Saturday, September 28, 2013

Leading and Following

Throughout the past few months Steve has had to lead our family through some chaos and difficulties.  Often we have disagreed about things.  For those of you who know us, this isn't unusual - we are about as different as it gets.  I am pretty strong willed and stubborn - good qualities in any Southern woman, to be sure.  But they can make leading me a little on the difficult side.  I was telling a friend about a recent date where Steve and I discussed, argued, and even cried as we fought through a certain situation... all while we ate our pizza, said hello to friends, and talk with the waiter!  A little weird, I know.  But it was important for me to be heard and for Steve to be able to listen and ask questions.  This led my friend to come up with a list of her own questions.  Here they are:

"How did you know that Steve could lead you? How did you first learn that? What made you begin to trust Steve to do this? You said you are both stubborn, how has this been good for you guys?"

So this is an interesting topic and one that I think should be discussed pretty often.  It gets sticky - so beware!!

First off, I am starting with some basic assumptions that I feel are based on the Word of God.  Steve and I are equal before God.  We are called to submit to each other.  We are called to serve each other.  But Steve is called to lead me and our family.  That is his role.  My role is to submit to his leadership and to help equip him to be a leader who honors God and his family.  But that doesn't make me of lesser value in our relationship.  Our roles are different, but equal.  It took me many, many years to figure this out.  But in my old age I have come to value these differences and enjoy the reflection of God's relationship.  God the Father and Jesus and the Spirit are all equal yet each has a different role in the relationship.

Now, to those questions!  The question of leadership for me went way back to before Steve and I started dating.  Yes, way back in the 80's!  We were friends and I had gotten to know him well.  I knew
that he was a man who loved God more than anything and that he was seeking to honor God as he made decisions - big and small.  I knew this was a man who would strive to honor God as he learned to lead me. I knew this before we dated.  I observed these qualities.  No, he wasn't perfect.  But he was strong enough to let me fight with him and still be confident enough to stand on his beliefs and make decisions.  I was confident of these things before dating even entered the picture.

Trust.  I don't think this happens instantly.  It grew over time.  I saw Steve's desire to value me and love me well.  He was honest and open and willing to let me speak into his decision making process.  He trusted me.  He listened.  He still does.    Being stubborn is part of who I am.  But I do not fight for the right to make decisions for our family, God has given him this role/responsibility.  I fight for the right to be heard.  I need to know that my opinion will be heard and thoughtfully considered.  I need to know that Steve is not too proud to change his mind if I have a better view of something or a more clear vision.  He is humble.  But I have also had to learn to be humble enough to let him step out in disagreement with me when he feels that he is making a good decision.  I need to be gracious.  I need to willingly follow.  Humility on both parts is important (not easy!!), but essential.

How is being stubborn good for both of us? Hmmmm.... being stubborn gives me the drive to fight when I feel that God has clearly spoken.  It gives me the determination to argue for what I feel strongly about.  Again, it has to be tempered with humility (which I definitely need more of - lots more!).  It also has to be tempered with the desire to want Steve's best - to mutually submit to Steve as he makes decisions for us and the family.

The part that makes stubbornness so dangerous is pride.  And trust me, we have walked through lots of fights where my need to be right or in charge or stubbornly assertive way out weighed my need to mutually submit and serve one another.  It is an ugly thing to see a prideful, stubborn husband or wife fighting for their wants instead of what God has called them to want.  That undermines Steve's ability to trust me.  It undermines my ability to be a good wife and mother who seeks to put the needs of my family before my own.  It is an ugly, ugly thing.  I know it well in my own life.

The hope that each of us has is Christ Jesus himself.  Read Philippians 2.  Jesus is the perfect example of humility.  He has the right to want all things.  Yet he chose to purposely humble himself.  "2:1 Since there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, and participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  5 have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Hope in Him!  Hope in him to grow you as you seek to "let this mind among yourselves" and to "count others more significant than yourselves".  Sound hard?  It is!  Sound scary?  It is!  But the work is His to do - just ask Him to do it!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Search for the Perfect Pot Roast Has Ended!

Today is a stormy, gloomy sort of day.  These are my favorite days.  Nothings says climb back into bed like a day like this.  Oh how I wish I could spend all day in bed.  But...  there are things to do... supper being one of them.  I don't use that word "supper" very often.  But it takes me back home to growing up in Kentucky.  My mom would call us for supper.  Mmmmm.... makes my mouth water.

Anyway, back to rainy days and eating dinner (or supper).  I am always on the lookout for a pot roast recipe that will wow my family.  I have tried zillions.  I want to share two with you.  The first wowed me - and only me.  But I LOVED it.  The second wowed my family.  So to save you some time and energy and to avoid the never ending search, here are my two top picks for pot roast.

NOTES:  Be sure not to buy the expensive cut of meat - but a nicely marbled chuck roast that you can often find for less than $2.00 per pound.  That makes this even better!  Also, I know lots of you have one of those fancy dutch ovens.  Mine is from Aldi's!!  It was $20.  The seal isn't great - but it works just fine.  So use a dutch oven of any kind if you can.  It seems to be better than the crock pot.  But I think both recipes have variations for crockpots.

First, Martha Stewart is my favorite.  She's amazing.  This roast is one of the reasons why.  The tomato paste gives it a think, sweet, tomato-y flavor that I love.  Sadly, I have only gotten to cook it a few times since my family has a different idea of super roast.  But PLEASE check it out here.

Second, The Pioneer Woman has a GREAT recipe.  And her directions are very detailed - with quirky commentary and lots of pictures.  Anyone can make this recipe.  And everyone will love this recipe.  Click here.   

Dinner is served:  the Pioneer Woman's pot roast, broccoli, corn bread, and home made banana pudding for dessert.  Inexpensive but satisfying - perfect for a rainy day supper.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Steve's Travels

Most of you know that Steve is traveling with a few others to visit our friend in a far away country.  Just to be safe I am not gonna mention her name or country.  But ask me in person, I love to tell people about her!!  Sadly, I was unable to go on this trip.  So Steve and I are apart for about ten days.  Whew, it has been a while since we have done this!  I have to work hard each day to trust God and the fight off the fearful thoughts that come.  This will always be my struggle - fear.  But God is good and gracious and glorious and great.  And He has faithfully kept the evil thoughts away.

Instead of giving in to fearful thoughts, I am focussing on prayer.  I have a list of ten things to pray for - one thing per day.  Want to join me?

Day One - Sunday - it has already come and gone - but just to fill you in, I prayed for Steve to be able to sleep on the plane.  The second leg of the trip was from Houston to Istanbul, Turkey.  That's thirteen hours, y'all.  Thirteen hours!  I prayed for lots and lots of sleep - to help the trip go by faster and to help with jet lag.  Happily I can report that according to a friend, "Steve ate dinner, fell asleep and woke up in time to eat breakfast!"  Hilarious and such a blessing!!  Thanks be to God!

Day Two - Monday - Praying for safe travels to his final destination and a happy reunion with our friend!  Success!  Thanks be to God!

Day Three - Tuesday - Praying for our children to be safe while Steve is away.  This one will keep going for all ten days.  Join me!

Day Four - Wednesday -Praying for no sickness.  This is about the time that others have visited and gotten sick.  Praying for no virus/cold or intestinal issues for anyone.

Day Five - Thursday -  Praying for encouragement for the team there - for favor and protection and blessing.  Asking God to give Steve and Chris discernment and wisdom and words of courage and joy to share.

Day Six - Friday - Praying for energy for Steve and Chris and Laura.  There is lots to see and do and higher altitude and different climate and different everything!  Praying that God will give them above and beyond the physical capacity to keep up.

Day Seven - Saturday - Praying for this particular town and its truly amazing people.

Day Eight - Sunday - Praying for fun sightseeing days (not sure when that will be exactly).  Praying for a good, relaxing time with friends.  Often the best conversations happen during those moments when you are exploring the beautiful world around you.  Hoping it is so!

Day Nine - Monday - Praying for my friend - that she will feel loved and encouraged and refreshed and will not be too sad that her friends are leaving.

Day Ten - Tuesday - Praying for safe travels back home.

I appreciate y'all for being willing to join me.  Thanks be to God!