Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Perfect Homemaker

"An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels" (Proverbs 31)

I can remember her words like it was yesterday. There I was, sitting in front of my grandmother, explaining to her the wonderful news that I was engaged to be married. After showing her excitement and joy she looked at me plainly and said “how will you keep house”? “What do you mean?” I asked. “If you are going to be in school full time and working part time then how will you have time to keep house”? I cannot remember my exact response, but I think it went something along the lines of “well, it’s not 1950, and I will have a husband with two hands who can take care of the house with me, so I am really not concerned about keeping up with the housework”. 
Little did I know that many years later I would be asking myself the same question.  How do I do this?  How do I keep and manage my house the way I want it to be? Here I am drowning in dirty dishes, scrambling to get dinner on the table with a crying toddler clung to my leg and a hungry husband stuffing his face with gold fish because he was so busy during his 14 hours at work that he did not have a chance to eat lunch and therefore was starving.  Dinner was really late that night and to make matters worse it tasted horrible. I’m not an amazing cook by any means but rarely do I make something that is so bad that I don’t want to eat it. After that night I could have felt like I failed at my job as a homemaker.  However, I didn’t fail, because being a perfect homemaker is so much more than having a delicious dinner on the table when hubby gets home from work.
To me, being a perfect homemaker means creating a home that is filled with  love, warmth, safety, comfort, familiarity, peace, laughter and grace. I want my home to be a haven from the crazy world we live in. I want it to be my children’s and husbands favorite place to be because it gives them a safe place to rest, restore, and recharge their batteries before going out into the world again. It also needs to be a place where we feel peace, beauty, love, and joy. 
God did not give any instructions in the Bible about how our homes should look or be run, but He did tell us that it should be full of wisdom, understanding, knowledge and pleasant things. “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established, and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Proverbs 24:3-4). This sort of home will look different for everyone. We all have different personalities, tastes, and traditions and there is no right or wrong way to manage a home.  I personally enjoy having a clean home, well stocked frig, and good dinners (most of the time) to eat. So I take time each week to work on these tasks. I also enjoy decorating and filling my home with art, pictures, and colors that are pleasing to my husband and I. It is important for me to have inspirational pictures or crosses in every room so that I will be reminded constantly of what is most important to me.  My husband and I also really enjoy music and rooms that smell good so we constantly have our favorite music playing and candles burning.
Having a perfect home to me goes farther than having a clean, organized house and good food to eat. It also means having God at the center of my life and my family’s life.  When we put God first in our lives then we become more like God every day and this radiates within the home and becomes contagious. When we feel the peace, joy and satisfaction that only God can provide it affects how we treat, speak and interact with each other. “Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them.  And this is how we know that He lives in us: we know it by the Spirit He gave us” (1 John 4:24).  When God is the center of our home we are quick to forgive each other for small petty mistakes, we put each others needs first, and we have more motivation to take care of mundane housework so we can spend more time playing with our son, having quality couple time and serving those in need.
Do you remember that crazy night that I referred to earlier where my son had a meltdown in the kitchen; my husband ate a whole box of gold fish because he was starving and dinner was an hour late and disgusting? That evening was so crazy because I spent my son’s entire nap time filling up my spiritual cup.  I spent over two hours reading God’s word and praying to Him.  I had been running on empty for days and if I had not spent that much needed time with the Lord, I would have been a mess that night and probably the rest of the weekend. Yes, dinner was gross and our son ate dinner way later than normal and had a meltdown.  However, the rest of the evening was surprisingly great. My husband and I laughed uncontrollably at how awful and scary the chicken that I had made was. Our son had no idea what we were laughing at but decided to laugh too. Then, hubby and I could not get over how cute and funny our son was being so we kept laughing and the rest of the night was actually quite fun.  
Being a homemaker is no easy task. It is exhausting, tedious, and sometimes boring. However, it is also one of the most important and influential jobs we can have because we are the ones who create and set the stage for the environment that our families live in. I think that when my grandmother was asking me about “how I was going to keep house” she was trying to get me to understand that although work and school were important, keeping house was even more important. I am still trying to figure out the best way to manage my home…but the one thing that I have figured out is that my relationship with God is my number one priority because it affects my ability to create a Godly home, which will shape my families life for generations to come. 
“An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels….she looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness” Proverbs 31:10-27.   

Father God, please give us the strength and motivation that we need to take care of the daily grind of housekeeping. Fill us up with your strength and love so that we might love our children in a way that will change them from the inside out, helping them grow into healthy, productive, God fearing adults.  Help us know how to create a home that will glorify You and bring comfort to our loved ones. Amen.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


The Halloween aisle at Walmart scared me today. I’m sure 10 year olds walk down that aisle every day and think it’s great…I on the other hand think it is terrifying. The scary masks, the chainsaws, the skeletons and the spiders are so unpleasant to me. 

It will come as no surprise to you that I get scared easily.  I have been this way my whole life. I was the girl that sat at home when all her friends where doing the scary corn maze and haunted house.  I can remember when I was little being so scared of the headless horseman that I had nightmares at just the sound of his name...headless horseman!  So I made everyone in my family call him cupcake instead. Silly I know. 

Although I really don’t like the Halloween aisle, fake blood, or the headless horseman…that is not what keeps me up at night anymore.  So long are the days when the only thing I had to fear is the scary movie coming on Nickelodeon. Now I have real fears. 

I fear that I won’t be able to have any more children, I fear that my husband will get hurt while working and not be able to come home to me, I fear that my child will get bullied or be the one to bully.  I fear that my house will burn down, that I or a loved one will get cancer and die way too young, and that my children will grow up and not know and love the Lord. 

These are my real fears. They could consume my day and affect every aspect of my life but I don’t let that happen.  There have been times when I did allow fear to consume my day and I don’t want to go back to that place again. The fears that I have, although real to me, are of the world. Evil wants me to fear these things so that it cripples me and pulls me away from God. 

We have no control over what happens in the world around us and that can lead to uncertainty, doubt, and fear. God, on the other hand, is in control. He can give us a sense of peace that nothing of the world can provide. “I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27). The gift that Jesus is referring to in this verse is the Holy Spirit. We cannot feel Godly peace without the power of the Holy Spirit. When we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts and allow Him to work, we can feel peace instead of fear in all circumstances, both in the present and future. 

Our world is full of sin and sometimes our fears do happen to us or those close to us.  However, if we let God guard our hearts, instead of fear, we will feel Godly peace in even our darkest moments.  “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).  

Living in fear is not fun. It is exhausting, draining, and life changing. The fears that we have can be passed on to our loved ones, especially our children, faster than we can imagine. Let’s put a stop to fear and accept the peace that God is handing to us. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).  

God, fill our hearts with the peace that only You can provide. Smother our fears and let your fire burn deep within our souls. We put our trust in You. Amen

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When Seasons Change

I can see my breath. My toes are beginning to go numb. I peek around the corner of the stroller to see my son’s red little nose and cheeks. “Burr cold” he says to me. “Yes, it is cold….it is finally fall”.  I have been waiting for fall to arrive, just as I wait for all seasons to change. I do not think that there is any one season that I like more than others. I am one of those people who love them all; however, I especially love the changing of the seasons.
Now that I have children I find that I really go all out to ‘celebrate’ each new season. In the fall, we enjoy pumpkins, farms, apple cider, colorful leaves and Thanksgiving.  In the winter we enjoy snow, hot chocolate, fire places, endless amounts of stories under a blanket and Christmas. In the spring we love baby animals, flowers, playing outside and Easter.  In the summer we enjoy the beach, pool, ice cream in the shade, hamburgers on the grill and fireworks in the sky. There are things in each season that I love and towards the end of each season I always look forward to the beginning of the next one.
I know I am not alone with my love of the seasons. It doesn’t matter who I am talking too; neighbors, the grocery store clerk, friends, even family, we all talk about the seasons and what is going on in the weather. I also know I am not alone with my love of rainbows. Most of you will stop whatever you are doing and smile at the sight of a rainbow. Some of you (like me) may even stop, take a picture, and Instagram it! 
I believe that we all have a love affair with seasons and especially rainbows because they are significant. They are significant not only because God made them, but because God chose them to be a symbol of His promise to us. When the earth was filled with wickedness and God was filled with grief He wiped the earth clean.  Every living thing on the earth was destroyed by the flood except for Noah, his family, and the animals that were spared by keeping safe in the ark (Genesis 6:5-8). 
When the flood ended and the land was dry God told Noah “never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.  And never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done.  As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis 8:21-22).  God then says to Noah “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9:13). 
God’s covenant says that a flood will never destroy the earth again, that the seasons will always come as expected and that after it rains, God will put a rainbow in the sky as a sign that he will always keep his promise.
Just as seasons on the earth change, so do the seasons of our life. Some seasons are hard and painful and others are easy and delightful. Some seasons seem to pass rather quickly and others seem to linger for months or even years. No matter what season of life you are in at the moment, God is there with you, begging for you to reach up and grab his hand…for He is already there trying to grab yours.  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2-3). 
 It is not a matter of IF we will have to walk through a difficult season; it is a matter of WHEN we will have to walk through it. So no matter what season you are walking through, reach up and grab His hand, celebrate the changing of the season, and stop and praise God for the rainbow.  

Heavenly Father…thank you for keeping your promise and for walking with us throughout all seasons of life. As we fill our days with activities celebrating your earthly seasons may we be reminded of the significance of them and may we Keep You at the center of it all. Amen.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hey You, It's me..God

It’s that feeling. You know the one. The one that keeps popping into your head when you are trying to fall asleep, when your standing in line at Starbucks and when you are browsing through your facebook feed. It’s the one that, when not addressed, slowly starts taking over your days. All of a sudden your children are making more messes than you thought possible right in front of your eyes because you are just spaced out on some other planet. You start having to stop and think “did I shampoo my hair yet? Did I feed the dog?” Distraction, more coffee, and keeping busy out of the house just don’t seem to make this feeling go away. What is it that is taking over your brain?

If you have a new born and are getting up every two hours to nurse…then that is probably it. If not…then it’s probably God. Once we form a close connection with God, events, relationships, daily happenings and even scripture start registering differently in our minds. “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10).

If something happens in our life that goes against what God would want from us then He is going to let us know about it.  The Holy Spirit has a mysterious way of affecting our subconscious and making us feel dissonant when something is not right. Our ‘old self’ might not have been affected by this; but our new self sees life through new lenses and is unable to brush off conflicts with God.

If this is sounding similar to you and you are trying to figure out if you are making a right decision, if a relationship is healthy, if your daily activities are pleasing to God or deciding between right and wrong in a moral dilemma then start by praying about it. Ask God to give you a nudge to show you more clearly what he wants you to know.

Second, check out what the Bible has to say about what ever topic your situation relates to. Everything written in the Bible was inspired by God and it is the best self-help book you could ever read. Third, find a trusting person that you can talk to about it. They just might have the wisdom you need to clear up the conflicting thoughts you are having.

Proverbs 21:11 says “when a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge”. This verse is reminding us that it is best to learn from other people's mistakes than from our own.  Listen to other people’s advice, stories, and counsel. It always amazes me how God can use our family, friends and teachers past mistakes to help prevent ours.
I like to look at these “hey you, wait a minute” moments from God as a blessing. It means that I am connecting with God on a deep level. It means that I have the wisdom, knowledge, and ability to stop whatever mistake I may be making and change it. The closer we are to God, the more ache our heart, soul and minds feel when we start walking away from our Creator.

God, thank you for interacting in our life in so many ways. Thank you for getting our attention when we move away from you. Even though it might hurt in the beginning, it ultimately means that we are drawing closer to you. We love you and seek to glorify you in all that we do. Amen.
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