Category Archives: Marriage

Moving to New Website–Simply One.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1

A Year of Simply.

Last year on Thanksgiving Day I posted my first entry on this website. Almost one year has passed, and I have been so blessed with the opportunity to share with you my thoughts and the lessons God is teaching me through His Word and my life.

It all started with the nudging of the Lord to write—to testify—about His love and work in my life. Blogging wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t even know what a blog was, to be honest. But God orchestrated His plan one step at a time, and I followed, knowing nothing and feeling completely unqualified to be a writer.

But thanks be to God! He gives us everything we need to follow His plan for our lives. And He has been so gracious to me. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way. I’ve shed a few tears of frustration and doubt in my abilities. I’ve stared at the blank page and wondered why the words wouldn’t come. I’ve had a bad attitude some days and wondered how anything I might write could make a difference.

But God has been with me every step of the way. He lifts me up when I’m down and helps me to carry on in spite of my emotions and weaknesses. God’s calling is never about our abilities or qualifications. It’s only and ever about HIM. Sometimes I forget that.

This past year of blogging on Simply. has been a wonderful experience. I’ve learned a lot—about writing and blogging…about myself…about the Lord. And I still have so much to learn and share.

Moving on…to Simply One.

Back in the spring when we learned David wouldn’t be returning to teach in the classroom because of his disability (read post here), we knew God had another plan for us. He doesn’t  keep us on this earth without a purpose. So we prayed. And we waited to see where He would lead us.

And through the course of the last few months, the Lord planted a desire in our hearts to minister to husbands and wives through a new marriage blog. And in September, we launched Simply One. (www.simplyoneinmarriage.com).

After a lot of prayer and seeking the Lord’s direction, I have seen the need to stop writing on Simply. and focus my blogging efforts on Simply One. This will also free up a little time to work on other writing projects that I’ve yet to begin. So (with some sadness) this will be my last post on this website.

I’ll be transferring all the posts from Simply. to the new website, and the dates of the posts will be intact, so they can be accessed through the Search feature or Archives list.

But I’m not through writing. I’ll continue to share what I’m learning about life’s journey with the Lord about once a week—just in a new location. And the joyful part of it is I get to share it with my sweet husband. One in marriage…one in blogging.

Want to take a look at our new blog?  Just click on the image below to go to our homepage. Take a look around. Read our About page. Check out the Free Resources. And read a post or two.


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And if you’ve enjoyed reading Simply., might I ask you to subscribe now to our new website? It’s as simple as clicking the button below and entering your name and email address.

Subscribe Simply One. 2

Thank you for allowing me to share my simple thoughts with you. I pray you’ve been encouraged by the time you’ve spent here. And I hope to connect with you over on Simply One.

Praying the Lord will fill you with peace and joy!

Blessings to you, friends!
Sabra

Scripture from the New International Version of the Bible, 1984.

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Filed under Change, Marriage, Moving, New Beginning

Why Wives Need to Unstop the Fountain

You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. — Song of Songs 4:15

fountainblessing

My sisters, doesn’t it make you feel great to hear your husband call you a sweet name? To tell you how much you mean to him? How would you like to hear him say something like these words from Song of Songs…

“How beautiful you are.”
“How delightful is your love.”
“You have stolen my heart.”

I imagine all of us love to hear words like these from our husbands. They might not say it like Solomon, but isn’t it always a blessing to hear our husbands say we are delightful and beautiful? When they tell us how wonderful we are? When they whisper those sweet everythings in our ears?

These words are like a fountain that flows right into our hearts. And you know what? Our husbands need these refreshing words as well.

So, is your fountain flowing?

Today I have the blessing to guest post for a sweet friend, Meredith Bernard, on her blog http://www.meredithbernard.com. Please join me over there and read this post in full.

Simply click here: “Why Wives Need to Unstop the Fountain”

Hope to meet you there!

Blessings,
Sabra
Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Image by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Blessing, Doing Good, Encouragement, Grace, Love, Marriage, Wife, Woman-to-Woman

How to Be the Best Mom Ever

Prov. 31:28 – Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Excellent wives make excellent mothers.

Indeed, the excellent wife described in Proverbs 31:10-31 is a mother.

Not a perfect mother. An excellent mother.

This is an important distinction.

I’ve certainly not been a perfect mother. And if you’re a mother, I know you haven’t either, for no one is perfect. But take heart!

God’s word doesn’t say “A perfect wife who can find?” No. It says “excellent wife.”

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This word translated excellent also means able, strong, efficient. We need these qualities as wives and mothers if we are to serve our families well. But we cannot depend on our own strength and abilities. We’re not made to do it on our own.

We are made to depend on God. All the qualities seen in this amazing woman flow from her relationship with the Lord. She knows Him and fears Him. She follows the wisdom found in His Word. And everything she does comes from a heart of love.

Three Steps to Become the Best Mom Ever:

  • Fear the Lord
Prov. 31:30 – “…a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
 

A mother who has knowledge of the One True God has understanding and wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10).

An excellent mother trusts the Lord, acknowledges His sovereignty, rests in His presence, seeks His righteousness, and depends on His power.  Her relationship with the Holy God is her top priority.

  • Follow God’s Wisdom

Look at this correlation between the excellent wife and wisdom:

Proverbs 31:10 – “…she is worth far more than rubies.” (the excellent wife)
Proverbs 3:15 – “She is more precious than rubies.”(wisdom)
 

Isn’t that fascinating? The same value is placed on wisdom and the excellent woman in Proverbs 31.

These attributes are given to wisdom in Proverbs 3: having riches and honor, pleasant, peaceful, life-giving, blessed/happy, competent, discreet, confident, loyal, faithful, praised, strong, prosperous, good, generous, caring, friendly, gracious, trusting, disciplined.

An excellent mother seeks to know God’s wisdom and strives to live by it. It is seen in everything she does. All of these qualities can be found in her life and her home is blessed by them.

  • Do Everything Out of Love

You won’t find the word love listed in Proverbs 31:10-31. But it flows through the entire passage. Love for the Lord, her family, and her household is behind all that this mother does. Every activity listed here is to benefit them and bring honor to them.

An excellent mother lives by 1 Corinthians 16:14: Do everything in love.”

Love is what spurs her on when life gets tough. Love helps her to respond in godly ways to difficult circumstances. It helps her to give of herself when she wants to give up. It moves her to shower blessings on her family and those around her. Love is her strength. Love is her power.

And that love comes from her Lord.

best moms

The goal of a woman who wants to be an excellent mother can be summed up in Deuteronomy 10:12-13:

“…what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.”

This side of heaven we’ll never be perfect mothers. But if we strive for holiness, hopefully—with God’s help—we’ll make it to excellent. And we just might hear our kids say, “You’re the best mom ever!”

Precious Father, help me to be an excellent mother. Let me never forget the great privilege and responsibility You have given me. May I always fear You and follow Your ways. May I live according to Your wisdom. Please fill my heart with Your love that I may pour out that love in everything I do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
 
This post has been linked up with my friend Meredith Bernard
on Woman-to-Woman Wednesday at www.4hisgloryblog.com.For 
more posts on Proverbs 31,just click on the link below.
4hisgloryblog.com
Scripture from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.
Images:
Mother child in park by artinfarct via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Graphic by Sabra Penley

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Filed under Godly Living, Lessons, Love, Marriage, Motherhood, Wife, Woman-to-Woman

Would He Marry You Again?

(Hi, friends. Today’s passage from God’s Word is once again about the excellent wife. So it is to all of you women who are married I address this post. But I pray the truths revealed might bless everyone.)
 
 

 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good. She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:11-12).

Why did you marry your husband? Or an even better question is: Why did he marry you? Why did he choose you, above all others, to be his life’s companion?

Couple holding hands

I’ve thought about this the last few days as I read the verse above and wondered just what these verses mean. I like how the New Living Translation puts it: “Her husband can trust her and she will greatly enrich his life.” Wow.

Could that be said about me? Could it be said about you?

What do you think your husband would say about that? Do you think he might say there is something missing in his life…in his relationship with you?

As I pondered this question myself, I thought about what I want from my husband…what I hope to have from him as his bride. See if this list matches yours:

    • To be loved
    • To feel as if I am the most important person in the world to him
    • To be held in his heart as his one and only sweetheart
    • To be appreciated
    • To be trusted
    • To be respected
    • To be his best friend
    • To have a partner in raising our children
    • To know I am valued in his eyes as priceless
    • To spend time with him to talk, to share, to enjoy
    • To be comforted and feel secure
    • For him to encourage and support my walk with the Lord

Your list may not be exactly like mine. But I’m guessing it is pretty close.

Now, go back and read the list again. This time, however, read it as the things your husband hopes to have from you. Go through each one and ask yourself if you are fulfilling that need well.  Is anything missing? Anything lacking?

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Proverbs 31:12 says, “She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life.”

ALL the days…the good, the average and the just plain hard.

It’s pretty easy on the good and average days. But what about those hard days?

The days when you don’t feel very well…or you’re just plain tired…or the kids are out of control?

The days when your hormones are raging…you feel like you might burst into tears at any moment…and you feel bloated and gross?

The days when there’s not enough time and not enough money and not enough energy?

The days when you just want to be left alone?

The days when you want your man right beside you, but he has to be somewhere else…or he chooses to be somewhere else?

EVEN on those days, the excellent wife does her husband good and not harm.

HOW can this be done? Through CHRIST alone!

My life must be so consumed with the Spirit of Christ that everything I do is blessed with His fruit. Only then can my home and heart be filled with the wonderful aroma of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Only then will my husband trust that when he walks through the door he will be met by his beloved sweetheart and welcomed with open arms.

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Am I this kind of wife? This kind of sweetheart that my husband desired when he asked me to marry him? Are my thoughts, words, and actions showing him a heart of love and rewarding him with good, not harm every single day?

I long to be that excellent wife—that treasured jewel. And I bet you do, too. Let’s strive to be the kind of loving wives that would make our husbands say they’d marry us all over again…because it’s just that good.

Lord, please help us. We need You.

Blessings,
Sabra

 

This post has been linked up with other friends at 
www.TimeWarpWife.com 
Scripture from Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) and New Living Translation.
Images: Couple holding hands by Search Influence via flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Hanging Basket by Julie Falk via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) Porch by Sonja Lovas via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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Filed under Doing Good, Love, Marriage, Trust, Wife, Woman-to-Woman

An Excellent Wife – A Woman’s Perspective

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. (Proverbs 31:10)

Do any other wives out there read Proverbs 31 and feel just a bit lacking in the “more precious than jewels” department?

I strive to be an excellent wife. That is my goal. And my sweet husband tells me that I am. But I compare myself to all this excellent wife does, and in my estimation I come up way short.

I realize this passage speaks of an ideal wife–the wife God created me to be. And I am flawed…very flawed in some areas. I have much to learn to become like this woman.

But one thing I know to be true: My value is not in what I do or don’t do, my value is in whose I am. And I belong to the Lord.

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The value of a precious jewel is determined by many factors. The most valuable gems are durable, able to withstand a lot of pressure and not easily broken. They are pure, without imperfections. Their transparency allows for light to shine through and be reflected back out in brilliance. A large size is preferred. And most, importantly, they are authentic. These jewels are rare things of beauty.

As I think about precious jewels and these characteristics, I realize that these qualities are found in us when we walk closely with the Lord. As Proverbs 31:30 says, “…a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

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What are these jewel-like qualities of an excellent wife?

  • She has strength. As she places her life in the hands of the Lord, His Spirit fills her with strength to withstand whatever troubles come her way.
  • She is pure. She strives to live a righteous and holy life. And in the eyes of the God she is pure with the righteousness of Christ.
  • She is transparent. She allows others to know her weaknesses and in doing so God’s glory shines through her life.
  • She is large. (No, not in the physical sense.) She is large in heart and spirit, showing love to all.
  • She is authentic. She doesn’t pretend to love the Lord and her husband. She lives out that love every single day.

Without the Lord, I cannot be an excellent wife. Without the Lord, my value is not rare and precious. But God the Creator fashioned me after His own image.

I have a lot of rough edges and hard stuff that needs to be knocked off of my soul. But when I place my life in the hands of the Master Craftsman and allow him to cut and shape and polish me into His likeness, I am a rare and precious work of art.

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As wives, we shine forth with God’s glory as we humbly submit to Him in our marriages. As we help our husbands, support them, love them, respect them, and submit to them, we follow Christ’s example and become more beautiful with His beauty.

Let’s strive to live each day in faithful obedience to our heavenly Father that He might shape us into His likeness and we might become this most cherished of treasure for our husbands…that God’s glory may shine with His brilliance!

O Lord God, may I fear you all the days of my life. May I honor You with everything I do that I might become the excellent wife You have called me to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This post has been linked up with Woman-to-Woman on 
www.4Hisgloryblog.com.For more posts on Proverbs 31,
just click on the link.
All Scripture from English Standard Version.
Images:
Hand in Hand by Jeremy Brooks via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Rings by ilovebutter via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
heart ring light by MorrowLess via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0), 
   black/white filter added

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Filed under Love, Marriage, Sacrifice, Thankfulness, Wife, Woman-to-Woman

An Excellent Wife – A Man’s Perspective

My sweet husband, DAVID PENLEY, is sharing with us today. I am linking up with Woman-to-Woman on http://www.4HisGloryblog.com and thought I’d get the husband’s perspective on the scripture of the week: Proverbs 31:10.
 
 

Men, what is of great value to you?

A new Ferrari or Porsche (my dream car as a teen)? A high-paying job that you’ll be respected for? A son who quarterbacks for the Dolphins or Cowboys or (enter your favorite football team here)? Or maybe a son who is the winning pitcher in game seven of the World Series or wins the Masters? A summer home on the lake or oceanfront or in the mountains? All of the above and more? You get my point.

D's Jewel Collage

What about your wife? Is she of great value to you?

A godly, committed, faithful wife is worth more than all of those things combined.

“An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.” – Proverbs 31:10

She is quite a treasure, “far above jewels,” and I am to look at her and treat her as such. I am to see her as being of greater worth than the most valuable thing I can think of.

God tells us how to cherish our wives throughout His Word, but my favorite command has become the simple, yet profound words in Ephesians 5:25-26: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”

We men talk about loving our favorite teams, our jobs, our cars, and so on. But that kind of love is not what is mentioned here. The word translated love is the same word found in John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” It is also found in Ephesians 5:2:Walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

This is real love—sacrificial love. It is putting our wives’ needs, desires, good, well-being, above our own. It means spending time with her, talking to her, doing things she wants to do, even if it means putting our desires aside. It sometimes means not watching that game we think is so important. (And we are blessed to have technology today so we can record it to watch at a later time.) It means making a sacrifice in order to show love to our wives.

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A little over a year ago, I was hit with an illness that nearly killed me. I was in a coma for a while, my heart stopped, and my doctor actually used the word “miracle” when later telling me what he thought my chances of survival were at the time. My life has been changed forever. My speech has been effected to the point where I cannot preach and teach with great clarity—the two things I have done all my adult life. I was a prime candidate for depression and feeling sorry for myself.

I am convinced that two people kept that from happening. One is the Lord, who has been with me, healed me, encouraged me, and empowered me. The other person is the wife He blessed me with.

God has used my wife tremendously throughout my life, but He has used her in incredible ways over the last year. I would wake up in the hospital in the middle of the night to see her lying on the pull-out bed when she could have been much more comfortable at home. I heard her encouraging voice and words every day. She took me to my speech and physical therapy sessions and made sure I did my workouts at home. She held my hand and rubbed my shoulders when she knew I needed it. I could go on and on.

I knew I was a man blessed by God with the wife He had given me, but I saw this reality in a whole new light. I truly have “an excellent wife” whose “worth is far above jewels.” If nothing else, all of this has been worth it just to realize this.

I have certainly not been the husband I should have been through it all. I have had moments of frustration and have taken it out on her. But I now pray God’s Word every day with a sincere heart like never before: May I love Sabra just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. And please use me, Lord, to sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. The Lord knows my heart and knows these are not just words to me. I mean this with all my heart. My wife truly is a precious jewel to me.

I pray that we husbands realize the blessing we have in our wives. They are worth far more than any earthly treasure.

How can each of us show his wife how precious she is to us? Praying with her and studying God’s Word together is a good place to start. The excellent wife spoken of here will welcome this.

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Take some time to think about your wife’s interests and activities she enjoys. What things has she mentioned in the past that she would like to do with you? If you aren’t sure, spend some time with her and ask her. Then lay aside those things that get in the way of enjoying her company and show her love—the kind of love Christ has for us.

Our wives are indeed precious jewels. Let’s make sure they are treasured.

 

All Scripture from New American Standard Bible.

Images:
Ferrari F50 by Axion23 via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Clayton Kershaw by Bryce Edwards via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Eagles vs. Cowboys by Billy Bob Bain via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Hallstatt by Sander Hoogendoorn via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Couple on the Lakefront by Don Harder via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Kiss Me by Shutter Fotos via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) 

 

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Filed under Love, Marriage, Sacrifice, Thankfulness, Wife, Woman-to-Woman