Friday, March 13, 2009

You’re About To Get A Lecture!

I recently heard a comment that literally made me sick! I heard about a wife who told her husband to do his own laundry because she does enough for herself and their three kids. I, honestly, was stunned and heart- broken for that dear husband and truly could not believe that a wife would do such a thing. I would say that I am sorry if I am stepping on your toes – but I’m not. And – if I’m stepping on your toes, then GOOD! Listen up!

You know, I grew up in a Christian home. I also grew up in a broken home. I didn’t know what a godly marriage should look like. Neither did Chad. I shared with the ladies out in Virginia last weekend that I actually think that was a blessing. Because neither of us knew what it should look like, we set out to be purposeful about figuring it out. We worked VERY hard to learn about what God wanted for our marriage and what it should look like from His perspective.

I certainly had no idea what God’s purpose for marriage is. Guess what I thought it was? To have sex! Yep! There you have it! I thought that the purpose of marriage was to have sex! Fortunately, I was set straight along the way!

There is a book that literally changed my life. It changed who I was as a Christian woman, who I was as a wife, and in turn – it transformed our marriage. The book is called, “The Excellent Wife,” by Martha Peace. In this book I learned that God’s ultimate goal for marriage is that we operate in such oneness as a couple (unity) that we become a magnet for unbelievers. Let me put it simply . . . .by loving one another with Christ-like love we make God look awesome to the ‘world’ and they want what we have! It sounds simple . . . but we all know if it was, there would be no divorce.

What sickened me about this wife’s comment was the brazen selfishness behind it. Any marriage being driven by that type of attitude is destined to fail, and indeed, that one did. When we love one another as Christ loves us it must be a completely selfless love.

We must train ourselves not to ask the questions “what can I get out of this?” or “what is my spouse doing for me?” And begin to ask questions like “how can I serve my spouse today?” and “what can I do to fill him/her up today?” Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are bombarded with selfishness! Becoming selfless is NOT easy! Everywhere we turn there are messages “Have it your way,” “your way right away,” “If it feels good, do it.” EVERYWHERE we turn we are taught to be selfish. That is why in 1 Timothy 4:7 the word teaches us to, “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” The New Testament Greek word for discipline is gymnazo which means “to exercise or to train.” Martha Peace writes that, “how godly we become depends on how hard we work at it. Old habits of sinful thoughts and RESPNONSES do not just disappear. They have to be replaced with new, godly ways of thinking and responding.”

My friends, some day – when I have finished the book, “The Long October Road,” I will write a book about marriage. Chad and I studied, IN DEPTH, a concept that Martha Peace introduces in the book. This concept is that the Trinity is the perfect model of marriage. You see, the Trinity is three separate entities working in perfect unity. A marriage should have God the Father as the head of the marriage, the Husband as Christ – who SERVES the church and therefore glorifies God, and the wife as the Holy Spirit who SERVES Christ and the Father and therefore glorifies God.

Our world has completely lied to us about the roles within marriage. We emasculate men. Men are commanded in the Bible to be the head of the home as Christ is the head of the church. If you cut an animal’s head off . . . what will happen? The body will die! My friends – if we don’t let men be men – let them be the head . . . the body (family) will die! Men! You are to be the cornerstone and foundation of your home by keeping your relationship with Christ in line! In that same breath – men are commanded to be a head as Christ is a head . . . Christ did not lead by power . . . he led by being a servant! The biggest servant in EVERY home should be the husband/father. Serve God, serve your wife, serve your kids . . . everything else will fall in line. There is no place for ‘self’ in a godly husband.

One of the most beautiful things about a godly husband – and one of the things that I missed most after Chad died – is that in Ephesians 5:28, husbands are commanded to “Nourish, protect, and cherish her as Christ does the Church.” Nourish means to bring your wife up to maturity – literally, the husband is to help his wife grow in Christ. Cherish means to keep warm, cherish with tender love and to foster with tender care. A biblical example is that husbands are commanded to cherish their wives as a piece of ‘fine china.’ Wow! What if every husband REALLY cherished their wives like that? A husband is to be a ‘covering’ over his wife – spiritually and physically – and THAT, my friends, is what I found to be so hard after Chad died was to not have his spiritual and physical covering!

Not only do we emasculate men, but we teach women to be LIKE men and to take the power and that submission is a bad thing – a sign of weakness! BULL! Let me set you straight, sisters! Submission, in a godly marriage, is actually a position of strength and respect! In Genesis 2:18 God says that Adam’s “aloneness” is not good – so He makes for Him a “helper suitable.” The Hebrew word “helper” there literally means “help, helper, STAFF, STRENGTH.” It is the same meaning as in Exodus 18:4 “my father’s God was my helper.” And Deuteronomy 33:29, “He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword.” See, as young women we have somehow been fed the lie – that it is in some way a bad thing – a sign of weakness – to be our husband’s “helper.” When, in reality – it is a sign of strength. We need to take that back - to claim our Godly inheritance as our husband‘s staff and strength!!!!

Now, let me caution you, ladies, that this is a big responsibility and NOT to be taken lightly! It does NOT mean that we manipulate our husbands to do what WE want. It means that just as the Holy Spirit is a ‘counselor’ and ‘guide’ AND ‘intercedes on our behalf,’ so we have a responsibility to give wise and godly counsel to our husbands AND to be the absolute best wife we can be and serve him by praying for him! Truly – praying for your husband is the greatest calling and honor of a wife! Some of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit in Scripture are ~ encourager, He warns (husbands – listen to your wives!), He speaks the truth, He is a counselor, and He is a teacher. This is a beautiful description of a wife!

So, my friends, now go back to the beginning of this lecture (sorry!) . . . . a wife who tells her husband to do his own laundry because she does enough with her and the kids! Self, self, and MORE SELF!!!!!! It should be an honor for a wife to do her husband’s laundry – even if she HATES doing laundry.

Guess what? I bet Jesus hated dying on the cross for my sins but He did it willingly! That, my friends is the perfect example of how we should serve one another in marriage!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

We’re moving!

Up. . . .that is! :-)

As I write this morning, I am sitting next to a marble fireplace in the Marriot Hotel in Williamsburg, Virginia. I am here to speak, sing, and help lead worship at a huge women’s retreat called Discover the Joy. They have over 500 women registered, who will all begin arriving today. My dear friends in ministry, Paula Stitt (who wrote many of the songs on my Gratitude CD) and Lisa Beals, are here with me. We did this same conference a few years ago. The keynote speaker is Evelyn Husband. Evelyn’s husband was the captain of the shuttle that disintegrated upon reentry into our atmosphere. Little could I have known when we first met Evelyn as a new widow, that soon her story would be mine, as well. It is amazing what time reveals, isn’t it?

I am so excited to share with you ALL that is happening on the music front! The Long October Road album is very near completion! We will release the first song, called “Run,” to radio in just a couple of weeks. My radio promoter, Wendell Gafford, of Creative Promotions, fully expects “Run” to chart in the top ten on the national Christian charts . . . will you be bold with me and ask God to put “Run” at number one!!!!!???????

We will “Officially Release” the album on May 29th at Christian Celebration Center in Midland, Michigan. That is my home church. The concert will be sponsored by Family Life Radio and will be free to the public. I really want to ‘give’ this concert to my home community as a thank you for all of their love and support over the past 17 months. If you live anywhere nearby – PLEASE plan to attend! It will be a wonderful celebration of God’s faithfulness . . . plus, there might just be some GREAT music!!!!!

May I be blunt? This new album, The Long October Road, is amazing! The people in the ‘know’ in the music industry are blown away by it. They are amazed by the transparency of it. The songs are deep and true to what I have been through – yet the album as a whole has an uplifting feel. Wendell said he has not heard an album this good in YEARS (and he is NOT one to ‘fluff’ a !!!!! I am truly, truly SO thankful to the Lord for His faithfulness in this. My goal as we started writing the album last August was to accurately portray - and remain true to the transparency of our grief journey – but not end up with a depressing album. I wanted to have songs that radio would ‘eat up,’ but also have songs that remain true to who I am as an artist. This album is a beautiful blend of the two – and for that I am SO thankful.

The month of May will be a HUGE month. I think I have about seven appearances (concerts and/or speaking) scheduled – one of which is in Colorado – and all building up to the release on the 29th. As you can see, my schedule is filling up quickly. If you are interested in a concert, or in having me speak, please contact me through my website, and I will forward your info to my booking agent.

One thing that I am WILDLY excited about is that I have been invited to speak and sing in San Diego, California in July, for the 1st Annual National Conference on Widowhood! Wow! I am so excited. They are expecting 2,000 widows from all across the world, gathering to support, uplift, and love one another. This isn’t an event marked by grieving. The goal of the conference is to give hope and encouragement to widows in every stage of their widow’s walk. I can already tell that this is going to be a wonderful weekend. If you are a widow, or know one, please pass this information along. I will soon have a link up on my website to their site with all of the info about the conference!

Also, I have just been invited to speak and sing in Texas in September . . . at Chuck Swindoll’s church! Holy moly!!!!!!! Chuck Swindoll! It is for a Mom2mom women’s event. I hope to be able to plan a ‘Texas Tour’ around that booking – so if you are reading this and live in Texas – I would love to come sing at your church – please get in touch with me.

So, what has been, for years, a local ministry, is now becoming national. It is very exciting to sit back and watch God at work. It is very exciting to sit back and watch it grow.

There is no end to the work involved right now. My mind never stops ‘noodle-ing’ all of this (a term Chad and I penned after reading the book, “Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.”) We are launching a whole new, fully comprehensive website very soon. It will still be the same web address – just a whole new look. We are working on a promo video that will be available to watch through my website that will tell people all about my ministry. We continue to work on the design (please pray for my graphic designer, Michael Buckingham of Holy Cow Creative) of the CD cover and layout of the inside of the CD. AND – I continue to write the book. It both blesses me AND stresses me . . . but I really believe that STRESS IS HIGHLY OVERRATED (right Marni?) . . . .so, I choose to live in the blessing of writing the book!

Wendell Gafford, my radio promoter, has come on board as my manager and ministry consultant! This is absolutely wonderful and amazing! His specialty is in marketing and he is deeply steeped in the music industry. His contacts and knowledge of the industry are such a blessing to me and my ministry. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Wendell.

Two of my very best friends, Collette and Marni, have also come on board to tag team my booking and to work together to keep me moving forward. You have to know that I am COMPLETELY the flighty musician! I am very good at being on stage and all of the ‘artistic’ work of writing and singing. I am TERRIBLE, however, at the business end. Just tell me where to go and what I need to do. In fact, to be quite honest, I had NO idea where I was going this weekend until my sister-in-law told me on Wednesday, the day before I left, that I was going to Williamsburg. I knew I was going to Virginia – and that was good enough for me. I had NO idea where in Virginia! Isn’t that funny? That is just how I am wired. All of the business details and the details of maintaining the technical end of this ministry (MySpace, Facebook, blogging, etc . . . ) absolutely make me want to go curl up in my bed in the fetal position!

So, I am very thankful to have a wonderful team of people surrounding me who keep me moving forward AND to help me cast vision for the future. One thing is clear, my friends, the future of Sarah Schieber, Inc. is very bright. I am very excited about the doors that God is opening. Perhaps sometime next week I will talk to you all about what my message is. I feel that I have a very strong and distinct message to tell the world! I would love to share it with you!

And, in ending this blog, just let me tell you that Practice is wonderful. Practice gets better and better every day. I am truly in awe of God. I had the very best for 15 years of my life. I never thought I would have it again, and now, here is Practice. The very best . . . again. God must really love me, and for that I am grateful beyond words!

Blessings All! Thanks for reading my blog!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

His Daddy's Voice

Well, My Friends! I began a blog about three days ago about ALL the wonderful things that are happening on the music front these days . . . that blog remains partly written for another day. . . perhaps tomorrow or the next day. There are SO many wonderful new developments on the music front that I can’t wait to tell you about!

Tonight,though, I need to share with you something that just happened. We have had a wonderful weekend. Yesterday we spent all day out at the farm (Practice’s house.) His son turned seven and we had a birthday party and we got to meet the ENTIRE family. It was fun and wonderful and very enjoyable.

Today Abbi had a swim meet and Practice and his kids came. Again, we had a wonderful time and it is fun to see these kids bonding. It is also wonderful to continue to grow in friendship with Practice. He is a wonderful man. Each day that we spend together and each of the ‘everyday life’ situations that we face just continue to confirm to us that we are very well matched.

Tonight, though, my kids and I needed to discuss something that had happened earlier in the day. There was a little miscommunication between Micah and Practice and we needed to discuss the matter. As Abbi, Noah, Micah and I sat talking, I brought up Practice’s voice. It is deep and strong and to be very honest, I prayed for a man with a nice voice (it was on the ‘list’) and I got it! I love his voice! But it is different than Chad’s voice, and therefore is different than we are used to.

As we were talking I said, “Jim’s voice is different than Daddy’s voice, isn’t it?” To which my dear, sweet, eight-year-old Micah said, “I don’t remember Daddy’s voice.”

“What? You don’t remember Daddy’s voice?” Oh my! Stunned! Oh, my baby! I think somewhere deep inside of me I knew this day would come . . . I have thought from time to time that I should get out our family videos and we should watch them . . . but, honestly, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I knew that, of all three of my kids, Micah would be the one that we would have to work the hardest with to keep his Daddy’s memory alive. He was only six when Chad died. I have felt that I have a responsibility to Micah to keep Chad’s memory alive for him - to really work at it – and while we talk about Chad ALL the time - clearly that is not enough. This poor baby doesn’t remember his daddy’s voice. Oh, Jesus, please help us!

And so, right there, we all began crying. I grabbed Micah and pulled him into me. I was just weeping and telling him how sorry I was. I grabbed my cell phone and told Abbi not to answer her's and I called it and put it up to Micah’s ear . . . so he could hear the message that answers Abbi’s phone (which used to be Chad’s number) and for the first time in almost 17 months Micah heard his daddy’s voice as Chad’s message said, “This is Chad Schieber from Lifeshield Child Safety Products. Sorry I can’t take your call right now but if you’ll leave your name, number, and a brief message I’ll get back with you just as soon as I can. Thank you.” I played it over and over for him as we sat there crying together.

How in the world could I have missed this? How could I not have thought about this? How many times have we all been taken aback when we've called Abbi only to hear Chad’s voice on the other end? How many times has my dear sister-in-law Missy told me that she had once again called Abbi and gotten Chad’s message and wound up bawling? How could I not have thought about this precious baby who has not heard his Daddy’s voice in SEVENTEEN months!

Oh, my God! Please be with little Micah. Lord, please help this baby to remember his daddy. Please cement every memory of Chad that lives within this little boy! Keep them clear and vivid, Lord. Please work a miracle within Micah’s little memory.

Rest assured that in the next couple weeks I WILL be figuring out how to play all those old family videos. I promised that little boy that I will figure out how to make all those little black 8mm tapes work on our TV and that we will watch lots of videos of his Daddy!