Sunday, March 09, 2008

Headaches, Elyse Fitzpatrick's "Helper By Design", and NCAA Basketball

This morning, time change and all, started early. It started early because I had a headache, so I gave up the idea of church today and tried to sleep off the headache. My eyes and head hurt. Feeling a little better at the writing of this, but still my head hurts some. I don't like to take medicine if I don't have to - I try to rest and take it easy if I'm not feeling well.
Thursday evening I had the opportunity to hear Elyse Fitzpatrick speak on her upcoming book Because He Loves Me. I have read several of her books, including Helper by Design, which I just finished today. She has to be, if not the best, one of the best woman speakers I have heard. She is very gospel and Word centered and her approach to speaking is seriousness - not fluffy stuff. She is right on in aspects of the gospel that apply to women's lives. Hands down, that 80 minute "sermon" from Elyse to women on Thursday, was the best sermon I've heard from anyone since being here in KY. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have heard her.
Helper by Design is a book about what it means to be a helper to your husband. Yes, I know I am not married, but I can continue to learn and grow in that direction, if God so pours out his grace in that way in the future. These are some of the thoughts that stood out to me (got underlined) in my reading:
"How can I facilitate his development of a fruitful rest? What could I do to make our life together a place of harmony and God-centered worship, especially on the Lord's day?" (37) I think one of the many purposes or goals that I, as a wife, should have, is to keep harmony and peace - an atmosphere - in our home. Whether that is keeping a schedule for the successful running of the home, keeping the house clean, and also with peace that comes out of my mouth and in my non-verbal communication - that is a task I am given.
"Being your husband's companion-helper is much more than making his breakfast and sitting with him as he cheers on his favorite football team. Its a holy calling and one that you've been designed to fill, all for your joy and God's glory." (44) Notice the last line doesn't say "for your husband's enjoyment". It says for your enjoyment and God's glory. Just like Piper always rights - if we find our complete joy in Him - then our joy will be full. Life is not about making much of us - its about making much of others and ultimately making much of Jesus.
This was the biggest thought of the book for me: "The Lord has commanded him to love me just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her. When I think about that command all I can do is shake my head in amazement! My heart reaches out in sympathy to him, and I long to help him obey. So, out of love for him and in light of our unified love for Christ, I want to try to make myself easy for him to love. I want to make his obedience to Christ easy." (94) Just think on that awhile and see how your life changes.
"You must be careful with your girlfriends to guard the words you speak about your husband, not only because you're called to honor and respect him, but because those thoughts will stick with you when you're with him that evening." (106) This is something I've thought of and heard before - and something that is so hard to practice. I want to be that wife - who never is heard speaking an ill word against her husband. The words might even be true - but those thoughts and words are still not God-glorifying - Phil 4.8.
Outside of being a woman who loves Jesus and His Word, I want this to be said of me: "Kindness, as opposed to a harsh, crabby temper. It is easily pleased, a mildness of temper, calmness of spirit, an unruffled disposition. It sweetens the temper, corrects an irritable disposition, disposes us to make all around us as happy as possible. God is the only one who can tame our hearts and make us into women who are known for their kindness. Is your lifestyle marked with good deeds, expressed in grace and tenderness?" (122)
In speaking on a chapter about submission: "You are to embrace the mission, calling, and vision of your husband, making it your own. You are to bring all your gifts and strengths to him for his use, as he fulfills God's calling in his life. In this way, submission is much deeper than mere obedience, although it is not less than that." (154)
This book is an easy read. It is also very practical with questions in the chapter and study group questions at the end of each chapter. This book is also very Word focused and focused on the life transformation the gospel can and should have in your marriage. It is another high recommendation (as iare any of Elyse's books).

Bball - we are heading into a very important time in the life of NCAA basketball. It is time for the conference tournaments and then those lead on to the Dance. Florida has had an awful end of the season (just losing a close one to UK) - although Nick Calathes will be great next year (and he is this year). UNC pulled off a huge win last night at Cameron Indoor. They won the ACC - big big game! :) Go Heels! Now, we'll see what happens this coming weekend and then on to the brackets!

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