Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Submitting to My Husband

 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:22-24

If you are a Christian woman the idea of submitting unto your husband’s leadership shouldn’t be too difficult a task for you. You should already be used to submitting unto the leadership of the Lord God and His Word. When we become believers we no longer belong to ourselves, but to Jesus. We commit ourselves to putting His plan for us ahead of our own plans. We ask that His will be done and we commit to submitting to Him in all things. Well, as we read in Ephesians, part of submitting to God’s will is submitting to our own husbands.

The Greek word for “submit” used in verse 22 is the word “hypotassō” which means, “to arrange under, to subordinate, to subject one’s self, to obey, to submit to one’s control, and to yield to one’s admonition or advice.” I love this word “submit.” Before God changed by heart, I feared the word. The word held only bad connotations for me.

The idea of being in submission was akin to being in slavery to some degree. The difference, however, between slavery and submission is monumental. Slaves are forced to be under another person’s control and have no control over their own lives. Submission occurs when someone places themselves under the leadership of another person voluntarily, out of their own free will. When we became Christians we put ourselves under the power of Jesus Christ and submitted our own will to Him. We surrendered control. When Jesus went to the cross, He too surrendered control and willingly submitted to the will of the Father, despite the horrible things He had to endure. What a beautiful act of love! How beautiful it is for wives to submit themselves unto their own husbands just as Jesus submitted Himself even unto the cross!

God commands wives to submit to their own husbands. Not only that, but we are to do it as unto the Lord. In the same way we submit ourselves to God’s authority, so ought we to submit ourselves to our husband’s authority. Unless our husband asks us to do something that is in violation to God’s Word, we should obey him and give him the reigns to direct the marriage and the household as the Lord leads him. The husband should have the final say and make the ultimate decision when a mutual agreement cannot be achieved. He has the right to veto any suggestions and to lead the household as he sees fit in areas of spiritual growth, finances, house rules, the raising and disciplining of children, where to live and how the household should be run. These are not merely my opinions, but the truth straight from God’s own Word.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. It is a good and loving thing for a husband to happily hear the suggestions, advice and opinions of his wife. Usually, if he is truly a good-willed Christian man, he will want to hear what his wife thinks and will care about how she feels. My husband loves to hear my outlook, as long as it is given in a respectful way and without nagging. He almost always asks my opinion when it comes to decision making and often will go with my preference if he doesn’t have a strong conviction either way. At the end of the day, he knows I will support him in his decision and be by his side as his helper whether I agree or not.

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Training Up Children

            “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15

 

            “For whom the LORD lovesHe chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6

            Teaching and disciplining are both ways that we are called as mothers to serve our children. We can keep homes where discipline is consistent and steadfast or we can have un-orderly households. We set the tone in our homes. We set the rules, the boundaries and the consequences, of course with the go ahead from our husbands. It is an important part of our roles as home-keepers. I do want to share that God tells us here that disciplining and training up your child is an act of love. Throughout Proverbs we read that using the rod of correction is what is best for the child. We must take these words seriously and follow the Lord’s leading. He says He chastens us because He loves us. We are His children and He wants what is best for us. Sometimes His corrections hurt, but they are always for the best in the long run. The purifying of gold and precious silver through the hot fire is necessary, and God has entrusted our children to us to be brought up according to His Word. Therefore, mothers who love their children will discipline them. As to the method, well, I’ll let you read through the Proverbs and decide for yourself how God is instructing us.

We also see that parents are responsible for training and teaching the children. My personal conviction is that God has called me to homeschool my daughter so that is the direction we are going. Whether we homeschool or not, mothers are called to teach their children. It is part of keeping the home. We are to teach them to follow God’s ways, to read the Bible, to worship Him and to pray. We are to lead by example and correct with discipline when needed. Our children will see through hypocrisy and falseness so we need to make sure our own walks are solid so that they will be blessed with a good and honest example to follow.

So what is the reward of mothers keeping their homes and training up their children according to the Word? Aside from just the satisfaction of knowing you are obeying God, what are the benefits? Obedient children? Peaceful homes? The Lord’s blessings? Yes, all these things and much more!

            “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.” Proverbs 23:24

 

            “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Proverbs 31:28

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Managing the Home

“So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.” 1 Timothy 5:14

If our husbands are the leaders of the home, then we certainly are the general managers, as this scripture implies. Wives, we are to manage our households to the best of our ability. It is an important part of our calling. We are given the wonderful job of making sure the home is flowing smoothly, kept up and is a place of renewing and refreshing for our families.

Men are funny, aren’t they? I laugh to myself as I think about my sweet husband and how little he knows about what all I do to keep our home running smoothly. He is out during the day, winning the bread and working hard, and he has no clue as to how much work it is to keep the home clean, the laundry done, food stocked in the kitchen, our daughter bathed and dressed and healthy, bills paid (hopefully!) and then to have dinner ready when he gets home from work.

My husband is the type of man who is always willing to lend a hand around the house, which is great. I think it’s so funny when he does something around the house and then is so excited to tell me all about the task that he accomplished. He may, for example, come in and inform me that he emptied the rubbish bin in the bathroom. Translating from my husband’s Scottish brogue to American English that would mean he emptied the trash can. He is just ever-so excited to tell me what he has done and remind me that he did it because he loves me! Bless his heart!

I giggle because I think it’s both sweet and such a typical man maneuver. I think many people miscalculate the massive amount of work it is to manage a home and to do it right. This is not at all to complain. On the contrary I think we as wives should feel blessed that God has counted us worthy and able to fulfill such a calling. We are the managers of our homes and all that it entails. We can take those responsibilities and whine about how hard it is, or strive to be the best home keepers we can be. I would rather the latter.

There’s no one way to keep a home. Some wives like to keep lists, checkpoints and very organized routines. Others enjoy a more casual approach. I know a friend who has a housework weekly and monthly calendar for herself. She basically organizes the week’s tasks into daily chores, making sure to accomplish everything without overloading one particular day. It works for her and I admire her organization. The trick is to find something that works for you and stick with it. I motivate myself to work hard during the week so that I can relax with my husband more on the weekends. He appreciates that too.

Another encouragement is to try not to let your housework get too tedious or serious. Put on some worship music and have fun while you’re doing your chores. Get the kids involved. It’s a great opportunity to teach them and develop these skills in their lives. I know I want my daughter to grow up knowing how to keep a tidy house and cook for her family someday. These are as important to her life as learning mathematics and science in my opinion. I want to prepare her to be a wife and a mother, in addition to whatever else the Lord does in her life.

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Celebrating our Anniversary

“My beloved is mine, and I am his…” Songs 2:16

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These are the very words I had etched into my husband’s wedding band seven years ago. Today we celebrate our wedding anniversary and I continue to be in awe of what God has done in our lives. If I were to tell you the seven years have been easy and carefree, I’d be fibbing. We have had our share of trials and struggles. We didn’t do everything right along the way, or even when we first began. We had been living for ourselves and not for Jesus Christ. Praising the Lord that He had mercy on us and in His abundant grace pulled us from the miry clay and set our feet upon the Rock! God has changed us radically and the closer we draw to Him, the nearer we are to each other.

Anniversaries are such a wonderful occasion to celebrate. It used to be in medieval times that people only celebrated the big ones, such as 25th and 50th. As time went on people started celebrating on the 1st, 10th, 20th and so forth. Now most people celebrate every year, which is great. William and I went a step further. We actually had two weddings! One was on a Tuesday morning in a small church with only a handful in attendance. We had to get legally married to start the immigration paperwork for me to move to Scotland with my very Scottish husband! At our first wedding, I wore a nice pair of dress pants and my husband wore a kilt! hehe

We had a bigger wedding about four months later. We were able to write our own vows, celebrate with friends and family, and this time all the men in the wedding wore kilts! With two anniversaries we started to debate which one we should celebrate. Finally it his us…why not celebrate them both?! Of course! We love to celebrate us! My husband remembers both anniversaries faithfully and he also remembers the anniversary of the day he proposed! Yay William!

I think anniversaries are a great way to focus in every year (or twice a year for us) on the love you share and how far God has brought you. We are not perfect. Our marriage isn’t perfect. If we didn’t have Christ in the center of it I doubt we would have made it this far. We are both wretched, selfish sinners whom have experienced the grace of God in a real way.

Listen, God wants to give us all beautiful marriages. If we are willing to submit to His ways, His Word and His plan for marriage, He can do miraculous things in our lives together. I am so grateful that God has worked in our marriage and continues to work, helping us to love one another with His kind of agape love instead of the world’s “what-can-you-do-for-me” kind of love.

Happy Anniversary my beloved husband! I am yours and you are mine!

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The Bread of Idleness

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”    Proverbs 31:27

Oh what a challenge this is! This is one area in which many homemakers struggle, including the one penning this very sentence!. Every wife and mother knows that there is always so much to do. I always say being a mother is the hardest job. Yet sometimes this isn’t the case the case at all. There are certainly some wives and mothers who take their roles at home lightly, and who spend much of their time “eating the bread of idleness.” There is a difference between simple “being” a wife and mother and “being a good” wife and mother.

Let me give you an example. You walk into a home at three o’clock in the afternoon. The television is on with one of those court reality shows no doubt. A toddler is playing on the floor. She’s obviously not been bathed, still wearing her pajamas, with her lovely hair in a mess of tangles on her head. Her lunch is still sitting on a plate on the floor, providing evidence of her typical nutritious diet of a hotdog and chips. The house is a mess. That’s not to say it is simply messy but dirty also. The carpets have not been vacuumed for weeks. The kitchen counter is piled high with dirty dishes. The laundry is forming one of the walls of the master bedroom as if it were part of the actual structure, which is probably why the kid is still in her pajamas! Meanwhile, the mother is stretched out on the couch, waiting in anticipation to find out if the plaintiff is going to get the judgment. The bread of idleness.

I want to be clear here that I am not criticizing anyone for taking a break once in a while. Having children and taking care of a home is hard work. Everyone needs a break from time to time. I am also not saying that a house has to be spotless or tidy around the clock. There are certainly times when my house gets cluttered and messy. What I am pointing out here is that being a good wife and mother is hard work because it involves putting some effort into it.

Bathing and dressing the children, keeping up with housework and providing healthy nutrition for the family is all important. It is easy to be idle and lazy with the many distractions we have today. Since I started working from home, I have had to make a rule for myself that I will not watch television during the day while my husband is at work. I have a TV stand that closes so you cannot even see the unit, and I keep it closed throughout the day as a reminder. I do this because I could easily get caught up in idleness and I don’t want to be that kind of wife and mother.

         “As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy man to those who send him.” Proverbs 10:26

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She Does Him Good and Not Evil

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” Proverbs 31:11

The virtuous wife has found favor in the sight of her husband. His heart safely trusts her. The word “trust” in verse 11 is the Hebrew word “batach” which means, “to trust or trust in, have confidence in, be secure in, or to feel safe.” This husband knows that his wife is trustworthy. He feels safe and secure with her. He doesn’t worry that she will turn on him, leave him, mock him, insult him or shame him in any way. He doesn’t fear she will embarrass him in public or flirt with another man when he’s away. His heart trusts her because she has given him no reason to doubt her.

As he trusts in her in every manner of household and family life, he has no need to go searching elsewhere for his needs to be met. In other words, he knows she will be wise with their living supplies, so he doesn’t need to go scrapping somewhere else for it. This certainly can also apply to sex. Although it is never okay for a man to cheat on his wife, some men are more tempted to do so because of the lack of intimacy they receive at home. This man doesn’t need to look elsewhere for his sexual needs to be met, because his wife is meeting them.

“She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12

What a beautiful statement. It is so general and yet can be applied to even the smallest of daily activities. This wife has no desire to do evil to her husband. She does not speak badly about him to her friends. She does not chastise or mock him. She gives him good food, good clothes to wear, and good loving. She will always do what is best for him and will never be cruel. Her life’s purpose under the Lord is to do good unto her husband. She cares for her husband, raises his children and takes care of his home. It is a total, lifetime commitment to excellence, service and love. Wow.

      “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”

Proverbs 31:23

A man can be honored or dishonored by his wife. She can be a crown to him or shame that rots his bones. Have you ever been with a couple where the wife is constantly putting down her husband or mocking him, and you can just see in his eyes that she has crushed him? I heard wives do this to their husbands and it makes me so sad for them. They do not respect their husbands, nor are they being a wife who edifies and builds up, but one who tears down and breaks. Ladies, if this is you, it’s time to make some serious changes.

A virtuous wife adds to the good reputation of her husband. She does not spoil or ruin his reputation. When she is in public or with other people, she does not criticize or complain about her husband. She does not share about his bad habits or the stupid things he’s done. She does not make him sound like a fool or embarrass him, whether he is present or not. This includes when speaking to friends one to one. Speaking badly about your husband is NEVER acceptable ladies. The virtuous wife builds up her husband in all circumstances. She brags about his wit and good business decisions. She compliments his hard-work and dedication. She dotes on him and says uplifting things about him, especially when he is there to hear it. This builds up your husband. Show your respect for him publically that you can be a crown to him and add to his reputation.

Furthermore this wife has taken care of her husband and household so that others are impressed. She provides him good clothing, feeds him well and takes care of the home. He will not be ashamed to bring friends over, because she has kept the home in respectable shape. She has trained their children to be respectful, so that they are not an embarrassment to their father, but obedient and polite. A man with a wife like this can be proud of his family and home, and this means more to him than we are likely to understand. Step up to the plate ladies. It’s your turn. How can you honor your husband today?

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A Strong & Honorable Woman

“She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.” Proverbs 31:17

      Is a strong woman a masculine woman? I suppose it depends on how you define strong and in what ways she shows her strength. I’ve personally always thought woman body-builders tend to look masculine, but this Proverbs 31 woman is certainly no weakling. She is girded with strength and has strengthened her arms. It is important to note here that she does not flex those muscles to compete with her husband, but rather to serve her family and household. She does not compete with her man, nor assert herself as a strong, butch woman. God says that we are the weaker vessels and that’s the way He made us. Not inferior, but softer. Gentler.

We are meant to be soft, precious and delicate to our men. They like us that way. Yet, we are to be strong women when it comes to hard work—our bodies must be fit to carry out the work of building up our home and keepingit running smoothly. We need to be strong in endurance while raising children and serving our husband. Most importantly we need to be strong spiritually. The virtuous woman is a strong woman who works hard, but she allows herself to be weak with her husband, trusting him to be her protector and provider.

      “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Proverbs 31:25

      The virtuous wife is clothed by honor and strength. That means she doesn’t leave home without it. This is an interesting concept to wrap our minds around because clothing is not necessarily who we are but something we put on. Being strong and honorable is not always our nature, and this woman is no exception. As we read about her many good and upstanding qualities, we can sometimes be deceived thinking that this was easy for her, or that it came naturally as if it’s just who she is by birth. Good genes right?

Putting on clothing is an act of will. We put it on to cover up our nakedness. This woman puts on strength and honor everyday by choice. It is a conscious act. She may not feel like responding honorably in every circumstance, but she does because she has made a commitment to living her life this way. You can put on honor and strength to. We all can because we have the help of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit!

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Using the Tongue to Build Up or Break Down

“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” Proverbs 9:13 

The Hebrew word for “clamorous” is the word “hāmâ”, which means, “roars, noisy, disquieted, troubled, loud, tumultuous or raging.” Basically, the foolish woman is a loud-mouth. She constantly feels the need to tell everyone where they should be going and what they should be doing. She is never quiet and content, but always finds something that she feels she must put right. Perhaps she has a word quota to meet each day, but kind and uplifting words of affirmation don’t count!

We need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are clamorous. Do we love to hear ourselves talk? Do we have to be right all the time? Do we think we always have the right answer? Are we just plain loud all the time? While we may think this makes us look wise, the hard truth is it makes us look foolish, and does not encourage affection from our husbands. When you ask your husband why he loves you, would you be offended if he said, “I love you because you have a big mouth, tell everyone what to do and nag me constantly”?

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…” James 1:19

 

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1 

A woman’s mouth can either be used to build up those around her or to tear them down and destroy them. The tongue can be such a dangerous thing; the match that starts a raging wildfire. With only a few words you have the ability to encourage, edify and show love to your husband and children, building them up. Words of affirmation are a help-meet’s best friend. Use them whenever you can. Give your husband praise for being a good provider in the home and taking care of you and the kids.

This manner of edifying communication is good in the sight of the Lord. However, if you then use the next breath to discourage, wound and humiliate, would you not consider that foolish? Words are powerful tools. How will you use your words today? Will you use them to criticize and nag you husband for not taking the trash out this morning, or will you use them to whisper sweet words of affirmation in his ear as he heads out to work, knowing he will be thinking about you all day? The choice is yours sister. Don’t make yourself a fool.

            “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” James 3:10

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Brawling and Contentious Woman

“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” Proverbs 25:24 

 

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” Proverbs 27:15 

The Hebrew word for “brawling” and “contentious” is actually the same word, “midyān”. It describes the woman who is always nagging, moaning, unhappy, complaining about something, and ever-so-difficult to please. Men like the call this type of woman “high maintenance” and it makes perfect sense that men married to “high maintenance” women often walk around defeated and deflated. They can never win!

Why is this same basic sentence repeated over and over in Proverbs? Are we seeing a pattern? Repetition indicates importance in the Bible. We can clearly see from these passages that the Lord knew and recognized that nagging was, is and probably will continue to be a huge problem. Is a woman who fits this description attractive?

I think we often observe other women behaving in this way and easily recognize it as annoying or just plain ugly. However, we are often unaware when we slip into an attitude of nagging ourselves. We nag our own husbands constantly for not praying long enough, watching too much television or not mowing the yard, but we hate it when our mother nags us about how we cook, clean or care for our kids. Why is one okay and the other not? We have to constantly remind ourselves that nothing good is accomplished by nagging. In fact, when you nag your husband, in some ways you are interfering with the work God may be doing in his heart.

What’s better? Is it better that your husband does what you ask because you nag him or because God has laid it on his heart? Is it more satisfying to know he does these things to get you off his back or because he loves you and wants to please you?

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Provoke Not Your Children to Wrath

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

 While this verse specifically mentions “fathers”, it is clearly the will of God for all parents; both fathers and mothers. We can assume that because the husband, or father, is meant to be the head of the household under God’s commandment, and therefore the wife and mother would follow his lead in this matter. Therefore this verse does apply to mothers as well. So, what is it saying?

The word “provoke” is the Greek word “parorgizō” which means, “to provoke, to exasperate, or to rouse to wrath.” Parents are not to rouse their children to wrath. Sounds simple enough, but how can we accomplish this? After all, kids get angry if you say they aren’t to eat a bag full of candy, or if you turn off the television and ask them to help with the chores. The Lord is not telling parents to give children whatever they want to keep them happy. He is instructing parents to keep our side of things clean, and to search out areas in our parenting where our bad decisions, actions and language is causing unnecessary wrath in our children. For example, nothing angers a child more than favoring one sibling over the others. While parents will often deny doing this, I’ve seen many examples of families where one child is treated more favorably than the others. Perhaps he or she is the star athlete of the family, or the one with the greatest desire to learn. Meanwhile, little brother just doesn’t seem to take to sports and struggles with mathematics and science. Parents must always love these children equally and give them the same amount of nurturing, encouragement and quality time.

Children will sometimes accuse parents of favoring one sibling even if it’s not the case. My own brothers still tease my mother to this very day that I was always her favorite. While I hope and am sure they know this is not really the case, and that my mother loves us all equally, it is often the joke brought up at family gatherings. Parents will not be able to eliminate all instances of anger, but we can limit them by being cautious and examining our actions often.

Another mistake that parents fall into is one of inconsistency. Now this can be the match that lights up a fire in your child’s heart. This is an area I have struggled with and continue to fail quite a bit in my short time with my sweet daughter. Inconsistency with the rules, the discipline and the rewards can cause anger within your child. Kids need boundaries they can depend on. If you set a boundary and then bend or break it from time to time, children will be confused about what they can and cannot get away with. When they repeat the action that previously resulted in no punishment, but this time there is a consequence, they will become angry and rebellious. Be consistent. If something is against the rules, it must be handled the same way every time that rule is broken. Children need stability and consistency in their lives, and it is a loving parent who provides these.

Thirdly, children will be stirred up to wrath because of the sin of their parents. Children are always watching and listening. They hear when parents fight and speak cruel words to one another. They watch when mom is disrespectful to their father or dad is being unloving to their mother. They will spot hypocrisy when parents put on happy Sunday church faces and then become other people behind closed doors. Nothing used to make me more upset as a child then when people would talk about how wonderful my dad was and they never knew how things were at home. He was wonderful in public and kind and generous to everyone. Then, once we were home and it was just the family, his attitude, language and behavior would completely change. Your children are watching. Make sure what they see in you is a godly example of Christ and not a life of hypocrisy.

            “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” Proverbs 20:7

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