Author Archives: kateclem

About kateclem

My father is the pastor at St. Paul's Free Lutheran church in Leitersburg, MD. I currently live with my husband in Myrtle Beach, SC and work as a realtor for Century 21 Boling.

Obey Your Husband

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The other day, my mother-in-law tried to give me a new cat. After consulting with my husband, it was clear that he felt an extra animal was just too much to take on right now. When I broke the news to her, she replied that it didn’t matter if Nick said no. I should just bring it home anyway- lol. My response was that we are instructed in the bible to obey our husbands:

Ephesians 5:22-24

“Wives, obey your husbands as you obey the Lord.The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church people. The church is his body and he saved it.Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.”

A lot of people take this quote and say that it is “backwards” or “outdated”. If I read this quote only, I might be inclined to agree. However, further in the text it states:

Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …

So while the bible does instruct us to obey our husbands, it also states that a husband should love his wife as equally as his own body, so that any decision he makes would have her best interest at heart. Most decisions in a relationship are joint decisions, but inevitably there will be times when husband and wife cannot agree. In those times, I listen to this text and respect my husband’s decisions as much as I would my own. Interested to hear what everyone else’s thoughts/interpretations of this text are?

 

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Free Time

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When I worked for the school district, they had a weekly column in which employees were interviewed. It was kind of a “get to know you” segment where each employee shared some information about their personal life, such as who was in their family and what their hobbies and interests were. Well, eventually it became time to do my column. What I wrote was that I enjoy gardening and cooking and spending time with friends and family. That seemed better than admitting the truth. What I really did for a hobby was come home exhausted from work and lay on the couch watching Netflix until I fell asleep.

Does anyone else struggle to find creativity in their life? Sometimes it seems like we get so caught up in the daily activities of chores, work, and errands that there does not seem like time for anything else. Any free time seems better spent catching up on rest and vegetating in front of the television. However, while those activities might be needed sometimes to rejuvenate ourselves, they are used far more than is needed.

First Timothy 4:14-15 “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.”

My goal for this month is to make better use of my free time. I am not exactly sure what gifts I have, but it seems worthwhile to reflect on what they are and how I can better use them. Does anyone have any feedback on how they have found their gifts and what they are doing with them? I am open to suggestions!!

To My Mom…

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Of course, being that it is Mother’s Day, I wanted to write something about my mother. For some reason, when I was pondering what to write, this is the story that popped into my head:

One day when I was quite young, my mom took me out of daycare to go to the doctor’s office. She decided to make a fun day out of it, taking me shopping afterwards and for ice cream. For a working mom with two kids, this was definitely meant to be a special day for just me and her. Well, on the way home she said that I started crying and told her that she had ruined my whole day!! I had plans to play with a friend at daycare and she had just ruined it!! As adults, we laugh over this story, but I know that at the time it certainly hurt my mother’s feelings.

Wow. Not my best moment- lol. While there are many more endearing and sweet stories that I could tell, this one seems important to me because it reminds me of how great a mother’s love is. Mothers love us through the good, the bad, and the ugly. No matter what happens or how badly I may behave, I always have that love from my mom. There are few other people in the world that I could say that about. This verse from Corinthians seems to be the most fitting:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The love that I have from my mom is one of those things that makes me feel safe and secure in life, even as an adult. I consider my mom to be one of my closest friends and confidantes, and know that I can always call her about anything. And yes, even as an adult, I still eagerly await the cards and care packages that my mom sends me. It is nice to know that in a sometimes scary and confusing world, there is always someone in your corner, quietly rooting you on in your life. I am so blessed and grateful to have such a great mom. So to all moms of adult children and especially to my mom, thank you so much. You are so loved and appreciated for everything that you do!!! Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

Battle of the Bulge

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The topic of this month reminds me of something that I change more than anything else in my life: my diet. As many thirty-something woman know, the quest to remain thin, pretty, and ‘young’ often pervades our minds to the point of obsession. We no longer have that long-missed metabolism that allows us to eat double hamburgers and coke without the thought of weight gain. As a result, I have tried almost every diet possible to obtain my previously thin frame. I have been a Cross Fit athlete, ate nothing but protein bars and chicken, been vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and almost everything else in between. It is practically a running joke with my family. At every visit, they have to inquire as to what my current ‘taboo’ foods are. Well, on my last visit, my family and I discussed a passage from 1 Peter, Chapter Three:

3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

Although perhaps not directly related to dieting, this scripture does make me think of the sins of vanity and pride. I am a happily married woman, healthy, and able-bodied. Focusing on outward appearances is not what God wants from us. God wants for us to believe in his word, follow his commandments, and above all, to be in service to others through him. This verse reminds to pay attention to the important things in my life. Time on a scale could be better spent calling up a neighbor to check on them. An hour fixing my hair and make-up would be better spent communing with friends and family. As stated by a Facebook Meme that I once read: Mother Theresa was not worried about the size of her thighs- she had things to do! With this in mind, I work daily to improve myself in the way that God would want, not in the way that my sinful self seeks. After all, when I stand at the gates of heaven, I don’t expect to be asked to weigh in! :))

Thanks for Husbands!

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I have been a wife for many years now (11 to be exact). I met my husband when I was still a teenager, dated him for several years, and married him right after graduating from college. In many ways, we have grown up together, learning how to manage all of the responsibilities that come along with being an adult. He suffered through the first few years of my bad cooking, white shirts dyed red in the washing machine, and cars that broke down because I forgot to service them. I suffered through his general messiness, beers of the world collections, and inability to be on time for anything. Through it all, our friendship and love has grown and matured.

Yesterday, I was in charge of hosting an open house. It was a horrible day- cold, windy, and raining. The thought of setting up my signs in the rain had put me in a grouchy mood all morning. To my surprise, when we arrived in town, my husband insisted that I stay in the car while he set out all the signs. Despite the fact that he was going to have to spend the day soaking wet, he still did what he could to make my day better and more manageable. Aren’t I lucky? In a day in time where so much of our social media focuses on feminism and equal rights and how men are ‘holding us down’, we rarely hear about the husbands quietly supporting and caring for their spouses. Going to work every day, and working hard to support their families.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.

So today, I just want to give thanks to my husband, and hope that he gives thanks for me too!!

Remembering Others…

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My next door neighbor, Mrs. Thompson, passed away following a long illness this past year. She and her husband lived next door to us for as long as I can remember. They knew my husband and I when we were just dating, they attended our wedding, and they shared in many holiday and life experiences with us. I was always surprised by how much interest Mrs. Thompson took in our lives. Despite taking care of her husband, visiting with her many friends, keeping her household and being very active in church activities, she always seemed to know what was going on with us. When my beloved cat died, she wrote me a three page letter about how special he had been her. When we first purchased chickens (an interesting endeavor!), she and her husband were the first to come over with their video camera to chronicle the event. She would call just to check in, and drop by to bring us snacks on the holidays. She always made me feel special, loved, and appreciated.

Her funeral was packed. Much to my surprise, many people stood up to talk about those special letters that she had written them over the years, and all of the kind things that she had done for them. How she had time to do so many things for so many people I will never know. It seemed that she actively remembered everything going on in all of her friends lives, and was always passing her love on to others.

Reflecting back on my own actions, I am sorry to say that the same can’t always be said about me. I get easily caught up in my day to day life, and may go weeks or even months without as much as saying hello to my neighbors. I am not much better with friends or family either. I often get the “are you dead?” call from my mom after a few weeks of forgetting to check in. I am not know for my excellent memory of birthdays either- my big sister often calls me on family members’ birthdays, just to give me a friendly reminder ‘not to forget’.

With this being said, if I could make any new years resolution for self improvement this year, it would be to take note and follow in the footsteps of my good friend and neighbor Mr. Thompson. To try daily to write one personal note, make one phone call, or reach out to at least one friend or family member daily to see what is going on in their lives. I have put the following bible verse on my phone as a daily reminder of this:

Mark 12:30-31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

Thankful for Stress!!

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Giving thanks to God is easy when times are good. Sitting around the table this Thanksgiving with family, it is easy to remember why I am so blessed and thankful for all of the things that God has given me. But what about in the more trying of times? I have always been a person who dislikes conflicts and gives in easily to stress, so there are certainly times when I am not feeling very thankful. Usually it is just something small- a stressful day at work, a real estate deal that fell through, or an angry customer or client. Do I give thanks to God for my blessings during these times? Nope- instead, I usually resort to self pity, complaining, and sharing the conflicts around with friends and family members.

Reading this verse helps me put things into perspective:

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

It is important to remember how insignificant the specifics of each day are; it is just a drop in the pool of what is the ‘big picture’ or ‘God’s Plan’. It is comforting to take peace in knowing that everything is a part of this large plan; and that instead of feeling stressed, I need to look for the learning experience and grow from each small catastrophe in life. God is great and life is good!!

In a Sea of Princesses, Be Batman!!

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Ok, so maybe this seems a little off-topic for reformation, but I thought the picture was appropriate given that it is Halloween. When I think of the reformation, I try to put myself in the shoes of the leaders of this reform. What must it have been like to go up against something as mighty as the church? For them to say ‘nope- I don’t agree with your interpretation of God’s word’. Can you imagine the strength of conviction it would take to do that? The leaders at the time were telling them that they could ‘buy’ salvation and forgiveness, which as we know is not the truth of the word. Did the reformers ever have any self doubt? Did they ever think about what it would mean if they were wrong and the church was correct- would they lose their salvation? No, because they had read and studied God’s word, rather than just depending on the thoughts of others. In this world today, we are constantly bombarded by similar wolves in sheep’s clothing- telling us everything that we might want to hear. Television ‘pastors’ tell us that what God wants is for us to be rich, to have material things, to serve and love only ourselves. It is by attending a true church with members who both serve the Lord and study his word that we are able to combat and avoid this. In some ways, our church members are todays reformers- reformers of the current society that we live in. So we must continue to go to church, study the bible, and share his word. Be Batman!!

Developing Spiritual Habits

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Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.

My husband and I are in real estate together, and he is currently taking a training course that I took a few months back. The other day, he came out of the class and was so excited to tell me about something that I had learned a few weeks ago. Funny, though, how I had completely forgotten about it until just then. That is what happens when you only look at something once. For it to become a part of your daily habits and routine, it has to be studied, re-visited, and discussed on a daily and weekly basis. This is how I see spiritual study as well. The more time that is spent in daily meditation and learning, the more likely one is to reflect those qualities of love and good spirit within their daily life. Your spirituality is a muscle that requires constant learning and growth. In this way, studying the bible for spiritual growth is no different then exercising to retain strength and health. The Bible is not a nice book to be read once and then put in the stack with the other used books. It is a manual and a guide for life that must be read, re-read, and discussed daily to have any real meaning. My goal for the year is to take at least 15 minutes daily to turn off the TV and reflect on God’s word. Anyone else want to join me in this?

I’m sorry, again….

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Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22

What are the strongest relationships in our world? Best friend, spouse, parent, child, neighbor,  just to name a few. Most of us have several of these close bonds in life, with each being a little bit different and with each bond changing over time. The one thing that all of these relationships have in common is that within each relationship we have probably forgiven, and been forgiven, over and over again for different offenses throughout the years.

In the daily movement of life, I think that we forget how often forgiveness is taking place between all of our close friends and family. I might wake up grumpy and get angry that my husband has (again) forgotten to take out the trash, or become aggrieved when my close friend at work makes a comment that hurts my feelings. I like to read this passage in the book of Mathew when I need a reminder of the bigger picture. Christ wants for us to be loving, accepting, and forgiving of each other in all of our relationships. And in fact, when it comes right down to it, I think almost everyone would say that true love and acceptance in this world is all that we are really searching for within our relationships. So the day will come and go, I will forget my current grievances and forgive my friends, and hope that they will do the same for me.