~In everything, do it all to the glory of God~

This is a message that God has been laying on my heart in recent weeks.  I love having an orderly home, but it’s always constant battle for me.  Most days, I struggle to just keep the basics done.  It’s not that it’s hard, but we have allowed so much clutter in our home that it makes it almost impossible to keep it picked up all of the time.  I have been reading a bit here & there in a book “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie O’Martian. One of the things she said at the beginning of the book was that the home is the wife’s responsibility & that even housework should be done to the glory of God.  WOW!  To see it in print & to read those words really spoke to me.  I don’t mind housework.  I love doing for my husband & children, but doing housework to glorify God?  Well, that put a whole new spin on things.  I can say that it has really opened my eyes as I go about my daily chores.  I ask myself as I go about each task, “Am I doing ________ to glorify God?“  There are times that I catch myself being irritable, a grouchy momma/wife, and I have to stop & ask for forgiveness from my family & from my heavenly Father.   I’m finding that daily housework has a new meaning & I’m finding that I don’t mind is so much now.  I see it as a way to please my heavenly Father, which, in turn, brings peace to our home & gives my sweet husband a peaceful home to come home to.  Will there be days when I don’t see housework as a way to please God?  I’m sure there will be.  Will there be days when things go undone?  Absolutely.  But, the good news is I can pick up right where I am & begin again. 

 

She also brings up another point that God has been working on in my heart for the last several months, and that I’ve been slowly working on changing.  That’s my appearance.  I haven’t “let myself go” in the last few years, but I haven’t done much to improve myself either.  Well, one of those things has been in how I dress.  Since putting on weight 6 years ago after having ankle surgery & been being on crutches for a total of six months (total before & after surgery), I haven’t wanted to wear a dress or anything really feminine since.  Jeans, boots, & solid colored ladies cut shirts have been my wardrobe.  Well, I’m slowly working on changing that.  For Christmas, my sweet husband bought me several nice long skirts (that I had picked out back in October but put away for Christmas).  Most are denim skirts that can be worn as casual or dressy casual, but I also have a few suede skirts that are dressier.  My husband tells me I’m beautiful no matter how I’m dressed or even if I’m dirty from a hard days work on the farm.  How many women have a husband who sees her as beautiful even on her worst days? I’m really blessed beyond words.  But, this goes beyond him.  This is coming from my heavenly Father.  He wants me to dress more feminine & continue to dress modestly.  That doesn’t mean skirts all of the time, at least not right now, but it does mean that I need to pay closer attention to what I’m wearing & dress as to please Him.  If I’m pleasing my heavenly Father, then I know that I’m pleasing my sweet husband.  I’m not going to debate that pros/cons rights/wrongs of wearing skirts, but I will say with very strong conviction that women (and girls of all ages) should dress modestly.  This means that you wear shorts/skirts at least to the knee, shirts that are not low cut/form-fitting & that have sleeves, jeans/pants that are not tight/form-fitting, etc.  Our bodies should be kept as temples to our heavenly Father, they are for the eyes of our husbands ONLY, not for the men of the world to look upon & lust after.  Every day, men battle with lustful thoughts.  As women, especially Christian women, we should be doing our best to keep our fellow brothers-in-Christ from stumbling & dress modestly.  No, we cannot control their thoughts/actions, but we can do our part to not add fuel to the fire. 

 

I’m sure I’m going to have days where I’m really feeling in touch with God & days where I’m really struggling, but I will continue to take things a day at a time (sometimes a moment at a time) & try to do all things for the glory of God. 

School Days Are Here Again!

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For those of us that homeschool (or even those who are in public schools) it’s time to really start gearing up for the new school year.  Whether you school year round or take the summer off, getting ready for the next school year is always full of decisions.  For homeschoolers, it’s a time to go through the curriculum that you already have and see what you do have on hand, what you need, what worked, what didn’t, if there are any supplements that you would like to purchase, etc.  For all of us (public school & homeschoolers) we have to go through and see what basic supplies we have & what we NEED, such as pencils, paper, rulers, crayons, pens, etc.

It never ceases to amaze me how much work goes into both types of schooling just to get ready for the start of a new year.  For us, homeschooling is the way that we feel God has lead us to go, and we love it!  However, it is still a lot of work.  Brian & I chose to go ahead & use some of our income tax return to start buying curriculum for the upcoming year, so we already have most of that on hand.  But, having the curriculum on hand doesn’t mean that it’s already preplanned out to fit our family’s needs.  I did get a head start on that at the end of the year, but that was also with us planning to continue a subject per child over the summer.  But, since our planned semi-calm summer has turned into a hectic one, well, let’s just say that we’ll now be fitting most of the summer plans into the upcoming school year.  But, that’s the beauty of homeschooling.  Flexibility.  I love the fact that we don’t have to force our children to complete the exact same work that everyone else in the classroom does.  They do not have to be forced to try to squeeze into the same mold as everyone else.  They get to be who God made them to bed.  They can whiz through science while they need to take a slower pace in math.  They take a faced paced approach with Bible while maybe taking a slightly slower speed in English, etc.  They can use their strengths to help them with their weaknesses, all the while turning those weaknesses into strengths. 

Hmm.  That sounds really familiar.  Doesn’t God do the same thing for us?  Teach us so that are weaknesses are made strong? Romans 8:36a says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. “  That verse also talks about how the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer when we, ourselves, don’t know what to pray for.  In teaching our children to grow in their weaknesses in school, we are teaching them to be better students and, eventually, employees/employers in the working world.  In the same way, God uses our weaknesses to grow us for His glory so that we can better serve Him in the mission field, at home or abroad. 

For us, our choice to homeschool is based on where we felt (and still feel) God leading us.  We want our children’s education to be biblically based, with Christ at the heart of our learning.  We try to make sure that –He is the one that helps us to make the decisions in what curriculum to use, what co-op to be a part of, etc.  We strive to make him Headmaster/Principal of our school just as we strive to make Him the head of our household. 

We’re really excited about this upcoming school year.  Brian & I believe that God has a lot of blessings in store for our family this year, and that seems to be confirmed lately since we’ve met up with a lot of mountains in our homeschool trail these last couple of weeks.  With a lot of help from our Lord, we are slowly climbing each one & tackling all the obstacles that have been laid in front of us and finding our way through.  I, myself, truly believe that God is using each of these to grow us and lead us down the path that He has planned for our family.   So, how are your plans for the new homeschool year coming?  Do you have any mountains you’re having to climb or bumps in the road that have sent you down a different path than you originally thought you would be going down?  I would love to hear how God is growing you and your family through these. 

Oh, what a tangled mess we weave……

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When we let out tongues speak in anger.  Sometimes, I don’t think we realize what a powerful weapon we all have with us at all times – our tongue.  Did you know that the tongue is mentioned 129 times in 126 verses?  For our heavenly Father to mention it that many times must mean that is extremely important to Him that we listen.  The tongue is an amazing creation. Think about it.  Your tongue can tell the difference between sweet, spicy, sour, salty, hot & cold.  AND, you use it to form words.  The very same words that we use to lift each other up, or cut each other down. The very same words that can bring comfort and pain.  The very same words that are spoken in joy and in anger. 

As I had mentioned a few days ago, I am caught in the middle of friends who are hurt and angry – over words spoken in assumption and anger.  My heart is grieving heavily in this situation.  At first, I was angry, but it quickly changed to sadness and heartache, especially seeing my friends who are angry and hurting having a hard time dealing with everything and some not willing to listen.  While others are hurt by words that were said in anger and assumption that should never have been said, and they were not ready to listen because of all the hurt that was unnecessarily inflicted. 

The childhood saying “Sticks & stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is soooooo wrong.  Words do hurt.  They hurt more than a physical injury because we can’t touch it, nurture it, put a band-aid on it, and allow it to heal.  It’s a wound on our heart that has trouble healing because people, directly or indirectly, pour salt in the wound which causes us more pain and agony. 

God pointed out to me several passages this morning in my guidebook for my life, the Bible, that relate to the tongue.  James 1:26 says, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself…” (NIV)

The passage in James 3:1 – 12 is titled “Taming the Tongue”.  Wow!  It most be really important for us to guard our tongues if God goes to the trouble to speak about it for 12 verses straight!  Verse 6 talks about how the tongue is “a world of evil among the parts of the body” and how it “corrupts the whole person”.  In verse 9, God even tells us that with our tongue, we “praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men”.  A two-edged sword – one side singing praises & praying to our Abba Father, the other  cutting down our fellow brothers & sisters in Christ.  What pain we must cause our Abba Father.  He even goes as far as to tell us this in James 4:11-12, “Brothers, do not slander one another.  Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it.  When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.  But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?”  (NIV) OUCH!

But, I love James 4:10 – “Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up!”  (NIV) How awesome is the God we serve that He would say, even before we sinned, that He will forgive us, if we will truly humble ourselves and repent of our sins!  No matter what mistakes we make, if we are truly sorry and truly repent, He will forgive us and throw our sins as far as the east is from the west. 

I will say that I have already seen God working in this situation.  Bridges are slowly being mended, and I pray that they will continue to be mended and, in the end, be even stronger than what they were before.  God does not want conflict amongst His children any more than we want conflict amongst our own.  I would like to ask you all to continue praying.  Abba is listening and He is working in all the lives involved.  I pray that even though we’ve had to walk through this very heated fire, we will all come out more refined & ready to do His will! In fact, he says just that in Jeremiah 9:7-8a:

“See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people? Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks with deceit.”(NIV)

Zechariah 13:9b says, “I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.”  (NIV) Do you know why silver & gold (and other precious metals) are refined?  To remove impurities from them.  So, why does our Heavenly Father refine His children like silver & gold?  To remove sin (impurities) from our lives.  Yes, it is painful.  Yes, you may lose something in the process.  But, in the end, will be closer to being pure, sinless, and more like Christ.  That is our ultimate goal, isn’t it?