Have you ever heard the expression “Hurts so Good?” When I hear it, I think of elite athletes whose training must hurt, but is ultimately deemed “good” because it yields impressive gains. That’s where I am today in our current study, Falling in Love Again With Your Husband.  It hurts so good. It hurts because it’s hard and convicting, but it’s good because I know I am growing.

This week during lecture, Laurie shared with us that man’s chief end – our purpose in life – is to glorify God and enjoy Him. I have heard this before and I believe it. God made me. God saved me. Jesus did not die on a cross for me to be a lover of self and a slave to sin. He died so that I might know freedom and life – in Him. He loves me with a perfect love and wants to be in relationship with me. Being close to the Lord and in fellowship with Him fills our hearts with the sweetest of joys.

Laurie then went on to say something I had not heard before. Because I am created by God to be my husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18), glorifying the Lord in my home is my greatest calling as a wife and mother.

I know that God’s Word does indeed say that woman was created to be a helper for her husband.  But I do not act as though I know what God’s Word says. I have been a stay at home mom for a long time. I feel like our home is MY domain. After all, I do the vast majority of the chores relating to our home. I feel like I can make decisions without consulting my husband. If I’m really honest, I feel like I know our children better because I spend more time with them, thus making me more “qualified” to parent them. I have not shown my husband the respect he deserves, and over the years, this has chipped away at and undermined his leadership in our home.

So…I have had to confess to God that not only do I fail to act like a helper to my husband, I have had to confess that my agenda, my needs, are more important to me than his are. How do I glorify God in our home when I just confessed such ugliness?

First, I must make God my priority over everyone and everything. This can only be achieved through time in His Word, so that my mind may be renewed and transformed. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think,” (Romans 12:2a NLT).

Second, I must follow God. I must obey His Word. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says,” (James 1:22 NIV).

Third, I must pray continually, and take every thought captive. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5). I must consider, are my words and deeds glorifying to God? And then, are my words and actions helpful and encouraging to my husband?

All of this begins with my relationship with God. It is God who works within me. He has given me a helper – His Holy Spirit – to follow His commands. Trying to be a Godly wife in my own strength could never work. It’s too lofty a task, and my flesh is too weak.

This week, the Lord has impressed upon me to think of two ways I can help or encourage my husband. Admittedly, it’s a small start, but it is a start. I am praying that my husband may be positively affected not by my words but by my behavior. “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands…so that they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct,” (1 Peter 3:1-2).

Growing in Grace





During the first week of homework from the Falling In Love Again With Your Husband study, over two days, Laurie asked participants to read through Psalm 119.

The homework prompted participants on day four of the first week, “Read verses 1-88. As you read, observe the psalmist’s affections and feelings toward God and toward the law. Also note what the psalmist says he has done or has determined to do with regard to the law and his petitions, requests, and pleas. When you are finished, write your own thoughts, affections, petitions, and desires in the space provided,” (pg 11).

Eighty-eight verses is a lot of verses. The next day participants were asked to read verses 89 through the end of the Psalm, which was another 87 verses. As a current participant in this study I will tell you that I did not want to submit to this request. Reading through those verses was going to take longer than I had planned to take in my quiet time those two mornings. I was thinking to myself that I have read this Psalm many times before so I don’t need to again. Begrudgingly I started to read the verses anyway. The Lord, in His lovingkindness, brought fresh perspective to the Psalm and allowed me to gain new insight. I had never truly paid attention to the amount of love that David had for God’s word and how much David had to cling to God’s word.

Current study participants meet weekly to get together in a small group to have homework discussion and to confess our sin that the Lord has revealed to us. During my small group’s discussion time we talked about how none of us had wanted to read that Psalm again, but how in the end it was the most refreshing part of the study. The greatest refreshment for each of us came straight from the Word of God.

Thistlebend is currently asking for feedback from study participants. The question was asked, “What was the most helpful part of the Foundational Overview homework?” Many answers seemed to be the same.

“The focus on the Bible and how it is a part of our relationship with the Lord. I liked the Psalm expressing joy about God’s word,” current Thistlebend participant.

“Loved Psalm 119….Came alive to me in a very powerful way,” current Thistlebend participant.

“Just being in the Word. Loved Psalm 119,” current Thistlebend participant.

As I thought more about this and read through the comments from other participants, it was a sweet reminder that sometimes we’re just not going to “feel” it. We’re not always going to feel like we want to read God’s word. We’re not always going to feel like obeying. We’re not always going to feel like serving our husbands and putting them above ourselves. Why? Because our flesh still dwells within us and our flesh directly opposes the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:17), which is our new identity if Jesus is our Savior.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul…,” (Psalm 19:7a). This is truly what happened to me and many other study participants. In spite of our flesh feelings, by God’s grace, we submitted to Laurie’s request in our homework and we read God’s word and it revived our souls.

Have you ever experienced this before? You followed God’s word even when you didn’t feel like it, how did it go?

Maybe it’s really hard for you to do something if you don’t feel like it, it’s really hard for me! We would love to hear that too, what’s a struggle for you?

Maybe you’ve read the Word of God and it didn’t revive your soul, or maybe you’ve read and obeyed and things still went wrong in your eyes. This is hard and it’s happened to me before too, what do you do then?

Please share, you are not alone!

Planted for His Glory

We are beginning a new study: Falling In Love Again With Your Husband.  

I need this study.

I am married. I love my husband. But I did not tell him the name of the study until the day we started. Why not? I was afraid. I was afraid my husband would hold me to a higher standard of being a “good” wife. On most days, I’d give myself a B- or C as a wife, which is shameful! I know I need to make changes — all of which involve dying to self, which is neither easy nor painless.

This week during our lecture, Laurie shared that when she was in elementary school, she would fantasize about what it would be like to be married to various boys and even practice writing out her “married” name! I laughed, not just because it was a sweet story, but because the thought was so foreign to me. I never thought like that as an elementary school student! I may have wondered what it would be like to be married during high school, but it took time for me to see myself as a wife.

I was not raised with Christian values. My parents were married, but the marriage was not happy. My father was absent and my mother was often overwhelmed. My parents separated for the first time when I was 13 and then for good when I was 16. Both times were due to infidelity. My mother was very hurt and bitter. So I didn’t have a great view of marriage.

As a non-Christian, I adopted our culture’s view of marriage. I believed it was fine to live together before marriage. I planned to — and did have — a successful career. I didn’t want to be financially dependent on anyone. And finally, I never heard the word “submission” in regards to the marital relationship. If I had, I would have been offended. My opinion was at least as important as anybody else’s.

So what did I do? I got married in my early 20’s, to another unbeliever. Our marriage was doomed from the start. I learned, though, unbeliever that I was, how sad and painful divorce could be.

Life took many turns for me, and in my late 20’s, I became a Christian. I got re-married in my early 30’s to a man that I didn’t (and still don’t) deserve, and God began to really work on my heart.

I knew the statistics: 50% of marriages end in divorce. What I didn’t know was that Christians divorce almost as often as non-Christians. That was baffling to me! Maybe part of this is because we are bombarded with worldly messages. We don’t even know what biblical marriage is.

Our culture says: No problem if it doesn’t work out. Get a divorce.

The Bible says: God hates divorce, so honor your commitment. Fight for it.

Our culture says: Women and men have interchangeable roles.

The Bible says: God created woman to be man’s “helper.” Help him be the leader of your home.

Our culture says: Giving in to your husband makes a woman weak.

The Bible says: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Eph. 5:22-24).

This passage angers women. But if we read the verses that come immediately after this passage, we see that husbands are exhorted to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Christ DIED for the church. Husbands are instructed to be willing to lay down their lives for their wives.

God’s instructions are impossible to fulfill in our own strength. I fight my sinful nature daily when it comes to submitting to my husband and treating him respectfully. He often bears the brunt of my exhaustion and irritability instead of receiving my love and gratitude. Only God can help me place my husband’s needs before my own.

Whether I want to admit it or not, my upbringing, young adulthood, and culture have deeply influenced my views on marriage. It is so hard to turn from what I feel is right. But God tells me in His Word that He wants the best for me. As we begin this study, I am grateful that “the instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul” (Psa. 19:7 NLT). May the Lord’s Word revive my soul as I seek to be a better helper to the greatest earthly gift God has given me: my husband.

Growing in Grace