about:

She talks about how important it is to pray for our children. Agreed. But then she says this:
Each morning when I woke up, I knew I would be asking God during my prayer time to touch my girls' hearts and open them to Jesus. I also knew that God's Word says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Psalm 66:18). I didn't want my sin and shortcomings to keep God from "hearing" my request for my daughters. No sin was worth its momentary pleasure when laid beside the eternal salvation of my children (109).
I'm not sure I agree with that.  I know I said in my last entry that I wasn't looking to tweak God's word, but this verse was written by David in the Old Testament before Jesus' death. Do you think it still applies to us? Does our sin prevent God from hearing our prayers? Isn't that why Jesus came? Do mend the rift between us and God? To serve as a mediator between us? When he died, the curtain between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies tore in two, so we have full access to God. Hebrews says to approach the throne of grace with confidence. (4:16) Colossians says we have been reconciled "by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation" (1:22) Haven't we been forgiven of all our sins - past, present, and future? I'm not advocating for sin. I'm just wondering if it still serves as a barrier between us and God. Do we have to confess every sin in order to have our prayers heard? While you're thinking about it, here's a verse from the New Testament that might disprove everything I just said: "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." (1 Peter 3:7)

Something I noticed about George throughout the book is that she's definitely a Type-A, extrovert. She's forever making lists and creating methods for effectiveness. Most of it was a little too extreme for me (as I am neither Type-A nor an extrovert), but I appreciated something she shared toward the end in her chapter on Practicing Your Priorities.

George claims that our priorities should fall in this order:
1. God
2. Husband
3. Children
4. House
5. Self
6. Ministry
7. Everything else

Then, she talks about her prayer and priority list. Every day, she sits down with a sheet of paper.
God - First, I write the word "God" on one side of my folded paper, and pray, "Lord, what can I do today to live out the fact that You are the Ultimate Priority of my life?" As I pray, God usually leads me to list certain actions like pray, read His Word, memorize Scripture, walk with Him, be aware that He is present with me minute by minute. I write all that down.
Husband - Next I write the word "Jim." Again, I go to the Lord for help: "God, what can I do today to let Jim know he is my most important human priority?" At that point, for instance, God reminds me that I can choose to be "up" when Jim arrives home at the end of the day and to stay "up" throughout the evening. I can choose to be physically available to him. I can make plans for a special date night on Friday . . . (231-232)
Regardless of how she chooses to show her husband he's her priority (gag), I like the idea of this list. She goes on to write down specific ways to bless her children, the tasks she needs to do for her house, what she needs for her self, what ministry activities she's going to pursue (even easy things like emailing a friend in need or sending a card to a shut-in), etc. Then on the other side of the paper, she plans out her day's schedule and fits in each of the things she wrote down.

I've been doing this for a couple days and really enjoy it. I always have a to-do list of my household chores I need to do, but I love the addition of a specific way I'm going to bless my husband and kids that day. A scheduled time to read my Bible and pray. A scheduled time to "rest" - whether that means taking a shower or watching "Friends" on Netflix.  :-)

And the way I show my husband he's a priority is not by plastering on a mask and being "up" the whole time he's home. My ideas from yesterday were to do a chore that's usually his that he hates doing, to text him something I appreciate about him, and to make sure to look him in the eye and say "hi" to him when he got home instead of yelling, "Will you take Lena?! She's driving me crazy!" (Although I did do that about an hour after he got home. Haha.)

Conclusion
Thanks to all of you who responded to my questions on my first entry about this book/marriage/submission. I've concluded that submission to our husbands isn't going to look the same across the board. Elizabeth George is old. Haha. Her husband is old. He probably appreciates some of the things she does in a way that Justin wouldn't. I have to know my husband and what's important to him. It's not important to him that I blindly agree to everything he says. He wants me to discuss things with him. He wants me to be involved in our decision making. As much as he'd love for me to fluff the pillows and hand him the remote when he gets home (who wouldn't?!), he doesn't expect that from me. When we talked about it, he said, "If you did everything and I came home to sit on the couch after work, not only would I feel terrible, I'd feel like I'm not worth anything except making the money." But there are things that are important to him. He likes dinner to be close to ready when he gets home - not because he's a chauvinistic man, but because he's starving. I don't have dinner ready, necessarily, as an act of submission, but as an act of love. And he wouldn't be angry if I didn't have it ready. He understands our children are needy and I have my own stuff going on sometimes.

My broad take-away from this book is that it has some great Biblical principles and advice on how to show love to your family and create a godly home. But much of her advice is simply opinion - things that have worked for her - not a hard and fast Biblical mandate for godly living. I was harsh on the marriage section, but it has really made me think and challenged me to learn what submission looks like, practically, in my marriage. Thanks again for your audience participation, and don't forget to give me your two cents about our sins effecting our prayer lives.


2 comments:

  1. Gah! I just had a whole comment typed out! :)
    So I was saying I do not believe that sin hinders Gods ability to hear our prayers or his decision to hear our prayers. I think sin does hinder our relationship with God though, not God's relationship with us. So say daily I choose to hang on to this sin in my life. Everyday I choose to "indulge" in that sin...I am not choosing God. So we, as earthly beings, put up a wall on our end in our relationship with God. Just like your earthly friendships. Suzie is my best friend. we get into a disagreement and I know my heart was probably in the wrong. Everyday I choose to not mend that relationship I am choosing to put a wall up instead making it even harder on my end to go back to her...does that make sense? :)

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  2. As you know, I'm all about lists and charts, so I like that idea! I'm glad it's working for you!

    I have no idea what to think about the sins hindering prayers thing. What other people said about relationship makes sense. I also agree with what you said... when God looks at us he sees the righteousness of Christ, not our sins.

    I think it's really weird that she places more priority on her house than on her ministry...

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