Monthly Archives: January 2013

Easy Apple Cake

IMG_1727[1]Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 large apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar mixture (1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Up to 1 tablespoon milk or water (You want the icing a little thick so it doesn’t just run off the warm cake.)

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray and coat the pan with the 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar mixture.
  2. Stir together sugars, oil, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla until well blended.
  3. Add flour, baking soda , salt and cinnamon. Stir until it just comes together and everything is moist.
  4. Fold in apples.
  5. Pour into bundt pan and smooth the top with your spoon. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour, 5 minutes. I poked mine with a long steak knife and when it came out clean, I knew it was done. Mine took 1 hour, 5 minutes.
  6. Let sit for 5 minutes and then run a butter knife around the edges and turn onto a plate or cooking rack.
  7. Mix together the icing ingredient and stir until smooth. Drizzle over the cake.
  8. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Oh so yummy!

 

Wrestling

I’m struggling with the pain again.

It doesn’t happen very often any more, but when it does, I’m a mess. I question everything I know about God, about life. I am emotionally miserable and physically wreathing. Last night was no different. I was telling Mike that in our Ladies’ Bible study we are studying the names of God and how I am not comforted that God is El Roi – The God Who Sees. Because if He sees and doesn’t intervene where terrible, painful things are happening, then He can’t be a loving God.  How can a sovereign God, El Elyon, God Most High, allow pain and suffering in the world? Doesn’t He care about what’s going on? I know these are most commonly questions and thoughts of a non-believer, but I’ve been a Christian for 20 years and I still wrestle with this. I’m so glad God loves me and is patient and merciful and that I don’t have to watch out for the lightening bolts when I write things like these!

Mike and I have been engaging in really serious, intellectual conversations lately about God and the problem of pain and suffering. I have tried to figure it all out emotionally and have not been satisfied with any answers people or the Bible can give me. Mike hoped that if we put emotions aside (he’s such a man!) and looked at it from a rational, purely intellectual perspective, then it would make more sense to me. I’ve been reading the Bible and articles and books and listening to podcasts. To be honest, it does make more sense. I’m not sure I could do a good enough job explaining it, so I won’t try, but if you have questions, just comment on this post and I’ll be sure to have Mike read and answer them. He’s such a godly man, so full of wisdom.

Even though I understand it in my head, my heart still hurts. And Mike helped me realize that, really, my issues aren’t about the pain and suffering in the world, although I would love for that to end and for people to feel no pain. My issues come from the lens through which I view the world, and that lens is pain, sometimes dull and annoying, other times fiery and debilitating. I don’t want to hurt any more. I don’t want to be disabled by the pain. I want to live what most people would consider a normal life. I want to get up in the morning and not wonder if my legs will give out from the pain when I stand, or if I will be able to pick Samuel up when he calls out “Mama” from his bed. I want to chop vegetables for dinner and not have lingering pain in my wrists. I want to sit through Bible study and not be distracted because my legs feel like cement and I know if I sit too long I won’t be able to walk the next day. Please don’t get me wrong, I know compared to so many in the world, my life is a cake walk. I’m not minimizing the horrendous pain and suffering of other people. But I can only write from my point of view.

I know that God allows the pain in my life because it is the best thing for His plan, it brings Him the most glory and I trust Him. My pain brings the most good. Otherwise, He would heal me. I believe that as long as my pain serves the greater purpose of bringing souls to Christ, that I will continue in pain. And on an intellectual level, I’m okay with that. But what I really want the most? I want physical comfort. I want the pain to stop and I know that it won’t. It’s exhausting and depressing and it makes me question my loving Creator and that makes me so sad. I trust Him, but I also live the reality of debilitating pain. I have yet to find the emotional comfort I’m looking for, but I’m glad that this ongoing, seemingly never-ending trial has been seeking the Lord more, has me wresting with my faith. Because as always, the Lord shows Himself faithful and my faith grows.

If you have a moment, please say a prayer for me. Ask the Lord to send me physical help when I need it, the comforting words of  a friend when the physical and emotional pain become too much for me to bear on my own. Pray for my husband and son who also live through this trial with me. Please pray the Lord gives Samuel a miraculous understanding that Mama has an owwie  in her back and that even though I can’t play on the floor with him all the time, that I love him so very much. Pray that Mike would be strengthened. I’m sure living with me is exhausting!

I’m not sure what the point of this post is…maybe I just needed to get it all out. Maybe someone else needed to know they aren’t alone when they have thoughts like these. In any case, I’m praying the Lord uses it for His glory and that people come to know and love Him more.

The Power Of A Praying Wife – His Purpose

The timing of me reading this chapter is perfect (Isn’t God wonderful about things like that?!) because in just a couple hours, my husband and I will be meeting with our pastor about my husband’s role at the church. Currently he is the Worship Pastor. He was ordained a few weeks ago and there have been talks about him moving into more of an associate pastor role, still overseeing worship ministry. We have been praying about this role change and have been blessed by the clarity God has brought to us. You see, we know there is a call on my husband’s life to full time pastoral ministry. But what that looks like exactly, we are not sure. Right now, he is a music educator, both at a school (teaching k-12th grade music, including drum line, recorders, elementary band, and jazz band) and teaching private music lessons, a Bible teacher, a PE teacher, and a Children’s Pastor, teaching chapels at his school. Plus, he is a Worship Pastor and is finishing up his seminary degree. He is stretched thinner than thin and he is worn out. I can sense an unrest starting to rumble in my husband. He believes he is where he needs to be at this point, but cost of living is going up and his salary isn’t. We can’t do this for much longer. The Lord has shown us that. Now…what to do about it? We don’t have any idea. We are waiting on the Lord to move and being faithful in the work he has called us to do.

Stormie writes,

 

“If I’ve learned anything being married two and a half decades, it’s that a wife can’t pressure her husband to BE something, but she can pray for him to become it.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 93)

 

I’ve pressured my husband about finding a new job, just one job, a better paying job, a more fulfilling job, the job I think he should have. How do you think that went over? Yeah, you can imagine. I am ashamed when I think back on some of the conversations we have had. I was trying to help, trying to show him how much I thought he was worth, trying to encourage him to find his purpose. He left the conversation feeling defeated, worthless and angry. Definitely not the results I had hoped for. I’ve had to ask for the Lord’s and my husband’s forgiveness on more than one occasion.

 

“How do you feel about what your husband is doing with his life? Do you lack peace about it because he is on a path that is unfulfilling, beating him down, or going nowhere? If so, then pray, ‘Lord, take my husband from this place, reveal to him what You’ve called him to be, and open doors to what he should be doing.'” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, page 94)

 

I’ve learned I just need to pray. He knows how I feel. I don’t need to do the woman thing and tell him a million times. He’s not stupid; in fact he’s brilliant, and he knows he’s worn out. He probably feels the same way I do, but he has chosen to lay it all at the cross and let the Lord work in His timing. We are praying together now that God would reveal His purpose for my husband’s life. Things are so much better when I keep my mouth shut regarding this issue. We are still in the financial situation we were in before, but there is peace in our home. Before, there were financial struggles and strife in our home. Not fun at all. I love the prayer above. I will be incorporating it into my prayer time for my husband.

I also thought this paragraph was great.

 

“Whatever God has called your husband to be or do, He has also called you to support it and be part of it, if in no other way than to pray, encourage, and help in whatever way possible. For some women that means creating a good home, raising the children  being there for him, and offering prayer and support. Other women may take and active role by becoming a partner or helper. In either case, God does not ask you to deny your own personhood in the process. God has called YOU to something, too. But it will fit in with whatever your husband’s calling is, it will not be in conflict with it. God is not the author of confusion, strife, or unworkable situations. He is a God of perfect timing.  There is a time for everything, the Bible says. The timing to do what God has EACH of you to do will work out perfectly, if it’s submitted to God.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, page 95)

 

As we pray for our husband’s purpose, let us also pray how our purpose fits perfectly with his. For me, creating a good home and raising our son and being there for my husband is my purpose; when our son is older I will be able to play a more active role in my husband’s purpose of ministry.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

 

The Power Of A Praying Wife – His Fears

“There are many things in the world to be afraid of; only a fool would say otherwise. But when fear seizes us, tormenting and ruling our lives, we have become captive to it. Men are often susceptible to that because without even realizing it, they get attacked by the “what if’s.

“What if I can’t make enough money?”

“What if something happened to my wife and children?”

“What if I get a terrible disease?”

“What if my business fails?”

“What if I can’t be a good father?”

“What if I become disabled and can’t work to support my family?”

“What if i’m over powered or threatened?”

“What if I can’t perform sexually?”

“What if no one respects me?”

“What if I’m in an accident?”

“What if I die?”

Fear can take hold of a man (Psalm 48:6) and cause his life to be wasted (Psalm 78:33). If he is “seized with great fear” (Luke 8:37), it can keep him from all God has for him.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 87)

 

When I first read through this chapter, it didn’t sound much like my husband at all; it sounded a lot like me. Besides just a few things on the list above, I’ve said or thought all of those things. I am currently working through some things right now, with the help of my husband about some of my fears. The Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conneticut really affected me. I have been fighting the fear that my son or husband will be taken from me, or that I will be killed and leave them on their own. Even walking through the mall the other day, I was convinced that someone with a gun would start shooting. I even talked to my husband about what I should do if I was walking with our son and that happened. Where would be the best place to hide? Irrational? Maybe. Real gripping fear? Absolutely. It doesn’t help that the area we live in has been getting worse, more reports of shootings and murder and very scary stuff.

I have been praying that the Lord would help me trust Him more; that even if some of my fears would come true, I would know that He was working those things out for His ultimate good. Sometimes  Most of the time it’s not easy. I still get moments of paralyzing fear, times I don’t want to leave the house. I am a work in progress. The Lord is continually comforting me and assuring me that He is in control and He loves me.

But back to our husbands! Like I said, when I read the chapter, it was difficult for me to think of my husband. He isn’t usually a fearful man and he trusts the Lord more than anyone I know. I took a step back and started to pray that the Lord would help me to write this post. To be honest, ALL I could think about were my fears.

Stormie tells the story about how she and her husband went on an overseas trip and not even half way through, her husband felt like he needed to go home right away.  He was gripped with fear.

 

“What exactly are you afraid of?” I questioned him.

“I’m not sure,” he answered.

 

Now, this sounds familiar. When I really started to think of my husband and how he deal with conflict, or new things, this is usually how our conversation goes. When I’m afraid of something and my husband asks me about it, everything comes out like word vomit. I can go on and on about what I’m afraid of and why I’m afraid. My husband is not like that. Most of the time he can’t put his finger on what he’s afraid of and even if he can identify it, he can’t express it very well in words. I’m wondering if most husbands are this way.

When I can’t tell my husband is fearful or nervous, I make sure I’m praying for him. I need to be more diligent about praying for him about fear BEFORE he is fearful! I’m going to send him some text messages today with verses about fear and trusting the Lord. It may be exactly what he needs.

 

“I pray in the name of Jesus that fear will not rule over my husband. Instead, may Your Word penetrate every fiber of his being, convincing him that Your love for him is far greater than anything he faces and nothing can separate him from it.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 89)

 

The Power Of A Praying Wife – His Mind

“I used to attribute my husband’s mind struggles to his musical genius. You know the artistic temperament – bright and brilliant on one hand, dark and moody on the other. When he would get down, the words in his mind told him he was going to fail, be worth nothing, that he was incapable of doing what he needed to do. It had no basis in reality because he had those kinds of thoughts even in the midst of his most productive and successful work. I didn’t realize for a long time that the mind battles he endured did not have to be written off as ‘just the way he is.’ Nor did he have to fight them alone. If he and I were one, than an assault on his mind was an assault on me as well. I could stand with him in the battle by declaring, ‘This is not God speaking into my husband’s life, it’s the voice of the enemy. I’m not going to stand by and watch deadly games being played with his mind and our lives.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 81)

 

This paragraph hit me like a ton of bricks! I could have been writing the beginning part about my husband. See, Stormie and I have that in common. Our husbands are successful musicians, and although my husband is a happy, joyful person, Satan uses his artistic, analytic mind to plant seeds of doubt. The second part of the above paragraph brought me a hope that I didn’t know I had. I have tried to pull my husband out of his funk myself and it just doesn’t work; he usually just retreats more, leaving me feeling helpless and him in even more despair. I can fight this battle with him! That is great news!

Second Chronicles 32:7-8 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

Satan is real and really good at what he does, but we don’t need to fear, because the Lord is with us and He never leaves us to battle alone!

 

“Even the strongest man can get exhausted, overwhelmed, burdened, desperate, or caught up in things that keep him away from the presence of God. He doesn’t always see the traps of an enemy who wants him to believe that what he faces is insurmountable. His mind fills with words like ‘hopeless,’ ‘no good,’ ‘failure,’ ‘impossible,’ ‘it’s over,’ and ‘why try?’ A wife can pray that he husband will discern the lies and hear instead words like ‘hope,’ ‘prosperity,’ ‘possibility,’ ‘success,’ and ‘new beginning’ and know that they’re from God.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 82) 

 

Stormie writes that there are two powerful weapons against the attack of lies upon our husbands’ minds. They are the Word of God and praise.

Hebrews 4:12 says, ” The Word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thought and intents of the heart.” What an awesome verse! If you don’t already have it memorized, I encourage you to meditate on it this week and memorize it!

Second Timothy 1:7 says ” God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Stormie writes,

 

“By speaking God’s Word, you can reveal wrong thinking and it will lose its power. If your husband won’t do it for himself, you can speak the Word of God over him, either in his presence or alone in prayer, and see positive results…..Praise is also a powerful tool because God’s presence comes to dwell in our midst when we worship Him. In His presence we find healing and transformation for our lives……You don’t want futile thoughts to darken your husband’s heart. Speak praise to God for your husband’s sound mind, and he’ll be able to think more clearly about what he will and will not allow into it.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 83)

 

This chapter has been a great encouragement to me and I’m excited to start praying for my husband’s mind! I’ll leave you with these verses:

Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but might in Gd for pulling down stronghold, casting down argument and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)