"Praise makes me brave."
I am told that Hans Christian Andersen said that..
Last Christmas our homeschooling group from church took the most fantastic tour. A very precious woman decorates her home each Christmas and fills it to the brim with the most interesting collection of Christmas goodies from all over the world.
I enjoyed seeing everything that she featured...all the toys and the stories that accompanied them.
However, what I was completely enraptured with were all of the profound quotes that she had framed and hanging on every square inch of her walls. They were hand painted on lovely wooden plaques and some were delicately cross stitched in cute little oval frames.
I could seriously spend an entire day in her home just jotting down all of these nuggets of truth!
One that jumped out at me was the one above.
"Praise makes me brave."
Truer words were never spoken in my case.
I am married to a man who praises me often. He praises me in our home to our children, and he finds every opportunity to do it openly when we're with others.
Every edifying word that he speaks of me makes me stronger, braver, and creates in me a feeling of true loveliness.
These precious words are also balm to my soul, and erase the hurt of years of critical words that I felt bathed in for much of my life.
In return, I find that when I praise him he rises to each statement of encouragement - arching even higher in that given area than he already was.
When I say to him, "You're such a wonderful father," I find that he will grab one of our kiddos shortly thereafter and hug them tight and whisper afresh a word of loving encouragement to them.
When I tell him, "You are so handsome," he beams that million dollar smile from ear to ear and swoops me up in his arms to give me the hugs that I so need and cherish. The warmth of his big, strong arms around me makes me feel loved, protected, and safe.
In the early years of our marriage there were times that it seemed so tough to find something in him to praise. We went through some very, very hard years. Simply put, we had work to do to become one flesh, and in the euphoria of dating I hadn't planned on WORK, for goodness sake!
One of my best mental measuring tools was the proverbial "He's not being the spiritual leader of our household!" comment.
If I had a dollar for every time that I said or thought that, combined with the dollars for every time that other women have said it to me, I'd be loaded!
I have a challenge for you, ladies:
Take the focus off of how you think you're husband is doing in his role of being the spiritual leader of your home, and mercilessly check your own heart for how you're doing as the spiritual follower of the home.
Better yet, ask the Lord to examine your heart...as the Apostle Paul exhorts us to do in I Corinthians 4:3-4...
But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.
For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.
I promise you that if you take the time that you're spending evaluating your husband's performance as spiritual leader, and you put it into face-down time in God's Word, you won't be so displeased.
Instead, you'll find that you're praying for your husband more. You may even find a dear and trusted friend who will pray with you that the Lord will place an undying hunger for His Word into your husband's heart.
Ask the Lord to reveal to you the things that you can tell your beloved the minute that he walks into the house tonight that will make him brave.
Ask for things that you can praise about him...right where he is, today.
Here, I'll start...
Shane is the hardest working man I've ever known who is relentlessly unwilling to compromise his family life for worldly success.
He gives it everything he has to give when he's at the office, and does likewise when he's at home. When he leaves the office each day, he's left his best "on the field," thus he can fully enjoy and invest his time with us.
I believe this makes him much more effective in both business and family. He has his priorities straight!
As a result, both his employer and his family recognize how hard he works for us and value him beyond words.
As a side note ladies...in order to allow your husband to give his employer his all, show them the same respect that you ask of your husband for your family when he comes home. Don't call him at work with family issues unless it is absolutely necessary.
Think of his time at the office as time on the battlefield.
If your husband was in combat, you wouldn't be ringing him on his cell phone to tell him that the dishwasher quit working. Save that for when he comes home, and AFTER you've let him unwind a bit...preferably even after his tummy is full.
OK, now it's your turn. What is one thing that you can praise about your husband (or wife if you're a man) today?
Your comment may encourage someone else to find that very same trait in their spouse, so please don't be shy...comment to help other marriages as much as to thank God for your own.
Much love to you today,