Raising a Man of Faith

Here is the last article from Sheri Rose Shepherd on this Wednesday….

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Raising a Man of Faith
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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She made this vow: “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime.”
1 Samuel 1:11I was invited to write a book for mothers of sons titled Preparing Him for the Other Woman: A Mother’s Guide to Raising Her Son to Love a Wife and Lead a Family. To be honest, this topic intimidated me on many levels. I had my own insecurities and fears of failing as a mom, and I grew up in such a messed-up family that I couldn’t see how I would ever be qualified to write a book on this subject.

As I always do before I write any book, I put this message to the test. I gathered a group of young men ages twelve to twenty and asked them if they felt they would be good husbands when they grew up. Sadly, their comments reflected their fear of women; in fact, they felt marriage was something to be avoided. Many talked as if marriage were a death sentence that caused a lifetime of pain. Others asked why they should get married since marriage usually ends in heartbreak, adultery, or divorce.

My mother’s heart broke for these boys and all our sons, and their answers were enough for me to fight my fears and write that book for the sake of the next generation of marriages. As I began writing, I reflected on one of my favorite “mommy memories.” It took place on a gorgeous summer evening on a California beach with my husband, Steve, and our son, Jake, when he was three. As my husband tended the campfire, Jake and I snuggled together under a blanket and watched the sun set over the sea. A young couple walked past us hand in hand, with eyes only for each other. My little boy watched them for a couple of minutes before turning his sweet face toward mine and asking, “Mommy, will you marry me when I grow up?”

I gently explained that mommies can’t marry their sons. I’ll never forget the ache I felt as I saw tears well up in his big blue eyes and roll slowly down his cheeks. In that moment it hit me: not only was I raising a son, but I was raising someone’s future husband. I decided that day to dedicate my time with Jake to helping him become a good husband when he grew up. I knew I needed to stop focusing on my fears that I would fail him and begin to focus on the fact that God appointed me as the first lady in his life, his mother. Later that night I got down on my knees and prayerfully committed my son’s life to God once again. I felt a new sense of peace about being a mom as I realized that Jake ultimately belonged to the Lord and that my faithful God would cover my son where I could not.

Years later, just a few weeks before my son would marry his beautiful Southern bride, Amanda, I found myself in a reflective mood. On the one hand, I felt as if I’d done everything I could to encourage him to keep following Christ and to prepare him to be a good husband. I knew I needed to officially release Jake to his new life with his bride-to-be. On the other hand, I wondered, Have I done enough? I feared the years my husband and I struggled in our own marriage might affect Jake’s marriage. In my inward battle to believe I had done a good job raising him, God gave me the desire to write Jacob a very personal letter the week before his wedding. With his permission and in my hope to bring some relief to your momma’s heart, I want to share it with you now:

To my son, Jake,
This morning as tears fill my eyes, I reflect on the past twenty years of life with you, from Winnie the Pooh, goody plates, and snuggles to late-night talks when you were a teen. I remember when I first heard your heartbeat in the doctor’s office and the doctor saying, “You are going to have a son.” Joy and fear flooded my heart at that moment.

What kind of mom would I be, coming from a broken home with no foundation? And could I take on the task of raising a son in this perverse world?

I was so afraid of failing you, and I became desperate for God, which kept me in a constant state of prayer for you, knowing that our God would cover you where I could not and cover me where I failed. What I did not know is that I was not just raising a son; I was raising a warrior and a world changer!

Today I look at your fearful heart for your future, and I see a man who seeks God’s face with humility, knowing your God is faithful. I see a man who is passionate to do something great for God’s Kingdom. I see a hope in your heart that screams, “I will not settle for less than God has for me!”

Jacob, in all my imperfections and insecurities, I am honored God chose me to raise a mighty warrior like you. I know you don’t know how your story will be written, and it seems unclear how you will fulfill your calling. Remember, you are not the author of your own life; therefore rest in Him. . . . He is writing your life right now. Any and everything you are about to walk through, good or hard, will prepare you for His ultimate plan.

So as I wipe the tears from my eyes and say good-bye as “Mommy,” once responsible for your care, I now give you away to care for your bride. And say hello as a friend. I will always hold the memories of my little son as a hidden treasure in my heart. I pray that all you have seen and heard these past twenty years, “good and bad,” will become building blocks, as you will now lay the foundation of faith and life for your new family. Jacob, you will fight the good fight, you will finish your race, and your faith will be passed down to many generations long after you’re gone.

I love you, Son.
Mom

For more teaching videos from Sheri Rose, go to www.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Building a New Foundation of Love

More from Sheri Rose Shepherd this Wednesday….

 

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Building a New Foundation of Love
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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In Nehemiah 2:17 we read about a city that has been shattered: “Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.” The walls that once protected God’s people had been destroyed, and all that was left were brokenhearted people and one broken man of faith who saw the ruins of Jerusalem and cried out to God. I can imagine Nehemiah questioning why God did not stop this destruction from happening. Surely if God cared, He would have protected His own holy city. Today, many of us hold the ruins of our own lives, broken by the destructive behavior and neglect of others, and we ask God the same question. We are just like Nehemiah, living in a land of hopelessness when it comes to love and marriage.

We see the moral decay and devastation of shattered lives and the ruins of families from relational wreckage. There are many reasons we are in this mess, and we could continue to blame one another—but what good would it do? The truth is, none of us ventured into marriage to see it end in misery or divorce. It would be wise for us to look at our own wreckage the same way that Nehemiah did his. What I mean is, let’s do something about it. We need a Nehemiah revival today if anything is ever going to change.

Nehemiah could have given up on God and his people and finished out the rest of his life depressed, bitter, and hopeless. Instead, he chose to fight the temptation to quit, to speak life into a dead situation, and to start building. Nehemiah took a step of faith and refreshed the people with a new perspective on the devastation around them.

Nehemiah did not deny that there was a problem; he didn’t ignore the fact that God’s people were discouraged and depressed. He himself was broken by what he saw. However, he took his brokenness and did something about it. He spoke words of life, and he inspired the people to take the broken stones from the wall and lay them down one at a time to build a new and stronger wall. With God, brokenness does not have to be the end. Pain can become the very thing that brings us into a closer relationship with God and transforms us from the inside out.

Nehemiah’s broken heart compelled him to faith and action. He knew that what he was asking appeared to be impossible, yet he dared to believe God. His heavenly Father was then pleased to bless him with great favor. God used Nehemiah’s compassion to rebuild what was broken as He gave Nehemiah the strength needed to help his people live for a greater purpose than their own personal loss. He showed them how to begin rebuilding a foundation with a thankful heart and renewed faith.

We have all been hurt, and our hearts need healing at some level. We each hold a stone that represents our reaction to those who have broken our hearts, and we all have a choice with what we will do with the stone we’re holding. We can throw it, or we can use it to rebuild what is broken.

For more teaching videos from Sheri Rose, go to www.biblelifecoaching.com.

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A Letter to Our Men

More from Sheri Rose Shepherd this Wednesday….

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A Letter to Our Men
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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A few years ago I was invited to address over five thousand men at a conference. I was asked to express the heart of a woman and to show the men how to better love and understand their wives. The topic they requested was “What Women Want.”To be honest, this particular invitation seemed very strange to me since I am in women’s ministry and had been writing His Princess books.I remember sitting at my desk and just staring at the e-mail invitation, battling to believe God would open this door for me to address five thousand men. Even harder for me to believe was that I could ever convince these men to listen to me about what women want. I fell to my knees and cried out to God, “Who am I to speak into these men’s lives about loving their wives? What right do I have?” As I prayed, I felt my inward battle to believe being conquered by an overwhelming desire to make a difference. I dared to believe God would do something bigger than I could ever do on my own—birth a new beginning between men and women.

My heart began to break as I reflected on the countless women who had shared with me the painful places they had walked through with the men they loved. These good women of faith had wonderful hearts and believed in their marriages. Yet they had been left alone to defend themselves and their children after their marriages were destroyed by infidelity, neglect, or abuse. Even the women who were determined to remain married struggled to believe their marriages could ever be truly meaningful and reflect real love.

As I continued to pray about accepting this invitation, God brought back to my memory the painful night in my childhood when my dad stumbled into my room with tears in his eyes and fear on his face. He knelt at the foot of my bed and broke the news that he and my mom were divorcing. I realize now that he had lost his will to fight and had no idea how to save his marriage or our family. Next I thought about my own marital struggles and the years of tears and trials it took for my husband, Steve, and me to rebuild a solid foundation for our marriage.

In spite of my insecurities, passion and compassion compelled me to take a step of faith. I surrendered to this invitation in an effort to bring transformation to these men and their marriages. Once I committed to the speaking date, I became desperate for God to give me the words, kindness, courage, and wisdom I would need to stand before these men.

To my surprise, God gave me much more than that. He gave me a letter of repentance I was to deliver before my message. With that said, I invite you to read the opening letter on forgiveness I delivered with fear and trembling before these men, which I believe opened their hearts and ears to my message:

Dear Men of All Ages,
Now more than ever, we need you to rise up and fight for us, fight to remain faithful, and fight to finish strong! We need you to fight to leave a legacy of faith for the sake of our children and the foundation of marriage. I know this seems almost impossible in a society that screams, “You have failed us in every way!” so I stand here today on behalf of all women and girls and ask that you forgive us for the following:

Forgive us . . . for blaming you for all that has gone wrong in our lives and for making you pay the price for all the men who hurt us—even if it was not your fault.

Forgive us . . . for holding on to the past and making you feel like you don’t deserve to be forgiven or have a fresh start.

Forgive us . . . for trying to conquer and compete with you—when we were created to complete you.

Forgive us . . . for the way our words and our actions have publicly dishonored, discouraged, and disrespected you.

Forgive us . . . for using our beauty and our bodies to weaken your flesh and control you.

Forgive us . . . for all the mind games we have played with you and the manipulation we have used to get your love and attention.

Forgive us . . . for forgetting to make you feel like the heroic men we desire you to be in our lives!

The reaction of the men astonished me. As I shared these words, the room was completely silent; it was surreal and a little scary. I had one eye on the paper and one eye on the men. It was as if each sentence lowered their defenses, and by the time I said the last word, many of the men even had tears in their eyes. Their faces seemed to say, “Please unlock the hero inside me” and “Show me how to become the man I long to be for my wife and family.”

I took a deep breath and then respectfully asked their permission to speak into their lives about their relationships with their wives. I asked if I could help them understand the heart of a woman; to attempt to explain how we are wired and what we need from them to feel safe, secure, and loved.

I assured them my goal was to give them Christ-centered, creative ways they could rescue, romance, replenish, and repair the women they had possibly hurt. I was taken aback by their response: the men stood to their feet and gave me a standing ovation before I even began sharing my message.

For more teaching videos from Sheri Rose, go to www.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Building Up the Men in Our Lives

More from Sheri Rose Shepherd this Wednesday….

 

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Building Up the Men in Our Lives
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9, NIV)
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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When our husbands let us down, it’s hard not to voice our anger and disappointment. We don’t do it to hurt or embarrass our husbands. We are women, and we’re wired to share our hearts with another person. We definitely need one another to become the women we want to be, but we need to be careful not to cripple our men by uncovering their weaknesses to everyone.

Obviously we all need someone to help us sort through our feelings. I think it is best to find one or two trustworthy people who are in favor of our marriages and won’t repeat our conversation to others. I have two best friends to whom I tell everything because they help me see things from my husband’s perspective and help me fight for my marriage by praying and sharing wisdom from the Word. I am careful, even with them, not to overshare in a way that would humiliate my husband, Steve.

Think about how we would feel if our husbands talked about our weaknesses at their workplaces. Let’s commit to covering our men and not exposing them, and let’s pray for them to grow as leaders.

Don’t Enable . . .

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

Because we women are so good at leading, many times we leave our men in the dust or allow them to become weak leaders. How are they ever supposed to learn to lead if we do everything for them? We are not their mothers; we are their wives. Christ asked them to love, lead, and take care of us the way He loves the church.

It’s important that we not try to do things that are our husbands’ responsibility unless they are absolutely necessary. Even if we can do their job better than they can, we’re not helping them become the men they long to be; we are enabling them. They will see us as their mothers and not their wives, which will make us bitter toward them and produce the fruit of self-hate in their lives.

Do What You Can to Empower Him . . .

Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do. (1 Peter 3:6)

I used to think it was strange that Sarah called her husband “master.” I thought maybe she was even putting her husband before God. But today I realize she was a wise woman. She was empowering her husband to find his place as her leader. We can also help our husbands become godly leaders for us. Even if they do not rise up right away, we shouldn’t give up on them. We can keep praying and empowering them. Whatever they do, big or small, let’s encourage them. Let’s be like Sarah and do whatever it takes to empower our men to be great.

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visitwww.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Receiving God’s Love

More from Sheri Rose Shepherd this Wednesday….

 

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Receiving God’s Love
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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Think how powerful it would be if we spoke the truth about how God feels about us at least as often as we silently said negative things about ourselves or replayed in our minds all the hurtful things that have been said about us. The truth is, we are not what others say about us, and if the men we love speak hurtful words to us that make us feel unworthy, we don’t need to repeat them any longer. Instead we can learn to rest in God’s unchanging love for us.

Even if no one has ever said anything kind to you, your Prince Jesus longs for you to breathe in the tender love, compassion, and kindness He feels for you. If you’re ready to have Jesus, the lover of your soul, become reality to you, I invite you to do the following . . .

Breathe In His Love . . .

For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)

You know that feeling of exhilaration that sticks with you after you’ve spent time with a guy you know you’re falling in love with? As you part, you take a deep breath and feel waves of delight washing over you. Or you know the joy that wells up inside when your man unexpectedly says something so sweet that you feel treasured? You replay those words over and over in your mind because doing so gives you a lift.

Breathe His truth in; allow the words of your true prince Jesus to echo in your heart and soul.

After you consider God’s words to you—”I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3)—whisper toward heaven, “I love You, Lord.”

Sing about His Love . . .

Each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. (Psalm 42:8)

When I was learning to let myself receive God’s love, I would actually sing love songs to Him. Though they had been written for a woman to sing to a man here on earth, I began to understand that if I would crave God’s love first, He would meet my needs. Only then would I be able to give and receive love.

Today I love worship songs that sing of God’s love for us. I blare them throughout my house in the mornings so Satan will not be able to whisper lies to me any longer. Consider doing the same.

Write Love Letters to Him in a Journal . . .

Connect your heart to heaven by writing love letters to your Lord. It is amazing what happens to your heart as you begin to express your love in writing to the only One who will never walk away from or reject you. Hang on to this treasure of truth: how you feel about yourself will never change God’s love for you.

Let Us Pray . . .

Dear God,
I confess I do not feel worthy of your love. It is hard for me to believe that You even love me. Help me, Lord, to look to You for my worth. Forgive me for not allowing myself to receive Your love. Forgive me for looking to others to make me feel like I have value when You are the only one who can validate me and love me the way I long to be loved. From this day forward, I choose to let You love me so I can love others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live.
I will praise my God to my last breath!
May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the LORD. (Psalm 104:33-34)

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visitwww.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Feeling Unworthy of Love

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Feeling Unworthy of Love
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:19)
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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There is a battle within most women’s hearts to believe they are worthy of love. If we believe the lie that we do not deserve love and are hiding behind feelings of unworthiness, even the most loving man in the world will not be able to break down the wall around our hearts.Can you imagine if every night when you went to tuck your children into bed they refused to let you hug them or express your love because they did not feel they deserved it? As a parent, you would embrace them every time you could to prove to them they were indeed worthy of your love. If they refused to receive it because of how they felt, it would break your heart.

I believe that is how our heavenly Father feels when we refuse to let Him love us. But there’s so much more at stake when we feel unworthy of love. When we are locked up inside, we cannot become the women we want to be in our men’s and children’s lives. If we do not love ourselves and do not let God lavish His love on us, it will hinder us and hurt others.

There are many reasons we may fight feelings of unworthiness. Some of us had fathers who never expressed how much they loved us, and others had mothers who did not feel they deserved love and did not know how to show love, so we began to see our worth through their eyes and not through God’s. We may have been abused verbally, emotionally, or physically. Maybe our first love made us feel we were worthless. Some of us had all the love in the world from our families, but we felt rejected by our peers.

The list of things we women believe when it comes to love is endless. But the truth is, how we feel will never change how loved we are by the Lord. And nothing that we have done or that has been done to us can keep God from loving us. The question is, will we open our hearts and let His love in? I believe if God wrote us a love letter, it might read like this . . .

My Beloved Daughter,
I love you with an unconditional, everlasting love so you can be free to love. My precious daughter, don’t allow those who have hurt you to keep you from experiencing the joy of loving others. I know giving a piece of your heart away involves risk, but I am here to heal your heart when someone hurts you. I want you to choose wisely whom you allow in your heart, and I also want you to give those you love the freedom to fail. Remember that no one else can love you as perfectly and completely as I do. Don’t look for a perfect love in people, or you will always find disappointment and heartache. If you allow your soul to settle into Mine and become one with Me, you will never doubt that I am forever and always devoted to you.
Your Prince Jesus, who can’t stop loving you

May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. (Ephesians 3:18)

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visitwww.biblelifecoaching.com.

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We Are on the Same Team and Fighting the Same Enemy

More from Sheri Rose Shepherd this Wednesday….

 

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We Are on the Same Team and Fighting the Same Enemy
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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Think about what makes your heart melt when you watch a great love story. It’s not the hero’s physical strength or his beloved’s beauty, is it? No, you and I are drawn to the power of true love and its inexplicable ability to prevail over tragedy and adversity. The greater the conflict, the stronger the love must be in order to resolve the issue. When the hero does whatever it takes to save the relationship, our hearts soar with renewed hope. Likewise, as we seek to truly listen and understand our men when differences between us create friction, we set ourselves up for more satisfying and loving relationships.

The Author of love and life and the Designer of our differences knew there would be conflict between men and women. The real problem comes, though, when we get accustomed to seeing relational problems solved in the time it takes to eat a bag of popcorn. Our hero and his beauty have less than two hours to defeat the dragons and overcome unspeakable challenges. You and I are not going to magically resolve deep relationship conflicts in our own wisdom and definitely not in less than two hours.

When I met my husband, Steve, I was sure we were a match made in heaven. In fact, we have had the privilege of being in ministry together for most of our marriage. I wish I could tell you it’s been an effortless, wonderful life for the two of us, but I would be lying to you.

I learned to fight loud and strong by watching my parents. My brother and I would hide together in my bedroom as our parents tore into each other during arguments, often screaming and throwing things. Because of my broken family, when I first got married I was sure that every conflict between me and Steve would end our marriage.

Steve was raised by parents who had stayed married, so it was impossible for him to relate to my fears and worries. He was raised in quieter surroundings. His parents dealt with conflict quite differently from mine. There was no rage. No yelling. No broken furniture. His parents rarely fought—and never in front of their children. But his family also had no system to resolve conflict. That meant issues went unresolved—though not unnoticed.

Steve’s and my fighting techniques were drastically different. However, neither of us had been equipped to deal appropriately with marital conflict. That led to major challenges early in our marriage whenever we attempted to resolve a disagreement. To make things even more difficult, when I married Steve I was a new Christian and had not yet learned how to channel my anger properly.

I tried everything to get him to react or resolve conflict with me, and as I waited, I became more bitter and he became more distant. One day I couldn’t take Steve’s calm, cool responses anymore. From my perspective, he obviously needed some lessons on how to fight for our marriage. I’d had enough of his “let’s work it out peacefully by ignoring our problems” act. In my mind, he was being polite only to annoy me.

“Why don’t you ever show some emotion and prove to me you care about our marriage?” I yelled.

Steve stood there quietly, shaking his head and looking down at the ground. Then suddenly, he turned toward the mirror on our bedroom closet door and kicked it as hard as he could, smashing it to bits.

Wow, I thought, what a performance. He sure learns fast.

Suddenly I began to laugh hysterically through my tears. I was so shocked I wasn’t sure if I was relieved or ready to run from what I saw. His toenail was jutting out at a bizarre angle as he asked me, “Is that enough emotion for you? If it would help, I could probably throw myself on the floor and work up a good cry.” We both began to laugh together as we attempted to pick up the glass fragments scattered all over our bedroom floor. In that moment I realized how much we had shattered each other just because we were different and had not been trained on how to resolve conflict. Our marriage was not the problem; it was our hearts. Neither of us had a teachable spirit.

It took several years, a lot of tears, and one expensive closet door mirror to repair the damage inflicted during those early years. We still have conflict, as all couples do, but we now understand that we are on the same team and that it’s okay not to agree on everything.

After twenty-five years of marriage, we’ve decided it’s worth letting go of the little things and fighting to understand one another. Conflict comes no matter who we marry. We may be fighting about different things with different men, but there will always be major differences between men and women. I once heard a pastor say that if spouses agreed on everything, only one of them would be needed. Let’s not allow our differences to divide us any longer!

For a sneak peek of Sheri Rose’s Your Heart’s Desire Group Experience, or to learn more about her ministry, visit www.biblelifecoaching.com.

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