Posted by Kate Megill on Monday, 2 February 1998, at 9:12 a.m.

Dear Lily,

I tried to post yesterday but only got an error message so I will try again today.

I believe the practical helps (i.e. herbs, specific foods, exercise etc.) are all very important for us to use to help counteract the effects of hormones raging out of control (as they do on some of us). This is, I believe, one of the specific effects of the curse, along with all of the pain and difficulty in pregnancy/childbirth. It is a result of sin in the world. But as believers we have the resources in Christ to live beyond the draw of sin in our lives.

Taking care of the practical, physical side of things is not enough. We need to plan for those times of great stress in our lives and prepare ahead of time to gain victory in the middle of them. It is so easy for us to get caught off guard and then we let our emotions ruin our days and those of all those around us.

Swindoll wrote a book a number of years ago called "Come Before Winter" in which he gives this example. When he lived in New England he noted a curious thing. In September when the weather all of a sudden got quite warm, all the people in his town started to put up their storm windows and storm doors. They had come to learn from experience that the cold winter was coming, this was simply the lull before the storm. Several years in a row he was taken off guard when winter really arrived and he found himself outside in snow and freezing weather trying to get his storm windows on. Had he planned before hand for the bad weather to come he would have been warm and cozy inside his protected house.

The example for us from this (using Paul's urging of Timothy to "come before winter" 2 Tim 4:13, 21) is that we need to look ahead to our times of stormy weather and wintery blasts and prepare spiritually for them. How do we do that?

Be aware of the days of our cycles and be watchful for the time preceeding our temptations.

-Use that time to arrange low-key schedules, don't get so filled up that our thoughts of preparation are swallowed up with the "tyranny of the urgent"*.

-Reduce our school schedule to the basics and plan in lots of enjoyable activities (don't plan spring cleaning at this time!) for you and the children.

-Ask your husband (or if he can't, see if you can trade time with a friend) for some time off so that you can spend some concentrated time with the Lord. Refresh your spirit and soul in His presence, immerse your mind in His Word, sing, play guitar, listen to worship music, fill yourself with a focus on the Lord and His power and might. DO NOT USE THIS TIME TO GO SHOPPING OR OTHER "FUN" STUFF!! That will do nothing to help you to be renewed, although we sometimes try to believe it will.

-Prepare a plan of attack (seek your husband's counsel here), a list of responses that are appropriate for you to make when you find yourself beginning to boil over. I have found that when I actually write a list of things I can say and do that will keep me from plunging into sin, it helps to keep them more in my focus when the testing comes.

-Be praying with your husband and children that God will give you eyes to see your temptations BEFORE you explode and that you will be quick to respond in a manner pleasing to the Lord, and that you will be quick to repent when you do fall into sin and to restore any broken relationships you may have caused.

I hope these thoughts will help to remind us all that we are in a spiritual battle, and with battle comes preparation for the fight. "The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord." Prov 21:31

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill