12 Ways To Show Who You Love More

I believe most women want their man to love them more than he loves himself.  But do men really understand what this means?

Well, here is a basic list of things that a woman needs to see in her man so she knows he loves her above himself, if he indeed does (so men, read up….or women, nonchalantly message him the link in hopes he reads):

  1.  Tell her you love her even when she annoys you.  If you can only express your love towards her when she does something that pleases you or when you are in a good mood, you don’t actually love her.  In that case, you just love the way she makes you feel when she does what you want her to.
  2. Do what she wants to do often, especially when you know it is something that brings her joy but that you dislike.  Example: If she really loves to watch a certain tv show but you think it is stupid or uninteresting, sacrifice that 30 minutes to an hour to watch it with her to make her happy.  It’s not a huge sacrifice of your time, and you get to snuggle up on the couch with her and see her smile/laugh the whole time.
  3. Help her with things simply to be of service.  More times than not she is doesn’t need your help with putting away the dishes or making the cookies, dusting the bookshelves or putting away laundry.  Just because she doesn’t need your help doesn’t mean she wouldn’t appreciate it.  Helping her with the small things builds up trust that you will be helpful for the big things in life, too.  Plus, it is a little more time spent together and we all love spending time with the one we love.
  4. Never leave without a goodbye hug and/or kiss.  Personally, I like both but one or the other would suffice.  This point should go without saying, but you are not guaranteed a return to her.  Life can be short and can end unexpected.  Kiss her.  Hug her.  Make sure you always take that extra 10 seconds before leaving.  Plus, she won’t tell you this, but you being gone for hours does make her heart sad.  She misses you all day while you are out.  That goodbye hug and/or kiss will help lift her up.
  5. Listen to her when she talks.  I mean really listen.  Put away your phone or computer, look away from the television or tablet.  Listen to what she tells you and be interested.  Maybe you don’t care about the components of her story, but if you care about her you will let her know that if it is important to her, it is important to you.  If she doesn’t feel heard and her opinions cared about, she isn’t going to want to discuss with you the big things or really important things in life.  And that, my friend, is going to kill you relationship slowly.
  6. Never say something you know will her hurt during an argument.  I get it, noone likes to be wrong in an argument.  In an argument in a relationship, NO ONE WINS.  If you get the last word or break her down enough that she gives up, that is not a win.  The only win is a resolution made by both of you and reconciliation.  When you get mad or frustrated with her, never ever say something mean intended to hurt her.  She will remember it.  She’ll remember it long after the argument is over and long after apologies have been made.  She’ll remember it when she is feeling down.  She’ll remember it when she feels like you are disappointed.  She will always remember it…and it will shape how she sees herself.  If you really love her, you will build her up.  You will not let your words tear her down.
  7. Compliment her.  Yes, we still like hearing that you think we are beautiful even when we don’t feel like it.  Yes, we still like you telling us you like the meal we made you even when we have made it a dozen times already.  Yes, we still like to know if you like our new shirt or pants or shoes.  Yes, we still like to hear if you think we are smart.  Your woman wants to hear the things you like that she does and the things you simply like about her, even if she has already heard them a dozen times.
  8. Encourage her.  This is different than a compliment.  A woman loves to serve and to give and to love.  We all do.  It goes back to the beginning of our existence.  We were created as helpmates, companions, lovers.  But we still need encouragement. Your woman tries very hard to love you well.  She is still going to fail sometimes.  She is still going to mishear what you say sometimes, forget something, mess up dinner, break a cup, etc. She is still going to go through things.  She needs you to encourage her.  Be her number 1 fan.  Be her personal cheerleader (uniforms not required).  Tell her that whether or not she thinks she can do something, you believe in her.  Tell her it’s okay when something goes wrong and that accidents can happen.
  9. Forgive her.  This sounds easy since relationships are about love and forgiveness is a big part of love.  But when you forgive her for something, let it go.  Forgiving doesn’t mean you forgive one day, then bring the transgression back up in a fight a week or two later.  That is not forgiveness. You let it go.  You put it down and you do not pick up that offense up again.  You can remember it, but don’t borrow the hurt from it again
  10. Spend time with her.  This is so very simple.  Playing your video game in the same room as her is not spending time with her.  Being on your phone or tablet while sitting next to her is not spending time with her.  Engage in her attention.  Invest in her presence.  Do things together.  Examples: go play a sport together, take a walk and agree to put the electronics away during it, make a craft together, build something, go to a museum or gallery and discuss each exhibit together, watch a movie together, play games with one another, etc.  Quality time means so much more than a grand gesture here and there.
  11. Be romantic.  You woman needs you to romance her.  She has plenty of friends and most likely family who will do many of the things y’all do together (eat, shop, play sports/games, watch movies, etc.).  However, she only has one significant other — you. You are the only ONE who she expects to and wants to romance her.  If you can’t think of something romantic to do or say or give on your own, take to the internet.  Use Google or Pinterest.  There are plenty of ideas out there waiting for you to bring to life for your woman. She needs romance in her life — frequently, not just on anniversaries or birthdays.  And you know, it’ll make you feel good to see how much a little romance can warm her heart.  Trust me.
  12. Lead her.  A woman is great at following good leadership.  She needs you to be a good leader.  This means in the house, out of the house, with others, with family, etc.  Lead her in showing others compassion, volunteering your time to show selflessness, being kind, being financially responsible, being adventurous, trying new things, etc.  Personally, my number one for wanting to be led from my significant other in faith.  A man who can lead a woman into a deeper, more devoted relationship with God is a good man and good leader.  Into the heart of God is the best place a man can lead a woman.  Do that for her.  Do that for yourself.  It makes a big difference.

 

This is my short little list of things that come to mind instantly when I think of how to show someone you love them more than you love yourself.  It all boils down to sacrifice in the end.  Love always does.  I mean, the greatest act of love of all time was the sacrifice Jesus made of all of us on the cross. So, if you truly love someone more than you love yourself, you will sacrifice for them.  And if you truly love them, it will be more of an honor than an obligation.

On an ending note, these points above can be reversed on how a woman can show a man she loves him more than herself.  I wrote primarily to the men here because I am a woman, but I believe it is just as applicable with the genders reversed (aside from #12).

Be kind to one another.  Show love to each other.  Do good.

Advertisements

Wedding Vows: Short and Sweet

Image

I know that it’s hard for a lot of men to write their own wedding vows.  I also know that most women want their husband to write his own wedding vows.  Lucky for all of God’s children, He already knew all of this and wrote some in the Bible for all the men to be able to go off of.  How stinkin’ sweet of our Heavenly Father!  

Where are these vows, you ask?  Well, these gems of scripture are found in Hosea 2:19-20

“I will take you to be My wife forever.
I will take you to be My wife in righteousness, justice, love, and compassion.
I will take you to be My wife in faithfulness, and you will know Yahweh.”

In this passage from the Bible God is talking about His people, Israel.  He is talking about renewing His covenant with them, despite their unfaithfulness to them.  Why?  Because God loves His people.  And He forgives.  And He loves faithfully.  

Now, if a husband loves his wife according to the Bible, he will love her as much as Jesus loves the Church (i.e. as much as God loves His people).  Thus, these vows should work quite nicely — and it should be what marriage should always embody:  a forever kind of love, a righteous love, a relationship rooted in justice, compassion, faithfulness, and God at the center.  

There you go, bachelors out there!  Here are some vows sure to make your Christian wife-to-be swoon.  

You’re welcome.  🙂

 

You Can’t Win With Love…

…in a tennis game, but on Valentine’s Day (and in life) it’s a whole different story.

Image

There’s a lot of talk about love and even more so in the month of February.  Think about it.  Go into Target and you are instantly met with graphics of pink and red hearts with some sort of phrase about love or that “someone special.”   (Sidenote:  You are all someone special.  You don’t need a significant other to validate that.  They just help remind you when you forget it.)

People think that for one day, their “love” can be shown through heart shaped candies, overstuffed teddy bears, candle-lit dinners, and large romantic gestures because, hey, the calendar says that on February 14th you’re suppose to actually live out that whole love thing.  Lucky for all of us, we’re told how to “love” on Valentine’s Day, too. 

It breaks my heart every year to see friends of mine and acquaintances who feel so negatively about Valentine’s Day.  We all have (or some of you are) that friend who has been single for so long they have forgotten to believe in real love anymore.  Or, there’s that friend who will choose the worst guy/girl possible to spend Valentine’s Day with because they are afraid to be alone.  Then there are the friends who, from past relationships and more battle scars on their hearts than many of us can imagine, are not sad on Valentine’s Day , but rather bitter.  And overly critical of any and all relationships of their loved ones.  Still yet, there are the newly hurt hearts who long for the idealistic love that media has come to portray through Valentine’s Day.  Oh, and can’t forget the “I don’t know why I am single” friends who try to act too cool for relationships and love.  (Sidenote:  You aren’t that cool.  Next time you ask the rhetorical question of ‘seriously, what is wrong with me?’ I sincerely hope a friend or family member loves you enough to answer that.  It’s for your own good.)

It also kills me to see friends who really buy into the whole one-day love of Valentine’s Day.  I know those girls who will purposefully date a man right before Valentine’s Day just to get attention on that day and presents.  Or, there are always the newly-formed couples who think that saying “I love you” just feels right on Valentine’s Day…despite the fact that they have only known each other a matter of three or less weeks.  Let’s not forget the ‘we’re not together but let’s be together today’ couples who have broken up and been put back together more times than a preschool puzzle.  Just say no. 

So who are the real winners on Valentine’s Day (aside from the jewelry, flower, and candy markets)?  I’ll tell you:  the ones who treat that day as any other day in their life-long love story, just with an extra reminder or two of the love that is shared.  The couples who are long-standing, who believe in marriage and keep it holy, who fight for love against daily life and hold one another in the winner’s circle every single day.  The real winners are the couples who know that love isn’t always sweet like heart-shaped candies, elegant like diamonds, or vibrant like flowers, but know that it is always worth it. 

The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the couples who know what it means to fight for love.  The real winners on Valentine’s Day are those who understand that there are no easy buttons.  The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the ones who have had issues and refuse to give up because, well, they couldn’t imagine life without their significant other – and wouldn’t want to.  The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the couples who hold on to one another instead of trading one another in for something else or someone else.  The real winners on Valentine’s Day are those who understand one simple fact, and have given all of themselves within that understanding:  love is sacrifice. 

The real winners on Valentine’s Day are, also, those who have yet to find that romantic, long-lasting, never-giving-up love but can be joyful and genuinely happy for those who have.  The real winners go on to include the widows who spend the day without the presence of the person they vowed to love forever, but never spend a day without cherishing the memories.  Finally, the real winners on Valentine’s Day must include those who have been hurt, scarred, rejected, and crushed but have yet to give up. 

Don’t give up, buttercup. 

Be a winner this Valentine’s Day.  

You are lovely. 
You are loved.
 You were made to love and be loved.

 Live that way.

Christians’ “Love” vs. God’s Love

I will preface this post with a simple statement:  I make no apologies for honesty, yet I have no aim to offend.  That being said let me just go ahead and lay out what is irking me today.

Love.  Christians and their “love” particularly, because I believe we (Christians) have been doing dangerous things to both the word, the value, and the context of love.  It’s time for change.  Or, maybe, it’s time someone just show me the error of my thoughts about this.  Either way:  something needs to give.

Love

I am 22 years old and have been a Christian half of my life (I accepted salvation at age 11).  I know God loves me to an extent that even after over a decade I still cannot fully know the depths to.  I know that for Jesus, blameless and holy, to die on a cross for all of us who through our sins deserve the punishment of death, He had to have loved us more than we can really comprehend.  Jesus and God both tell us over and over in scripture that we, as sinful people, are loved.  God loves us.  Jesus loves us.

Faithful Love

How can we be sure?  Well, God loves us so much that He created us just so we can experience His goodness and live forever with Him in glory.  He loves us so much that He sacrificed His blameless, holy, and only Son on a cross through a torturous death so that we can be forgiven of our sins – that we do not have to bear the punishment of death for the sins that we commit daily.  And Jesus, oh sweet Jesus!  He was perfect – fully man and fully God.  He never sinned.  His eternal home was all ready going to be Heaven.  He didn’t need to die on that cross for His own benefit.  He chose to go through an insane amount of torture, ridicule, and hurt to sacrifice Himself since we could never do that ourselves.  Jesus loves each of us enough that He gave Himself to pay for the wrongs that we commit because He wants to know us, He wants us to know Him, and He wants us to spend forever in the love and glory of His Father with Him in Heaven.  That’s a love of love for the pure sake of love.

Now, basically the lasting command that Jesus gave all of us before He went back to Heaven to chill with God was to love God and love one another.  Okay, so He wants us to love one another?  And He said that God is love so by Him we shall know what love is and how to love.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Apparently that just isn’t so.

Simply Love

We as humans complicate everything, I’ve found.  You know, dogs have it figured out.  They get excited when their human(s) comes home and they spend all day just trying to love those who they are around.  Animals are smart — and simple.  But humans, oh we are so complex.  We complicate.  We compare.  We rationalize.  We justify.  We modify.

Dog Love

It’s come to my attention that there are two major different camps of Christians these days when it comes to “love” or “loving on people”:  the Over-lookers and the Reprimanders.  You may find yourself right now immediately pulling towards one and justifying yourself.  Stop.  Be simple.  Admit, change, and find a balance.  You may be sitting there and thinking “I’m more of a half-and-half kind of person.”  Good!  You should be.  Balance is the simple essence of real love here.

First, let us take a gander at the Over-lookers.  This camp of Christians is what many would consider the hippies, the hipsters, the overall “anything goes” kind-of people.  They claim that to “love” others you have to overlook all the sin that bonds them, ignore it, and just accept them as is.  These are the ones who are infamous about proclaiming the “judge not lest ye be judged” verse in any and all context.  They also heavily rely on the “look at the speck in your own eye” scripture.  You’ll know these people.  The whole “oh, you abuse your children and you cheat on your spouse?  That’s okay, we all sin.  I love you!” bit is the same record over and over.  That is, unless you disagree with them.  If another Christian, perhaps, tries to talk to someone about the sin that person is struggling with, then the Over-lookers immediately deem said Christian as “judgmental” or “self-righteous.”  The Over-lookers love everyone – unless you don’t agree with them.  Then you’re bad and you need to change.  If you aren’t like them or aren’t blindly accepting of their ways or words, you better be ready to be told that you are not a “real Christian” and you are bad for the Kingdom.  Ahem.  These are the same ones who will get angry at me (a Christian) for calling out something I see wrong with other Christians.  Don’t get angry at me – I’m just calling it like I’ve seen it.

Over-Looking Love

Let’s look at the other end of the spectrum now:  the Reprimanders.  This camp of Christians is often considered to be the older generations, but in fact, have many young people.  These are often found hiding behind the justification of being a conservative.  They claim that to “love” others you have to call them out on their sin and keep telling them what they are doing wrong so that they can repent and change.  These are the ones who will be flaunting the “better an open reprimand than concealed love” verse as their lives’ mission statement.  They will also claim that since they are only reprimanding out of love “and righteous judgment” then it is an act of Biblical love.  The Reprimanders love to be “helpful” in showing others what needs improvement, yet often are upset if someone tries to do the same for them.  Their “love” goes only as far as what they personally believe, and they will be the first ones to let you know – they always know everything about how a Christian should live.  The Reprimanders are easily the ones to come off pushy.  While the Over-lookers are more likely to lead Non-Believers to avoid repentance, the Reprimanders are more likely to offend Non-Believers to a point that they are off-put from Christianity as a whole.  The Reprimanders will be the ones who argue that I must not know enough of the Bible to understand their ways, that I need to devote more time to studying the Bible.  Oh, and I’m sure they would be telling me that I should be writing a lecture to those who are alcoholics, murderers, rapists, or those other “bad” people who need Jesus (more than they do, of course.

Reprimanding Love

Maybe now you’re feeling a little convicted and instead of fuming in anger at me, you’ve decided to read on.  Good for you!  (Seriously, there is no sarcasm there.)  If you can see how you are easily an Over-looker or without a doubt a Reprimander, don’t worry.  I find myself in both camps in different situations, too.  We’re imperfect people.  We won’t ever be flawless at this whole love thing.  But, and that is a turning point ‘but,’ we can try to be more balanced in order to have real love instead of synthetic version of Christianese love.

The best way I know how to put into words the balance between the anything-goes Overlookers and the everything is black and white Reprimanders is to take the words straight out of the Bible.  Is that okay with you?  Good, I hoped it would be.  I had it feeling it might, but I thought I’d ask just in case.  (Note:  if you answered “no,” please stop reading in order to save your time.)

Bible Love

Okay, so we know that God is love.  That’s a given.  He is the source of love, the Creator, and the Teacher.  That being said, let’s take a gander at:

Acts 17:30-31a (HCSB):  “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed.”
Mark 12:30 (HCSB): “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these.”
John 15:13 (HCSB): “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (HCSB): “Love is patient, love is kind.  Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.  Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

The verse from Acts shows us something VERY important:  the judge is God and no one else.  In Mark we see that we are to love God first and foremost with all of our being and through that we can love others as much as ourselves.  Would you sit and berate yourself for lying or would you repent to God and make every effort to not do so?  Would you tell yourself that killing one person is okay because it was in the past?  Would you convince yourself that despite no effort on your part to make amend or be sincerely repentant, your constant bitterness and jealousy towards so-and-so is okay?  Treat your neighbor (who is everyone) like you would treat yourself.  (Unless you treat yourself badly.  If you treat yourself badly, we need to talk about something completely different.)  In John Jesus not only calls us His friends (how cool!), but He tells us that sacrificing our lives for our friends is the greatest love.  Chances are your sacrifice isn’t going to be death on a cross for your friends and neighbors.  But if you are unwilling to sacrifice something as simple as your comfort zone for your friend, how can you say you love him/her?  Finally in 1 Corinthians we see a full on description of how love is, what it does not do, and what it does.  Replace “love” with your name.  That should be your approach to each sinner, saved or not.  You are to be patient.  You are to be kind.  You are not to be jealous, boastful, conceited, improper, or selfish.  You are not to be provoked or to provoke.  You are not to keep a list of wrong things that others do.  You are to be joyful in the truth and not in unrighteousness.  You are to bear all things.  You are to believe all things.  You are to hope all things.  You are to endure all things.

Love Rock

So find that balance.  Tell others the commands of Jesus, what God says the fruits of the Spirit should look like, and what the Bible says.  Stating knowledge is not the same as trying to produce judgment based upon that knowledge.  Make sure you know where the line should be drawn.  You should always spread the knowledge of God and His commands, but you should never try to take His position as the Judge.  Accept one each other as the sinners that we all are, knowing that we are each going to mess up, make mistakes, and ultimately disappoint at some point.  At the same time, accept one another as the son or daughter that God made.  Be patient with one another and gentle.  Be careful to not fall into the snares of hypocrisy.  It’s taken enough testimonies and degraded them – don’t be a victim (i.e. a hypocrite).

And finally, love.  Just love.  Seek God and ask Him to show you how to love His people.  He will.

All of you – Over-lookers, Reprimanders, and everything in between – I love you, merely because Jesus loves you.  And let me tell you, oh how Jesus loves YOU!

My Love

We Talked, But I Didn’t See His Face

Jesus Chats
Tonight as we were sitting together in the family room watching the news, my Granny turns to me and asks, “Have you raised any money yet for your trip?”  It always makes me shudder a little that she refers to the calling to be a missionary I have surrendered to as merely a “trip.”  Brushing the mental note of her using that term away, I responded with a “No.”  I’m not sure what annoyed me more, the fact that she asked or the fact that I have no funds in my support account.

Worry tried to sneak it’s vicious head into my thoughts and into my heart.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God called me to The World Race.  I know that I can do great things through Him while I’m on it.  I know that it is where I am suppose to be.  And I know that as of right now, I have only $150 of the $16,285 that I must have to go.  I am also acutely aware that there is no way that I, myself, can come up with that money in the 250(ish) days until I am set to leave the country.

See why I was so vulnerable to worry?

My Granny asked me another question right after my response to the first.  She asked, “Well, do you still plan to go?”  Defensively I said, “Yes, Granny.  I am still going.  Why would I not go?”   She retreated from her questions with an “I don’t know”, but we both knew what she was thinking.  She was thinking, how could I go if I didn’t have the funds?

I know that’s what she was thinking because that’s exactly what I keep thinking.  I haven’t any donors yet.  My family is in no position to say, “Here Mary Elizabeth, we’d like to give you $16,135 to complete your funding needs for the World Race.”   I have no doubt my sisters alone would gladly do that if they could.  But they can’t.  And I know that.

I keep thinking:  If I had known at graduation that this would be my life trajectory instead of law school, I could’ve gotten a job back in May, not signed a lease and had to be paying it long after I moved back out of that apartment, saved on the expense of moving (twice), and the list keeps going on.  That worry snakes it’s way deeper and deeper into my thoughts.

And then there’s Jesus.
When everyone and every situation seems to keep telling me “this is virtually impossible” or “you haven’t enough time” or “your needs are too great,” Jesus offers up the truth.

He says, “Mary Elizabeth Bailey, do I not love you?  Does My Father not love you?  Didn’t He send me to die so that you can live with Us and rest in Our love for eternity?”  Of course, I’m over here with teary eyes saying, “Yes, Jesus.”  And Jesus continues on saying to me, “Do the birds of the sky worry about being taken care of?  Does My Father leave them without food?  And the flowers that adorn the Earth and remind you of natural beauty created straight from the hand of the Father, do they worry that there is no one to clothe them day after day?”  And I answer with tears still in my eyes, “No, Jesus.  I know our Father takes care of them.  But —”   And Jesus cuts me off saying, “But what?  But you do not think He has the power to take care of you?  You do not think that when you died to sin through my blood that the Spirit within can work to take care of you?  You worry, but about what?!  The birds are fed, the flowers are clothed, and Father doesn’t even love them near as much as He loves YOU.”   Ugh, sometimes I want to cross my arms like a toddler and pout when Jesus calls me out.  He’s right.  He’s always right.   But instead, I just sit with a half-smile on my face.  So Jesus goes ahead and says, “I’ll remind you again:  I love you.  Father loves you.  You have no reason to worry.  When you worry, it’s like you are doubting Him.  We can both agree that doubting Abba Father’s love and provision is crazy, right?  Look at what I have been through.  Look at what you have been through.  Has He not provided every step of the way?  So child, stop worrying.”  I can’t help but smile now.  There’s just something about being told that I am loved and being shown the truth.  Truth sets me free, and this time I’m being freed from the chains of worry.  How dare I doubt my Father!  I tell Jesus, “I’m sorry, Jesus.  I don’t doubt Father God.  I know He’s taking care of me and that He always will.  I need Your constant reminders, so thanks!”  Jesus wipes the drying tears from my eyes and tells me, “Just seek God and His righteousness.  When you do that, not only do you have no time to worry, but also you’ll be awed with the perfect provision He gives.  Don’t worry about tomorrow — or the next day or the next day or months down the road.  Father has you taken care of.  You can’t see it, but I can.  Trust me.  I love you.”   He never ends a conversation without making sure I know that He loves me.  Ah, what a sweet Jesus!

After this chat all I can do is continue to trust in Him.  Trust in the One who made me, called me, and loves me.  Trust the One who provides for me always.  All I can (and want to) do is what Jesus told me — stop worry and seek God.

If you are knee-deep in worry and your heart is feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to have a chat with Jesus.  I promise you, He loves you just as much as He loves me or anyone else.  He wants you to bring your worries to Him.  My chat with Jesus came from Matthew 6:25-34 tonight.  Yours can, too — if you want.

Love you, my sweet blog readers!
And so does God.
He actually loves you much, much, MUCH more than I could possibly imagine loving you.  🙂

P.S. I actually am leaving in July 2014 to go across the world (11 countries in 11 months) to bring the message, the hope, the love, and the light of Jesus to people I have yet to meet, but already have places in my heart.  I DO need $16,000+ in my support account to be fully funded.  I am confident that God will use His people (many of you reading this) to make this happen.  So, if you feel led to make a donation (which is actually tax deductible — yay!), you can go to my World Race page (http://maryelizabethbailey.theworldrace.org/) and click “Support Me” on the left side.   Even if you can’t donate, I welcome and ask you to check out my page and the World Race site in general to get to know what I have been called to.  🙂

Dear Mystery Man — Wise Men Respect Their Mommas

This is actually my nephew and my stepsister, but it shows a picture of love and respect from a boy to a woman he is growing up learning from and respecting at his right hand.

This is actually my nephew and my stepsister, but it shows a picture of love and respect from a boy to a woman he is growing up learning from and respecting at his right hand.

Being an unmarried 22 year-old woman, of course I have this idea in my head of what kind of man I want to say “I do” to one day.  How this man should be, in my opinion, changes a lot.  At one time I thought I wanted a man who liked to dress up all the time, but the more I wear heels around the more I realize I want a man just as happy with his jeans and tee as he is with a suit and tie.  At one time I thought this mystery husband should always be hilarious, making me laugh every moment.  But again, I have changed my mind.  I sure want a man who can make me giggle and laugh, but he also needs to know when to be serious and when to take me seriously.  I could go on about the changes I have made, but instead let’s switch gears to the additions and the concrete.

I have always wanted a man who loved the Lord first and foremost.  There should be nothing (not even me) that he loves more than his Lord and Savior, Jesus.  I refuse to ever change or modify this “must-have” in my mystery husband.

As I dig deeper into the Word and gain more insight into life that comes with growing up, I keep finding more things that biblically make sense to add into what my mystery husband should be like.  It’s quite wonderful that I don’t have to come up with these “must-have” or “should-have” qualities on my own, I just have to find ’em in God’s Word.  After all, every father does raise his daughter with some idea of the man he will one day be willing to give her to.  God is no different.  He’s such a good Daddy.

As I was reading in God’s Word today, I was reading in 1 Kings about King Solomon.  Now if you grew up in Sunday school like I did, you already know the story of Solomon and what he is famously known as: the wisest man in history.  I don’t know about you, but I sure wish I could’ve met Solomon and learned from him.  People filled with wisdom, especially wisdom straight from God as with Solomon, are always intriguing to me.
Anyway,  I came to 1 Kings 2:19 and it hit me: since I want a wise man to call my husband one day, I’m going to have to find one who loves his momma and respects her.  That is what wise men do.  If you’re a little confused at how I can make such a definitive statement, then keep on reading.  I’m about to explain it.
In 1 Kings 2:19, Bathsheba comes to King Solomon to ask him something.  Now, King Solomon was quite the royal being the newly anointed king and the son of King David.  So this Bathsheba comes to him as he is on his throne — so, you know, at his workplace — and wants to talk to him.  This Bathsheba is his mother.   (Making more sense now?  I hope so!)
King Solomon could’ve dismissed Bathsheba with as much as a “Mom, I’m at work.  I’m busy.  We can talk later.”  But he didn’t.  No, when Solomon saw his mother approaching him, he stood up to greet her.  What a respectful son!  I love when a man will stand up when a lady walks into a room.  Solomon further demonstrates his respect and love for his mother by bowing to her.  The King bowed to his mother.   That’s a big deal.  The King is the one who others bow to, not the one who bows to others.  Yet, we see here the wisest man on Earth bowing to his mother as a sign of respect.  Precious, just simply precious!  As a final and beautiful act of respect for his momma, King Solomon sits back on his throne as his mother sits down on a throne he had placed for her there at his right hand.   He didn’t make her stand to approach his kingship.  He didn’t have some fold-out chair or stool brought before him so she could chat.  No, he had a throne for her to sit in.  Notice the placement of the throne, too.  It wasn’t placed in front or behind or way off to the side of his.  He had his mother’s throne placed at his right hand because that’s how he treated her — as his right hand woman.   Wow!

Now, I’m not a mother but to all you mommas out there: isn’t that what you want to see your son(s) grow up to be like?  Mommas are sure important — and a real man will treat them that way.

To the momma that I will one day call my mother-in-law:  your son is going to treat you like Solomon treated Bathsheba.  You will always have a place of honor in his life, one that I will never try to take the place of.  Additionally, I will probably often admire the respect that my husband (your son) has for you because I know he will teach any son(s) that we may have to grow up treating me like that.  What a precious circle, right?   Future mother-in-law, wherever you are and whomever you are, thank-you for raising up a man who treats his mother with respect.   Thank-you for raising up a wise man that I will be able to call my husband.

To my future/mystery husband:  You will be a wise man.  You will be a wise man who, like King Solomon, respects and loves his momma.   You are always allowed and, in fact, you are required to make sure that your mother always feels loved, heard, and taken care of.  I know in-laws are often stresses on marriages, but ours won’t be.  Your love and respect for your mother (your father, too) is going to be contagious and I’ll follow suit.  On an ending note, I’d just like to say to you — thank-you for being a biblical picture of respect.  It means a lot, truly it does.

“So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah.  The king stood up to greet her, bowed to her, sat down on his throne, and had a throne placed for the king’s mother.  So she sat down at his right hand.”   – 1 Kings 2:19 (HCSB)

Pageant of Mistakes: No Winners

Love the heart, not the mistakes.

Love the heart, not the mistakes.

I believe the most involuntary of all pageants would have to be the Pageant of Mistakes.  You don’t put yourself in it — other people do.  Consequently, everyone and their cousin seem to be self-appointed judges.  But don’t worry, no one ever wins.

I get so tired with people picking apart others.  “So-and-so has a bad past, don’t hang out with them.”  “What’s-their-face does things that look bad — you don’t need to be seen around them.”  “That one person doesn’t seem quite up to your standards.”   And the judgments continue, on and on.

I understand looking out for your family or best friends.  I understand wanting the best for the people you care about, which includes the best person to do life with them.   I understand all of that.  I do.  But what I don’t think most people understand is: if you expect a perfect person according to whatever fantasy “ideal list” you have created in your mind, you will always be disappointed — no matter what.  And guess what?  Your loved ones (and YOU) are imperfect, too!

I’m not saying that people should just settle for what or who comes along.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a list of attributes you look for in someone.  I’m not saying that it’s wrong to give your opinion of someone who is pursuing someone you care about.

I’m simply saying that you are imperfect, your family members are imperfect, your friends are imperfect, and every other single person you meet is imperfect.  That imperfection is perfectly fine, though.  Two imperfect people can have a perfectly wonderful love story.  In fact, a lot do, just ask your grandparents.

There comes a time in life when you just have to say about the person you love, “I know what you’ve done and all the mistakes you have made, but I love you without hesitation.  You’re not perfect, and neither am I.  That’s why we’re perfect for each other — we know what it’s like to live through mistakes and we have learned our lessons.”

When you really, really love someone, you don’t notice their flaws as much.  You just simply want to love them.  That’s how Jesus looks at us.  That’s how Jesus always saw people.  He made friends with prostitutes, murderers, liars, adulterers, etc.  Guess what?  He didn’t sit there and tell others to shy away from one another because of all the sin He saw in each person He encountered.  Instead, He looked at the heart of the person and loved them more than they could imagine.

Jesus, well, He’s my role-model on how to love people.  He just so happens to be the one teaching me daily what it’s like to see someone for who they are, not necessarily what they have done.  He is the true judge of the Pageant of Mistakes, and His judgment is simply:  “I have taken the crown of thorns to cover any and all mistakes you have and will make.  You are all disqualified from the pageant of mistakes.  Instead, I invite you into My kingdom.  All of you are sons and daughters of the Most High King.  You do not belong in a pageant for a crown — you were already crowned with grace and love for your birthright.  You are royal by birth into My family.  THAT makes you perfectly Mine.  Be loving, be humble, and act like the co-heir that our Father made you.”

That’s the way I want to see the people I meet, the people I see regularly, and even the people who irritate me.  I want to seem them through the eyes of the man who loves them so much that He wore a crown of thorns and took the place of their mistakes for them.  I want to see and love like Jesus.  You should, too.