Are you desperate to hear God’s voice?
When life tears away at the fabric of your life, your poverty drives you to seek help. So you pour out your heart to God hoping He’ll speak words that will comfort you and alter the course of your life so you experience relief. But too often, all you hear is the wind. Why is that?
We can make the art of listening to God a complicated affair, but it’s not. God isn’t some untouchable, unapproachable, illusive deity. He continually speaks through His Word. He’s waiting for you to crack open the Bible and peer at the pages to hear the very words of God to…you.
On Facebook last Friday, I asked if you had a plan for reading the Bible this summer because unless Bible reading is a daily event for you, it won’t likely happen this summer. Why am I asking you about a plan? The making of a plan has nothing to do with checking off items on a “Christian Duty List” list and EVERYTHING to do with creating space to hear God’s voice. That’s right. YOU must create a time specifically set apart for hearing God’s word if you want Him to speak to you.
As a woman who’s been married for 31 years, I can tell you I’ve heard God’s voice speaking directly to me in the form of conviction (never condemnation!) as I’ve read the Bible and these words have given me the direction I craved. God’s written words are His voice calling out to you. Are you LISTENING?
If you don’t listen as you read, you’re making the choice to continue on your current path, content to live with a host of unmet longings or a life coming apart at the seams.
If you want to hear God’s voice, try a few of the following when reading the Bible:
- Choose a specific time each day to read the Bible. Consistency creates habits.
- Create a beautiful space which beckons you to spend time listening to God’s voice like CJ on Beautiful Womanhood Facebook did.
- Read the Bible together with your husband as Carolyn shared on Facebook. Discussing it together afterward can birth fresh insight about what God is saying.
- Grab a red-letter copy of the Bible where every word Jesus spoke is recorded in red. Read one or two verses each day and think about them throughout the day to transform your thinking. New thoughts will produce new actions which will produce a better life.
- Read one verse or chapter from Proverbs each day. There is one chapter of Proverbs for each day of the month. This book is chock-full of WISDOM!
- Journal your thoughts about what you’ve read. Writing helps you discover more about you and God. The Beautiful Wife Prayer Journal is the perfect place to write the insights you discover pertaining to your role as a wife found in God’s word.
Allow your desperation to lead you to God’s Word where God Himself will speak words of love, hope, wisdom, and direction. Are you listening?
On Facebook, I was asked why the responsibility for improving one’s marriage often falls upon the woman’s shoulders. This beautiful woman lamented the fact that her husband didn’t seem to care much. This is an important question!
First off, let me say that it shouldn’t fall solely upon the woman to grow the marriage relationship. Sadly, many men aren’t concerned or connected with God’s ideas about their role within marriage. As a result, Malachi 2:13-14 says,
And this is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
It’s heart wrenching to know that many of you are married to men who have betrayed your loyalty, confidence and trust.
What is a woman to do in this position?
As I see it, you have 3 choices.
- End the marriage.
- Try to manipulate or force change.
- Turn to God for help and direction.
In chapter 1 of The Beautiful Wife, I remind women that ONLY in turning to God and receiving His love will you be able to choose to stay in the marriage as a redeeming force. That’s right. If you choose to stay, your presence places a bigger target on your husband’s back for heaven to aim at! I’ve seen this work.
A woman I know is married to an unbeliever who vowed never to darken the doors of church. She’s endured much heartbreak, pain, and personal sacrifice staying in the relationship and has almost called it quits several times. Recently, he began attending church with her. While she was away on a mission trip, he went to church without her! God can work through you for the purpose of bringing another to or back to Christ and your REWARD will be great in heaven!
It’s one thing to choose to stay in the relationship, but it’s even MORE POWERFUL to grow yourself while in relationship with a treacherous man. Your growth portrays a powerful witness to your husband. Remember 1 Peter?Men are not won over by words!
Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won over by watching your pure, godly behavior.
The Bible makes it clear that this even includes men who don’t know Jesus!
If you want to WIN your husband over, you may want to make the first move! If you need helping discovering what moves to make, buy a copy of my book, The Beautiful Wife. In it, I share many of the struggles I endured in my marriage as well as the direction God gave me through His word. When I made first moves according to God’s plan, He performed miracles in my life and marriage and I know He’ll do the same for you!
(If you are in an abusive relationship, SEEK HELP NOW! God does NOT want you harmed by staying in relationship with a wicked man.)
Two people were joined as one at our farm Sunday and I was struck once again by the promises we make to love our beloved “for better or worse.” In speaking these words we willingly and knowingly bind ourselves to the action of remaining one even if you endure worse.
Judging from divorce statistics, it seems our words don’t mean much these days. The sad result? Broken homes, unhappy spouses, hurting children, broken finances, and the list goes on…
Like me, I know many of you have or are going through very difficult circumstances in your marriage and I empathize with you. Marriage is HARD work. But divorce isn’t any easier. In fact, the conservative Washington Family Council commissioned a survey on the state of marriage in Washington which concluded that 67 percent of divorced people wish they’d tried harder to work out differences with their ex.
Though these statistics represent a lot of regret, they serve to remind us struggling with marital discord to hang in there and fight for our marriages. Those of us who belong to Christ have access to a higher power to help turn things around. How? Read this statistic which proves that by applying the principles that Beautiful Womanhood promotes, you can help avoid divorce and strengthen your marriage! AmericanValues.org stated:
Spouses who turned their marriages around seldom reported that counseling played a key role. When husbands behaved badly, value-neutral counseling was not reported by any spouse to be helpful. Instead wives in these marriages appeared to seek outside help from others to pressure the husband to change his behavior. Men displayed a strong preference for religious counselors over secular counselors, in part because they believed these counselors would not encourage divorce.
Two points strike me about this finding.
- Without God and the values His Word inspires, spouses were seldom helped by counselors.
- When a wife sought outside help, it helped her marriage turn around.
While I’m NOT advocating using pressure to manipulate your husband to change, there IS spiritual pressure that is brought to bear upon a man when a woman discovers and obeys biblical principles. Where can a woman find outside help and learn about biblical principles? Beautiful Womanhood!
- small groups, and
- social media
Beautiful Womanhood equips mentors, encourage wives, and help you build community (outside help!) with other women going through similar situations and struggles.
Our VISION is to reduce the divorce rate within the church by 50% within the next 10 years!
We WILL NEED your help to do this and pray you will consider this YOUR MINISTRY!
- Please forward this blog to your married friends and ministry leaders
- Share our Facebook and Twitter (@MentoringWives) information
- Tell women about The Beautiful Wife–the curriculum used in small groups for wives!
God will be glorified, your friends will be encouraged, and we’ll be grateful for your help.
(If you are in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, SEEK HELP NOW! What you are experiencing is NOT your fault! Contact the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or call your church and ask to be referred to a reputable Christian counselor.)
As you approach the finish line of the Fast-for-Your-Marriage Challenge, I want you to believe with absolute CERTAINTY that God has heard your prayers and been blessed by your devotion to seek Him. You are already victorious even though you may not see the fruit of your fast quite yet. Don’t be discouraged, it WILL come! Watch for it! If you’ve recorded requests and prayers in a journal, look back at it in the coming weeks and watch as God answers your prayers in ways you’d never choose or imagine.
When unusual or unexpected things begin happening, train yourself to say,
“God, I consider this an answer to my prayer!”
Next, thank Him for answering your prayers–even if what you see doesn’t make sense. Hebrew 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Thanking Him is an act of faith when you don’t see what you want to see.
Now read all of Hebrews chapter 11 and believe that God keeps His promises to those who have faith.
Keep your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of your faith race because He will move on your behalf. Your labor is not in vain. You will be rewarded!
As you begin to see answers to your prayers, please share with us on Facebook! It will encourage OUR faith to hear YOUR story. This is what God had in mind in Titus 2:3-5 when he encouraged women to come together and share God’s work in our lives.
Together, we’ll be encouraged, challenged, and confident that we are not alone!
During the fast, God has spoken to me about the vision of Beautiful Womanhood. It’s a God-sized vision that only He can fulfill.
The vision of Beautiful Womanhood is to grow a coalition of 18,000,000 wives by 2018 who are strengthened in Christ, praying for their marriages, and encouraging and teaching others to do the same. Therefore, Beautiful Womanhood will measurably decrease divorce statistics within the church from 42% to 20% by the same year. Once this is accomplished, the covenant of marriage will more clearly reflect God’s glorious covenant with the church and lives will be saved.
How do YOU fit into this vision? By spreading the word! WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please share with others all you are learning in The Beautiful Wife, from your fast, and from others in the Beautiful Womanhood community (think of 10 women and act now!). They will be grateful that you cared enough to share. Forward them the blog link, share the fb page, or meet for lunch one-on-one. As you lift up Jesus, you can change the world one woman at a time until you cross the finish line into Heaven.
With whom can you share Beautiful Womanhood?
Are you in a desert of desperation? Then you cannot afford to miss God’s will for your life.
You may feel
If so, you WILL survive ONLY by drawing near to God, and fasting will get you near Him and his life-giving, healing water quickly!
II Chronicles 20 tells the story of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, who was in a desperate place surrounded by a powerful enemy army. Without God’s help, his people would all be destroyed. What was King J’s response? He proclaimed a fast for all the people–even women and children. What was God’s response? He spoke to His people through a prophet who encouraged them with these words.
“Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you O Judah and Jerusalem!”
God continued by telling Judah exactly how the enemy would approach and exactly what they should do in response.
God did the fighting for them and Judah got to collect all the riches from the enemy army. The fighting took one day but it took them three days to collect all the spoil. Let that thought sink in. IT ALL BEGAN WITH A FAST.
Maybe you’re skeptical that God will do this for you. I might be too if I hadn’t experienced it myself. The following is an excerpt from The Beautiful Wife Mentor Guide containing a personal experience I had after fasting for my marriage. Immediately prior to leaving on vacation, I had been on a Daniel fast for 40 days. (for more info about a Daniel fast, read the preceding blogs)
“While on vacation in 2011, I was struggling with a recurring issue
that had plagued my marriage for five years. Addicted to thinking
through my problem, my thoughts were in turmoil and our unity was
deteriorating. One day I felt prompted to take an early morning walk,
and while I was out, the Holy Spirit arrested my tumultuous thoughts.
His words? “Sandy, be still and worship Me.” In other words, turn
to God. Once I was still, He spoke again. “What would you say to
another woman in this position?” I knew the answer immediately—I
would tell her, “Go get help!” In other words, share within community.
When I returned home, I shared my struggle with mentors and
a Christian counselor. While in community, my role in the problem
was revealed and I was able to make much-needed adjustments in
my thoughts and actions, which ultimately increased unity between
Tom and me. Turning to God, understanding your role, and sharing
within community are effective marriage-building tools.”
I truly believe I was able to hear the Holy Spirit’s instruction because I had fasted. I know you will too! I’m now enjoying the life-giving, fruitful riches of increased unity between my husband and I instead of wandering in a desert of desperation.
I want to encourage you to keep seeking God through this fast. Break-through will happen! He will cause streams to run through your desert of desperation.
We’re approaching the second week of our fast and I’m praying and believing you’ve begun to experience more of God’s RICH blessings as you spend increased time in His presence. I felt impressed to send this blog a couple of days early as I sense many of you may need encouragement to continue.
Today I want to share WHY fasting produces break-through so you’re motivated to stay the course. Read and re-read this blog throughout the week-end and coming week–every day if possible!
Fasting breaks the power of your carnal desires or sinful nature which is opposed to God and His Word.
Galatians 5:17 speaks about this.
The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit GIVES us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict.
When you fast, the desires given you by the Holy Spirit get the WINNING EDGE in the fight against sinful desires. Now you have increased capacity to control your words and actions which affect your life and marriage. When your sinful nature is “dethroned”, the fruit of the Spirit rises to POWER in your life. When this happens, barriers WILL shatter and breakthrough will occur because God’s power is AWESOME!
- Imagine being able to “catch” yourself BEFORE uttering a disrespectful word to your husband (Chapter 5, The Beautiful Wife)
- Envision an increased ability to LISTEN to your husband without defending yourself (Chapter 7, The Beautiful Wife)
- Picture yourself CONFRONTING your husband’s sinful behavior in a God-honoring way that captures his attention (Chapter 8, The Beautiful Wife)
Fasting changes man, not God. You will experience increased POWER to make godly CHOICES.
When you are filled to a greater degree with the Holy Spirit’s
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22)
you will experience an increase in supernatural power that shatters barriers in your life FIRST and THEN your marriage. The key to experience this power is fasting. There are some places of God’s will for your life that can only be reached by prayer and fasting.
Many of God’s choicest provisions for His people lie within the area [of prayer and fasting]. –Derek Prince
Your decision to fast is powerful and you WILL see the fruit of it in your life–YOU will experience break-through!
- Journal all you sense the Spirit revealing to you in God’s Word
- Record any thoughts or impressions as you pray
- Write down any verses that “jump” off the page at you
- Spend time thanking God for all that is causing you to depend upon Him
Meditate and think about these things each day. These are God’s POWER words to you and for YOU!
As you celebrate Easter this week-end, may the God of ALL POWER fill you with His love, peace, and joy.
Hallelujah! He is risen!!
Welcome to the Beautiful Womanhood Fasting-for-Your-Marriage Challenge!
I’m so glad you’re here because God has great things in store for YOU!
Once you read and re-read this blog, hop on over to Beautiful Womanhood on Facebook and share your thoughts and journey with others so we can connect and grow together! I’ll be posting videos and questions there for discussion.
OK. Let’s get STARTED!
What is a fast? Before I describe what fasting is, I want to explain what it is not. Fasting is not going without food or particular foods for a certain length of time. That’s dieting. Fasting is removing food or a certain food or drink from your life for a SPIRITUAL purpose. During the fast, time is spent seeking God about your particular struggle(s).
When I was fasting for my marriage, I would
- Read the Bible daily
- Sit quietly with a journal to capture any thoughts or impressions that came to my mind or verses which spoke to me about my situation
- Thank God for all He’d done and was going to do for me
- Pray morning, noon, and night seeking God for the answers to my problems (even if 5 minutes)
In a nutshell, fasting is a time period you set aside to seek God’s knowledge and thoughts about the particular struggles you face. It’s also a time to listen to what He’s saying to you. God is always speaking and fasting “unplugs” our ears and makes us more RECEPTIVE and ATTENTIVE to His words. During this time, try to cut back on entertainment such as TV, movies, and Facebook (except Beautiful Womanhood!) so you have more time to spend with God.
There’s a saying I repeat often: When we do what we can do, God does what we cannot. This describes fasting to a tee! When you remove food from your diet in order to place your attentions more fully on God, God will reward your search with POWER! Luke 4 tells us that Jesus entered the wilderness to fast and He was FULL of the Holy Spirit. When He exited, He returned full of the Holy Spirit’s POWER!
When your fast is over, you will have more of the Holy Spirit’s POWER! You also enjoy more peace and joy because you’ve spent time drawing NEAR to Him. In God’s presence is fullness of joy!
For years I believed that fasting was forcing God to give me the thing I was asking for. I was wrong!
When I’m fasting specifically for my marriage and husband, God reveals
- Words of encouragement
- The Knowledge of Sin in my life
- VERSES that can be used as prayers to pray for my marriage and husband (Record these in The Beautiful Wife Prayer Journal or a journal you have on hand)
When I act on these revelations I’m strengthened with hope, dignity, and BREAKTHROUGH!
DID you know that there are supernatural breakthroughs that can only be released through FASTING! In Matthew 17:20-21, Jesus says nothing is impossible and that faith, prayer and fasting are the KEYS which open the door to impossibility! That’s why Jesus fasted while He walked the earth.
If Jesus needed to fast in order for demons to flee and bodies to be healed, how much more do we need to practice fasting in our marriages?
Are there any difficult, seemingly impossible, events taking place in your life right now?
Together, let’s fast for our BREAKTHROUGH!
To join in the Fast-for-Your-Marriage Challenge
On the blog, I’ll be giving you HELPFUL information so you can experience all you can from your fast.
On Facebook, we’ll be connecting, sharing, and growing in community with each other.
What can you expect?
Tell your friends, family, and neighbors–they won’t want to miss it!
I’m so glad you’ve decided to take The Beautiful Womanhood Fast-for-Your-Marriage challenge!
In preparation for your fast, it’s important to decide what TYPE of fast to choose and your choice depends upon your circumstances. If you are diabetic or have health issues, please consult your doctor about what food(s) or drink you could eliminate without endangering your health. Call now, so you’re prepared to begin on April 1-21.
If you happen to be leaving for a Spring Break vacation (smile), you can still experience all the benefits of the fast while enjoying your vacation. When I was on vacation finishing up a 40 day fast, I decided to remove all meat and sweets from my diet. Removing one food or drink that you normally gravitate toward will remind you that you’ve set this time aside for a spiritual purpose–breakthrough!
For all others, there are many options.
- Complete fast (drinking only water–shouldn’t attempt beyond 3 days without Dr.’s approval)
- Juice fast (drinking any/all juices/broths + water)
- DANIEL fast (eliminating meat, sweets, alcohol, caffeine)
- Eliminate a particular food or drink you crave (it must cost you something)
I’ve tried each of these fasts so I’ll provide a bit of commentary below.
For the Complete fast, I would eliminate all food from my diet one day a week. Finding the best day is the trick and Mondays worked for me. It’s important to drink a lot of water on this fast–be intentional about this. Last year, I tried fasting all food for 3 days and my husband made me drink juice by noon of the second day as I became dizzy and was languishing on the couch. Drinking juice got me through the three days in one piece! A complete fast isn’t easy, no doubt about it, but it’s important to fast safely. Thanks honey!
As described above, the juice fast includes all juices or BROTHS. Make sure there is no added sugar in the juice. Also, soda pop is not on the menu!
My husband and I have completed a 21 day Daniel fast for the past 2 years with our church and it’s been a blessing to each of us and our marriage. It can be difficult knowing how to prepare food without meet, cheese, or sweets for 21 days so I needed help and Kristen Feola provided it. On her blog, www.ultimatedanielfast.com., Kristen includes recipes (the date honey was yummy!), menus, and devotionals to encourage your spiritual growth during the fast. Right now, she’s on a Daniel Fast until Easter. If you google “daniel fast”, you’ll find many helpful resources.
When I was on vacation, it was too difficult to remain on the Daniel Fast, so I simply ELIMINATED meat and sweets from my diet. When choosing this fast, select a food(s) or drink(s) that you rely on heavily. For example, if you crave soda pop, eliminate that. Every time you’re tempted to reach for a Dr. Pepper, you’ll be reminded about the purpose of the fast and the breakthrough you need (we’ll talk about the purpose of the fast in the April 1 blog). A friend of mine enjoys a glass of wine with dinner and decided to fast alcohol. Maybe candy is your weakness–whatever you eliminate, it should cost you something.
If anyone else has ideas for a particular fast, please share it on Facebook. Let’s Connect, Share, and Grow together for our spiritual break-through!
I’ve talked to so many women lately who are desperately seeking and praying for a break-through in their marriage. Because I’ve been there twice, I understand the painful, far-reaching effects of a marriage in trouble. Whether you’re suffering the effects of addiction, abuse, unfaithfulness, money mismanagement, unemployment, parenting issues, or an uncommunicative spouse–there is HOPE!
Both times Tom and I struggled with issues too difficult for us to overcome on our own, FASTING proved to be the powerful force capable of shattering the barriers which separated us. Fasting is potent, yet so many know so little about it. That’s where Beautiful Womanhood steps in.
Beginning April 1-21, Beautiful Womanhood will be starting The Fasting-for-Your-Marriage-Breakthrough Challenge. During the challenge, I’ll be posting a weekly blog (subscribe so you don’t miss them) where I will
- disclose lessons about what fasting is and is not
- share HELPFUL TIPS about fasting
- reveal testimonies from my life and others who’ve fasted for a breakthrough
On Facebook each weekday, I’ll be posting video and written questions that will help encourage you along your fasting journey as well as share personal anecdotes from my own fasting journey–that’s right–I’ll be fasting right along with you!
If you’re going on a planned Spring Break vacation, don’t worry–you can still participate in the Fasting Challenge on a limited basis and enjoy the benefits. I’ll share how in my first blog.
Ladies, we’re going to hear awesome testimonies as we CONNECT , share and grow with each other so you don’t want to miss out! You’re also going to want to invite every woman you know that could use a breakthrough! Don’t delay…send her this blog and invite her to the Challenge.
Marriage within the church is struggling to the same degree marriage outside the church is. Let’s do something new (fasting) in order to enjoy different results in our marriages which will capture the attention of those who don’t yet know our Jesus.
PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD…