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LIVING OUT THE GOSPEL IN MARRIAGE (WEEKS TWO and THREE)

Whew! First, a note about last week. I realize I pushed us all into the deep water, but you swam with grace and gumption! The subject and the scriptures were challenging, and emotions ran understandably high. There aren’t many places where I would even dare to do what I did, yet I have found this place to be an amazingly safe place to try, together, to plumb the deep waters of our mysterious God. Thank you, for your spirit, blog sisters. Bravo!

You have two weeks to do this lesson since the 2nd week includes Labor Day weekend and many of you will be taking a break. We are covering the huge subject of marriage, but we need all of you. You are the body of Christ and every part is important. Often singles and those unequally yoked can see things those in believing marriages cannot see. In addition, every single one of us needs to attempt to see the mysterious parallel to Christ and His Bride. This is a mystery, but like the deep waters of the ocean, where there are swarms of brightly colored fish without number, there is great beauty to be gleaned in trying to grasp this parallel.

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12-9Steve and I began to attempt to live out the gospel in our marriage, and it was the breath of life to us. In the message from Tim and Kathy Keller next week, you will hear Kathy say that both the man and the woman are called to play the “Jesus” role in marriage.  The husband is called to lay down his life for his wife, living sacrificially, as Christ died for the church. The wife is to not cling to her rights, but to submit, as Jesus did (Philippians 2), not counting equality with God a thing to be grasped, but humbling himself, even to death on a cross.

Like Cyndi’s brave testimony last week, these truths saved my marriage. The gospel is continually saving me, not only from the penalty of sin, but from the power of sin.

I was the foolish woman of Proverbs 14 who was tearing down her house with her own hands.

I was, as Meg Ryan declared herself to be in When Harry Met Sally, DIFFICULT.

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“I’m DIFFICULT!”

Difficult people are not happy people.

When Steve was doing his 120 hour a week internship in Seattle, even though I was a new Christian, I did not support him. I was angry all of the time. I told him I wanted him to find a way to beat the system or it didn’t pay to be married. Even when he finally had a free night and he got a sitter and took me to a fancy restaurant to try to soothe me, I would not stop venting my anger. A photographer stopped at the table asking to take a picture of this “happy occasion.” I refused to give him a real smile. Can you even imagine living with me?

DIFFICULT, PETULANT, AND CONFIDENT I WAS RIGHT

Steve tried to beat the system that was so unfair to interns, but could not. My pivotal moment was after he had seen the call schedule for the holidays and realized he would be working every holiday. He called me to tell me the schedule and was very quiet. Then he told me, and I knew he meant it because I knew him, “I’m willing to quit.” He was willing to give up eight years of medical training and his dream of being a caring physician. He was willing to lay down His life.

Just as the love of Christ had brought me to repentance, so now the love of my husband brought me to repentance. I determined to be supportive of him, to not “cling to my rights,” but to lay them down that our marriage could be a Christian unity. It was a pivotal moment not just in our marriage but in our walk with God. He blessed our marriage in ways He could not have had we not begun to live out the gospel in our marriage. Steve is with Jesus now, but this week was my birthday week, and all of my children and their families (22 in all!) came to bless me for the whole week — doing all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, planning, and endeavoring to bless me every house. I have never had such a birthday celebration — ending with a powerful worship time led by my oldest son J. R. I am so thankful that my children know both that they are so bad Christ had to die for them, but so loved that He did. And I watch these ten grand-daughters and two grandsons running about and pray each of them will know it too, for His blessings come to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. That is the power of the Gospel.

 

Dee surrounded by two sons, three daughters, and their families: ten grand-daughters and two grand-sons.
Dee with sons on either side, three daughters, spouses, and twelve grand-children.

When Steve and I wrote our guide, Building Your House on the Lord, It was during the backlash to the 2nd feminist movement and some of the teaching from the pulpit and Christian seminars went way to the other end of the spectrum in attempt, I think, to balance things. It was the time of Marabel Morgan’s Total Woman, where women were told to make their husbands the center of their lives. It was the time of Bill Gothard who taught that women should submit to any wish of their husbands, even immoral commands such as abortion, and trust that God would deliver them in the nick of time. (Today there are still large recovery groups for those who were so hurt by this false teaching.) It was a wild time to write a study-guide, but truly I believe God called Steve to that task. We worked together, but Steve gave us the vision. He saw then, how it all began in Genesis. He also saw, and articulated that ” the prevailing emphasis in Scripture is not ‘Who’s in charge here?’ but rather, ‘The two shall be one.'”

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Again, I know i’m plunging into deep water and there are those who will disagree, but here we go!

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I am a complimentarian rather than an egalitarian in that I believe “head” means authority rather than “source.” However, I also believe that “headship” that is a constant issue is the sign of an unhealthy complimentarian marriage (or for that matter, local church.) Either the man is abusing his power, or the woman is not being a true help meet, by helping her husband discover the mind of Christ. I have a friend who said, “My mother tried to never make a decision.” I cannot conceive how that would be God’s will for co-heirs in a marriage, or, for that matter, a church body. Jan Silvious reminds women, “Your husband is not your daddy.” We need to mature into our role of being a true help meet: a confidante, a counselor, and a co-heir. Luci Shaw once said to me, “Harold is the head of our home, and I submit to him, yet in twenty-five years of marriage, it has only come up twice.” That is how my marriage was with Steve. From what I can see, that seems to be the thrust of Tim and Kathy Keller’s marriage. She is certainly a strong and outspoken woman, and sometimes he needs to tone her down, but he also respects her so and tells how greatly she has impacted him. She didn’t want to come to New York, but when after much discussion they could not agree, he reluctantly stepped into his role as the leader who would bear the responsibility of the decision, and she stepped into the role of submitting to something she didn’t want to do. Neither liked their role, but they say applying the gospel to their marriage has made each of them more like Christ.

Always keep in mind our Bridegroom lay down His life for a difficult bride in order to transform her into a pure and beautiful bride. As we respond to that love, dying to ourselves, we are continually transformed into the image of Christ. Also remember, difficult brides are not happy brides.

Week One (Beginning August 24th)

Sunday Icebreaker:

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

Monday-Friday Bible Study:

2. Read Genesis 2:18-24

    A. Over and over, God has said “It is good.” Now, in verse 18, something is not good. What is it? How does this apply both to the gift of marriage and to the general concept of the fellowship of believers (the corporate bride)?

    B. What is God’s solution?

    C. Read Kathy’s Keller’s interview (LINK) on being Tim’s “ezer” (help fit for him) and comment — and why do you think TGC titled this, “Not your stereotypical pastor’s wife?”

    D. Giving someone a name is a sign of authority. How do you see God giving Adam authority in verses 19-20?

    E. In verse 21-22, how did God form the first bride, and what parallel can you see to the second bride? (Challenge question)

    F. Adam’s response to Eve is the first audible human comment recorded in Scripture. Howard Hendrick’s says it is like “Eureka!” What emotions do you see here?

     G. Now — think about how Jesus will respond when He sees His Bride on that great day. What parallel can you see? Do you really believe He will react to you in this way? Do you believe He loves you that much?

     H.  They key verse about marriage in Scripture is first stated in Genesis 2:24. What is it, and explain what is meant by “for this reason.”

     I.  What are we told in verse 25?

J. What parallel can you see in verse 25 for our relationship with Christ? How should the gospel make us naked and unashamed?

IF3. Let’s consider the three parts of this key verse on marriage:

A. What does it mean to “leave” your father and your mother? Does it mean abandonment — why or why not? What does this look like, practically?

B. What does cleaving mean?

An important book for me early in our marriage was Walter Trobish’s “I Married You.” He talks about cleaving as being like glue — and to separate means you tear into each. Jesus repeats this command in the gospels twice in regard to why divorce is so serious.

C. What are the effects of divorce to each person and to the children?

D. Challenge question: When we each live out the gospel in marriage, how does it make us one flesh?

E. How did Jesus leave His Father and then His mother in order to acquire a bride?

4. How does Paul use this key verse as an argument to speak against infidelity in 1 Corinthians 6:15-17? How do you see the gospel in this passage?

    How might you apply this verse as either a single or a married woman?

(We’ll look at the culmination of “the two shall be one” in Ephesians next week.)

Saturday:

5. What is your take-a-way, and why?

Week Two: Living Out the Gospel in Marriage (Week of August 31st)

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The two shall be one is God’s high calling for marriage. Becoming one can only happen as each spouse plays the “Jesus” role. The husband must love sacrificially, as Christ died for His bride, and the wife must not cling to her rights, but lay them down, as Jesus did, even to death on the cross. When a couple does experience the beauty of oneness it is as close as we get on earth to what will be reality in heaven with Christ. It is also why the death of a spouse is so painful, why divorce is so painful, and why being in an unequally yoked marriage is so painful. That is not how it is meant to be. But one day, for believers, a great mystery will be revealed. There will be no more death, no more tearing apart, and no more sin in our hearts. We will be one with our ultimate Bridegroom and one with one another. I felt I tasted just a little of that my birthday week with my children and grandchildren. We are all a little quirky, all with faults, but grace was able to cover it. My youngest grand-daughter, Lily, who is just 18 months is already learning to sing: “Grace, grace, God’s race, grace that will pardon and cleanse within…”

One day, as Tim Keller says, we will be seen completely naked, and yet we will be so delighted in we will be unashamed. There will be no more enmity between us, no more shame, and no more rivalry. It is a mystery, but let us try to peer into it through a glass darkly.

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Sunday Icebreaker

Read over last week’s opening again, and then this week’s opening.

6. What stands out to you and why?

Monday-Tuesday (Bible Study)

7. Read Ephesians 5:21-33

A. Egalitarians would use verse 21 to say there should be no “headship.” When you look at this passage in context, do you agree or disagree?

( D. A. Carson addresses this in the plenary sessions of The Women’s Gospel Coalition Conference of 2014 if you are interested in listening.)

B. What parallels do you see in this passage between the role of the husband and the role of Christ?

C. What parallels do you see in this passage between the role of the wife and the role of the Bride of Christ?

D. How does this passage elevate marriage beyond the world’s view of marriage?

Wednesday-Friday: Message

8. Listen to Tim and Kathy Keller on marriage and share your notes and comments here.

Saturday:

9. What’s your take-a-way and why?

 

 

 

 

 

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467 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Steve being willing to lay down his life for Dee quitting 8 years of training and how God used that to open Dee’s eyes. I see that as a perfect model of headship. He led by giving up  his life like Christ and it melted Dee’s difficult heart to submit. It was a pivotal point. God opened her eyes to her heart condition and she not only submitted to her husband she submitted to Christ and turned. To me this is a beautiful picture of our relationship with Jesus and our marriages were designed to reflect that beauty. 
     
    I know this isn’t supposed to be funny, but that picture of Dee being angry cracked me up. :))  It is good to be able to look back and laugh at ourselves though. 🙂
     
    The picture of Dee’s family stood out too-and Lily learning that song…Generation upon Generation! THIS is the power of the Gospel! Amen!

    1. I had to chuckle at the pic a little too, Rebecca!

    2. I too smiled at your picture Dee!:) I could see you your idol of control, using manipulation as it weapon. ( smile) makes me think of how I’ve used “body language” or lack of “body language” to get my way. But, our God is in the buisness of making (us)messes in messages! Look at you now! Proverbs 28: her children rise up and call her blessed!!

    3. I laughed at that picture too Rebecca. Isn’t it cool that Dee kept the picture? I probably would’ve thrown it away after awhile. I would have been embarrassed. In fact I think I have one of myself buried somewhere similar to that, except in church.

      1. It had gone through my mind as well, Laura, that, if it had been me, I would have thrown out that picture of myself being angry. I am so glad that Dee kept it as a memorial of how God works with us, even when we are “difficult”.

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?That this feels like a big relief after last week 😉    I love that we are looking at the parallel between Christ and His bride (have looked at this before & it does soak in).  I’m wondering if I would wrestle less with last week’s topic (not too sure about that!!) if I go back to it after studying this.  I do think this will shed light on last week for me — and likely raise even more questions.   With the foundation from Song of Songs and discussions from another era of life, I am ready to look at this.

    Dee, I appreciate that you invited all of us to participate.   Like Rebecca, I enjoyed the pics, Dee’s expression on the one 🙂 and her wonderful family today. 

      SO THANKFUL for you, Dee, and rejoicing with you for your wonderful birthday celebration.  Lily learning the song stood out to me, too.  So sweet.  (not seeing it here now, but what jumped out when I read it on my cell phone was “Grace, grace, God’s race…,” a balm in the midst of racial conflict.

    Also, this stood out “He also saw, and articulated that ” the prevailing emphasis in Scripture is not ‘Who’s in charge here?’ but rather, ‘The two shall be one.’””  (I don’t know how to do 3 levels of quotations and am not looking it up :D)    The “Who’s in charge here?” question has been the central question when this has come up in churches.  I’m wondering if there is a parallel to what Steve articulated for churches???

      1. Will second the nomination of Paige Benton Brown.  I’ll volunteer on her campaign — I was going to volunteer to be campaign manager, but I’m still pondering this gender role thing and I don’t like managing   🙂

      2. Happy Birthday, Susan!!!  Praying you are having a wonderful day of blessings.

      3. The sermon in church this morning was on John 15, Jesus as the Vine, the source.  (Guess where my brain immediately went? 😉  ).  That chapter is weird if you start plugging in a human as the source.  It’s one thing to have Adam’s rib be the source of Eve.  It’s quite another to start looking at a person as an ongoing source, i.e., “apart from me you can do nothing.”   However, I have no idea if the references/terms are similar to what we studied last week.  Anyhow, I do not want to plug in a human as a source in John 15.  Yuck

  3. This also stood out to me “Difficult people are not happy people.”  I have seen it go the other way, that unhappy people might become difficult people, escalating the problem.  Last night, when I couldn’t sleep (HOT and a thunderstorm), I wrote a poem in honor of myself;)

    Sometimes at work
    I’m an arrogant jerk

    I’m very thankful for God’s grace.

    1. Cute Renee!

    2. Ha!  Renee….maybe you could have a back up career competing in poetry slams.  My son could show you the ropes 😉  

  4. 1. What stood out?
    LOVE the family picture, the change in Dee’s smile from the earlier days to now–how that so reflects her heart. It’s hard to imagine the ways you humbly admit to being only because I see such trusting in Him now. And yet, I was “her” too once–and I have my own stack of photos were I refused a smile, or the same feelings within!

    I also loved this “our Bridegroom lay down His life for a difficult bride in order to transform her into a pure and beautiful bride. As we respond to that love, dying to ourselves, we are continually transformed into the image of Christ. ”
    It is the humility that changes. As Steve was willing to be humbled, which so reminds me of my husband now, Dee melted. I can’t count the number of times that has happened–even 2 nights ago, discussing an old, emotion-laden topic…my husband looked at me and said “yes, I see that in myself…” he models humility for me, and my defenses melt. Sorry, off track a bit! 
     
    Last, I have to again say that one of the many things I love most about Dee is her own humility. I am amazed at what you willingly share–and online! You expose your own weakness to further bring attention to His power, and it is a beautiful blessing to all of us. It encourages me to humbly, boldly, admit my own. 

  5. Wow, I am almost speechless in responding to this introduction. that is because I have been overwhelmed with emotion. The openness in which Dee shares her story is so touching to me, and more than anything I am overwhelmed with Steve’s response to the anger over his  incredible workload. When he was willing to give it up for marital harmony I just cried.
    I grew up without a marriage role modeled for me as my Dad died when I was 9 months old and my Mother never remarried.
    Most of my marriage has been a struggle and I never quite knew what the submission principle meant. So my marriage has been dysfunctional. Now my life is taking on a new thing as I try the submission concept. Now this means my husband is learning the authority role and it is also new to him. I love the idea of us both modeling Jesus in our marriage and it is a beautiful concept. I am ready for learning more from each of you. Thanks, Dee, for your story. I have been touched ever since attending your conference and learning about idol lies.

    1. Shirley, I love that you and your husband model that it’s never too late to change!

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? That your sons look very much like your Steve. The whole family looks happy. What a blessing. 
     
    “Steve and I began to attempt to live out the gospel in our marriage, and it was the breath of life to us.” This quickens my heart and I am anxious for this study to see how this plays out practically and what the Lord has to show me. 
     
    “Difficult people are not happy people.” So, so true. And sometimes I let difficult times make me into a difficult person. =/ 
     
    Building Your House on the Lord – I did not know that you and Steve wrote this. I would like read it!

  7. I need to come back and really read carefully the introduction, but the picture of Dee and Steve at the dinner table…oh my Dee…if a picture can “say a thousand words” and the eyes are truly a mirror to what’s going on inside…I’m sorry, it made me chuckle! The happy occasion, indeed!
    It looks like Steve was trying to be a good sport about it all…he smiled for the both of you!

  8. Dee,
    Thank you for your brutal honesty.   That somehow makes it safer for me to do the same.   The scenario of you and Steve in the restaurant could sadly be my own picture.    I am not comfortable or even eager about the study over these next two weeks…… all the more reason for me to ask the Lord to speak and heal.
     
    Loved the picture of you with your family.  I had a small taste of that last week as the Lord made it possible for me to be with my two beautiful daughters and two tiny granddaughters.    We got out the mandolin, guitar, keyboard and banjo and sang and played like we hadn’t done in many years.    My soul was deeply fed.
     
    (Also, Dee, my mama’s birthday is the same as yours….. she has been with Jesus for almost 4 years.    She is the one who instilled such a love of music in me and my children.   Blessed heritage.)
     
    Jackie, how are you?   Love that the Lord actually links our hearts together as sisters here on this blog.
     
    Grateful.

  9. 1.  What stood out?
    Steve’s kindness to Dee, even though she was being “difficult.”  That it was his kindness and love that softened her heart and lead her to “repentance” of sorts.  Reminds me of Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”   So it truly was a demonstration of the love of Christ’s love toward us… which leads us to repent and to love Him all the more dearly.

  10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DEAR SUSAN!!!!!!!
    Oh how we thank Him for the gift of you dear sister! Praying it’s a wonderful day!!!

    1. Adding my birthday wishes to the others…Happy Birthday, Susan!

    2. Hope it’s been a wonderful birthday, dear Susan!  So grateful for your presence here as your words have blessed me often.

  11. Happy birthday, Susan!!! I hope your day is fabulous! =) You are, indeed, a gift.

  12. He called me to tell me the schedule and was very quiet. Then he told me, and I knew he meant it because I knew him, “I’m willing to quit.” He was willing to give up eight years of medical training and his dream of being a caring physician. He was willing to lay down his life.

    I just got this far in my reading this week and gasped and tears came to my eyes.  I am so touched that Christ, through Steve, won you over Dee, by his sacrificial love. And, it is so powerful that it changed you and your marriage. And it has given you a testimony that is changing the hearts of many women (and probably men). SO POWERFUL!
     
    My own husband was willing to not go to Kenya as a missionary because I did not want to go. I was being “Much Afraid” and balked at fears of what it might do to my children — this despite that I had lived in India as a child from age 4 to 10. God had to take me in hand and soothe my fears. God works through our brokenness, when we are willing to give up control and fall at the feet of Jesus and say “Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief!”

    1. love this Diane…love hearing more of your own story…did you ever go to Kenya?

    2. Yes, Elizabeth and Dee. We did go to Kenya for 3 years. He taught at a Bible school and enjoyed every minute of it.  It’s a long story … but God taught us so much through those years — some happy times and some of it painful. I had a lot of growing up to do, oh my. I wish I hadn’t been so Much Afraid. Those years shaped and continue to shape our ministry.

      1. Love learning more of your story, Diane – I didn’t know you spent three years in Kenya!

    3. Oh Diane….tell me more!!!  Did God help you with your unbelief ?

  13. Happy Birthday, Susan!  I hope you are enjoying a lovely day.
     

  14. Happy Birthday Susan!!

  15. 1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?     1.) The family picture and knowing that all of Dee’s children know the Lord and are teaching their children of Him.  We had my whole family together last week also and took a nice photo.  But the hardest thing in all of my life is that not all of my children walk with God.  While, I am learning to rest in Him about this, it still colors every single thing I experience.  
    2.)  In reading Dee’s good introduction to this week, I see the glaring reality that, although we have been married 34 years and are both deeply committed to the Lord…..our marriage still has struggles.  Just yesterday, was another ‘re-play’ of the same emotional tape we’ve been re-winding and playing over for decades.  There is so much pain in this life.
    3.)  I smiled at the picture of Dee refusing to give a real smile…..but I know that I had the very same default to anger for years.  When I had 3 children under age 3.5, one of them with serious special needs,  we lived in a two bedroom basement apt. and my husband worked full time, went to graduate school full time and to relax played in 3 softball leagues one summer.  I was angry all the time.  So many memories surface here, but suffice it to say that  throughout our marriage, we both have been in the wrong so many times.   As empty nesters, things are much ‘quieter’ between us and mostly good…but there is still a big need for healing and growing.

    1. Wanda…it’s almost as if you wrote my life story with my husband now for the last 24 years.   It’s still very hard…but I’m just now seeing where I have been so wrong…in butting heads…my stubborness…unwillingness to submit…to give him my whole heart.

        Dee, thank you…..for this lesson. This is what I have been pondering all afternoon and evening…………………………….”.I am a complimentarian rather than an egalitarian in that I believe “head” means authority rather than “source.” However, I also believe that “headship” that is a constant issue is the sign of an unhealthy complimentarian marriage (or for that matter, local church.) Either the man is abusing his power, or the woman is not being a true help meet, by helping her husband discover the mind of Christ.

      “I think it’s me….. not being a true help mate for my husband….but I also think he is abusing his power also.  But he does not concern himself with “discovering the mind of Christ”, at all.

       Just this morning, I was just trying to have a normal conversation with him and everytime I said anything…he would almost bite my head off…for no reason.   He is so quarrelsome….just like  in Proverbs 26:21. 

      But I think I bring it out of him by something I’m doing or not doing.  I’m praying the Lord will help me……because he is so hard to live with!  If it wasn’t for Kendra….our marriage wouldn’t of lasted one week.

      I thought he knew the Lord before we got married….he even gave his heart to the Lord after our first very difficult year….when I moved out for several months with my 3 kids.
      But it all went back to the way it was when he got us to come back home. 

        I have to be the problem….I’m so afraid he’s going to walk all over me because of past painful,  abusive marriages….I’m like a stone wall….my heart is stone to him. 

       He’s emotionally abusive to me because of me….I need to change and don’t know how.

      HELP LORD, HELP PLEASE!!!!

      1. Joyce – God can really change us in the crucible of pain.  My heart goes out to you for I know you must feel so alone in your pain.  I would HIGHLY recommend the book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick.  She’s been a counselor for over 30 years, is grounded in Scripture and very wise (she also happens to be a friend of Dee’s!).  She just has such a straightforward way of untangling the fuzzy thinking that becomes a part of us after many years in a painful marriage.  Here’s just one tiny sampling from her excellent section of the book entitled “Build Your Core”….”In my counseling and coaching practice, I’ve taken to heart Jeremiah’s warning to the prophets of Israel when he scolded them for putting Band-Aids on serious problems.  He told them ‘You heal the wounds of my people superficially by saying ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace’ (see Jeremiah 6:14).  Pretending or keeping up appearances for the sake of staying married won’t bring healing to serious marital wounds any more than a Band-Aid can stop arterial bleeding.  And pretending and peacekeeping isn’t what God calls us to anyway. Biblical peacemaking involves being prepared to enter into battle in order to bring about the possibility for true shalom peace, reconciliation , and restoration of your marriage.  If you want to become God’s ezer (strong warrior) so that you’ll be prepared to fight for your husband’s well-being and your marital future, you first need to strengthen your core.”  Joyce, I’m NOT a “self help” book reader……but this book is different.  It’s a powerful help to hurting women (and men).  I don’t want to take up more space here promoting this resource…..but I have prayed for you and your marriage this morning Joyce.  Help IS out there.  My email is jackiejrandallatgmail.com  if you would like to chat more.  Remember our study of the Psalms, Joyce…..Psalm 18…..”….the cords of death entangled me…..in my distress I called upon the Lord……he heard my voice……then the earth reeled and rocked….the foundations also of the mountains trembled……he drew me out of many waters…..he rescued me because he delighted in me….”  He does hear your voice……and he’s coming to rescue you.

      2. Joyce, I read Jackie’s very thoughtful reply to your post, and I agree it is full of much wisdom. I know Dee has highly recommended Leslie’s book, and I have not read it yet because I tell myself that my marriage “isn’t that bad”. I have read a bit of the samples of the book that you can read on Amazon, and thought well, my husband isn’t that bad as some depicted in her book. Yet, there are times when I am the target of his impatience, temper, and verbal abuse. And, though I know better, if I get pushed far enough, I give it right back, which is not healthy, either. Jackie said something from the book last week, I think, that if you are going to stay in the marriage, then you need to learn how to stay (in it) well.
         
        The one sentence you wrote, “He’s emotionally abusive to me because of me…” I feel I must say, Joyce, that you are not to blame. Each of us is accountable for our own words and actions, and how we respond to another person, even if they are being difficult (as Dee admitted to being early on in her marriage, yet Steve responded well). I think that’s where Leslie’s book can also help to correct the thinking that if only you were different somehow in relating to him, then he wouldn’t be emotionally abusive to you. Yes, you need to take responsibility for what you know is your part of the trouble, and he needs to take responsibility for his part, too. We all love you so much, Joyce, and are here for you and praying for you. You have cried out to the Lord, and He will come running!

        1. Susan and Joyce – Susan, I’m SO grateful that you tackled that one particular sentence that Joyce shared…..I so wanted to respond to that….but just felt the Spirit’s “nudge” that I had “said enough”…..and then when I just read your paragraph to Joyce I was so MOVED….not only by your words, but by the fact that the Holy Spirit is truly directing us as we pray and study together……I add my AMEN to every word of Susan’s paragraph…..and Joyce, I’m praying that you will see that it is God Himself who is directing our thoughts…..even down to Susan and I having some of the same thoughts!  He really HAS heard your cry…..He IS running to rescue you!  Hold on!

      3. Joyce, praying for you (as well as Jackie and Susan) this morning. 

      4. Oh Joyce
        I echo Susan and Jackie’s words and hope and pray that you are able to find support and can learn from that great resource and from the Lord’s good hand.  Peace to you dear sister….  you are such a support to others…..may you feel upheld in your time of pain.

    2. Wanda – so good.  “It still colors every single thing I experience” (your children not walking with God).   Oh, how I KNOW…..we speak the same language!  The burden seems to get heavier as the years go by…….it’s the deepest sorrow possible.  I also appreciated your last sentence….and what a temptation it is to let things being quiet and mostly good be good enough!   But what I’m praying for and yearning for in my life for many years now is God’s shalom – something impossible to bring about without the Holy Spirit…..and so powerful that it can raise the dead to life! 

    3. Wanda, you express the quiet ache of having children who are not with the Lord. “…it still colors every single thing I experience.”  And in your post below, expressing regrets over imperfect parenting, and wondering if that has had an effect on where they are with the Lord today. I have the same questions, as I look back on how I tried to muddle through teaching my kids about Jesus. I used to faithfully read the Bible to my sons, talking about Scripture with them, yet I too wonder if I missed something. Maybe I didn’t model a relationship with Him in my own life? And I feel as if I am failing with my daughter, too. She seems apathetic and disinterested in spending time with the Lord, no matter how I encourage her, or still read devotions with her. It doesn’t seem to help whenever I want to say grace at the table, and my husband sighs and says, “Go ahead, if you must.” He has zero interest in God.

      1. Thank you so much, Susan and Jackie…..yes….we do know the same pain with our children.  I so appreciate your support and love.  And that is completely reciprocal.  Peace to you both today.   

  16. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “we need all of you. You are the body of Christ and every part is important.”
    “like the deep waters of the ocean, where there are swarms of brightly colored fish without number, there is great beauty to be gleaned in trying to grasp this parallel.”
    Thank you, Dee…I was thinking that I wasn’t sure I really wanted to delve into this; both of these were very encouraging to continue on.
     
    “Luci Shaw once said to me, “Harold is the head of our home, and I submit to him, yet in twenty-five years of marriage, it has only come up twice.””
    When I think about my marital relationship, I believe this to be true in my relationship with Greg; we are nearly always “on the same page.” I have an immense amount of trust in and respect for my husband…I know that Greg has our best interests in mind whether we agree or might disagree (which is very seldom).
     
    ““I’m willing to quit.” He was willing to give up eight years of medical training and his dream of being a caring physician. He was willing to lay down His life.”
    This is incredible…Steve’s willingness to put the marital relationship/his wife ahead of his dream. 
     
    “The prevailing emphasis in Scripture is not ‘Who’s in charge here?’ but rather, ‘The two shall be one.’”
    I love this…this is God’s plan…
     

  17. Happy Birthday Susan 🙂

  18. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, Susan!   Hope you are having a special day,  Dear Sister!   

  19. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    The photo of Dee’s family just really stood out to me.   I always like to look at family photos — of anyone’s family.   However,  the photo above seemed to me to be such a wonderful tribute to Dee — just the fact that they all got there, standing in the same place at the same time.    That is so difficult to orchestrate for most families.   It made me wonder.   Was this a special year for you, Dee?  Like one that ends in zero or five?    Of course, this may be your first birthday since moving to Wisconsin.    The thought of how the gospel has been handed down from generation to generation is truly a heart-warming thought.    I liked the wooded setting for the photo.  Was that on your property, Dee?    I guess the idea of trees being combined with your family tree seemed appropriate 🙂   I did have one concern, however,  I hope no one was standing near poison-ivy — aren’t the two little sisters directly in front of you barefooted?  Oops, I think my paranoia is showing!   🙂    

      1. Dear Dee.  You are the youngest ’70’ I know!  I would not have ever guessed it.  I am so glad to hear how much your children came together and made your birthday week immeasurably blessed.  How wonderfully sweet!

      2. 70! I wouldn’t have guessed. Here I was worried about turning 60 NEXT year! Bless you! I’m so impressed! If I have half your energy at 70, I will rejoice. God has truly blessed you and is using you amazingly in ministry. When I grow up I want to be like you! 😛

  20. 2. Read Genesis 2:18-24
     
    A. Over and over, God has said “It is good.” Now, in verse 18, something is not good. What is it? How does this apply both to the gift of marriage and to the general concept of the fellowship of believers (the corporate bride)?
     
    “It is not good that the man should be alone”. We are not meant to journey on our own, independently trying to navigate through life. Even our worship is to be with others, united. I love how this applies to the full Body, the importance of fellowship! We are created for one another, literally. He creates man He created woman for man and in the same way each of us for each of us—created for one another’s needs, and corporate helpers. 
     
     B. What is God’s solution?
     
    He makes a suitable helper for man. He creates unique counterparts that will help one another as one Body. He does create her from man and I know there is much significance there, but on a simple note–it magnifies to me the equality–we are made from the same core, and the mutual dependency. Not just of man and woman to one another, but of each human being with one another. I’m sure I’ll be ponderingthis more–there is so much here!
        
    C. Read Kathy’s Keller’s interview (LINK) on being Tim’s “ezer” (help fit for him) and comment — and why do you think TGC titled this, “Not your stereotypical pastor’s wife?”
     
    I am really thankful for the example of Kathy Keller, especially since she is a pastor’s wife. I used to have more of a stereo-type of a pastor’s wife, or maybe just unfair expectations on them. I grew up Catholic, so I never saw the role until college, but I had this fairy tale idea that they were super-godly, perfect homes and appearance, and never said anything “bad”. Early in my marriage I became very close friends with one of our Pastors’ wives, and she humbly revealed she was a real person with real struggles! I like that Kathy is strong and knows her gifting. You hear that she doesn’t try to please others or meet their expectations, she listens to God’s calling for her and faithfully does that. She clearly has a servant’s heart. 

  21. One more thing that stood out is the recollection of Bill Gothard’s teaching.  Oh…..I did not realize the depth of the distortion in the area of submission that he taught.  I know several people who are still working through the pain and betrayal of buying into other aspects of his teaching.  And am aware of several other areas of heresy but oh my…..the abortion example hits me.  I was too young to care about ‘The Total Woman’ but remember allusions to it.   Putting both of these prevailing philosophies in the context of the day….how depressing that is.  I am thankful for your and Steve’s faithfulness to the Scripture, Dee and that you entered the culture of the day and shared the truth.

  22. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    So many stories… I love stories. And it strikes me that these beautiful stories could come from the marriages of either complementarians or egalitarians. 
    Last week a friend of mine was sick enough to go to hospital. Doctors blame a virus (which is sometimes doctor speak for ‘I don’t really know what’s wrong with you) and she was only there 24 hrs before coming home and making a full recovery over the next week. Yesterday she told everyone that she fell in love with her husband all over again. He dropped everything to look after her, and nothing was too much trouble.
    He loves his wife with a sacrificial love. He also submitted to her needs. Essential components of a strong marriage, and actually this is an egalitarian marriage. But a loving complementarian husband would do no different. Strong Christian marriages have much more in common than they have that separates them.

  23. SUSAN, SWEET SUSAN!!!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

    YOU WERE SO SNEAKY…. PLANING ME A SURPRISE BIRTHDAY CARD SHOWER AND NOW I CANT EVEN GET BACK AT YOU!!!

    I PRAY YOU HAVE SUCH A WONDERFUL DAY TODAY!!!

    Now I can go back and read this weeks blog….looks so good….but just had to get in my birthday wishes first for you!!!

    How is your dad doing????

    1. Oh, my, Joyce. You make me smile. I agree with Wanda. I need a like button! 🙂 And let’s give out a clap to Sneaky Susan!

    2. Joyce, I like your new pic…and thank you for your birthday wishes! My dad has been back home, still on antibiotics – we are hoping they will be effective in clearing up this infection. He still doesn’t feel 100%.

  24. I need a ‘like’ button for your post, Joyce 🙂
     

  25. If I may, I want to re-visit last week just a bit. I finally had time this afternoon to listen to the panel discussion on Complementarianism.  I do see so much more of the topic’s significance now.  I appreciate the explanations of many questions…..(childbirth reference, phil. 2 passage,  the Trinity model especially) which is what many of you commented on during the week, but I was not able to do the study.    I also read through the comments again and saw Kerryn’s post regarding her sadness about something in her marriage that is now  too late to resolve.   I am feeling a similar sadness tonight.  (actually, I’ve been sad over many things and ‘my tears have been my food day and night’ has been a reality….but so is the rest of Psalm 42 which I have been trying to embrace and keep reading.)  I am sad because of what I didn’t know when I was raising my family.  I am sad about ‘bad’ teaching that I have had and bad examples  from which I tried to model my parenting.  And sometimes I wonder how to reconcile this constant quest for doing things better and better with the reality, that we are all products of our pasts.  But for God’s grace.  My husband is an amazing example of one who overcame enormous odds…..yes, enormous.  And his birth siblings were dealt a hand that was far  more horrendous……and yet….all by the Grace of God,  there is a very large number of young men and women, students, parents, peers that have abundant appreciation for how he has turned his life into a ministry of serving and caring and impacted their lives for the good.  And it is only by the Grace of God for nothing of the sort was modeled to him.  He had some good teaching in churches, as did I….and also some very bad teaching.  My parents loved the Lord with all their being, but their doctrine and way of handling situations was shaped by the limited kinds of teaching they were exposed too…..and it goes on down.  We are imperfect. We are taught by people who are imperfect and sometimes, people (like Gothard) who distort scriptures to the point of being dangerous.  (I sat in his seminars and dutifully took notes and believed that what he taught was true when I was a Bible school student).  When I look at last week’s discussion and peer into this week, I feel like the ‘queen of mediocrity’….thinking I have done the best I could…and continuing to discover that I have missed so much.  I know God redeems us…..and our failures…..and even the past misperceptions and beliefs we held.  I must pray that He will also redeem my children from what I neglected or didn’t know how to do well…..for that is where I really lack trust.  
     
    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference; to live one day at a time, enjoy one moment at a time, and accept hardships as a path to peace;  To take, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next”.  
     

    1. Wanda, that is a beautiful prayer and it is mine as well. thank you for your sharing…
      I continually self-examine and am so hard on myself. Yet our lives are the product of so many influences and thanks be to God for His grace and Jesus’ gift of salvation. I must remember that, though I wasn’t a perfect parent through all my Efforts,
      our children, too,must find their way back to God’s plan for each.

      1. Shirley, this is surely a nugget of gold, “Yet our lives are the product of so many influences and thanks be to God for His grace and Jesus’ gift of salvation.”

      2. Thanks, Shirley…. I’ve always known the beginning of that prayer as the Serenity Prayer and know that it’s had broad usage in chemical dependency and sobriety programs, but did not know the entire prayer until a few weeks ago, when one of our pastors closed the service with it.  He is the pastor who retired this year…..was only with us for 5 years as a ‘semi retirement’ part time position but I learned so much from him. 

    2. God does redeem our pasts, Wanda, and there in is hope for all of us!!!  I lived in Georgia for a while and went to a Bible church down there where Gothard had a HUGE influence, even in the leadership.  I, personally, never heard him speak or anything, so everything I heard about his teachings were second hand but it never sat right with me.  Seemed to me that he was adding rules to Scripture, just like the pharisees did.  On this site is the first time I ever heard anyone else express similar reservations to his teaching.  But God knows the intents of our hearts and very few moms set out with the intent of causing harm to their kids.  So, no matter what mistakes you may have made, you loved your kids and your intent was for good and God will redeem the mistakes.  Rest in His delight in you, Wanda, REST. 🙂

    3. Wanda, my heart is heavy for you. I say Amen to your prayer and lift you (and your children) to the Father this morning as you continue to seek Him.

      1. Thank you, sweet Jill.  I am praying Psalm 72 and posting verses of it in many places in my home today!

      1. Thank you, Dee.  That sermon blessed me greatly when we did that lesson.  I even met with a friend to listen to it with her as it had so much to say to both of us.  It’s in my downloads and I will likely re-visit it before long.

  26. Happy birthday, Susan. Sorry I am late in sending greetings! Hope you had a wonderful day! You are loved here – a long distance hug to you!

  27. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I love the picture of your family Dee. I hope I have one just as big one day.
     
    I also am impacted by your statement that difficult people are not happy people. I’m afraid I have been there before 🙁
    I am learning though…..my example is also regarding a job. I would really like to end my high school teaching career sooner than later; it is a very stressful job both physically and mentally, and I never thought I would be doing it for now 20 years. My husband has asked that I stay 5 more years to receive my full retirement. In the past, I would probably have just said “no, not going to do it because I don’t want to.” Now, I see he is right, and even though I do believe the next five years will be extremely difficult, I will stay. I submitted to him. It’s a good time for me to test the waters at the community college level which I have begun to do with my new job. Hence, also the reason I am trying to take Sunday as my day of rest as God intended us to do; kind of a mini-vaca, so I can be fresh for the work week. I do believe God will bless me and I have actually rested 2 Sundays in a row! Yay!

    1. Laura, I admire your selfless sacrifice to stay five more years, as your husband asked, to receive your full retirement. And glad that you are taking Sundays as a day of rest – with two jobs, you certainly need it!

      1. Thanks Susan; sometimes my husband has more common sense than I do….I’m the emotional one in my marriage :).

        1. Ditto to what Susan said, Laura.  I admire your willing heart, greatly.

    2. Laura, I taught several more years than I initially wanted at my husband’s request, also.  It was especially important because in the last 6 years we have been able to pay off much of our debt and to set aside much more than we anticipated we could for retirement.  More importantly, I had 4 years with a public school staff that embraced Christ with weekly prayer meetings prior to the contract day, daily emails for prayer and help, and the opportunity to love kids in a tough urban high school that usually are fending for themselves.  It also gave me great insight into the world of poverty in the US.  God gave me a ministry in the midst of my career as an educator.

      1. What a great testimony of the Lord’s hand, Sherryl.   You made such a difference to others and He blessed you in many ways.

      2. Thank you for the encouragement Sherryl. It makes me feel better to know I will be helping us in the end of our lives. Paying off debt would be nice for sure.
         
        It sounds like a great school; where you finished your career. I do try to reach out to my students but the region I live in is not very accepting of Christians or church generally speaking. Not very many of my colleagues talk about church or the bible much either. It’s sad and a big part of what makes me want to move now! I miss where I was raised and taught in the first part of my career. I will perservere though because it is the right thing to do.

      3. Sherryl…that’s awesome..thank you for being the caring, loving teacher that you were.  I’m sure many of those kids were blessed because of you.

  28. 2. Read Genesis 2:18-24
        A. Over and over, God has said “It is good.” Now, in verse 18, something is not good. What is it? How does this apply both to the gift of marriage and to the general concept of the fellowship of believers (the corporate bride)?
     
    It is not good for man to be alone. In marriage, two unite to become one. As the body of Christ, when we are together Jesus is also with us. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭18‬:‭20‬ NIV)
     
        B. What is God’s solution?
     
    God created Eve.
     

  29.     C. Read Kathy’s Keller’s interview (LINK) on being Tim’s “ezer” (help fit for him) and comment — and why do you think TGC titled this, “Not your stereotypical pastor’s wife?”
     
    First of all, am I missing something with this “word,” “ezer?” Where did it come from and what does it mean? I feel like I missed it somewhere…..
     
    Kathy is from Pittsburgh, where my mom was from as well. She has that distinctive Pittsburgh languge which is so charming (kvetching!). She seems like a “go-getter,” and a high energy person in general. 
     
    Kathy seems to have filled in where Tim needed her to in the ministry. I’m not sure many pastor’s wives do that normally. He couldn’t have made Redeemer what it is today with out her doing some of the grunt work initially. My mom and dad were part of the founding members of our home church. there was a pastor, and my dad was the choir director. I don’t remember the pastor’s wife being a real integral part of the team; although I might be wrong; I was a child. Kathy continues to be an important part of the team (or maybe we wouldn’t get such good sermons!). She is part of him and they made up (together) the original Redeemer.
     
     
     

    1. Laura – the word “ezer” comes from Gen 2:18.  When God said it was not good for Adam to be alone and that he would make a “helper fit for him” – the Hebrew word used there is “ezer”…..and I guess the simple definition is” one who supplies strength in an area that is weak” (that’s from the ESV study Bible).  Just as Adam’s “ezer” was Eve, so the pattern for marraige would be that each wife would be her husband’s “ezer”!  These words are surely only an introduction to a very complex word, however!  Hope that helps just a bit.

    2. Oh Laura, I think I got your answer from Jackie’s post above where she quoted from Leslie Vernick’s book: “If you want to become God’s ezer, (strong warrior), so that you’ll be prepared to fight for your husband’s well-being and your marital future…”
      So ezer means “strong warrior”.

      1. Thank you Jackie and Susan for that…as I didn’t know either…but too ashamed (that I didn’t know what it meant)  to ask!

  30. Thank you everyone for your kind birthday wishes! I was feeling a little sad yesterday as we took my son back to college in PA on Saturday, and my oldest son is back in med school, and now it’s just me, my husband, and daughter at home – a little quieter now than it was this summer. What I wanted to do yesterday was go to a park near our home where they keep horses; I asked my husband to go with me and my daughter and I took some cut up apples and I wanted to see the horses and feed them the apples (always loved horses since I was a kid!) The horses were out and came to the fence so I got my birthday wish!

    1. OH, and I am officially in the “50’s Club” now!

      1. Welcome to the “50’s Club”, Susan…:)

      2. Susan, I’m so sorry about your sons leaving again…I know it’s so hard.   I’m glad that you got your wish to feed the horses tho!   I was so afraid you were going to say your husband  said No to the horses!

        1. Welcome to the over the 50’s club!!

    2. Oh Susan….happy BELATED birthday, I guess ……I wish we lived close to one another – horses are our business!  I live on a horse farm and if you were nearby you could come get your horse therapy any time you wanted!!  They’re pretty amazing creatures and can really soothe our souls.  So glad you got your time with the critters on your birthday…..and that your husband and daughter were good sports and joined you! 

      1. When I was a child I would’ve been at your fence every day! I remember in junior high, I asked my parents one summer if they would just drop me off at Churchill Downs in KY and I could get a job with the horses…I was serious! They sent me to riding camp instead:))

        1. Well Susan, your parents were WISE!!!  After an adult lifetime at the racetrack, I can tell you that no parent should drop their child off there!!!  Though in a good, solid, safe stable it can be a terrific experience (we’ve had a few incredible teens work for us through the years and we still hear from them and they often say how much they miss those days!).  It’s just endlessly fascinating to me the way God knits us together and the different ways that He lifts our hearts – in my life, animals figure hugely in my daily delight!  🙂

        2. …enjoyed the exchange between Susan and Jackie here 🙂

    3. I completely understand that bittersweet feeling you had on your birthday.  But I’m glad you enjoyed treating the horses with your husband and daughter!  The ’50’s club’ does have a few advantages…  Different for every person, but for me, in this decade, I have been reunited with people from my past (especially my youth) more than at any other time.  It is because it is the first decade where I’ve not had children in my home (second year of empty nesting) and I’ve had the time to reach back and reconnect.  I hope you discover many of your own treasures of the 50’s!  

  31. Happy birthday, Susan! I like your time planned to see and feed the horses. I love them, too.

  32. 2. Read Genesis 2:18-24
        A. Over and over, God has said “It is good.” Now, in verse 18, something is not good. What is it? How does this apply both to the gift of marriage and to the general concept of the fellowship of believers (the corporate bride)?
    It is not good that man should be alone. I can’t help but think of the trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and How we image Him, and them, in our relationships in our homes and in the church. God designed us to be relational, to delight in Him and in one another. We are needy of one another-man and woman..whether married, single or widowed-to be challenged, helped, encouraged, loved..even to be touched and hugged!
        B. What is God’s solution?
    God gave man a helper suitable or fit for him.  
       
    C. Read Kathy’s Keller’s interview (LINK) on being Tim’s “ezer” (help fit for him) and comment — and why do you think TGC titled this, “Not your stereotypical pastor’s wife?”
    I haven’t really thought about a stereotype for pastor’s wives so this is good! I am not sure but my impression of a stereotype, or what has been modeled to me in the past, is that it seems a pastor’s wives “place” is to quietly support their husbands and children at home and quietly in church and perhaps put aside any kind of leadership role gifts in the church. Kathy Keller has used her leadership giftings in the church and at home and this helps her husband immensely. 
        D. Giving someone a name is a sign of authority. How do you see God giving Adam authority in verses 19-20?
    God gave Adam authority to name every living creature. This reminds me of how God named and re-named some and Jesus re-named Paul and others. :))
       
    E. In verse 21-22, how did God form the first bride, and what parallel can you see to the second bride? (Challenge question)
    He formed her from the rib of Adam. I see the trinity, “Let us make man kind in our image”-Genesis 1:26. God the father being the head and Jesus-God the Son, in submission to Him. They are separate yet One and there is an order of authority yet they are equal.
    I will take a stab at the challenge question: When we come to know Him then we are born of Him, united with Him-as One, like Eve being formed from Adam’s rib.  He gave us new life through death on the cross-His blood for us to cover us so that we could be His..so we are wearing His righteousness..sealed..We, the church are His Bride and the Holy Spirit is our helper. 

  33. 2A. What is not good?
    A suitable help mate for Adam was not yet a part of that which was created.
     
    B. What is God’s solution?
    Creating woman.
     
    C. Why is this titled “Not your stereotypical pastor’s wife”?
    Kathy Keller is SO authentic (love how she tells it like it is).  It is clear, but not in a prideful way whatsoever, that Tim Keller could/would not be as successful in his calling if not for Kathy’s support.  Her willingness to support Tim has been/is the “glue,” so to speak, that keeps things (e.g., church, family) together, what allows Tim to concentrate on His call as pastor.  She doesn’t view this role as “less,” but for the great value it truly has.  The Kellers seem to be a “well oiled machine,” both doing what needs to be done for optimal success for God’s glory. 

  34. 1.  Well….when I saw which direction we’re heading over the next couple of weeks I think I literally GROANED…..no, no say it isn’t so!!  I have to borrow Nila’s response – she took the words right out of my mouth! – the idea of not being eager to dive in to these next couple of weeks….all the while acknowledging the NEED to do so!  Ugh.     What did stand out to me is how you, Dee,  emphasized that we are the Body of Christ and we all need each other.  So true.  I’m anticipating having my thought patterns mightily challenged once more!   I also loved all of the photos!  A picture really is worth a thousand words sometimes! 

    1. Your first sentence makes me smile, Jackie.  Ditto here!  The blog landed right on the heels of an upsetting and complicated ‘discussion’ which was still unresolved between my husband and I……

  35.  
    2. Read Genesis 2:18-24
    A. Over and over, God has said “It is good.” Now, in verse 18, something is not good. What is it? How does this apply both to the gift of marriage and to the general concept of the fellowship of believers (the corporate bride)?  It was not good for man to be alone. For some reason, I do not ‘keep friends’ very well. For the longest time I tried to convince myself that it was ‘ok’ that Christ was all-sufficient to the point that I didn’t need friends. It was the only way, I thought, to protect myself from hurt. But this verse (and many others) show God’s design in walking together. I am sure I do not understand it fully yet, but have been pursuing understanding  (both this concept and asking God to search my heart in why friends don’t stay). Especially in our culture we tend to want to “do it alone” to be independent and safe. This “not being alone” requires vulnerability and risks, but our society says “Don’t have needs! Be strong!”  Many don’t deepen in friendship because they won’t allow someone to help? I think ” not being alone” has deeper meaning than just how many people are in a room. Sorry…rambling a bit. 
     
    B. What is God’s solution? To make a helper. Custom-made. 

    1. Jill, I hear your heart about friendship. I also struggle to even find other women to be more than acquaintances (even at church). I think a huge issue today is time. No one seems to have enough of it, and friendships take time to develop and keep. If only long distance and through this blog, I am happy to get to know you and to be your friend! Yet I know how important face-to-face relationships are, and am I right, that you just moved? I will pray along with you, that God will search your heart and as God heals you, that He will bring women into your life in your new community that you can walk together with!

      1. Susan, 
        Thank you. So much. You have encouraged my heart this morning. 
         
        We are moving. I am waiting for the truck to come get out boxes as I type. We will be in transition (aka homeless) for awhile as we wait for promised housing on base in Virginia. Thank you for your prayers! And I am praying for you as well!

        1. Praying for your move to go well, Jill!

  36. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I love the picture of the bride and her groom, “The Mystery of Marriage”. It is a mystery how God brings the two into a union that is to make the two into one, and also that He desires to have that kind of intimacy with us. It pictures our union with Him.
     
    Dee’s story of her early marriage and being “difficult”. Thank you for your transparency, Dee. It truly was a defining, pivotal moment in their marriage when Steve was ready to walk away from all his years of training and do this for Dee, and how Dee’s eyes were opened. Yet it was Steve’s sacrificial love that changed her heart. Isn’t that how God chisels away at our stony hearts? Not by scolding, lecturing, or bawling us out, but it is when we look at the sacrificial love of our Savior dying on a Cross for us.
    And oh, how the look on Dee’s face in that photo at the restaurant has been on mine as well. Yes, difficult people are not happy people. There’s not enough time and space to record here the times I have been difficult and refused to smile. My husband said to me once, “You look like Medusa”…does that give you a hint? The different activities he was involved in over the years, like coaching our sons in baseball and soccer and being involved in fantasy football and instead of being his help-meet, I was and have been angry at the time it took away from ME. Sure, I loved going to the games and watching my boys play, but I resented all the time it took “behind the scenes”.
     
    This is going to be a challenging study for me, as I am in an unequally yoked marriage. I have struggled to live out the gospel in my marriage because I have felt that it’s “all up to me”. I have looked at my husband and viewed him as the enemy, my enemy. I have been stubborn and resistant to his leadership, digging in my heels in areas where I think that under the surface, I am trying to punish him for not meeting my needs. I stopped being a wife years ago and devoted myself instead to my children. They came first. I’ve made so many mistakes, and I can feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to change, or, as Joyce expressed, “I need to change and don’t know how.”

    1. The whole point of marriage by God’s plan is so alien in our culture and I bought into that. I had so many things out of order and one problem was parenting. I thought I knew best (so wrong) and when my husband stepped aside I put my children first.
      My consequence for that is to experience a loneliness and now as I am working on a godly marriage, it  is not easily overcome. I am thankful that my husband is now growing (slowly) and I will do my best to honor God and just be there.
      This passage in Genesis is so familiar, but I never applied it to MY life and marriage. First I was there for my children, then for my career. Now I am retired…. Well, all of those things are past. But God is good. My husband started a Bible study with me designed to overcome addictions. Through this basic study we are both being helped. My husband had turned to other sources for his comfort, as I did my own thing. He is quietly working on putting his relationships in order as well. Submission to God is not easy for either of us strong-willed folks.

    2. Oh Susan, I’ve known your situation for a long time, as I kind of hid mine:(    But God knows all and thankflully forgives….as I’ve made all of the same mistakes too.  Praying for you!

    3. Susan–your last paragraph–oh the honest transparency of your heart–I so love that about you–what a model that is to me of true humility–beautiful. I can only imagine the battles you face every day, you know I pray for you–for Him to be a shield around you and the lifter of your head. 

  37. Jill and Susan,
     
    Wish I could bring some homemade muffins and hot tea over to see both of you today.    May the Lord bring you a lasting, true girl friend.    Sometimes we just need human hands and an understanding voice.    Last week when I was sick (and I am never sick), but I was in bed.  I called to cancel a guitar lesson and the mom of this student is a friend.  She dropped everything she was doing and brought me homemade bread and medicine.   And then she took both of my hands and prayed her heart out for me.    I was so deeply touched.      We do not go to the same church.  We are simply sisters in Jesus.      
     
        

    1. Nila, I’d love to be sitting at my kitchen table with you! I do have a friend that it seems we built our friendship over having tea together…she was my neighbor down the street, then moved to Illinois for several years, and now has moved back to this area.

    2. That is so wonderful Nila!

  38. Susan,
    Thank you for posting the link on “ezer”.       “What God had intended, then, was to make a “power” or “strength” for the man who would in every way “correspond to him” or even “be his equal.”
     
    I’ve learning that my battle is never really with my husband.  It is with the enemy of my soul.   And so, if I am going to fight, I must fight for my husband against the real enemy who seeks to destroy both of us.    Sometimes a trusted friend must help me because I can become disoriented in the battle.

    1. Susan – that’s excellent!  We do have an  enemy who seeks to “steal and kill and destroy”….every day.  Good friends save our sanity and turn our eyes back to the victor!
      Wonderful as this forum is….we all need “Jesus with skin on” in our day to day lives……though there have been some terrible difficulties in my life, my friendships have been rich and deep in Him…..they seem to shine even brighter when life is HARD!  Praying for all of you here who have expressed a desire for perhaps a “kindred spirit” kind of friend in Him…..?  Jill….Susan….and others……

    2. Nila :)……..I meant to address you, but I’m hoping you kind of “got that”…..the paragraph about the battle…..etc….and a trusted friend…..good stuff!   Muffins and tea….reminds me of a mug I have that says “bread and water can so easily be toast and tea!”.  –

  39. What struck me most was Steve’s willingness to to change careers.  My husband and I both began with Campus Crusade then, he decided to return to his calling of pastoral ministry.  As finances became an issue, I activated my certificate and started on the 30 years as a secondary school teacher.  We had to decide whose career would take precedence.  We opted for his because of his calling.  As a result, God has always provided a job for me.  God has also always given me the opportunity to have a ministry within my school setting.
    Regarding Genesis 2: 18-25 – the focus is on the need men and women have for relationship.  As people created in the image of God, we need companionship.  Adam and Eve, and therefore marriage, represent the complimentary nature of the Godhead.  It also depicts our need for our relationship with God.  We cannot save ourselves and we cannot save others.  What we can do is be so in-tune with God, and spouse, if you are married, that you are able to be the vessel used by God to touch another’s soul.  As we exhibit our love, our pride is no longer important.  Who gets credit isn’t the issue, just that the Lord is glorified.  May God use this study to remind me and others of just how powerful God can be when his love is radiating from his believers.  Remind me that I am not competing for the attention of my husband, but releasing him to be all that God wants him to be.  Amen.
    Josh McDowell describes Adam’s first view of Eve as “WOW!!!!”  Kind of livens up the description and makes it seem more true to what we experienced when we met our mates.

  40. I thought I posted this earlier….but was having problems posting, so if it shows up twice, forgive me.   I know that a few of you are not on the facebook prayer page and have prayed for my dear friend, Steve who was in late stage esophageal cancer,  in the last few months.  This morning, I received the call that Steve is now in the presence of our Lord.  I was praying again this morning at 7:45am that his passing would be pain free and peaceful.  From what I know, it sounds like that is how he left us about 8am.  It is profoundly sad…..but I am so very grateful that God gave me the privilege to spend a couple hours with him just 17 days ago.  At that time, I felt assured that his soul was trusting God.  Prayers for his wife and son are appreciated.  He also has step children, grandchildren and siblings who dearly loved him.  He was 57.

    1. Oh Wanda, I’m so sorry for your loss of your dear friend, Steve…you were a good friend to him, right up to the end. I will continue to pray for his family.

    2. Wanda…I am so sorry…I will continue prayers for Jeana and Jaime.

    3. Wanda – I have been moved recently by the way you reached out to Steve and made a point of having time to visit him in person, even though he lived a ways away ……and your faithful prayers for him and requests that others pray as well…..it’s not surprising to me that the Lord drew you into that very specific prayer for Steve at just the moment of his great need.  Jesus kept your heart fully invested right up to the end.  What an eternal BLESSING.  I will be praying today for Steve’s wife and son and family members as they prepare to say their public farewell to Steve – and face their lives without him. 
      I’m 57 too…..did you graduate HS in ’74?  Rather irrelavent I know…just couldn’t help but wonder! 

      1. Thank you for those sweet words, Jackie.    Your last question….not irrelevant at all!  I am in the ‘magical’ group of people who were born in ’57……graduated in ’75……and this year….celebrate 57 again  (although I’m not quite there yet!   Ha!  It’s been kind of a theme with my classmates.  I actually would have been in the class of ’76 if our schools had Sept. 1 cut offs back then.  We didn’t and some of my friends began first grade (we didn’t have Kindergarten!) at age 5. So we were young for our class….but you’re younger still to be in the class of ’74!  🙂

        1. Wanda – yes, getting to know the “little things” is really fun!  And yes, I turned 18 my first month at college….a little young, I guess! 

        2. Jackie…..I also turned 18 my first month of college…..  🙂  So I am not quite 57 yet…..and maybe you are about to turn the corner on it???

    4. Wanda, my condolences…such a loss.  Praying this morning for those that grieve him, including you. 

      1. Thank you all dear friends.…..for your comforting words and sympathetic hearts.  I have spent the last 30+ hours doing a lot of thinking, processing, and sharing with friends.  God has met me with Psalm 42 every day this week.  I am hoping to memorize much of it.  (a good thing to do while I drive to my home area on Thursday).   The tears have flowed all summer….but are quiet tonight.  I am looking forward to being with friends and Steve’s family at the funeral this Thurs/Friday.  Nila..….I love that you shared Amy Carmichael’s poem.  I remember stories of her since my Sunday school days as a child.  I have so appreciated the literary references you’ve made on this blog.  I have resonated with so many things you’ve shared.

  41. Wanda ~ 
     
    Sad with you tonight.   
    Sometimes at times like this, a poem I love by Amy Carmichael comes to mind:
     
    Amidst the multitude of thoughts
    Which in my heart do fight
    My soul, lest it be overcharged,
    Thy comforts do delight.    
     
    May He so comfort you tonight.

  42. 2. F. Adam’s response to Eve is the first audible human comment recorded in Scripture. Howard Hendrick’s says it is like “Eureka!” What emotions do you see here?
    He was overwhelmingly captivated by her and was deeply in love and moved in how she was His, made from Him. They were one.
         G. Now — think about how Jesus will respond when He sees His Bride on that great day. What parallel can you see? Do you really believe He will react to you in this way? Do you believe He loves you that much? 
    He will be captivated by us. We are His and one with Him. We will be transformed completely into His image. Yes, I do believe he loves me that much!
     
        

  43.     D. Giving someone a name is a sign of authority. How do you see God giving Adam authority in verses 19-20?
     
    God allowed Adam the name all of the animals. I also enjoyed the discussion of horses above. I grew up in a community where there was a stable. I would go there often. Horses are definitely amazing creatures, however seeing the mating process when you are 8-10 is kinda scary! When I went back for my moms funeral, the pastor said when the subdivision was taken by the city, the stable had to go. It was not allowed within city limits. It made me sad.
     
        E. In verse 21-22, how did God form the first bride, and what parallel can you see to the second bride? (Challenge question)
     
    The first bride was formed from Adam’s rib. The second bride would be the church body right? We are formed from Jesus’ death on the cross?
     
        F. Adam’s response to Eve is the first audible human comment recorded in Scripture. Howard Hendrick’s says it is like “Eureka!” What emotions do you see here?
     
    He names her too, woman. The name is kind of sweet; it is part of him too, woman. So, I see love as an emotion here. 
     
         G. Now — think about how Jesus will respond when He sees His Bride on that great day. What parallel can you see? Do you really believe He will react to you in this way? Do you believe He loves you that much?
     
    Jesus will be happy to see us. He will hug us and say, “You finished well dear one.” He loves us deeply; more than we can really understand. We need to try though…
     
    This all makes me cry this morning. A colleague lost her mom a few weeks ago and she and I had a “moment” yesterday. She is a difficult person in general and was my mentor  when I first came to the high school 11 years ago. I am sad for her. It brought back memories of a few months ago for me. The reason I thought of this in regards to this question (AND I AM AFRAID TO SAY THIS OUT LOUD) is that when I actually got to Atlanta to attend moms funeral I got this feeling inside and kept asking myself this question, “What if it’s not true?” I was referring to Jesus being there with open arms and accepting my mom into heaven. It pains me to say that now, but that was something I can’t deny that I was thinking. I kept reassuring myself by saying, “Stop! Of course it’s true!” How could I be so unfaithful at that moment in time? I do believe Jesus will be there and I do believe he will hug me. He will tell me how much he loves me.
     
     

    1. Laura, your last paragraph…I’m trying to find words here. First, you must still miss your mom so much. I admire you for reaching out to your colleague in her loss. What you describe, the thoughts you had at your mom’s funeral…we know what we believe – we believe in what God says is true, yet there are impossibly hard times when we really need to lean hard on what we believe, to find out if it really does hold us up. Death, especially (I would think, facing our own, too) the death of a beloved mom or someone else very close to us, seems to bring it all to a decisive moment. I’m sure it is, in part, the enemy whispering his lies at those moments, and also our own fears. Death is unsettling, it’s the hardest thing we must face and a time when we must really stand on what we believe. If we are all honest, I would think we all have had those moments of doubt.

  44. 2D. How do you see God giving Adam authority (v. 19-20)?
    Adam is given the task (authority) of naming “all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky.”
     
    E. (v.21-22) How did God form the first bride and what parallel can you see to the second bride?
    The first bride, Eve, was created from Adam…he gave of himself (his rib) to allow her life.  Similarly, the second bride is given/provided life through Jesus…Jesus gave of Himself (crucified/died) to give/provide life to us all; Jesus conquered death once and for all, and all those who believe in Him will be given new, eternal life.
     
    F. What emotions do you see?
    Appreciation…Adam prizes Eve…Eve is what completes Adam; their connection is like no other connection of this world…Eve is SO suitable for him.

  45. Back to Genesis 2:18 for just a second—I heard this yesterday and it was a new thought to me, thought it was interesting. When God says, for the first time that “it is not good” in reference to man being alone, sin has not yet entered the world. So even before there is evil, something is named “not good”—and that is that man is alone. That thought seemed to magnify to me the significance of God’s feeling of man being alone. 
    D. Giving someone a name is a sign of authority. How do you see God giving Adam authority in verses 19-20?
    I don’t know why this always surprises me a bit—that God gives man the privileged of naming every creature—it does seem like such a high calling. 
    E. In verse 21-22, how did God form the first bride, and what parallel can you see to the second bride? (Challenge question)
     
    God put Adam into a deep sleep, and as he slept, he took one of his ribs (from his side), and from it, created his bride Eve. On the Cross, Jesus “fell asleep” in death, and Christ was pierced in his side (John 19:34). *Through His death, we became His Bride. In Ephesians 5:30, speaking of how Christ loves the the Church, it says:  “because we are members of his body.”  Also Acts 20:28 “the church of God,which He obtained with His own blood.”
     
    F. Adam’s response to Eve is the first audible human comment recorded in Scripture. Howard Hendrick’s says it is like “Eureka!” What emotions do you see here?
     
    The “at last” phrase jumps out. Adam has seen all of God’s creation, and still senses something missing, a longing within. Finally, he finds his counter-part. His true kindred spirit. Sounds a bit cheesy these days, but truly his “soul mate”. 
         
    G. Now — think about how Jesus will respond when He sees His Bride on that great day. What parallel can you see? Do you really believe He will react to you in this way? Do you believe He loves you that much?
     
    Christ will see me, us, the Body—HIS Body, and say “at last”. His reaction, not based on what I have done—but on what He has already done to redeem me. We are created from Him, for Him, and so there will be a sense of completion, wholeness, beauty when we unite as One. 

    1. I love this, Elizabeth. The phrase “the body of Christ” is so special.
      I turned to the prayer in John 17, verse 24, where Jesus said, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory” What a wonderful reunion we have to look forward to!
      Yes, “we are created from Him. for Him, and so there will be a sense of completion, wholeness, beauty when we unite as One”

      1. Shirley–I love the added depth you always bring! I too love John 17:24–we are His heart’s desire–to have us with Him

  46. 2. C. Read Kathy’s Keller’s interview (LINK) on being Tim’s “ezer” (help fit for him) and comment — and why do you think TGC titled this, “Not your stereotypical pastor’s wife?” I liked the article. I did,  however, have a negative reaction to what she said in regards to Tim not being able to pay bills.  I have heard several women say this same thing because they truly think their husband is incompetent. I obviously do not know either of them so I assume she said this with tongue in cheek demonstrating (as the rest of the article did) team work and how roles fit together. I think the stereotypical pastor’s wife depends on where you grew up. She definitely took on stronger roles than the pastor’s wives I have known. She also did not mention heading up women’s ministry as so many wives do. 
     
    D. Giving someone a name is a sign of authority. How do you see God giving Adam authority in verses 19-20? Adam names all the creatures created. Including Eve. 
     
     E. In verse 21-22, how did God form the first bride, and what parallel can you see to the second bride? (Challenge question) God made the first bride from a part of the first groom. We were all made in His image so essentially we were made from a part of Him. He clothes us here on earth, making us a part of Him again. It also strikes me that the first bride and groom were naked and unashamed, hiding nothing. This is what Christ calls us to on earth and what will fully take place  in heaven. To bare all and be unashamed. Trust. 

  47. 2. Read Genesis 2:18-24
     
    A. Over and over, God has said “It is good.” Now, in verse 18, something is not good. What is it? How does this apply both to the gift of marriage and to the general concept of the fellowship of believers (the corporate bride)?
     
    God noted that it is not good for the man to be alone. So relationships, whether the gift of being given a spouse, or fellowship with one another is vitally important. God thought it important, and so should we. We are not meant to do life alone.
     
    B. What is God’s solution?
     
    My translation says that God said that He would make a “helper suitable for him”. I find it interesting that the next verse describes God forming every beast and bird and bringing them to Adam, for him to name them, and then in verse 20 it says that among all these creatures there was not found a helper suitable for Adam (suitable – corresponding to him). God then makes one corresponding to Adam, or one like him.
     
     

  48.  
    F. Adam’s response to Eve is the first audible human comment recorded in Scripture. Howard Hendrick’s says it is like “Eureka!” What emotions do you see here? Well, Adam had just gone through every creature and named them, assumedly also looking for a companion because it says that “there was not found a helper suitable for him.” And then God gives him this! Not only is Adam probably amazed at what was given but maybe he had been trying to figure out how to “settle” for something else as a companion? And now he gets his wildest dreams instead of a plan B? Wow! =)
     
    G. Now — think about how Jesus will respond when He sees His Bride on that great day. What parallel can you see? Do you really believe He will react to you in this way? Do you believe He loves you that much? Wow….we are not plan B! No other creature will do, we are His choice. Amazing. I do believe but I think more cautiously than my mind knows. My heart always fears….what? I know God will not hurt me. So it must be the desire to stay in His approval. The lie that I can loose His favor. The first Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed (funny I always envision Eve as average with lumps and bumps not model material). They trusted each other with ultimate intimacy and in that Adam said “wow!”  They did not fear loosing the other’s approval (until sin). God loves me (and fully sees me, even when I do try to hide) all bare, ultimate intimacy.  More to ponder here…