8 Things I Wish Every Christian Knew…

  1. I wish Christians knew it was scary and overwhelming to walk into church for the first time. Being greeted at the door can be a little uncomfortable for us. Worship can be a little weird for us.  A new Christian needs a soft kind word and space to let God work.
  2. I wish Christians understood that our lives are a mess! We lived without Jesus! Of course our lives are messy. If you have a new Christian in your group and they feel comfortable enough to tell their story, let them tell it and afterward thank them for their vulnerability. Sharing our stories heals our wounds.
  3. I wish Christians knew how much we need a prayer covering. A lot of us don’t have families who pray for us, spouses who pray for us or anyone for that matter. It’s just us and Jesus. Please pray for our spiritual growth and protection.
  4. I wish Christians knew that we need a new family. Our earthly families are often confounded by our new found faith. They haven’t forgotten how we lived our lives before Jesus and being made new is not within their understanding. Being with our families in our new found faith is often difficult and painful. We may need or want to spend holidays, especially Christmas and Easter, with our faith family.
  5. I wish Christians knew that we have really strong convictions. Our convictions may not be yours and vice versa.  Let the Holy Spirit convict. You have the blessing of supporting us while we walk it out.
  6. I wish Christians knew that our eyes are wide open. Amazing Grace says, “I once was blind and now I see.” New Christians are watching with their eyes wide open. You are an example to us.
  7. I wish Christians knew that God has called us. We haven’t prayed for 20 years to be in ministry. That doesn’t make us unqualified to be a part of ministry work. The Bible says that we are ministers of reconciliation, all of us. New Christians often have a passion and boldness because this whole thing is new and fresh. We have something to offer the body of Christ. Help us find our place and receive us with open arms.
  8. I wish Christians knew that vulnerability is important. We want to hear your faith stories. Faith stories are inspiring because it shows us that God is faithful. Your stories tell us how God showed you who he was in a place where your life was less than perfect. Your faith stories give us encouragement and hope.

So, there it is. Eight things I wish Christians knew about being a new Christian. I hope it urges you into love and good works.

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Mentoring and Marriage

“Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God.  They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.  Instead, they should teach others what is good.  These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands.  Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5

I don’t believe in fate or coincidence or luck anymore (although I still wish people good luck sometimes; old habits die hard).  I believe in destiny.  I had a date with destiny in June of 2010.  I met a Titus 2 woman.  A woman who became my mentor.  She is like a second mother to me.

There is no way that I could have entered the battle for my marriage alone.  While I had Jesus at my side, I simply did not have the courage to act the way I needed to without someone’s guidance.  Not only was my mentor my cheerleader but she was my prayer warrior and support to run to when things got really hard.  My marriage got worse before it got better.  With a new identity, a new heart, and a mentor to train me I was ready to be open to what it would take to save my marriage.  I was embarking on a journey that I know many would not take.

Without my mentor I was on rabbit trail after rabbit trail reading books about how to win over my husband.  A lot of what I was reading suggested things that I had already tried and worked for a period of time; then we’d have a fight and all was lost.  It was a constant one step forward, two steps back.  The question I had before me: was I going to control my husband and be controlled by my need for him (the curse of Eve) or was I going to allow Christ inside of me to prevail?

My mentor gave me a sheet of paper with 1 Peter 3 on it, from the Amplified version. Even though I was offended (well, probably mad is more like it), that is what I went after.  Standing behind me was a mentor encouraging me to practice it, no matter what my husband was doing to me or behind my back.  Christ in me produced the 1 Peter 3 woman.  Who is she?

In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, when they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him – to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband.] Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.  For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves to them as themselves secondary and dependent on them].  It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his leadership over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority).  And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you]. 1 Peter 3:1-6

My mentor gave me a copy of the first chapter of Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartin.  This prayer is AMAZING!  It changed how I prayed for my marriage and my husband.  Her prayer asked God to change her, not her husband. With answered prayer for a new heart in me, my new prayer was: unify my husband and I and change me, Lord.  It was clear that me trying to change my husband wasn’t going to work.  Changing me was the only thing I could call upon God for and he has answered with a resounding yes.

During this stage of my walk with Jesus, I learned discipline.  I chose to have faith that God would work in and through me to be what my husband needed.  I had to allow my husband to continue to do whatever it is he wanted to do without a peep from me.  I cannot say that walked this scripture out perfectly, I got scared and anxious sometimes.  But it was enough; grace and mercy found me when I needed it.  I decided to hold on to my faith in Jesus and let God work it out.

What does that look like?  I stopped fighting for my marriage.  I allowed God to go to battle for me.  Instead of holding on tight, I let go.  I told my husband that I was not holding him hostage in our marriage and that he could leave any time.  These words were said with peace in my heart.  He knew that he could leave and I wasn’t going to cling to him.  I also told him that my choice was to stay in the marriage and work though our problems.  Although it was extremely hard, I had faith that if he did leave, I would be taken care of because God loves me and provides for me.  I had to allow my husband to say whatever he wanted to about himself, about me, about our children and our marriage without defending any of those things.  We have had a lot of uncomfortable moments. I have had mud pie on my face more times than I would like to admit.  I chose to keep quiet.  God is my defender, not me.  What made this possible?  The understanding that my husband is separate from me.  He is responsible to God for everything he says and doesn’t say,everything he does and doesn’t do.  If I control him, he cannot be Fathered by God; instead he is controlled by me so that I don’t look bad and we don’t receive consequences.

I understand today that my husband is a son of God.  God is his Father and because God is a good Father, my husband is under the law of grace and mercy, not failure and consequence.  God is gentle and kind, a controlling wife is…well…not.  Prior to our mess, my husband had not received Jesus.  He was leading a selfish life and it hurt his family greatly.  However, I pursued my relationship with God and fellowship with a mentor who supported my cry to be changed.  My husband now knows Jesus because I trusted God to work.  I laid down my fear and anxiety to save my marriage.