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An Open Letter: Woman to Man

When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His followers, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist. Others say you are Elijah, and still others say you are Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Then Jesus asked them, “And who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus answered, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because no person taught you that. My Father in heaven showed you who I am. So I tell you, you are Peter. On this rock I will build my church, and the power of death will not be able to defeat it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; the things you don’t allow on earth will be the things that God does not allow, and the things you allow on earth will be the things that God allows.”
~ Matthew 16:13-19 (Mark 8:27-30)

Dear Man:
Please note: What others say about you will never trump what I see in you and believe about you.

Though my day to day feelings about you derive in part from your treatment of me, my vision and knowledge of you is God-given. You may think the accolades of others will win me over. You may also think that what you do for others will make you shine brighter in my eyes. You would be wrong on both counts. You can bend over backwards for everyone in the world, but if you aren’t willing to even stand up and face me, why should the opinions of other people matter to me? Your relationships with everyone else in the world do not create space for a relationship with me. Those relationships do not even accommodate an {us}. Your relationship with others is about you and them. They have nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with us. For that reason, I am not impressed by what other people think of you because their experience of you is not representative of my experience of you.

Right now, in this moment, my struggle is seeing everything you are willing to do for others while remembering everything you have been unwilling to do for me. This knowledge continually leads to resentment, bitterness and separation.

Your struggle is admitting you are in error; that you have squandered time and taken love for granted. Pride is the downfall of every man, however, all is not loss. You, my dear Man, are a conqueror. Should you choose to accept your assignment, you can make everything right with just a word.

You love the Word of God, but you won’t speak a word to me.

You enjoy life, but you won’t share yours with me.

You yearn for the light but you keep me in a shadowy pit.

You admire modesty but the way you waste time is the most painful extravagance to witness.

You think you’re humble, but your spirit strives against me in a rage of hurt masculine pride.

You think love and war are synonymous. They aren’t. Love may be confrontational but it is not destructive. War is targeted violence and willful destruction. Creating and maintaining conflict is not an expression of caring.

You go on and on about love and grace, but what love and grace have you shown to me? Where is your mercy? Where is the love of Christ for the woman you would have as wife?
OLDER-COUPLEI do not hold a grudge against you, but I will not fight endlessly with you either. I know what you want; I know what you need, but I can’t force you to receive anything from me.

I have been equipped to nurture, love and honor your life with my being. I have been created to share your breath and expand your life.

I have prepared for you, but I am not willing to be everything I can be to a man who is content to be nothing more than a disconnected observer of my life.

You will not drain me dry and leave me nothing for myself. I won’t allow you to do that. God has shown me too much of Himself in me for me to throw myself away according to your whim.

I will not support a man who doesn’t support me. That would be energy you take from me without replenishing it. Your confidence should not cost me mine.

I will not attempt to stand beside a man who has no interest in standing beside me. To do so invites heartbreak every hour of every day.

I will not chase anyone who is not pursuing me. I am the good thing you are responsible for shepherding, but I am also responsible for where I choose to go. You lead, I follow. When you stop leading, I stop following. Remember that.

Relationships are built on mutuality and thrive on reciprocity. I cannot build with someone who is constantly attacking me. Passive aggressive behavior is violent in nature. You may “only” be emotionally dismissive, neglectful, and stoic, but each instance is an attack on everything I see in and believe about you. Such behavior attacks everything I understood about us from the vision I was first given.

If you want a woman who will sit at your feet and praise you continuously while you spend your time and energy praising everyone else, then you have my blessing and encouragement to keep looking for her. I am not the woman for you.

If you want a woman who will encourage you, despite your refusal to acknowledge her words, then again I say, I am not the woman for you. Go in peace and live a joyful and bountiful life elsewhere.

But,

If you want a woman who will strive to communicate with understanding and who will use her tongue only to bless and lift you up, then I say I am your woman.

If you want a woman who will walk, run, dance and ride through life with you in all its triumphant glory and devastating tragedy as a partner – hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder with arms linked – I am your woman.

If you want a woman to build with – from scratch or from leveraged land and materials – I am your blessed goodness. I am your wow-factor.

If you want me, you must recognize you are joining with a woman who knows her place in God’s Kingdom. My place is not subordinate to you. My place is one of honor, not disgrace or shame. My place is by your side as co-ruler of all we are blessed to supervise and manage as stewards. My joy in you derives from your recognition of your place in my life.

Be the man you were created to be, Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, breath of my breath, joy of my joy. Be true to God. Be true to yourself. Be true to me.

At night on my bed,
I looked for the one I love;
I looked for him, but I could not find him.
I got up and went around the city,
in the streets and squares,
looking for the one I love.
I looked for him, but I could not find him.
The watchmen found me as they patrolled the city,
so I asked, “Have you seen the one I love?”
As soon as I had left them,
I found the one I love.
I held him and would not let him go
until I brought him to my mother’s house,
to the room where I was born.
~ Song of Solomon 3:1-4

Song: Say You Love Me by Jesse Ware

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A Chapter a Day: Genesis 2

Genesis 2ESV

The Seventh Day, God Rests

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

The Creation of Man and Woman

These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

When no bush of the field[a] was yet in the land[b] and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up — for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist[c] was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat[d] of it you shall surely die.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[e] him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed[f] every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam[g] there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[h] into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”[i]

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 2:5 Or open country
  2. Genesis 2:5 Or earth; also verse 6
  3. Genesis 2:6 Or spring
  4. Genesis 2:17 Or when you eat
  5. Genesis 2:18 Or corresponding to; also verse 20
  6. Genesis 2:19 Or And out of the ground the Lord God formed
  7. Genesis 2:20 Or the man
  8. Genesis 2:22 Hebrew built
  9. Genesis 2:23 The Hebrew words for woman (ishshah) and man (ish) sound alike
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CHARLES RAMSEY: “I’m the definition of a man, bro!”

I’m glad Charles Ramsey knows his manhood is solid. I concur.

This whole thing is coming down to identity to me. Starting with Amanda Berry’s proclamation: “I am Amanda Berry!” The human body and spirit can endure a great deal of abuse, but knowing who you are – the power in how you identify and describe yourself – will either lead to your defeat or keep you undefeated.

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MAN & WIFE = LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT

MAN & WIFE = LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT  by LaShawnda Jones

“My goal with the two-projects-that-are-really-one, is to make them complimentary to each other. I have no desire for The Helper to outshine The Worker. Nor do I want The Worker to dominate The Helper. Just as in life and in marriage, the two should be both bearers of light and reflections of each another’s best qualities.”

Follow the link to read the whole post. If you like it, share it. Be blessed.

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Man & Wife = Leadership & Management

So, the above six words have been with me for over a month. When they first came together in mind, I realized I had finally hit upon the approach for my two companion books-in-progress:  The Worker: A Man of God and The Helper: A Woman of God. They are two books that are really one with a focus on man and woman as individuals and as partners in their marriage, their family and their community.

I know… I have lofty aspirations…..

I’ve been stumped by the idea of writing a book for men. Even though the Word of God is available to us all, the thought of communicating such lofty matters (regarding function and purpose) to a male audience has been intimidating. And I’ve been overwhelmed at the thought of condensing  my endless thoughts about women as wives, mothers and supporters. Fortunately, I’ve been bolstered by the knowledge that my craft, hand, and spirit are yielded to the Holy Spirit and I trust that only that which will be edifying for the readers to come will be written.

Regal Partners.

My goal with the two-projects-that-are-really-one, is to make them complimentary to each other. I have no desire for The Helper to outshine The Worker. Nor do I want The Worker to dominate The Helper. Just as in life and in marriage, the two should be both bearers of light and reflections of each another’s best qualities.

My bright idea was: Marriage is basically a partnership of leadership and management. The man is the natural leader in his marriage and family. The woman is the natural manager in her marriage and family. Popular culture and social norms tell us there are many variations and combinations for marriage. But my books are not about the preferences of popular culture, they are about the preferences of God as stated in His Word.

Leader: a person that leads; a guiding or directing head; a person who rules, guides, or inspires others (dictionary.com)

Manager: a person who has control or direction of an institution or of a part, division, or phase of it; a person who manages; a person who controls and manipulates resources and expenditures (dictionary.com)

That being said, I am looking forward to fleshing out my two-books-that-are-one: The Worker and The Helper. I am looking forward to exploring how the Worker’s leadership in the home sets the pace and standard for his Helper’s management of the household.

Today’s thought: Marriage is all about the partnership of two individuals who have chosen to become one. A partnership between a man, who is created to work and a woman, who is created to help. The partnership works best when the husband accepts the mantle of responsibility to provide for and lead his wife and children, and the wife accepts his covering which equips her to support and manage the needs of her husband and their household.     

If animals in partnership can adapt to each other’s needs in the wild, surely it’s not such a stretch for today’s young couples….

Sometimes Managers have to hold their Leaders accountable… other times Managers just need to vent….
A good Leader knows how to comfort those in his care
A good Supporter is able to stand firm when her King needs a rest
Seeking agreement with one another strengthens the union and deepens intimacy
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A Faithless Man vs. A Faithful Man

What good is a faithless man?

faithless: unworthy of faith or trust; unreliable.

A faithless man is a destroyer.

He has no worth. No value. He offers no true contribution to life. His leadership is false – a distraction. He escorts those who follow him into darkness – sadness – madness. A faithless man has no honor. No integrity. He is without loyalty and has no comprehension of commitment. He is not worth his word and his word has no worth. He is full of deceit because he knows not honesty or truth. He causes pain because he is not a conduit of love. He takes but doesn’t know how to receive. He expects but doesn’t know how to give. He does wrong and demands forgiveness, but is too proud to humble himself and ask for it. Ahh, pride… all sin rolls up or comes down to pride. The faithless man thinks only of himself in the present moment. He does not foresee consequences for his behavior or fallout from his choices. By his actions he hates and humiliates his wife, teaches his children to mimic him and destroys his family for generations to come.  

What can you do with a faithless man?

You can only be led astray – repeatedly; you will never be led right.

But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased. ~ Proverbs 6:32-33 NIV

 

What good is a faithful man?

faithful: worthy of trust or belief; reliable; adhering firmly and devotedly; loyal.

A faithful man is a builder.

His value is inestimable. He will give his life for you and ask for nothing in return. He is honor-bond to love, to cleanse, to heal and to keep holy the wife given to him. He is honest in his weakness and speaks truth to God’s glory. He recognizes his wife as a blessing made for the purpose of building him up so he can better hold her up. Because he loves first, he and his household are blessed by the fruit of love he plants in his wife. A faithful man communicates his intentions and his goals. He is humble and not self-seeking. He knows life is not about him. It has never been about him. Life is about Christ and he wants to know Christ better each and every day. To this end, he teaches his children to walk in the ways of God… as he does. He sets his family up for good success – as individuals and as a unit. The family relationships operate on honor, integrity, respect, love, loyalty and faithfulness because he exhibits these characteristics in his relationship with his wife. By his actions he honors and glorifies God and his family is blessed for generations to come

What can you do with a faithful man?

Respect and follow him all the days of your life, for his righteousness will cover you.

Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man? The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.  ~ Proverbs 20:6-7 NKJV

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Interview: Matt & Sarah Hammitt on Their Marriage & Song (Lead Me)

Goodness, there’s nothing to add to Matt and Sarah’s words. They discuss elements of their marriage that lead to Matt writing Lead Me for his band, Sanctus Real. Click below to listen.

The Story Behind “Lead Me” – Sanctus Real from BrightBulb Entertainment on Vimeo.

Read more about the song in “A Tale of Two Couples: Lead Me at a Glance”

Prayers

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Duality of Man: Strength and Vulnerability

From The Process of Asking for, Receiving and Giving Love and Forgiveness (Available January 2011)

And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lords strength, in the majesty (power) of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed (securely), for he will be highly honored around the world.   ~ Micah 5:4 (NLT)

The week of Thanksgiving brought several personal revelations to me through the resurfacing of a dormant family relationship. Then over Thanksgiving weekend, I had a series of dreams that expanded on those revelations.

The most vivid dream in the series involved a man (not a relative). In each  scene the man appeared in, he was standing tall with firmly planted feet and a broad welcoming smile. Perched on his left hip, like an attachment, was a big baby boy who looked to be three or four years old. He was a beautiful boy with bright alert eyes – piercing, really – and a much older mischievous expression. Physically, the toddler didn’t resemble the man at all, yet there was an element of sameness and familiarity.

The man greeted me and indicated in the conversation that the toddler was one and a half years old. I commented that the baby boy was more than twice the size of the average toddler his age. Even as I said that, I was reaching over to hug and kiss the baby/toddler. The man’s face was glowing with joy when I stepped back to face him. He then embraced me. End dream sequence.

Upon waking, I was confused about elements of the dream. Primarily, who was the big baby/toddler boy? As I mentally walked back through the dream, I discarded the thought of the boy being the man’s son or other relative, and concluded the baby/toddler was the man himself, representing a part of the man that was less mature in some areas, even though he looked over-developed. Mostly, the baby/toddler seemed to represent a part of the man that was extremely vulnerable, even though he appeared to ooze mischief, knowledge, awareness and confidence.

What happened in the dream to inspire this retelling?

The man presented his vulnerabilities to me and I embraced them (symbolized by me hugging and kissing the baby/toddler). The joy the man received from that acceptance lead to his willingness to accept me (symbolized by him embracing me).

The focus scripture in service this week came from Micah 5:1-6. Verse 4 (He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD) stood out to me for two reasons: 1) The man’s solid stance in my dream brought to mind security and strength 2) I’ve been listening to Santus Real’s song, Lead Me. The lyrics are a beautiful blend of a man’s strength and vulnerability through his multiple roles and responsibilities. The refrain is written from a wife and child’s perspective:

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

The song is a prayer for God to lead the man – the husband, the father – to be the strength of his family – the provider, comforter and defender – through God’s grace and power. It’s a moving prayer of a man laying bare his uncertainties and asking for the strength to love his family through his presence and with the best offerings of his life.

It’s such a vulnerable plea, but there’s so much power in it.

The convergence of all these elements had me analyzing aspects of my life. Specifically, the lack of strong hands in my life and the fact that there has never been anyone (father or other) standing or fighting for me. And I marveled that my hunger for love had turned into such a state of starvation that I’ve ceased to feel. Wonder of wonders… how different would my life be had I been blessed with a father who lead rather than destroyed?

It all rolls up to love. The best expression, the most lasting impression of love that we will receive in this life is through our father, mother, and spouse (husband or wife). If they aren’t led by the spirit of God, His love for us will not be experienced through them and we could remain hungry for love, chasing useless things in a lonely life because we have no idea how to be love or how to receive love.

Fortunately, these sad, lonely low points of neglect and uncertainty puts us in a special space for grace. I thank God for my vulnerabilities and my willingness to accept and embrace them. The more vulnerable I am, the stronger God’s presence in my life becomes.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.   ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10