Serving through sex (Part 1 – Adaptability)

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I’ve heard a few times about the idea of ‘serving’ your husband through sex because it’s a need he has. I don’t like that view or the term ‘serving’ as it relates to sex and as the weeks rolled by, I saw it again and again. Every time I saw it, I liked it less and less. This term, serving in the context [of sex] has the slight nuance of obligation (see duty, onus, burden, and liability) to it.

My first feeling is, serving appears to be something you do for the benefit of someone else. In this context, its serve your husband sex for his benefit. And although that might seem right (Proverbs 14:12); somehow it rings false. I think this whole idea of a wife serving her husband sex is an approach that will backfire in the end.

So I want to peel back this idea and see what it exposes.

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When I let the word serving roll around in my mind, the first thing I’m faced with is a choice: have to OR want to; along with a whiff of resistance – it seems like serving could almost, be placating*.

*to appease or pacify, especially by concessions or conciliatory gestures

*soothe, assuage, mollify.

How did Jesus view serving? If God is renewing my mind to be like Christ’s, then I can look to His example. When God requested that Jesus go to the cross:

  • Did Jesus do it to appease or pacify God?
  • Was His agreement to God’s plan a conciliatory gesture?

Jesus wasn’t double minded. He wasn’t thinking, “Omg!! You want me to do what!? Do I have to?” But speaking out, “I want to do this.” I don’t think so. On the contrary, Jesus grabbed a-hold of God’s idea and adapted His own will to God’s plan of the cross.

HAVE TO / WANT TO

When Jesus saw there was no other way, He adapted immediately to God’s plan. This morphed His have to into the want to (Luke 22:42). When Jesus chose to adapt to God’s plan for His life, as hard as it was, His heart was no longer divided between have to / want to, and the human part of His mind was renewed (Romans 12:2) and it showed in His willingness. God’s plan became Jesus’ plan – they were united.

Adapting enables the flesh to grow up*. Adapting is what changes the stoic ‘have to’ in our flesh of obedience into the loving ‘want to’ in our spirit. (Ezekiel 11:19)

SCENARIO 1: What would you think? Someone who’s serving at church in the nursery because it‘s a need, but they have no interest in children. They’ve been watching your kids for about 6 months and then you overhear a conversation they are having outside of the church on their cell phone. They don’t really like kids that much. Sure they are cute and everything, but it’s not really what you’d like to be doing. However, you feel God will bless you because there is such a need for it – and there was no one else to do it. Would you really feel comfortable and happy with your kids there? Or would you feel better with overhearing a conversation of someone who said, that they really loved kids, in fact they just enrolled in a child care course because their heart really is for kids – they want to.  Or, scenario 2.

SCENARIO 2: You’ve got this good friend who you‘ve been sharing your life with. You meet every 2 weeks for a coffee and a chat. You’ve become very good friends and feel comfortable in sharing your struggles in marriage with her. You need to drop off something at a different friend’s house and your other friend (the one you’ve been confiding to) is there. They are out on the back deck and don’t know you are there. You decide to surprise/scare them by quietly sneaking up to the gate and barging through with a big smile on your face. NO intentions of eaves dropping – because you completely trust both of these women. But as you approach the gate you hear … not what you expected. Your deeper friend is sharing how she really enjoys your company except when you share about your problems in marriage. She finishes her conversation by saying that, it’s what friends do for each other, they serve each other and this is her Christian duty to serve in their friendship.

See, it doesn’t leave you with a true feeling of warmth and care – it’s not authentic.  It is truth … from the obedience of the mind — but not genuine.

Is it just semantics? I don’t know. Let’s try a different angle and drive it down a little deeper into our own personal experience. Look at the flip-side, from ‘serving’ him sexually (his need) to ‘serving’ her relationally (her need).

SCENARIO 3:  You overhear your husband talking to a friend, “I took her [his wife] out for dinner and a movie last night. I didn’t really feel like it, after the day I had I would rather have unplugged into a book or movie, but God says Christian serving is good, and this kind of serving falls on the husband’s shoulders because God made her with this need, so I ‘loved’ her by SERVING her.”  What a shock to hear; you were thinking that you really had a great time of relational intimacy.

If I over-heard that conversation I wouldn’t be feelin the love. I wouldn’t get a sense of being genuinely engaged in a real relationship of any depth; but more of having been appeased.

He is in the mindset of “I have to” not “I want to.” It feels deceitful and is an affront because when we read, For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25), we know God didn’t mean for Christ to love the church through conciliatory gestures.  Have to is serving. Want to is loving. I don’t want my husband to have to love me; I want him to want to love me.

So, back to the sex of it … as long as I feel that I am serving my husband through sex, it will always be a conciliatory gesture and never authentic genuine love.

***IT IS ADAPTABILITY THAT CHANGES THE HEART FROM HAVE TO SERVE INTO WANT TO LOVE***

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Part 2 – Submission is not serving. Serving is not submission.

 

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*Did the God part of Jesus need to grow up His flesh? Probably not, as the God part of His nature was completely mature all ready. However, the part that was fully human need the flesh contended with. This is part of the testing and suffering that He had to endure to be the first born among many. Jesus lead the way, in demonstration with His own life, to show us what it really means to obey with the right heart.

TGIF – Fri Apr 4

FRIDAY FAVS

Lifting up others and their endeavours is very important. In his letter the Philippian church, Paul tells us to not only be on the look-out for our own interests but also the interests of others. I think this verse can have multiple applications but for the purposes of my Friday Favourites I’m taking it to mean find interest in the interests of others. There is the benefit of encouragement to others as well as shared information within your community.

 

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TEDRUBIN Straight TalkHow to Look People in the Eye Digitally - “You know how it is when you meet someone at a conference or in a networking situation and they’re constantly looking around the room to see who else is there, or they’re looking at their watch, or anywhere except at you?  Those signals mean they aren’t really “present” in the conversation, so there is no true connection.”

Intentional TodayMarried?  You Should Not Have a Pinterest Board called “eye-candy”“10. You should not expect him to make a good girlfriend. He’s dude.  You married a dude.”

Pearl’s Oyster BedSirens“There was a flash in my mind.  I remember feeling the need for an ambulance to come save our marriage.  Our wounded hearts were bleeding dry.  What if I pray for hurting marriages every time I hear a siren?”

LEADERSHIP FREAKCHOOSE YOUR DEFAULT RESPONSE TO EVERYTHING - “The next time you feel like defending yourself, ask a question.  3 curiosity tips:  1. Ask about the obvious.  2. Declare yourself and your intentions or curiosity feels threatening to others. Don’t hide behind curiosity.  3. Curiosity isn’t the answer. It’s the path to the answer. Execution follows curiosity.”

Ruby SlippersWhat is Lust? – “Lust is an unbidden desire that compels us to act in a way that denies the mutuality and intentionality of relationship by funneling, conflating, or inordinately focusing the satisfaction of this desire into sexual fulfillment.”

 

 Blessings on your marriage

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Neglect

DRIFT

Neglect always leads to drifting.

There is no area of life where neglect is beneficial. Life – people – relationship: all require work. We were not built for static. Attending to – caring for – doing: We were built for activity.

PHYSICAL

  • Neglect to work out; your heart and muscles drift into weakness and atrophy
  • Neglect to eat right and your body drifts into poor health

MATERIAL 

  • Neglect your work you get passed over for promotions
  • Neglect to pay your mobile fee and your phone becomes useless

EMOTIONAL/MENTAL

  • Neglect to manage your emotions and your filters weaken
  • Neglect to keep your mind sharp and cognitive ability becomes dull

 Neglect = Drift = Dullness

Since all this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away. -Heb 2:1

For this nation’s heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them. -Matt 13:15

Fat & Dull = Lazy listeners ‘ask for it’

We all have areas in which we have become lazy listeners that make us neglectful:  In what ways are you neglecting your marriage?

A phrase you hear repeatedly from your spouse can indicate an area of dullness. You can listen to God through your spouse or you can let regression continue. But God always corrects one way or another. Just like you as a parent wouldn’t allow one sibling to constantly take advantage the other; He won’t allow His chosen to become a family of spoiled brats that hurt each other through the inaction of neglect.

You either act through listening and hearing or God will give you the help you are begging for. (Heb 10:31)

 BEWARE OF THE BAIT

Resist the temptation to ask, “In what ways is my spouse neglecting our marriage.” God doesn’t ask us to account for each other. I won’t be held accountable for the actions and behaviours of my husband; only my own as a wife. (2 Cor 5:10)

Neglect is a tool of Satan’s that is intentionally deceptive so it can be quietly destructive.  Drifting is just a slower path than directly sinking; the destination is the same:  divorce – death of the marriage. In order to keep your marriage afloat and on course it must be driven, steered, worked and attended to.

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TGIF – Fri Mar 21

FRIDAY FAVS

I know, it’s been a couple of weeks – oops, sorry for that.  Sometimes when we start new things we stumble along for a bit … this was one of those times.

Here’s hoping you are just as encouraged as I was by these articles and that you and yours have a great stupendous weekend!

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Warrior WivesON GIVING MARRIAGE ADVICE TO OTHERS — “We are smothering each other with well-intended input when we often need to just listen and pray…the truly wise don’t constantly trot out tips on how to better manage the chaos.” (Kimm Crandall)

Leadership FreakHOW TO LEAD LIKE BILLY GRAHAM“… In 20 minutes, he had an impact on me that would forever change the way I think about leadership.” (Michael Hyatt)

Return of QueensHow to Give to Your Man “It’s time to stop focusing so much on what we want from men; they’ve heard it all and their eyes start glazing over before we even begin with the first demand on our endless lists. The men of the West are walking away from the pattern of monogamy, marriage and family.”

Frankly Speaking:  “Look Away!  I’m Hideous” Part 3 “I’m not here to talk about nutrition and diet. I’m not here to beat the drum that a certain amount of excess fat can be healthy and they should leave us fatties alone either. I’m here to encourage a dialog about why we eat too much; too much of everything, too much of some things or too much of one thing.”

The Forgiven WifeWhat Will the Kids Think?“He told me that the topic of parents having sex had come up in conversations with his friends. Several of his friends have parents who have sex only once a month or so. (They apparently know this because of overhearing once-a-month sex, or, more often, overhearing their parents argue about it.) He told his buddies how lucky they were that they only had to hear it once a month. All of his friends turned to him and said how they would much rather have his problem of having to hear it more frequently. His friends said things that actually made him thankful for his parents’ sex life:  “It’s always tense around my house.”  ~  “My parents barely look at each other.”  ~  “I haven’t seen my parents kiss in years.”  ~  “My dad tried to pat my mom’s butt and she glared at him. In the morning I found him asleep on the couch.”  ~  “I hate the tension at dinner.”

Blessings on your marriage!

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Are You Timid & Afraid?

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What storm are you encountering … right now … at this very moment?  When your marriage boat set sail on it’s journey everything was on a nice even keel; but now it’s anything but ‘smooth sailin’ and you have no idea where all the rough waters came from.

Does this present storm have you wanting to turn and run away in fear?  How would you respond to Jesus as He asks you:

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The disciples were clambering in a panic from their emotions.  When crisis brings chop into our marriages I think we do the same thing, we end up paralyzed from our emotions and are faced with a huge temptation to focus on the circumstances and all the bad that could happen instead of all the power God has.

Isn’t this always our first wail to God?

make it stop  ~  make it go away  ~  make it be over

– always from our emotions.

I’m like one of the disciples, my default is to scramble to wake up Jesus before it gets too bad … before it gets too tough.  What I’m really asking God to do is to change my circumstances.  The disciples had already witnessed Jesus perform 3 miracles, yet when the storm hit, they still didn’t trust.  I think this is why Jesus was agitated with them and why He calls this “little” faith.  The answer isn’t in God changing the people around us or the circumstances we’re in (as we often ask Him to do), but in Christ alone.  Diligently trusting.  Diligently staying and standing, trusting that God will finish what He started.

~ Diligence is definitely the key  ~

In 2 Peter 1, Peter lays out the track that will lead to a bigger faith that is the close intimate relationship Jesus is looking to have with us.  For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue …

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Without diligence faith will stay “little”.  Changed circumstances won’t grow you closer to Jesus.  All this does is keep your faith muscles weak from lack of exercise, which puts you further away from intimate knowledge of Jesus and authentic fellowship with Him. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

Then, when you find your marriage in the middle of a terrible storm, your faith isn’t big enough to allow you the peace needed to stay with it.  Don’t forget, Jesus was asleep during the storm.

Circumstances of the storm

  1. They were fisherman accustom to being on all kinds of water; they knew storms – this one was bad.
  2. They didn’t plan it, or plan for it.  Zero control over it.  And no help from anyone else.
  3. Their response revealed where their faith really was.  Nothing like a good surprise storm to reveal your true level of courage on the open water.

They wanted Jesus to change the circumstances they were in; for Him to stop the storm and for it to be all over.  But Jesus wanted to show them a different way to get on the other side of it.  He wanted them to ride-out the storm by conquering through faith in Him.

Circumstances of a storm in marriage

  1. It doesn’t matter how well you think you know your spouse, people are not static.  We are all healing, growing and changing.  We are all capable of sin because we are sinners.
  2. Offences come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colours.  We have no control over how Satan is going to try and divide a marriage.  You can guarantee he’s not going to be upfront … he hides and pushes from behind and it feels like you are capsizing.
  3. Nothing like a good spur of the moment crisis to reveal where you really are in your faith.  How I respond to offence will show me just how much of my heart has been molded into the image of Christ.

How do you pray for your spouse when your marriage is confronted with crisis?  This is when our true character of faith emerges.  No rote responses.  No practice runs or plans of eloquent words.

There’s really only 2 choices:

  • Fear:  Pray for the circumstances to change, asking God to remove our hardship and make it easy so that we don’t have to exercise faith.  We want God to take away free choice and change those around us and what they are doing.
  • Faith:  We boldly stand in the confidence that comes from a bigger faith, diligently trusting as God shapes us into conquerors.

Similar to worry, which literally divides your strength in half, fear will eat away at the faith that is needed to sustain you through a storm in your marriage.  It will lead you by the nose as a blind coward that is timid and afraid.  Diligence in faith will drive you to where the real power is:  closer to Christ.

The next time you and your spouse find your placid pond whipped into a frenzy of a storm, try asking yourself:  What am I going to focus on, the storm or Jesus.  It takes work and training to resist the temptation to rush to Jesus with that prayer of, “change everything else,” instead of, “with Your power, change me.”
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What Purpose Does a Godless Marriage Serve?

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In a recent post over at Return of Queens I responded with the following comment on Pills are for Sissies:  “Yes, generally speaking PUA’s. They take the natural design of the attraction in masc/fem and twist it into something it was never meant to be – a tradition of men. Female submission to male authority was never meant to be merely a tradition for men to use for their own ends (temporally while on earth). But had (and still does have) a much, much higher purpose in mind.”

QueenA invited me to expand my thoughts on that idea.  The post I submitted as a guest contributor is the elaboration of that comment.

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There’s many ways to label the role of husband and wife in marriage but basically what it boils down to is someone has to lead and someone has to follow.  Marriage is made to emulate Christ and the ethereal church.  It’s pretty straight forward that God is in this picture.

[ ... ] To continue reading click over to Return of Queens.

 

robyn

A Worthy Purpose

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“True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” –Helen Keller

Have you defined your worthy purpose?

For me, being a wife is the most important role I fill while here on earth.  Submission to Darrell’s authority won’t be a dynamic in our relationship when we’re in heaven; but learning the humility to submit while on earth renews my mind and strengthens my faith.  This humility goes a long way towards shaping my inner person to be fit for eternity. (1 Cor 6:2-3)

God moves through my marriage in His limitless love and power to shape me into the unselfish daughter that He created me to be.  Being a part of marriage allows me to work towards something bigger than me.  Striving to make a positive difference in those closest to me diminishes my human selfishness by shrinking the desires of my flesh and moving me closer to the likeness of Christ.

Limitless love

There is no one else other than a husband who qualifies to fit in every category of relationship:

  • …have unfailing love for one another1 Peter 4:8
  • … shall love his brother also  – 1 John 4:20
  • …love your neighbour as yourself  – Mark 12:31
  • …no one has greater love [...] than to give up his own life for his friends  – John 15:13

Pulling strings or manipulating to gain the advantage in our marriage (more commonly known as getting your own way) will only bring temporary satisfaction; not true happiness.  And does nothing to teach the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated for me to learn.

Marriage isn’t supposed to teach me how to have my own way – do my own thing, or impose my own rights.  But to daily learn how to lay those things down for a better and permanent way.

  • Marriage is God’s plan to grow me.
  • Marriage belongs to God; it’s His way and in His control.
  • Marriage is the best opportunity I have to grow up.  It gives me real life practice of disciplines that will renew my mind to think like Jesus.

worthy purpose

robyn

TGIF

FRIDAY FAVS 

I’m betting you’ve got lots of blogs you like to read and there’s never enough time in the day to get to all of them, me too! And often as I’m reading posts I hear myself saying (out loud) “This is really good.”  People are talented and I love that so many are willing to put themselves out there in open honesty to share what they’ve learned in this life.

In an effort to share some of the great articles that I’ve come across, please enjoy the first installment of “My Friday Favourites.”

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WisdomForLifeAre you a social cannibal? –“We must be humble enough to admit that this kind of response reveals, “human antagonism in one of its basest and most unheroic forms” (Cornelius Plantinga Jr.).”

Rock His World: More Help Keeping Him on the Right Track  – “Most good husbands really would rather not stare; they know it is not good for them or for their marriage to stare. [...]  Here Are Some Places Your Husband Needs Your Help.”

Goins, WriterThe Very Best Way to Get Rejected Every Time — “In facing all kinds of failure, I’ve learned an important lesson, one that’s made me grateful for the rejection I still experience every day:  If you’re not getting rejected, you’re not in the game.  If you aren’t failing, you’re not trying. If aren’t getting turned down, you’re not asking. And if you aren’t risking, you’re not living.”

Journey to SurrenderA Little Romance – His Way “Regardless of whether the holiday left you feeling delighted or disappointed, spoiled or spurned, I want to encourage you not to put too much emphasis on a single day. It’s just a day, after all.  There is no reason to put all your romantic eggs into one basket!”

Have a super weekend!!

robyn

The Day of Lovers

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I purposely waited until after Valentine’s Day to publish this post.

A couple of days before Valentine’s Day I was reading along on Twitter and saw a pattern emerge, “What I want for Valentine’s Day is …,” or, “All I want for Valentine’s Day is …”  Although framed in many different phrases, it all boiled down to drawing the emphasis to self:  MeIMy.  Considering who Saint Valentine was, I found this pattern at odds with his message.

The History

Have we over romanticised all that Saint Valentine died for?  As much as we like the cushy gush brought to us by marketing and advertising, let’s look a little beyond that to some facts:

  • Saint Valentine believed so strongly in what marriage stood for that he was willing to die for it.
  • He honoured Christian marriage and chose to break the law to preserve its sanctity.
  • He endured a beating and stoning before decapitation.

Doesn’t exactly inspire a trip to People’s Jewelers and a romantic card from Hallmark.

There’s an excellent article in which Father O’Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, says, “What Valentine means to me as a priest, is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that — even to the point of death.”

Try Something New

I’m not a ‘buzz-kill’ that believes in looking for reasons to not celebrate.  I love to partae!  And, I believe in ALL things that celebrate marriage!  I just want to find a better way to honour this courageous hero of marriage than:

  1. Making it about self.
  2. Making a mockery of his name sake by assimilation into the emotional promotions of flowers, frills and sales gimmicks.

A way of celebrating that would be more of an echo of Jesus.  Saint Valentine knew the heart of Christ and followed His pattern.  Inside Jesus was giver not a getter.  He died giving, not getting.

If you really believe that Valentine’s Day is about marriage and lovers, and you want Saint Valentine’s death to mean something, I challenge you to drill down on giving.  Don’t just give this day a fleeting acknowledgement that’s filled with expectations of getting.  If you are a wife, celebrate your marriage by being the best, the most stupendous partner for your husband!  Always being superior in your giving and excelling to do more than enough. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Instead of starting February 14th in the AM and ending February 14th  in the PM, start now – February 17, 2014, and continue through to February 14th 2 0 1 5.  Then, on Valentine’s Day 2015, you will really have something to celebrate.

Set aside a devotional time just for your husband, not to pray with him, but to pray for hm.  Let God into all the recesses of your heart concerning your husband.  It’s not a time to pray about his faults – it’s about praying for your growth areas as a wife.

Put the expectations of Valentine’s Day on yourself and make it about what you are going to give to your husband over the next year.

  1. Reconnect with God about your marriage vows.  Ask God if He’ll be able to say to you, “Well done good and faithful servant?”  And listen to His response. (1 John 2:6)
  2. We all suffer from immaturity.  There are areas within all of us that need to grow up.  Ask your spouse, “What is one thing that I need to grow in for you.  An area that will help me be less selfish and a little more like Jesus.” (Romans 8:29)
  3. Ask God to reveal mindsets that are destructive to your marriage and egotistical attitudes.  Make it a season to learn how to apologize for something you said that was hurtful.  In an effort to grow up and be responsible for your own behaviour.  Even if your spouse was 99% responsible and your reaction was 1%.  Own one hundred percent of your 1%.  (Ephesians 4:31-32)
  4. Ask for encouragement.  Ask your man to tell you any area(s) that you are hitting it right! (Hebrews 3:13)

Concentrate on the cosmic picture of eternity.  Does God really want me to grow into a spouse that’s able to get the most or a spouse who’s able to give the most?  What will you give this Valentine’s Day of 2015?  The day you were married you promised this man a lot … you need to give more than you promised.*

robyn

*Adapted from the quote by Anthony J. D’Angelo:  Promise a lot and give even more.

Marriage Triangle (Part 3)

Part 3 – Imitation

 

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Ok.  So far I’ve shared that the traditional view of the marriage triangle didn’t really help us in our marriage.  In Part 1, I explored that each spouse is different in their growth and approach to God.  Because we are all wounded in different ways and depths, this makes our maturity in Christ not equal.  And in Part 2, it was the realization that the dynamics of my relationship with God changed considerably when I chose to get married.

When you are both getting along, there’s no need for counselling or instruction on how marriage should be – You are living it.  This makes complete sense: who needs directions when they aren’t lost?

But then, someone is offended.  Happily ever after is replaced with the strain from the offence creating stress and threatening the unity of the relationship.

Conflict will reveal how much of Christ has been factored in

A marriage that is truly alive with Christ will have God’s love flowing through it.  Otherwise it’s no different than any other marriage.  God’s love is a giving, a no holds barred, regardless of actions, full-out – love.  Remember in Part 2 how I discovered that logically, I can’t reciprocate directly to God, because I have nothing to offer Him.  And yet He still gives all of His love.

When God showed me to focus only on my own relationship with Him and that He would take care of me through Darrell, the same way He would take care of Darrell through me; it not only changed me forever, but also my view of marriage.

Whenever God talks about love, it’s never in a relational vacuum with Himself; but with an active relational voice that is giving.

Matthew 22:37-40 …love your neighbour

Romans 12:10 love one another

1 Peter 2:17 love the brotherhood

1 Peter 4:8love for one another

1 John 4:7-8love one another

1 John 4:11 love one another

1 John 4:19-21 loves God shall love his brother [believer] also

I don’t get to turn my back on my husband and love God at the same time.  When you choose to stop loving your husband, what you’ve actually done is stop your own love from being reciprocated to God.  You have become a taker only of God’s love- nothing is getting through you.

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You love God by copying Him

God is a giver.  So to look like Him we must become givers who only focus on what we give into the marriage … not what we get from it.  Truly imitating God means you give without limits or strings attached.  As your husband’s wife you don’t concentrate on what kind of husband he is, but instead on the tremendous son of God that he will become as God loves him through you.

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Therefore be imitators of God

[copy Him and follow His example],

as well-beloved children [imitate their father].

Ephesians 5:1

robyn