5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 5)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

For those still with me, we have officially reached the finale of this series! Wahoo! I’m super excited to have taken this journey with you.

Okay, so there’s been (hopefully) some really good GodStuff for you to pray through and contemplate over this last month. If you haven’t read the first 4 blogs, I highly encourage you too check them out first. Here’s a link to the first one to get you going.

As this is only a 5 part series, I had a heckuva time whittling down the entire book. Not to brag, but there’s just so much good stuff in there- not because I’m a brilliant writer, but because God has tons of stuff to say about how to overcome fear and raise our children with Him at the helm. The Bible is just chalk-full of wisdom for this area! So as much as I’d love to write it all out (oh wait… I did… seriously check out the full book!) I’ll leave you with one more nugget of advice for helping to overcome this helicopter parenting thing.

Prayer!!!!

Prayer is a thing people… and not only a thing… but an extremely powerful thing- a thing that brings peace, calm, and comfort. It’s a thing that nurtures your relationship with Christ, will bring His supernatural aid, and produces results. Simply put, prayer is the lynch-pin to this fearless lifestyle we’re all trying to attain.

We should be circling anything and everything in our lives in prayer- not the least of which is our children!

The obsessive nature of our fearing needs to be turned to obsessive praying! The goal is to pray-walk

through every aspect of your life and the lives of your children.First thing in the morning, pray. Before

meals, pray, Walking to the park, pray. Have a fear pop up- pray. Worrying about your kids- pray. Sitting at

the computer at work- pray. Driving in the car- pray. Let it infuse the beginning of every single new moment

of your day. We do a walk- around every time those skids leave the ground, which for some calls, is

multiple times on one flight. Make it a habit. Make it a very necessary practice in your head.

We’ve learned about taking all your fears and thoughts captive, now let’s bind them up,

down, and around and around. Let’s start praying circle upon circle around those fears. Hedge

them in with prayer! Make so many prayer circles around them that they are literally strangled

out. Death by prayer-asphyxiation! Suck all the life out of them by enrcircling them with prayer.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you, I Peter 5:7.Those fears that paralyze you,

that freak you out, that make day to day normalcy impossible- pray around them, pray and pray

and pray about them, pray through them, underneath them and over them.

I am absolutely all about envisioning things. Putting a minds-eye visual assignment to

stuff. Use this tool if it helps you to ‘see’ what prayers can do. Personally I have all kinds of

prayer visuals- I imagine chains of bondage going around my fears when I pray against them. I

shoot ‘arrows’ up towards heaven with improper thoughts I find myself having. I imagine my

guardian angels flying through the air to assist me when I know I’m going in to a spiritual

warfare situation and I’m praying for strength. Much of this came from my counseling

experiences and I’ve found the imagination to be a very helpful place to put spiritual eyes on

soul-problems.

Conversely, I pray rings of protection around my children all the time. Whenever fears or

concerns of any kind rear up (whether logical or not) I pray circles around them. I think of them

as layers of spiritual bubble wrap followed by feather pillows surrounded by thick jello and all

suspended by angelic parachutes. Seriously, my kids are protected! They are earlobe deep in

prayer protection all the time. And I take that to the bank, I stand firm on that hill, and I rest

peacefully in their protection- because I’ve been intentional and proactive in my prayers for

them. I willfully and faithfully choose to believe that God’s got them because I’ve give them

back to Him, prayerfully, all the time. It takes some practice but, for me, it helps.

When it comes to fear, circle it, pray and pray and pray. Everytime you pray-walk around

that fear you strength the bonds that hold it, you create more safety from it, and you diminish it’s

ability to rear up and kick you in the shin. Instead of it chaining you to the ground, you are

imprisoning it. You are making it captive (very literally a prisoner) to Christ! Bind it spiritually with repetition

and persistence until it is strangled out by Christ bonds… and, poof! that fear is

no longer able to move, blink, paralyze, or handicap you anymore. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 13)

Prayer is such a powerful thing and yet we all too often use it as a last resort. Someone gets ill, we Google it, we ask friends, we try oils, etc etc and THEN when all else fails… we pray. Friends, this should literally be the FIRST thing we do. Our fears, our worries, our anxious thoughts… why are we not taking those early and often to the Throne? Why?? Doesn’t ‘work’ the first time, still battling those demons? Take them to the Father again… and again. And AGAIN. BE that needy widow beseeching the king. BE that irritating ask-er to the Lord. Spend so much time on your knees that you don’t have the time to actually worry. I promise you… THAT is very much a ‘thing’.

Do THAT kind of thing… you got this! Be that parent that kids grow up seeing on your knees. Let their memories of you be ones of prayer, thanksgiving, and supplication to a very big, very kind, very worthy God.

Whew! You made it! That’s the end of the this part of the trail. If you’re interested more about this prayer stuff, check out a few other blogs (The Power of Generic Prayer, and When All Else Fails Pray First among many others.) I also posted an entire series about praying through God’s names which is spectacular and written by the very talented Karen Guthrie. You can also check out the entire section within this blog that is just poetry and prayers or (again!) grab a copy of Helicopter Mom, chapter 13 not only goes into more depth regarding prayer but has several practical specifics that will give you a jump-start into a new prayer-life.

For those who’ve made it this far and have read the entire series- I’ve got a surprise for you! I’m giving away a FREE, autographed copy of Helicopter Mom to those who had traveled this far with me. I want to keep up your momentum by giving you the entire ‘fearless mom user-manual’!

So here’s the deal- Go back through the series and (if you haven’t already) comment on each blog post. What stuck you? What are you working with God through? How did that post affect your parenting or fear? Anything that’s on your heart will do! Next, be sure that you’ve signed up (if you haven’t already) for my email list. Next, wait with bated-breath to see if the computer chooses you! I’ll do the drawing on July 13th, 2019 so that should give you plenty of time to get the blogs read.

I also have some super-exciting new! A version of this series will also be available on YouVersion this summer. It’s in the works so stay tuned!

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 4)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Oh dear friends you’re almost there! I do hope that these little excerpts from Helicopter Mom have driven you to find out more about how <not> to be a helicopter mom! This series is by no means a complete synopsis of the book, rather meant to give you some go-to tools to start you on your journey towards a fear-free parenting lifestyle.

If you missed the first three blogs, check them out here:

Intro

Trauma Drama

Medical Mayhem

Now on to this week’s blog which will be a couple of chapters rolled into one. Another major issue, actually THE major issue that I’ve found helicopter parents deal with is the big C word.

CONTROL, CONTROL… WHO’S GOT CONTROL?

We like getting it, we like taking it, we like wielding it, we like having it.

Helicopter parents are total control freaks. #sorrynotsorry #truthbomb

We like to think that we can control the small universe of our children. We like to think we can alter their destiny. We like to think we have the ultimate say in their little lives.

We’re wrong.

So, let’s take a quick closer look at this control-thing… or as I like to call it what it is…. a complete facade of illusion (DElusion) of who’s in charge. We did some redecorating last week, now its time to step aside and let the actual pilot-in-command take the controls.

I tend to be a bit of a control freak &lt;though I’m much better than I used to be!&gt; but at the

same time, I know when to say when. I know that there are times and places and things that I

need to hand over control to someone else. Like actually flying a helicopter…

People who see me in my flight suit will almost always say, “Ah, so you fly the helicopter?”

No. Uh uh. Absolutely not. You wouldn’t want me trying to fly anything! Not my thing, not my

skill set. I like my life and would really like to stay alive for a while longer. Nope. The whole

piloting thing I tend to leave to the pilots.

Let me be frank- I’m smart, I’m talented, I’m educated, and people like me (Stewart

Smalley anyone?) I’m NOT a pilot and I cannot fly a helicopter. In one yes, actually controlling

one, no. And I have to be okay with that! In fact, I am VERY okay with that!

Not, however, a good friend of mine.

My person, who is an amazing lady (and shall remain nameless but you know who you are),

absolutely hates to fly. Any and all modes of aviation, she just cannot handle it. It gives her

anxiety attacks to even talk about flying. And if you were to ask her why, it’s all about control.

She will tell you that she doesn’t like not seeing the ground, not knowing what is happening in

the cockpit, not having control over the aircraft, not being able to be in a position to ‘handle’ any

emergencies that may arise. I really think she legitimately thinks she could help. Have I

mentioned that my friend is not actually a pilot? Yet, she feels the need to control the place, the

destination, the altitude, etc. Not. Even. Joking.

Anybody relate?

Perhaps in a different area of their lives?

Maybe with fearing loss of control over their children? Worst. Nightmare.

I’m hearing resounding amen’s…

I think it may be safe to say that every mother’s absolute worst nightmare is to lose

control of her kids. In whatever way that manifests itself- be it kidnapping, lost at the zoo, lost to

drugs, taken off to exile by terrorists, growing up and not needing us anymore. Really any

situation, big or small, that we can’t immediately and directly control makes us nervous… and

we fear those times greatly. We can’t handle the idea of letting go control, or worse, having it

taken from us. It’s terrifying!

But Bethany, it can’t be all bad right? We take control because we have to, right? No one

else will. No one else loves and cares about our children as much as we do right? No one

understands what they mean to us. No one will ever take as good of care and love them like it do.

I know best. I can. I will. Is it just me or is this starting to sound familiar? Control, control,

control. I, me, mommy- am the end all, be all, to my kid’s safety, security, health, protection, and

destiny. Anyone feel that way? Be honest.

So, what do we have here? What we have here is pride. We are the momma, we are the

caregiver, we are the protector, the preventor, and the provider. We have placed ourselves

squarely in the pilot’s seat of our helicopter- convincing ourselves that we know best how to fly

the aircraft. We fear losing control so what do we do? We take MORE control. Makes sense….

Or not at all.

I would be a fool and very dead to try to think I could really do much to help fly the

helicopter. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom, ch. 6)

I’m not a pilot. As the book discusses, just because I’ve flown thousands of hours IN a helo doesn’t mean I can FLY a helo. Big difference!

And, dear ones, just because you’re IN your kid’s lives, doesn’t mean you can CONTROL your kids lives. Only God can do that. Somewhere along the line, we’ve gone from being a caregiver for our children, while assisting God in His plan for their lives as best we can- to taking those reins from Him and leaving Him and His wishes in the dust.

We’ve taken God off the throne and put ourselves and our wills there instead.

Ouch.

This is the spiritual equivalent to me telling my pilot how to fly a helicopter. Me… who has zero training or experience in doing that. Me… who has no business dictating to a higher officer how things are going to go.

It just doesn’t happen.

So what to do now? It’s time to give controls back to the One who is actually IN control. Let us take ourselves out of the picture a good bit… exiting stage left to allow for more of Him and less of us. Dear ones, I know it is not an easy thing to ask; giving control of your children’s lives and well-being to another. But this is The Other… really the Only.

For this last bit, I need you with me. We have some more work to do- and this may be the

hardest part- not because we’re sacrificing ourselves to the cause, but we’re giving up control of

our kids. Our most precious children need to be given back to the One that really IS able to care

for them the best. It’s not us, ladies! It’s not their dad’s, their grandparent’s, pastors, teachers,

coaches, or family members. “Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the

baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you – never. Look, I’ve written your

names on the backs of my hands…. As sure as I am the living God,” God’s Decree.

Isaiah 49:15-18 MSG

God- the Pilot in Command. He is the One in control. He is the One to best take over the

controls out of our white-knuckled, cold, over-my-dead-body hands. Will you let Him?

Meditate on these questions this week. How much of a control freak are you? How much are your expectations (fears!) dictating to God how things are <supposed> to go? This is a faith-game friends. There is no faith-building without faith-testing, and I can think of literally no harder or better thing to trust God with than our own kids.

Give them to Him…

And I’ll meet you back here next week for a few more thoughts!

For more lots more reading and much greater insight into all this please don’t hesitate to grab a full-copy of Helicopter Mom, available in ebook and paperback from my website and Amazon.

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 3)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Okay, so here we are. Blog three is comin’ at ya in this series based on Helicopter Mom about fighting fear for our kids and being fearless in our lives and parenting. If you happen to miss the first two blogs, check the first out here and number 2 here.

Thus far we’ve acknowledged that there is, indeed, an actual problem of fear in our lives, and we’ve started dissecting out some of the reasons that this fear is so pervasive. Last week’s blog focused on what we focus on… the kinds of fear-mongering shows, books, movies, music, etc. that we put into our minds. These kinds of images and ideas take our focus off of the One who deserves it most. The fear drives us to worry instead of the cross, it focuses our attention and minds on things of this world, not on things of the Almighty.

So we have a renewed focus. Check.

Now it’s time for some redecorating. And I do mean we’re changing the very scenery of our souls…. we need to clean out the idols we’ve erected all around us.

Medical Mayhem

We live in a society that flourishes with knowledge and with intellect. We have at our

fingertips the vast data of all scientific studies and medical breakthroughs; article upon article

about history, religion, science, politics, and economics. We have access to more knowledge than

has ever been accessible in the history of man about subjects that are only still newly discovered.

There is so. much. knowledge.

As parents, we obsess about the best food, the smartest doctor, the safest car seats,

immunizations, the most eco-friendly wood to use on the playhouse, whether or not the udders of

the cow were shaved when they produced that organic, raw, partially soy almond milk you just bought

<actually I conversation overhead at a mom’s group the other day- I kid you not!>. We

read books, skim articles, become members of mom chat rooms, watch YouTube videos, pour

over parenting books, take out subscriptions to magazines, join Facebook pages, and attend

seminars. We get a special plaque from WebMD quarterly as a most-valued costumer.

<Kidding, those don’t exist! At least I don’t think they do>, All to attain more knowledge; to

gird ourselves with the safest, the healthiest, the best. And then we can back up our craziness

with 1400 articles from Google and our Mommy-and-Me blog that will all prove us right…

because we can! You get my drift? We are both blessed with such knowledge and absolutely

cursed by it. Because the cold, hard fact is we think we know best.

Knowledge is fine. In fact knowledge is great! Don’t get me wrong. I’m just putting forth

the idea that man’s wisdom will always be imperfect. Thus we need to look at it for what it is.

MAN’S WISDOM. I have no issue with researching stuff. I have no issue with making sure

we’re giving our children the most appropriate upbringing. But consider the source! Unless the

source of your decision making is Christ you are in dangerous territory my friend- and very

foolish territory to boot. If you spend more than 5 minutes researching “sore toe” in WebMD,

guaranteed you’ll eventually find out it’s probably Ebola. I promise it’s not!

We live constantly bombarded by tales of woe and tribulation because of this or that. Faulty

knowledge, man’s knowledge, knowledge we too often stake our claim on. Antibiotics or

probiotics, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, dairy is good/dairy is bad,

paleo/vegan/Adkins/SouthBeach, to oil or not to oil, there’s glass in the juice boxes, there’s fecal

matter in the water, there’s a fly in the ointment, etc. etc. etc. The news no longer delivers news,

now we’re hard-pressed to hear any story about something happy. It’s all bad, all the time. Some

of it is real, some of it is faulty. How often do we take it all at face value though? Can I get an

amen? No wonder we lose sleep at night! The world around us is a scary place!

We have failed to protect our brains and now they are contaminated with filth from our

eyes (see blog 2 of this series) and false-gods from our knowledge. Again we’ve internalized an attack

from the Enemy that has been allowed grow and fester into unrealistic fear and at the same time

prideful knowledge. In most cases, as is cancer to the body, it has grown insidiously in our

minds. I would even argue it’s metastisized to our hearts. We too often place trust and faith in the

man’s knowledge. We’ve conditioned ourselves to run to that knowledge first- to take comfort in

that website first, to check our magazine articles first. It has a place of honor in our lives, and

thereby the lives of our children. And like the Israelites waiting on Moses in the desert, when

God tarried in showing up to them, they turned to something more “concrete”- man’s inventions,

man’s reasoning. My sisters… we are guilty of the very same thing. Hear me out, man’s

knowledge is fine but fallible. Our calling as Believers is to a higher knowledge- a more pure,

infallible way of thinking. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 5)

Dear friends- we have put idols on our thrones. Idols of knowledge, of learning, of (man’s) wisdom. We run too quickly too often to that which is not of God to fix our woes. And then wonder why the answers don’t stick…

So what to do? I would suggest a re-prioritizing of fear-mitigation. Instead of going to that webpage, that chat group, that book… seek FIRST God’s wisdom, pray FIRST about your worries, read FIRST about it in your Bible. This is not rocket-science people! Don’t oil first, pray first. Don’t google first, open your Word first.

I’m not saying that knowledge from the world isn’t helpful, I am saying let God bring it to you as you seek Him through your fears. Put Him in His proper place…. FIRST in our lives! Take the idols that we seek for and acknowledge too much… down. Don’t use God as a back-up in case everything and everyone else doesn’t work.

He’s not a “when all else fails” kinda guy. He’s a “I will never fail” kinda God.

Give man’s knowledge it’s due (which let’s be honest, is very little…) and start giving some real weight to what God would say, what He would instruct, how He would lead. Forget what the internet says, what your best friend says, what the family member says… find out FIRST what God would say.

Here are some questions to consider-

What or who reigns heavy in your decision-making?

When you worry about something for your children, what most effectively calms your fears- advice, books, WebMD, other moms, God?

What CAUSES you more anxiety?

We need another day of confession about this. Ask for forgiveness for placing idols ahead of God. Ask for help in keeping Him at the center of your life, asking Him for wisdom and guidance, looking to Him for calming of your fears. Look to nothing else sister!

You’ve stopped the distractions so you can look at the right area. Now put the right Person in the right place.

But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:

Fear God. Do what He tells you. And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 MSG

You’ve got this! See ya back here next week!

But regarding

anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and

constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:

Fear God. Do what He tells you. And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do

out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 MSG

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 2)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Wahoo! You came back for more! I’m super proud of you because this fear-stuff is no joke. I hope you’ve had a great week of hashing out with God the amount and kind of fear you have. If you missed the first blog in this series about overcoming helicopter parenting, please check it out here. For those caught up though, let’s get to it!

Last week we worked on simply acknowledging that there, in fact, IS a problem. That’s a huge step. Getting to say the words out-loud is no small thing. This week we’re going to take the next step and identify some of the reasons we fear. In my book, I go into great detail about many of these roots but for this blog we’ll just skirt them a bit. (For the complete read, please grab yourself a copy of Helicopter Mom <shameless plug>. I promise it will revolutionize how you deal with fear!)

These next 3 blogs will all address certain factors in overcoming fears- call them fear-mongers if you will. These are the WHYS of fear as well as the answers to fixing them. As you read, see which ones strike a cord with you…

Trauma Drama

Friends, our minds are simply filled with trash- with blood, guts, goo, rape, violence, abuse, profanity, nakedness. The list of what we intake daily (by choice!) is crippling our souls and infecting our hearts.

Our culture adores blood and guts for some

reason. They get a kick out of the horror of it or the heartbreak of it. Walking Dead anyone?

They love the freakish nature of terror and letting the worst parts of their imagination get the

better of their sanity. Americans go in droves to theatres to be entertained by the morbid.

Weird… and wrong.

So much of our battleground fighting fear is in our minds. In our imaginations. And I

believe women, the female gender, is especially prone to breaks in the protection for our minds.

We, more often than men, live in our imaginations. The fight is for control of our thoughts. And,

gals, our thoughts are too often out of control! These blood and guts visions are not unlike those

distracting injuries I spoke of earlier. They are gory and scary and often can distract us from

what we should be working on. We are losing the battle for our minds because we obsess over

the fear and lose sight of the faith.

Mom’s fear trauma. We fear blood, broken bones, broken backs, broken heads, broken

hearts <yes, it’s a thing> broken skin, broken fill-in-the-blank. Our blood turns cold to think of our children

laying in the middle of the street having been run over by a car. Our heart stops

when we see them fall down the stairs and we’re sure their neck is snapped in two. Our thoughts

explode and tears spring up in our eyes to imagine them drowning in the pool. We are terrified of

these things! They keep us up at night and haunt our dreams. They cripple our days. One stray,

random thought can hijack an entire afternoon. One ill-placed news article on Facebook can

overcome our sense of the realistic and plunge us into the fatalistic. One sad scene from a tv

show can alter how we approach a certain situation. And before we know it we are already in

deep mourning for our child that has died some horrific death- if only in our (overactive)

imaginations.

We are masters of destruction in our own minds! We’ve become distracted by the

injuries. We have become slaves to fear- slaves to the vibrancy of our imaginations.

It’s time sisters, to acknowledge our pitiful state. It’s time to acknowledge we have not

been diligent in protecting ourselves from fear and worldly thinking. We have blurred the lines

between real and make-believe: by not taking every thought captive to Christ, by allowing death

and dismemberment into our heads as a way of entertainment, by allowing the images of gore in

our culture to permeate our minds, by allowing the fear of fictional situations and stories to play

out in our daily, non-fictional lives. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 4).

Oh friends! How filthy our minds have become! We intake the most horrendous things and then wonder why we fear that which we regularly and intentionally watch. It’s confounding when you think about it. Satan is using these shows, books, movies, etc to distract us from reality. Better yet, he’s using the make-believe to keep us pondering ‘what-ifs’ not the ‘here-nows’.

Distraction is never a good thing when it takes our focus off of Christ. EVER. He is a

jealous God and demands 100% all the time, every time. This is hard enough to do in a perfect-

case scenario let alone when we’re battling demons from our imaginations. I would venture to

say it’s impossible! So let’s start clearing out the trash, the blood, and the guts from our homes,

our families, our lives, and our own imaginations. This is indeed, a bloody mess, but let’s hang

out here for a bit. Look at it for what it is. Identify what it is, what it causes. You have to know

what you’re stained with in order to know what cleaner to use right mom.

So today we’re going to work on cleaning up and cleaning out.

What needs to go?

What do you need to examine in your life/mind that is creating distraction between you and God?

What shows, movies, books, music are you intaking that needs to go?

Are you a glutton for sob-stories and fatalistic accounts?

Are you filling your mind with scary and frightening images?

God calls us to a much higher standard than the world. We simply cannot dwell within in like the rest of the world.

bibleversestogo.com

Philippians 4:8 - Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.

True

Noble

Right

Pure

Lovely

Admirable

These are high standards… are you meeting them?

Before we go to next week, we need confession and cleaning. Ask God to clean our your mind. Ask for help and accountability to avoid that which is contaminating your spirit. Fear needs no additional help from ourselves feeding it. Have our Father renew your mind and I promise all this distraction will not be for much longer.

Cant’s wait to see you back next week!

Platform Dark

Happy New Year! I pray great blessings, insight, encouragement, and strengthening for you in the coming year! I firmly believe that 2018 will be a banner year for the body of Christ... if we only listen and obey. In that vein- I wanted to let all my supporters and readers know that I’m going to be taking a break from all my social media for the entire month of January. The Pastors and Elders for our church are leading a church-wide month of fasting and prayer to start off this new year and I wanted to throw all my energy into seeking the Lord during this time. It’s no small thing to go ‘platform dark’ but I trust God will be faithful during this time- both to you and myself as well.

I’ll still be posting in the LIFT! Book Club as our January book is Fervent (all about prayer! There’s still time to join if you’d like.) And I’ll be posting my weekly Holy Beautiful Tuesday articles. But past that, please feel free to enjoy past blogs at www.bethanyldouglas.com for daily encouragement and finding God-stuff.

I would love to have you join me and others in this month of prayer. I will be reading several books about prayer during this time; Fervent as I mentioned in the LIFT! Book Club starts today! Additionally I highly recommend Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbalta and 30 Days to a More Dynamic Prayer Life by John Franklin. Join me if you are so led! I'll be reviewing them all when we're through.

I look forward to seeing you back in February and we can talk about all God is doing!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

May all your old 2017 go away, seek God in the new year for a new you!

The God-Strand ~ A book review of A Wife's Secret to Happiness

Hi all, amidst this crazy book launch for Helicopter Mom, this particular book by Jen Weaver called A Wife's Secret to Happiness had been coming across multiple paths of mine on multiple occasions. I had passed by it with little thought until a fellow LIT sister posted a book review of it... and then I was intrigued because there was a writing contest involved with some incredible prizes that this new author started dreaming about. Soooo, I decided to give it a read.

I'm glad I did!

I won't lie... I generally grow super bored with books about marriage. I find them redundant and often, despite their attempts not to be, a bit self-righteous. I am the worst marriage-book-reader ever. I admit it. I am very happy in my marriage, we are very intentional about our relationship, etc. etc. (more on how hard that battle was in a bit). I don't see or feel the need for marriage advice very often (now who's self-righteous? <insert eye-roll emoji and hashtag something about 'pot calling the kettle black...>) And yet, God kept placing this book in my line of vision for several weeks- so I decided to order it up (not easily done as Amazon was out of them and I ended up buying used from the UK... what an amazing problem that must be to have....!)

Anyhoo, so I got the book , read it and.... it's good. I won't lie and say it's the best book on marriage that I've ever read, but it is chalk-full of usable and scripturally sound principles for wives. I will say, with this being the first book by Jen Weaver that I've ever read, I found her writing style very easy to read, funny, real, and convicting in the right spots. I didn't find it stilted or goody-two-shoes either which was helpful for my generally critical reading of self-help books (again, I promise I'm working on this! lol.) Her chapters highlighting the blessings that wives can walk in are solid and Biblical- no wife can go wrong in following them. Overall it's a good book and one I would recommend... especially for young wives and those newer to the faith.

The chapter that I wanted to talk about here, however, happens to be her opening chapter- The Blessing of Three Strands. This chapter spoke to me from a very real place that I wanted to share with you today. For those who have read or heard my testimony, you will remember that Gabe and I have had more than our fair share of trouble in our marriage. With God's help we've come through 2 affairs and a porn addiction (for the complete story in all it's horrendous glory, click here!) I say 'with God's help' loosely... in reality, it was more like with His complete holding-us-together through it. As Jen writes, "What is a third strand? You've no doubt heard of this illustrious fiber. A bond between two people may shatter with ease but 'a cord of three strands is not quickly broken'.... My vows weren't foolish promises, although in challenging moments I question my sanity. God's third strand compensates for where we lack.... The threads of His tapestry hold our marriage together when everything else unravels."  This is just so true!

But I would argue even further... God's strand is literally the only one... the most important one... the life-giving one. We as fallible and horribly sinful people (yes, us Christians included!) have zero to bring to the marriage table, the marriage bed, or the marriage covenant except brokenness, baggage, a past of varying degrees of hurt, and this innane desire to 'make it work.' God is the absolute glue that holds marriages together. Literally. I can attest personally that during those incredibly rough patches in our marriage, both of our strands, Gabe's and mine.... were not only not strong but in some cases were not even present. They simply were not there! At best they were frayed... but (especially for me) many times they had been cut- the connection was severed completely.

Only He remained faithful in our marriage. Only He kept His promise, His vows.

God's strand remained. By His grace and abundant mercy to us, He literally held together our lives, our marriage, our family on several occasions. I am grateful in ways that I can't even begin to describe.

The idea of the 3-strand cord that Jen speaks of is so vitally important in a marriage. Many places in A Wife's Secret to Happiness she writes about lost dreams, impaired realities, unequally yoked marriages, and wives who long for a better setup. I get it. So does Jen. It was wise of her (and planned I'm sure) to start the book with the idea of the God-component thoroughly interwoven within our marriage from the onset. Without that strand, the God-strand, we have NO hope of this marriage-thing having any meaning or worth at all. It must be there to keep it together when we can't, it must be there to strengthen the bonds during rough patches outside the marriage, it must be there to refine us within the marriage to make us a more perfect example of Christ and the Church. The God-strand must be center!

If you have ever or are currently struggling in your marriage, please know there is hope and healing available. Gabe and I are living, breathing, healed, and whole examples of Christ's ability to remake and renew a marriage that was not only on the rocks... but had literally just sunk to the depths of the ocean. It was dead. But it (and we) are alive again! It's possible! Please, please let me know if you want prayer or guidance! God is awfully big, and pretty amazing at being the Great Healer. Make Him the center strand of your marriage rope and I promise if you cling to Him, that unbreakable thread, that he will do marvelous things in your marriage.

Please check out Jen's book today! You can find it on Amazon here (it is back in stock!) or at thejenweaver.com

 

Thanks for reading today, if you were touched, if I may be so bold to ask please take a moment and vote for this post here. My entry will be listed there at the bottom of the page... you can vote as many times as you'd like. I really would appreciate it very much!! Thanks in advance!

UPDATE: Thanks to ALL of you who voted! The contest is closed now and I took 5th place! Yay! I'm super excited about the prizes and I very much appreciate all your votes and support.