Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Budgeting… Abuse and Submission… DIY Sanctification… Prayer)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


Before I get to this week’s questions, I wanted to say – I love getting questions from my readers! Here’s a helpful hint for increasing your chances of getting your question answered in The Mailbag

Your best shot at your question being selected for The Mailbag is to email me, or – if you have a question pertaining to a particular blog article – to comment on that article. Those are the two main sources I draw Mailbag questions from because they’re the most user friendly for that purpose. I also try to grab questions from Facebook private messages whenever I think about it.

I’m rarely able to grab questions from social media comments (on posts) and DMs, especially on Instagram and Twitter. Comments and Instagram DMs move down the notification queue too quickly, and Twitter DMs from people I don’t follow are hidden.

That being said, sending me the same question multiple times or on multiple platforms (emailing and leaving a blog comment and messaging me on Facebook) will not increase your chances of your question being selected. If you send it to me once, I’ve got it. :0)

Thanks for all your questions. Keep sending them in! We wouldn’t have a Mailbag without them!


I was wondering if you can do a video on how a Christian housewife should budget money. I want to learn and trust in God’s will as well.

Great question! I’m much better in writing than on video, so I hope this format is OK.

Every household is unique, with a unique income, unique needs, unique bills and expenses, etc., so I can’t tell you, “Budget X% for this and Y% for that.” The best I can do is give you a few general guidelines:

  • Sit down with your husband with all your numbers: income, bills, expenses, etc. Prayerfully and thoughtfully consider how much you’re bringing in and how much you’re paying out. Do you need to earn more? Spend less? Cut out some expenditures? Save more?
  • Don’t forget to pray about and consider how much you need to set aside for your offerings at church. Christians are not under the Old Testament law of the tithe, but we are to give as generously to the church as we’re able according to what we’ve prayerfully determined in our hearts.
  • If money is tight and bringing in more income isn’t an option, a great way to be a helper to your husband would be to research ways you can reduce your bills, cut expenses, etc. Can you renegotiate your mortgage? Buy generic instead of name brands? Use coupons and shop the sales at the grocery store? Get your clothes at a thrift store instead of a boutique? Turn off the cable? Sell one of your cars?
  • If your husband doesn’t mind you discussing this with someone else, ask one of the godly older women in your church for advice. You can share the specific details with her and perhaps she can offer you some suggestions specific to your particular household.

This is just one of those things every couple has to work on together and figure out for themselves.


I read your article The Mailbag: I “feel led” in a different direction from my husband. In that article, you said:

Unless your husband is abusing you or encouraging you to do something sinful, God’s will is for you to graciously submit to his decisions.

I have always wondered why this circumstance is almost universally accepted as an exception to the principle of submission.

I don’t want to try to answer for the rest of the universe, but let me just explain my position. If a woman is being abused, priority number one is to get her to safety. And that’s going to mean getting away from her husband to a different place to live (until or unless he radically repents and gets saved, bears a lot of fruit in keeping with repentance, the two of them get extensive pastoral counseling, and so on).

What do you think an abusive husband’s immediate response to that is going to be? He’s going to be angry and demand that she come back home. That would be the first thing she would have to submit to before she submits to anything else. As a Christian, should she submit to that first demand? Of course not. He’s requiring her do a variety of ungodly things:

  • We are to be good stewards of our bodies and glorify God with our bodies. It is neither glorifying to God nor good stewardship to put your body in a situation in which you’re virtually certain it’s going to be damaged for no good reason. Putting your body in the hands of an unrepentant abuser is no more glorifying or good stewardship than jumping out of a third story window.
  • If you have children and you go back to an unrepentant abuser, you’re knowingly and intentionally putting them in danger. Godly mothers protect their children by keeping them away from danger as much as it’s within their power.
  • If you go back to an unrepentant abuser, you’re indirectly lying to him about his sin. By going back to him, you’re saying that his sin of abuse is OK, that he doesn’t need to repent or suffer any consequences for it, that you, as a Christian, approve of it, and that, by extension, God must approve of it, too.
  • Going back to an unrepentant abuser puts temptation in his way. When you’re in the home with him, he’s tempted to abuse you. When you’re not, he doesn’t have the opportunity to commit the sin of abusing you. We don’t put stumbling blocks in the paths of sinners.

These are all good, biblical reasons not to stay in an abusive situation, either. You can’t submit to someone who is sinning against you and requiring you to act in an ungodly way.


My question is how do you get out of yourself and your feelings? Yes, turn them over to God, I know this and I have but here I am still hurting and unable to find my way back to being content in all situations. Thank you for your wise words.

How do you cultivate die-to-self love and love God and others more?

Two great questions from different readers, but with the same answer: You can’t. This is something God has to work in you. You can’t sanctify yourself.

When it comes to sanctification and spiritual growth, we often cast about for a plan we can implement to start making things happen, kind of the same way that, when we want to lose weight, we reach for a diet book, join a gym, or call Jenny Craig.

Sanctification doesn’t work that way. There’s no such thing as a “get holy quick” scheme. There’s no program you can implement, book you can read, or specific behavior regimen you can initiate that will help you shed those unsightly sins and lose those pounds of character flaws. There’s nothing you can do to create growth and get the guaranteed results you’re looking for. That’s God’s job. It’s His job to grow you, and it’s His job to grow you in a way that guarantees He’ll get the results He’s looking for.

Your job is to get up every day, trust Him to do His job, and walk faithfully with Him by…

  • Studying your Bible
  • Praying- for help, for wisdom, for guidance, for strength
  • Being faithful to your church
  • Obeying the Word
  • Faith, trust, and utter dependence on God
  • Getting good counsel when you need it from godly friends and loved ones, your pastor, or spiritually mature women in your church

That’s God’s plan. His method. And it works every time it’s tried.

You might find some of the principles in my article You Don’t Need *A* Book, You Need *THE* Book to be helpful on this.


I often don’t know what to pray. Can you give me guidance and whether pre-printed prayers are a good idea or not and if so how they should be used. 

I’ve got tons of resources on prayer here at the blog. I hope you’ve been able to find them (using the search bar, tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, or category cloud in the right or bottom sidebar) in the time since you originally asked this question.

I would recommend starting off with…

Basic Training: 8 Things You Need to Know about Prayer

After this Manner, Therefore Pray

Can We Talk?

Sweet Hour of Prayer: Learning to Pray from the People of Scripture (my Bible study on prayer)

And then you can just start plowing through all of my other articles of interest about Prayer.

There’s nothing sinful about praying a biblical, doctrinally sound pre-printed prayer back to God. The best way to do that is to pray Scripture back to God, because you know Scripture is biblical, doctrinally sound, and pleasing to God since He breathed it out. The Psalms are especially well suited for this (in fact, praying the psalms back to God is one of the components in our current Bible study, Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word). You might want to take a look at my article Praying Scripture, to get a feel for it.

Outside of the Bible, the only prayer book I’m familiar enough with to feel comfortable recommending is The Valley of Vision. What I would recommend it for is reading through it for an example of the things we should be praying for and about, rather than using it for reciting or actually praying the prayers in it (although, like I said, it’s not sinful if you do). Your prayers should be personal, between you and God.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

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