Q and A

Jennifer from Chattanooga, Tennessee asks...

Teenage Stepchildren

Dear Junebug: I am a step-mother and it can be very difficult raising teenage daughters. I guess my question would be as a step-mom how can I try to relate to my girls when they don't see me as "their mom"?

Posted in Stepchildren on Mon, Oct 11th 2010

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

Dear Jennifer:

First don't try to be their Mom. They already have a Mother and they will push further away if you try to fill her shoes. You can however, be a positive support and even a mentor to them. It's crucial you pray for them and your relationship, and step back allowing them to come to you. Be available with unconditional love when they do approach you and try hard not to preach to them. These are the times to be a source of sweet support and joy. I suspect  a good relationship will forge out of your unconditional love toward them. 

This will not happen quickly as all good things take time and effort on our part. Leave the disciplining, parenting and preaching up to their parents. Remember in this case, you are the supporting actress not the lead role.

Jennifer, as John Lennon so aptly put it in his famous song, "All you need is love...love is all you need." Love them where they are and for who they are. Teenagers are difficult enough when they are your own. I know, for I've had teenagers in my house now for over 13 years straight.

So remember these words from the apostle Peter, "And above all things, have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8).  

God bless you dear and may you stay on your knees for your family!

Junebug

Tom from Nashville, TN asks...

What's a Man to do?

Junebug: Help! I can't take care of my family anymore! I lost my favorite job when the economy died. Since then I've had 4 jobs, all in sales, and made no money. I have worked in sales for years, but have only been able to find jobs that are 100% commission. The last job I walked out of because after 3 months of work and an average of 55-60 hours a week, I made less than $2000 (not enough to buy groceries for my 3 kids let alone pay our mortgage for a month). To top that off, we got flooded in May and lost the bottom of our two story house. We have been able to fix most of the house, but I truly feel like I have not been able to catch a break since 2008. My wife has told me that she does not believe that I am able to take care of her and the kids, and does not trust me. I am working my self to death trying everything I can and still losing the battle. What is a man to do? I find myself very angry and depressed with my situation and her lack of understanding.

Posted in Fear on Thu, Oct 7th 2010

No Stone Uncovered

Dear Tom:

Like many, my family has suffered from this unpredictable economy as well. That being true, I'd like to give you a few pointers that are simple, yet effective. First, you must get out of the box in your job search and your thinking. That means you will need to leave no stone uncovered, even the smallest of pebbles. You never know what fortune is hiding under those rocks, pebbles or even the dusty dirt. That sounds elementary, but I have seen it work in my husband's professional life, and it IS effective! The key, Tom, is to never give up; keep trying everything not just the obvious or comfortable. Ferociously kick up all the dirt you can and you WILL find those hidden opportunities! I'm not encouraging you to do this, I'm insisting you look nonstop, especially in the areas where you are least comfortable. Those are the very places where you will find the gems that lead to a job.

I know this sounds so cliche', but from experience, I know it works. Just the other day, my husband received a call from someone desiring his services. It was completely unexpected, in a different industry than the one he has worked in for years, but it was lucrative. It came from kicking up so much dust that we could barely breathe! But take note: When you first begin to look anywhere and everywhere for jobs, what generally happens is you see little or no results. Many will become discouraged by that and quit the effort altogether. But that's not the time to quit, that's the time to pick up the pace, kick up more dirt, and soon enough, fruit will come from your efforts! I have seen it time and time again in my own life. Just when I thought we couldn't buy a break, unexpected opportunities would fall. It's the law of gravity at work. What goes up when you kick up the dust must come down; something good will "fall" in your lap.

Tom, women need to feel safe and secure in their relationships. It's the way God made us, it's part of our makeup. When poverty enters in, that security is threatened and discord follows. You have to meet that discord head on! To do that, your actions will speak much louder than your words. You must assure your wife that you are doing everything you possibly can to provide for your family through your actions; show her how much dust you are actually "kicking up". Then, ask her to pray for God's favor to shine upon you when those unexpected meetings occur or interviews result. I know it seems that you are sinking with only the tip of your nose sticking out of the water, but this is the time to use your last bit of energy. Never give up searching until you find a job!  You can do it because you have the Lord on your side. Make sure you do your part; being tenacious in looking for salaried work, then ask God to do HIS part. HE will not disappoint you.

In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul states, " I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Tom, you are in the midst of the "fight" at this very moment. Fight the good fight, never backing down. In a blink of an eye, you will have finished the race. Don't wish the"ruckus of living" away. Fight with all you have, lean on HIM by giving Him all of you, and finish this race with faith!       

Lori from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin asks...

Will My Marriage Get Easier?

Dear Junebug: I've been married for 14 years next month to a man who has bipolar disorder. I didn't know this when I married him, just that he had anger and depression issues. I followed my head and heart and didn't ask God if marrying him was part of His plan for me. We've made it this far, but it hasn't been easy. Lately it's been really tough, and I have to wonder if I'm being punished for my choosing whom to marry, and not getting God involved with that choice. I know that God doesn't punish us, and I have asked for forgiveness. I've actually helped my husband find faith, and he's not a bad person, it's just always been a struggle for us. Will things ever get easier?

Posted in Marriage on Tue, Sep 21st 2010

No Regrets

Dear Debra: 

Honey, I don't know if your marriage will get easier, but I do know that you must stop looking back as to whether you made a mistake in marrying your husband. Instead, look forward focusing on your future together. Once you change your focus, healing and peace can take up residency within your marriage. Many of us neglected to seek God in our decision to marry, but God can take what Satan intended for harm and destruction and turn it around for good; for His glory and even His eternal purposes!

I have been married 26 years and I've found that marriage is no "cakewalk" or a "walk in the park". Rather marriage is a challenge; it's a roller coaster of sorts and can be incredible, yet at the same time very painful and trying.

I advise you to seek professional help for your husband's bipolar disorder and possibly seek marriage counseling. In my own marriage we have sought marital counseling and it has greatly helped in those areas that we couldn't seem to get through ourselves. The help of a third party was extremely beneficial.

In Galations 6:7, Paul says, "...whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. I know from personal experience that we do reap what we sow; I've seen it over and over again in my own life. You'd think that I would be a quicker learner and stop making the same mistakes, but Jesus says we are like "sheep" and sheep are not smart animals. So, like a sheep, I am a very slow learner! 

My point is, we are punished for our sins, but I don't consider your not seeking God on your marriage a sin. It was a lack of spiritual maturity, but not a sin. So, with that, look to the future with your husband, don't glance back to the "what ifs" any longer. That would be a sin; allowing Satan to steal the gift God has given you, your marriage, by living in regret, guilt and defeat! Who knows, dear, God may use you and your marriage as a platform to minister to others in your same "boat". 

Go boldly proclaiming His restoration and peace in your life and in turn you will be the bright light in this dark world!

God's blessings beyond measure on your marriage today and always!

Junebug

JL from Lakeland, Florida asks...

Left Alone & Pregnant

Dear Junebug: I am in desperate need of your help. Please write me back real soon. I am 16 years old and just found out I'm pregnant. My boyfriend broke up with me as soon as he found out I was pregnant and he won't even speak to me now. I am so afraid of my parents that they will forever hate me and I will be an embarrassment for them that I can't turn to them. I don't have anyone I can talk to because I lost all my friends when I got my boyfriend. I kinda ignored everyone so I don't think they like me anymore. I'm thinking I don't even need to be alive. Please help me, I have nobody to turn to.

Posted in Teenage Pregnancy on Tue, Sep 7th 2010

Hold Your Head Up

Dear J.L.:

 

If you feel you cannot go and tell your parents, then I strongly suggest you go to your church, or if you don't frequent a church, ask someone who does attend where to go, and find their youth pastor or counselor. Set up a meeting with him/her and discuss your situation with them. They can in turn go with you to talk to your parents. This way you will not be alone when you tell them the news.

 

J.L., it's imperative that you know you are loved and cherished by our Father God. He loves you so much, dear, that He gave His son to die for you (John 3:16). Your sins were forgiven over two thousand years ago. Darling, remember when the Jews brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus? They wanted to stone her for this offense. Did Jesus condemn her? No, He actually put the burden on her accusers, by saying, "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone" (John 8:3-11). Everyone had to walk away, for they all knew they had sinned! 

 

Satan is THE accuser. If you are feeling guilt, shame, or contempt for yourself; if you are feeling worthless or useless, these are all thoughts and feelings Satan gives you; not our dear Father, Jesus Christ. Sweetie, just ask the Lord for forgiveness and He forgives, simple as that. Now, you obviously will have to live with the repercussions of your choice, but I have never been under the opinion that a life, no matter how it was conceived, was a burden. 

 

Don't ever think again that your life is over, hopeless and not necessary. God put you here for His purposes and ultimate glory; therefore, He expects you to go ahead with His plans, which are of a hope and a future with and in HIM (Jer.29:11).

 

I feel sure that a youth pastor/counselor will be able to help guide you and walk with you in the upcoming weeks and months.

 

God's blessings poured out upon you and your little miracle!

 

Junebug

 

 

 

If you feel you cannot go and tell your parents, then I strongly suggest you go to your church, or if you don't frequent a church, ask someone who does attend, where to go, and find their youth pastor or counselor.  Set up a meeting with he/she and discuss your situation with them.  They can in turn go with you to talk to your parents.  This way you are not alone when you tell them the news.

 

J.L., it's imperative that you know you are loved and cherished by our Father God.  He loves you so much,dear that He gave His son to die for you.(John 3:16)   Your sins were forgiven over two thousand years ago.   Darling, remember when the Jews brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus and they wanted to stone her for this offense.  Did Jesus condemn her? No, He actually put the burden on her accusers, by saying, "He who has not sinned, cast the first stone."  Everyone had to walk away, for they all knew they sinned! (John 8:3-11) 

 

Satan is THE accuser.  If you are feeling guilty, shame,contempt for yourself, worthless, useless, these are all thoughts and feelings Satan gives you; not our dear Father, Jesus Christ. Sweetie, just ask the Lord for forgiveness and He forgives, simple as that.  Now, you obviously will have to live with the repercussions of your choice, but I have never been under the opinion that a life(no matter how it was conceived) was a burden. 

 

Don't ever think again that your life is over, hopeless and not necessary.  God put you here for His purposes and ultimate glory; therefore, He expects you to go ahead with His plans, which are of a hope and a future with and in HIM.(Jer.29:11)

 

I feel sure that a youth pastor/ counselor will be able to help guide and walk with you in the upcoming weeks and months.

 

God's blessings poured out upon you and your little miracle!

 

Junebug

  

 

Barbara from Smyrna, TN asks...

Keep on Keeping On

Dear Junebug: Years ago my husband joined the church when we got married. Over the years he has used work as an excuse not to go. Last year his youngest brother died of cancer which, as you can imagine, was devastating to my husband. I know that only Jesus can heal his heart, but now he refuses to go to church even though he's off on Wednesdays. He will only go when the kids have something special going on...and then its a lot of begging by me for him to even walk through the doors. I don't know what to do. I pray non-stop and even have the children ask him, which use to work. I love him so much, and he is such a good man with a good heart. Help me please.

Posted in Marriage on Tue, Aug 24th 2010

Stop Asking

Dear Barbara: 

When I read your question my mind went back years ago to a time when my best friend was dealing with a similar problem in her marriage. Without her husband, she went to church every Sunday with their three children in tow. My friend begged, pleaded and prayed for her husband to attend church with her and their children. She called me asking to join her in prayer, which I did. All of this to no avail, just like you. 

One day my friend felt strongly the voice of God say to her. "Don't ask him anymore. Leave him alone. Let ME handle him." So she did.  The following Sunday, she awakened early, showered, dressed and quickly dressed the children.  Smile on her face, love in her voice, she said, "goodbye dear, I love you." No begging, no asking nor pleading. She simply left. She had peace in knowing that God was in control of not only her life but her hubby's as well. The following Sunday, she basically continued the same routine; shower, dress, get the children feed and ready and lovingly said "goodbye dear, I love you." But this time he said something unusual back. Seemingly concerned he asked, "Honey, why don't you ask me to go to church anymore?"  She responded with, "Oh dear, I just don't want to bother you. Please know that we always want you to go and you are always welcome to attend with us."  He looked at her and clearly said, "Do you mind waiting, I'd like to go with y'all?" 

Even after all these years, recalling this precious story brings tears of joy to my eyes. I couldn't believe that something so easy yet spiritually profound actually worked. You see Barbara, the Holy Spirit knows exactly the right thing to do. I am not saying that what worked for my friend will work for you, but I don't think it will hurt to give it a try. Know that  the God given advice for my friend is clear when reading 1Peter 1:3.  It says, "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives..."  I love the "without a word" part of this Scripture. For without the mention of a single word, Barbara, your husband can be won over to Jesus Christ just by watching his Godly wife.

I suggest you pray for him daily and partner in prayer with a trusted friend as well. Stop asking him to attend church and trust that God is working out his salvation behind the scenes!

It's been over 20 years since my girlfriend told me that story and she and her husband are still attending church together. Keep your head up dear; knowing that if you do your part, that of letting him go to God, God will certainly do His part!

God bless you dear for being a praying wife!

Junebug  

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