Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

I Wish I Could Make Her a Sister

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This is going to be one of THOSE blogs. One of those really hard to write ones. One that really exposes the heart of an issue. Being real isn’t always easy, but in doing so we are often able to minister to and relate with others. It brings a sense of community and a feeling of understanding. It promotes compassion and gives others some insight into the trials of others which helps us to love them, support them and pray for them. So this is a REAL blog about REAL issues of life and the heart.

Tonight’s topic is especially hard though. You see, if you’ve never suffered through the pain and frustrations of infertility, you probably haven’t considered the many ways in which it affects a woman, a marriage or a family. There are so many emotions, trials and challenges. I have been experiencing one lately, as I deal with secondary infertility. (For those who don’t know, secondary infertility describes a woman who has been able to have a child but hasn’t been able to conceive or bring to term and deliver more children.)

My daughter is such a beautiful gift from God. She is five years old now and I can barely stand to see her grow up so quickly. I try to cherish every moment and every experience with her. She makes my life so special. The Lord was good to us in giving us this precious little girl, and I thank Him for her daily. I accept that she may be the only child He will give us, and that His plan is perfect, though we certainly have prayed for another miracle baby over the past five years.

While I am able to accept His will, it’s not to say it is without the occasional tear or heartbreak. A few nights ago I experienced a new kind of pain and it was for my daughter. She was playing with her little cousin and his big sister at Grammy’s house. At some point my daughter heard her big cousin referring to herself as the little one’s sister, so my daughter started to profess that she too was his sister. She was gently reminded that she isn’t the sister but rather the cousin and my brother (her uncle) went on to explain to her how special a cousin is. Still, despite their efforts to encourage her, she was heartbroken. She wasn’t a sister.

When they told me about this happening (I was at a wedding at the time), I was so sad for her. You see, we are part of a family and church family that places great importance on family and most of the families have been blessed with multiple children. In fact, many of our friends have very large families. We watch as sisters and brothers share sweet moments, hold brand new siblings, teach each other and love on one another. It’s precious and I’m so happy for those families. At the same time, I can’t help but ache for my daughter, who wants so badly to experience those moments, but can’t.

Sadness isn’t the only emotion for me. Whether or not it’s how I should feel, I’m often filled with guilt. I sometimes blame myself for not being able to make my daughter a sister. I would so love to give her that experience someday, and it’s my prayer that this will happen, but for now I’m left feeling inadequate and like a failure for not being able to make my little girl someone’s big sister. It’s a hard feeling to describe, but I’m sure other’s who have experienced similar circumstances will understand all too well.

I know that, just as I have to accept that I may never be able to mother another child, my daughter will have to accept that being someone’s sister in the traditional sense may not be God’s plan. What I will strive to remind her and assure her is that in the family of Jesus, she is a sister to many of God’s children. She will have friends who are like sisters. She will have big and little sisters in the Lord. While it may not be exactly the same, with Christ’s help it’ll be enough.

Perhaps our dreams of adopting will someday come to fruition and we’ll be able to give her siblings, but for now we will teach our daughter that God is the opener and closer of wombs. He is the one who knits families together, whether naturally or by adoption. He will give her plenty of opportunity to love others and to be loved. I pray now for my little girl’s heart, that she will have understanding in this and, even at this young age, trust the Lord. I pray also for this mommy’s heart, that I would feel the hurt when it’s needed but then move on to joy and contentment. I pray that my heart would see the opportunities all around me to use my mother’s heart to minister to others. I continue to thank God that I got the tremendous privilege of experiencing life forming and growing within me, and that I get to gaze upon my daughter’s beautiful face every day. Thank You Jesus!

Thank you readers for being willing to go deep and real with me here in this blog. If what I share touches your heart, I pray you will share the blog with your friends and stick with me here. If you have never suffered from infertility, I pray you will be able to give understanding and compassion to friends and loved ones who have or do now. I pray that, as you look upon the faces of your children, you will remember to pray for those women who are aching for children they cannot have even now. Pray for them and thank the Lord again for His blessings.

“And He (God) will make the barren woman to keep house and to be the joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord!” Psalm 113:9

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Burdened for the Lost

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“Jesus died Mommy,” said my darling little five year-old Princess, having just returned from VBS last night.

“That’s true,” I replied. “And why did He die?”

“He saved us,” she answered. “He saved me, and my friends, and you!”

“Yes He did,” I said, blessed in my heart that she understood this concept. “And is that why we love Him so much?”

“At VBS I got to pet a chicken and a horsey and a turtle!”

Ah well! haha Lovely fleeting moment!

When I think about the cross, I’m reminded of my sin and how much it cost my Savior. I’m reminded that He paid a hefty price for my soul. He gave everything to redeem me. He saved me with His very life. It’s an overwhelming thought and one that always fills me with awe, gratitude and love for my Jesus.

There’s another emotion that always follows when I meditate on Christ’s death on the cross… it’s a feeling of burden. That may seem strange to you. After all, didn’t Christ die to free us from burden? Absolutely! We were freed from the chains of sin and death. Those burdens have been cast off and crushed by the death and resurrection of our Mighty God. Amen!

So what is this burden I feel?

It’s a burden for the lost. it’s a deep yearning for those who don’t know Jesus to open their hearts to Him. It’s a holy calling to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. It’s a need to fulfill that great commission and it breeds in me a commitment to follow Christ where ever He may lead me to bring the good news of His grace and mercy and love to the world. That’s the burden I feel.

When I look at this world, I see such darkness and devastation. We see addiction and depression. We hear of war and ruin. There is evil and despair and hopelessness lurking everywhere. Divorce is running rampant. Children are being seduced and abused. They are witnessing atrocities on the television and even worse in their homes. Sickness is growing and mutating. Lives are being ruined by sex trafficking, violence, abuse, drugs and alcohol, and every evil tool of the enemy and man’s wicked heart. it’s getting bad folks. This world needs Jesus now.

He saved us! My daughter said it so perfectly last night. He saved us from it all. He saved us from our sin…ourselves. So now that we’re saved, do we go on living as selfish, self-centered people? Wait a minute! That’s what we were before! We were selfish people who sinned to feed our greed and our lusts for the things of this world. So we give our lives to Christ and He changes our desires. We turn from sin and love not the ways of the world. Yet, so many Christians still maintain that selfish way of thinking, and it makes them ineffective in fulfilling the call of God to make disciples.

If you missed what I was trying to express there, let me put it another way: if you are a Christian, you should have a burden for the lost. You should feel called to share the gospel, disciple younger believers (in the Lord) and to go where God sends you. Being a Christian is not about receiving salvation and then building our own little heaven on earth. It’s not about keeping it to ourselves. If you are a Christian, you should be sharing the gospel. You should be discipling others. If you arent, you’re missing the mark, dear one. You’re missing half of the equation. You’re saved but you haven’t adopted the heart of Jesus. His heart was to saved His children. Your heart should be to take that message to the world!

I pray that we are never too busy to do that most important mission on earth…. to make Christ known and to make disciples. People are hurting. They need Him. We are called to do something about that!

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Laughter is Excellent Medicine

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Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25

Oh the joy of laughter! I absolutely love to laugh. I love those amazing laughing fits where your tummy starts to hurt and tears are rolling down your cheeks because you are laughing so incredibly hard. I call that “laugh-crying”. I seriously love to laugh, and it’s a good thing too, because laughter is excellent medicine for the soul.

The verse above in Proverbs says that this virtuous woman that we look up to as a role model “laughs at the time to come”. While silly laughter is wonderful, this particular laughter isn’t the result of a good (or bad) joke. This woman isn’t giggling in a young, silly fashion. She is laughing because she is care-free when she peers into the future. You see, she has worked hard and had faith in the Lord, so she is not worried about what’s to come. When you’re not worried, you can laugh. When you laugh, it ministers to your soul and makes for a joyful atmosphere.

Our families need us to be women who can laugh at what’s to come. You see, the way they feel is intertwined with how we react to life. We give them an example and we wives and mommies usually set the tone in our home. If we worry, they will worry. If we are afraid, they will fear. If we are stressed, the stress will start to overtake them as well. Even a young child senses her mother’s emotions and takes them on. A worried mother will see that distress on the face of her child like a mirror reaction.

We need to laugh. The truth is, when we are in Christ, we have nothing to worry about. When we follow Him and devote our home ot Him, we need not fear the future. When we work hard and diligently and we leave the rest in the hands of the Father, we know our home will stand strong. So we can laugh at what’s to come. We can look boldly into the face of the future and laugh aloud knowing that nothing – NOTHING – can destroy a home built upon The Rock of Salvation, Jesus Christ! Amen?

God calls us to be hard workers. When we work hard to prepare our homes, as we read about in Proverbs 31, we can trust that God is going to take good care of us. The future doesn’t scare us. Whatever the Lord wills for our lives will transpire. He is in control. He knows the big picture. He will hold our home together if we are in Him.

You may step out onto your porch and see a storm brewing on the horizon. You see it coming. It may look fierce and cruel. It may seem cold and frightening. You can stand there, stare that storm boldly in the face and laugh until the tears come flowing down. You can laugh because no storm is stronger or more powerful than our big, mighty God. We have done our jobs well and God will preserve us through it so we trade worry for laughter. Our families are blessed. Our home is safe. Our God is glorified. Ah, excellent medicine indeed!

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Because He Needed a Helper

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There are so many misconceptions about the roles of man and woman in marriage. As with so many other issues, it can be difficult to understand the balance between authority in the home and how that defines us as individuals. We know that God had a specific design for the home in regards to the roles of husband, wife and children. These roles were for our good and for His glory, yet over time the world twisted this design and tried to make alterations to fit a changing society. In doing so, we lost much of the original concept of what Biblical marriage should look like.

What people can’t seem to reconcile is the the fact that we are called to follow and submit to our own husbands, and yet we are equally as important and valued. They see the word “submit” and immediately spring into fight mode. They don’t see the beauty in the role that we’ve been given, and I think this happens because they don’t seem to comprehend why God created woman in the first place. When you understand WHY God created womankind, doubts and fears about our calling to submit to our husbands fades away.

There are three points I want to make about why we should view our role as beautiful:

1. God created us ladies in His image too! 

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

We daughters of God bear the image of the Father just like the men do. It’s as if when God created man and woman, He split His characteristics and gave some to each. Together, when joined in marriage or in working together in the church family, these characteristics compliment each other and even compensate for weaknesses. In this, we know that God created women in general to be tender-hearted, nurturing and compassionate by nature. We are often times sensitive, discerning and creative. These are all characteristics we inherit from our Father that equip us for His plans for us.

2. God sees His daughters and sons as having equal importance and an equal inheritance.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7

We are all one in Christ. We are joint heirs in the grace of life. We receive the inheritance the same as our husbands. We are all children of the same Father and given an equal place in His family. There is nothing secondary or lesser about our place in God’s heart. We are His. We are equal. We have different roles, but both are of equal importance and beauty.

3. God created Eve for Adam because he needed a helper.

“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” Proverbs 31:10

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-5

Adam watched as the animals paired up with one another; a male and a female perfectly suited to meet each others needs. God saw his burden that he had no companion suitable for him. God said He would make a helper for Adam and He created Eve. Eve was the answer to Adam’s prayers. She was God’s most precious gift to him. She was his helper and companion. Notice Adam had already been given his calling by God to care for the garden and the animals. Eve wasn’t there to change the plan but to come alongside her man and help him in any way he needed.

In the same way, we women need to recognize that our husbands need us. Just when we are feeling unappreciated or taken for granted, we need to look at our men and remember that the Word says it is not good for man to be alone. Man needed woman. Your husband needs you. He needs you to care for the home and the children. He needs you to be his best friend and his number one fan. He needs your encouragement during trials and your praise when he succeeds. He needs your prayers, your patience and your unconditional love and respect. Your husband needs you to be his and his alone in the bedroom. He needs you to help him in areas where he is weak and to make him feel like a better man. Most of all your husband needs you to be a constant reminder that God loved Him enough to send him a beautiful helper like you, full of grace and meekness.

Don’t be deceived like the world is, sister. Don’t allow society to tell you that there is anything wrong with the roles you’ve been created for. God made you with everything you need to be your husband’s perfect helper. You are so very important to the Lord, your husband and your kids. I pray that today your heart is reminded how utterly awesome it is to be a helpmeet. Be proud of your roles as you walk through the center of God’s will for your life.

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How to Punish Troublemakers at Church

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“That’s it! She’s done it again! She’s stepped on my toes for the last time! You wouldn’t believe what she did to me this time. I caught her gossiping behind my back and calling me an immature Christian. She told people things I only told her in confidence. She did the same thing to Darlene and Amelia. She also told Rick that Steve said he was ignorant because He believed in baby baptisms. I’ve had enough with this “so called Christian”. Come on girls! Let’s give her a good shunning!”

We’ve all had them. We’ve all experienced them. We recognize them shortly after they arrive, and we have nightmares about them well after they’re gone. They are the church troublemakers. You know who I’m talking about. They are the ones who only open their mouths to complain and rarely have a pleasant word to say about anyone. They love to stir up trouble and division. They use prayer time as an opportunity to gossip. They seem to have no filter on what they say and do. Yep, we’ve all known them.

It can be hard to deal with these kinds of people. Not only are they frustrating and hard to befriend, but they are also often in sin in the ways they deal with their church family. They can be difficult to confront about these issues because they usually react badly and make it worse. Oftentimes they leave and spend years hopping from one church to the next. You can’t say they aren’t saved or judge their hearts, but you wonder where they’re discernment is, where their grace is and how they don’t seem to be maturing spiritually. Paul would call these people weaker brothers and sisters in the Lord. They make you want to scream!

So how do we punish these troublemakers? How do we deal with their frustrating tactics and rude comments? What should we do to handle these people who are clearly stealing joy from the church family as a whole? Ready for it?

What we do is take ahold of them, look into their eyes and say…….well actually. Before I continue, let’s look at an example in scripture when Paul dealt with an issue like this. It seems the church at Corinth had a troublemaker of their own (I’m sure they had many). We never hear his name spoken…..yay Paul for not gossiping, amen? Yet Paul sends the church very clear and very awesome instructions on how to deal with troublemakers.

“Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.” 2 Corinthians 2:5-8

How do we punish troublemakers in the church? Love. We love them. We take ahold of them, look straight into their eyes and tell them how very much we love them. And every time they frustrate us, we love them. And every time they sin against us, we forgive them and love them. And when we confront issues, we do it in love. And when they need us, we don’t turn away from them but continue to love.

We punish every offense with the most violent and purposeful love we can muster – and with the power of the Holy Spirit filling us up, that’s a lot of LOVE!

Oh Lord Jesus! Help me to love those who frustrate me and sin against me! I pray Lord to be a more loving person, not just to those that are easy to love, but to the most difficult. Fill me up to overflowing with Your perfect love for Your people! In Jesus’ Mighty Name I pray, AMEN!

Alright folks…..now go punish people with LOVE.

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Answering Critics of Home Education

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There will always be critics! There’s no way around it. People maintain a variety of opinions when it comes to whether or not homeschooling is a good choice. Some believe it’s a fine choice, but perhaps not the one for them. Others would say they doubt a child can get a well-rounded education at home. There are even some who think it’s downright neglect on the parents’ side. It’s important we are always ready to give a defense and explanation for our stance on homeschooling with confidence but also humility.

When it comes to answering the critics of home education, there are plenty of reasons I can give for our decision to educate our daughter at home. The challenge becomes being sensitive to the situation, knowing the motivations of the people you are talking to and being willing to tread carefully for the sake of not offending a friend. You see, what we have to remember is that most parents want to do the best thing for their child. A person who puts their child in public school usually sincerely believes it is what’s best for the child. Homeschoolers sincerely believe home education is what’s best for our children. The issue isn’t about who is a better parent or who cares more about the welfare of their children. We need to remember this when discussing our views with critics.

Causing division and strife over this topic is not necessary in most cases. If we need to argue and fight for homeschooling, the only time it’s truly beneficial is when we are defending our rights against the government who wants to take them away. When we are speaking to friends and family who simply aren’t on board with home education, don’t let it become an issue of anger and contentions. Here is a list of things to avoid saying and doing when in one of these conversations:

* Don’t be condescending. Share your opinions and views confidently but do not approach it arrogantly or with superiority.

* Don’t slam the public school system. You can share about the issues you have with public school without completely slamming it. Remember, that’s the school their kids may go to.

* Try to avoid getting easily offended. If a person shares that they don’t like homeschooling, don’t get super offended or emotional about it. Simply accept that it’s a different opinion and hold it together. Try not to take it personally.

* NEVER compare your children to other people’s children. It makes you come off as rude and self-righteous.

* Do not tell people that they should homeschool if they are “real” Christians. The Bible doesn’t say anything about home education versus public schooling. We believe that there are verses that encourage us to train up and educate our children, so it’s fine to believe that God wants you to homeschool, but never judge a person’s faith by whether or not they feel that same calling.

* Don’t go on and on with comments like, “homeschooled kids score so much higher on tests” and similar statements. You can share statistics if the need arises, but don’t bash people over the head with it. What they will hear behind your words is a subtext that says, “I think my kids are smarter than yours”. 

* Don’t roll your eyes or blow off their opinions. Allow others to share why they don’t like homeschooling and listen with respect. Don’t interrupt them or correct them in the middle of their sentences. Don’t tell them their opinions and feelings are wrong, but rather answer by sharing your own opinions and views. Arrogance is never appealing.

* Don’t allow anyone to make you feel you’ve made the wrong choice. This one was a bit different, but it’s important to remember that we home educate because we personally believe it’s what we are called to do. While it’s good to respect the opinions of others and walk in humility, don’t allow people or the enemy to put doubt in your mind. Revisit the reasons you have chosen to homeschool and pray when these thoughts arise.

How to Answer

Now that we have reviewed how to have a beneficial and mutually respectful conversation with someone who has differing views on home education, here are some quick answers that may be useful when the issue arises with a critic. The following are some of the most common objections they share:

1. Homeschooled kids are socially awkward.

There are some homeschooling kids that have a hard time socially. There are some public school kids that have a hard time. The social nature of the kids usually has more to do with the parents than how they are educated. Most homeschooling families today are involved with a multitude of extracurricular activities that involve social interactions with other kids, such as: sports, extra classes (sewing, cooking, building robots, etc.), music lessons/choir, debate clubs, 4H and other such clubs, community theater, and more. We also must remember that not all social interaction is positive. We want to prepare our children to a shining the light of Jesus to the world, but we don’t want to risk harming them by sending them out before they’re ready. Young children are more likely to be negatively influenced by bad social interaction than to be able to positively influence children who do not have the same moral compass/upbringing.

2. Homeschooled kids are not receiving proper education.

According to the National Education Centre, the percentage of American kids being homeschooled went up 18% between 2007 and 2012, so it appears to be a growing trend. The government considers it a valid choice in education, whether it be homeschooling entirely in the home or through charter school cooperations. The National Home Education Research Institute reports that children who are educated at home usually score 15 – 30% higher than public school students on standardized academic achievement tests. What’s great about homeschooling is that kids learn at their own pace so truly no one is left behind. If they aren’t grasping a concept, you can spend more time on it or approach it from a different angle. If they have understood something, you can move on. They don’t have to wait for others before continuing forward. It’s also good to remember that most homeschoolers use great curriculum and textbooks. There are so many resources available. Most homeschoolers are receiving a top-notch education.

3. Homeschooling limits their opportunities for college and career.

Actually, homeschooled students do very well in college. Homeschooled teens also score in the above average range on their SATs and ACTs, according to NHERI. Colleges and universities are usually anxious to recruit home educated students for this reason and because college students who were homeschooled tend to be more likely to graduate. Many universities now have special pages on their website for home educators who are applying for admission. They doors are wide open.

4. Homeschooled kids must be miserable.

Most homeschooled kids are actually quite happy and content, though that’s a pretty general statement. The truth is, a vast majority of homeschooled children say that they would homeschool their own children someday. Rarely will a child brought up in homeschooling ever respond that they wish they could go to public school. Now, children who are removed from public school and placed into home education may struggle more with missing some of the aspects of the public school setting. However, most make the transition smoothly. Generally speaking, homeschooled children are happy and love home education.

 5. Homeschooled kids are indoctrinated with Christian beliefs.

This is an interesting topic because the truth is that all children are being “indoctrinated” with some kind of views. Christians are teaching their children from birth that Jesus is the God of the Bible and the only way to salvation. Atheists are probably teaching their kids from birth that there is no God. Public schools are indoctrinating the kids too by teaching the theory and religion of evolution as fact, but neglecting to explain it is a theory and that there are other theories. So, as Christians, if my child is going to be indoctrinated with anything, I want it to be the things of God and His Word. However, we join most homeschoolers in saying we don’t plan to raise ignorant children. Most home educators teach their children all about evolution, except it is rightly called the “theory of evolution” and is taught as a differing view from the account of creation we have in the Bible. Many Christian kids in the public school setting are being taught old-earth evolution as if it were proven fact, which it is not and can never be. So many times the kids simply file the concepts away, never discuss them with their parents, and therefore even the most involved and careful parents are sometimes unaware of what their kids are being taught. Since students are told to trust and believe their teachers without question, they simply file it away as fact. This is something that Christian public schoolers always must be on their toes about.

There are plenty of other objections and answers to go through, but these are just a handful of quick responses that I usually give in the face of criticism. Just remember that with the same degree that we want our friends and family to accept our position on homeschooling, we need to be respectful regarding their choice to public school. Being arrogant, condescending and prideful about home education won’t help others to see our perspective. They will simply walk off offended. This can be a sensitive subject because we are dealing with our precious kiddos, so let’s respect one another and do what we feel is the right thing for our kids.

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She Makes Him Look Good!

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“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4

Hunny, you can make that man of yours look good or you can bring him down. All of us wives have the power to be a crown to our husbands, bringing them honor, or to bring them shame. It’s as simple as that. Each one of us must decide each day whether or not we will obey the Lord and be a crown to our husbands.

There is something special about a virtuous woman who is dedicated to making her husband look good. She shows her commitment to her man in the words of her mouth, the way that she behaves and the consistency of her choices. I wish I could say that I have been this virtuous everyday of my marriage, but that wouldn’t be true. I’ve certainly struggled in this area, but God isn’t finished with me yet, amen? He continues to perfect in me what is clearly imperfect and to help me to make better choices each day that passes. So what does this virtuous woman do and say to become that stunning crown for her husband?

What to say?

* Uplifting and encouraging words

* Speak of love, honor and respect

* Build him up, in public and in private

* Refrain from criticizing him in front of others

* Never gossip about your husband

* Thank him for what he does

* Pray for him often and fervently

* Remind him that you are his #1 fan

* Let the law of kindness and grace dwell ever on your tongue

What to do?

* Give affection

* Serve willingly

* Follow where he leads

* Help him as he follows the Lord

* Make him a priority

* Care for his needs

* Nurture the sexual relationship

* Never turn your back on him

If everything we do and say is with the motivation of being a crown to our husbands, we will see them walking in honor, with their heads held high. It isn’t about inflating one’s pride in self, but rather reminding our man that he has a wife who loves him, respects him, desires good for him and will always be at his side through good and bad times. A man with a wife like this can face the world with confidence. He feels blessed by the Lord. Others will notice this man and wonder what it is he has going for him that gives him such peace and confidence. He has the Lord Jesus Christ and he has a wife who loves God and loves him. What a blessing indeed!!

Even if your husband isn’t walking with the Lord, being a crown to him is a wonderful witness. A man who doesn’t know the Lord will be so in awe of a woman who treats him so well and he will wonder why she does what she does. The truth is, it doesn’t really matter who your husband is or whether or not he is worthy of any honor or respect. God tells us that we can make our husbands look so good by following the Word of God, being virtuous and by honoring our husbands with our whole hearts.

Let’s do this sisters. Let’s choose to be a crown to our men. Let’s bring them honor and not shame!

 

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When There’s Not Enough Hours in the Day

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Some days there are simply not enough hours to complete the tasks that I have on my list. Perhaps it’s better said that there are too many tasks for the number of hours I have available to me, but it feels like the other way around! A typical day includes cooking, cleaning, bathing, disciplining, shopping (groceries is all!), cleaning again (because the house is never clean for long!), teaching music lessons, writing, ministry, cleaning some more, spending time in the Word of God, homeschooling and hopefully getting some family time in before we collapse into lumps on the bed.

Being a wife any mommy is a hard job. If you have to work on top of that, it can be crazy. I work from home, but I still have to pour hours into my work. I have students to the house most days therefore the house always needs to be tidy. There is just so much to do and yet not enough time.

I’ve sometimes looked at my friends and wondered how they have time to do extra things, like baking, gardening, crafting and more. I’ve wondered how they do it? How are their houses always immaculate? How do they have time? How can I have time too? The truth is, there’s no point in looking at the lives of other people and comparing it to your own. It only leads to discontentment and sometimes jealousy.

So what do we do when there’s not enough hours in the day? We need to relax! That’s right…you heard me sister! Relax! I used to think if I didn’t accomplish all my tasks everyday that I was failing. I was a failure as a wife and mommy. Well that kind of thinking is a lie that the enemy uses to get us down. Who’s to say the house has to be perfect all of the time? Where’s the rule that says I can’t take some time off to do something fun, like gardening, and let something else slide for the day? There are tasks we obviously need to do everyday, but sometimes it’s okay to let something go. No need to feel guilt about it.

What we all need to do is evaluate our priorities. I can spend my whole day doing housework, writing, editing, teaching, homeschooling, etc. and find myself completely worn out at the end of the day only to realize I’ve spent very little time with the Lord or really being “with” my family. My daughter is an only child (by the Lord’s planning). On those days when I’m running all day because I want everything to be done perfectly, I look at her face and realize I’m missing out on what matters most to me in the world. The house will be messy again tomorrow (or in a few hours in my house). I don’t want to miss out on the time with my daughter, nor for her to feel that I don’t have time for her.

So when there’s not enough hours in the day, I throw in the towel and I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. What’s not done today may be accomplished tomorrow. If I’ve spent quality time with my husband and daughter, and I’ve spent time with Jesus, and I’ve met my most pressing responsibilities, I can call it a day well spent and let it be.

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An Incredible & Convicting Experience

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Something incredible happened to us tonight and I really felt it was worth sharing, so here it is. My family and I had been working late on a project, so we went out to eat a late dinner at a local restaurant. We shared the restaurant with only one other group. A few tables away was a man and two women, and I could tell from the moment we sat down that we perhaps should have chosen a different location further away.

The reason I say that is that the people were drinking quite heavily and speaking so vulgarly that it was hard to even enjoy our meal. The words out of their mouths were disgusting. The “F” word was used in every sentence and for every possible meaning. It wasn’t just the cursing but the topics of their discussions that were offensive. I wouldn’t even want to repeat what they talked about but I will say the majority was them making sexual plans as a group and so forth. They were loud about all of it, even knowing that my four year-old daughter was sitting there with us.

I tried to distract my daughter and we focused on speaking about the Lord, praying and enjoying each other. I tried not to look at their table, not wanting to catch their eye. I just prayed they would leave, and I admit that my heart was filled with judgment and disgust. I had not one ounce of compassion or grace for these people who were polluting our meal with filth. I didn’t see them as anything but a nuisance and a problem. I say this with shame and regret.

About ten minutes before we were done, they got up and left. Before leaving the man stopped and smiled at us and gave Tabitha a friendly smile. We smiled back but gave him little attention. He and his group then left and there was finally peace. We finished up and I went up to the register to ask for the check and pay. The waitress apologized for the way the people had behaved and spoken in front of our daughter. She then told me that our dinner was covered and already paid.

I was surprised. Assuming the restaurant owner had decided to bless us with a free meal because of the disturbing circumstances, I assured her that it was fine and that I was perfectly happy paying. That’s when she stopped me and told me what happened. I couldn’t believe my ears.

The man, whom I had been hating in my heart, had paid our bill and the woman with him covered the tip. I was in shock! How could this be? Why would he do that? I wasn’t kind to them or even friendly. I’m sure that the expression on my face showed clearly my feelings about their behavior and language. Why would this man decide to bless us this way?

I was moved to tears. I couldn’t even speak. My emotions were so mixed but the predominant feeling was one of conviction. I realized without a doubt that the Lord had used this man and his party, even in their sin, to convict me of my own. I felt instantly blessed and convicted all at the same time. God had spoken to me clearly and visibly because He knew my heart and loves me. My Father had corrected me with an act of kindness.

As I reflected on what had happened, I saw myself in retrospect and how cold my heart was towards these people. I looked down on them with disgust. I didn’t see them for who they really were…lost people who desperately need Jesus. They need Jesus! They are dead inside without Him! What do we expect from the world? They live their lives this way because they are empty inside and need Jesus, and I have Jesus. I have what they need, but instead of being kind, merciful, graceful and lovingly showing them Jesus, I hardened my heart. That’s why God had to break it, and He did. Tonight He broke my heart.

Being broken can hurt, but it can also be incredibly uplifting. As I sit here, still in tears over the events of this evening, I thank God that He loves me enough to have reached out to me tonight. He reminded me of who I am in Him, how He wants me to see the lost and that I never want to pass up an opportunity to shine the light and love of the Savior into the lives of hurting people who need Him. I’m so grateful and so blessed.

I don’t mind confessing these shortcomings because I know fine well that God is not finished with me yet. I am a sinner and I need Jesus every hour of every day to walk according to His ways. I know that these corrections make us stronger in the Lord and I am so very encouraged that God would bless me and my family in the very unexpected way He did tonight. Thank You Jesus and I pray now for the salvation of the man and women we encountered tonight. I pray that they will come to know you, repent and be transformed by the washing away of their sins and their new life in You. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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A Gentle Tongue

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

I was not born with a gentle tongue. I think that before I could even form words I was probably complaining, whining, criticizing, debating and making large declarations. I have always been somewhat strong-willed and opinionated. I admit it, though I’m not proud of my disposition. It is most certainly my nature to speak harshly, confidently, arrogantly and sometimes without consideration for how my words may be received.

That being confessed, I share with great joy that God has and is always working on me to mold me into the kind of woman He wants me to be. He is taking my stubborn tongue and teaching it to be gentle so that my words are a blessing to my family, friends and the lost instead of being a loud and brassy, clamorous noise. This education in speaking with gentleness does not come easy for me and so I must be walking in the Spirit to be able to do what my hearts wants. As with so many struggles, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

In Proverbs 15:4 there, the word for “gentle” is the Hebrew word “marpe'” and it’s definition may surprise you. It surprised me as I looked into it. The word means, “gentle, soothing, profitable, able to cure, healing and sound of mind.” In other words, it’s not just the tone of the voice that is used. Gentle does not equal quiet. It’s the words that are spoken that matter the most. The words we speak with the tongue should be soothing, healing words. They should minister to and edify those around us. They should bring comfort, joy, peace and be filled with love. Isn’t that beautiful?

“A healing, soothing tongue is a tree of life…”.

Words are powerful indeed. Our tongues can bring life and health and goodness. With wisdom and spiritual maturity we can truly allow God to use our tongues to minister to His children and to share the gospel with the lost. We can use our words to build up our husbands and our children. We can use our tongues to teach our kids the ways of the Lord and to encourage those younger than us in the faith to grow in the Lord. The tongue can be a tree of life, powerful and edifying, or it can be used to break the spirit with perverseness.

The Hebrew word for “perverseness” is “celeph” which means, “crookedness, perverseness, crooked dealing, and perversion.” When we use our tongue for evil, we can literally crush the spirit. Another way to consider this is that, when we use the members of our body (including the tongue) to do/say evil, we absolutely quench the Spirit of God within us. Our crookedness and perversion keeps us from being able to minister to our families and friends or to serve God as we desire to do.

So what is crookedness or perversion of the tongue? A good indication is found in the scriptures surrounding this one in Proverbs 15 and in other verses throughout scripture. Here are some of the descriptions God uses in regards to the tongue/words of the crooked.

“…a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

“…the mouths of fools pour out folly.” Proverbs 15:2

“The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.” Proverbs 15:7

“….the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 15:28

“May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts…” Psalm 12:3

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” Psalm 34:13

“Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.” Psalm 52:2

These are just a few verses. There are many, many more. Lying, gossip, speaking disrespectfully to your husband, stirring up wrath and anger, inciting division, breaking people down, etc. are all ways that we use our tongue for perverseness rather than for edification. We want our words to bring life, not misery. We want to speak encouragement, not judgement. We want everything we say to be filled with love and wisdom and kindness.

I thank the Lord abundantly that He continues to chip away at the areas of my life where I still struggle with sin, and this is one of those areas. I know my weakness to speak with anything but gentleness and blessing. I submit my heart and my tongue to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to perfect His love in me and to make me an instrument of blessing, encouragement and edification, within my home and outside as well. I thank Him for bringing me this far and thank Him for what He’s yet to do. Hallelujah!

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