Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Beauty & the Beast….Which Are You?

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photo credit: Sean Molin Photography via photopin cc

“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 

The world is obsessed with their version of beauty. They glorify the perfectly-shaped figure by exposing bare bodies to the public in magazines and movies. They pawn off the promise of beauty to women (and men) by selling them cosmetics, laser treatments, weight loss pills, nose jobs and breast augmentations. They show us movies where flawless, chiseled men and women fall in “love” at first sight and live happily ever after. There’s no doubt the pressures to be “beautiful” by the world’s standards are great, and there’s also no denying that every woman wants to feel lovely. The question is, how should we view beauty? Is beauty something we acquire after two hours in front of the bathroom mirror? Is it something more?

God’s idea of a beautiful woman (and He is the expert, having created womankind) is a totally different concept than the world’s views. For one, we must concede and firmly believe that all of God’s daughters are beautiful because they were wonderfully made by a great Artist. In the vast expanse of unique DNA written for your life, God has detailed the very substance of who you are, and He doesn’t make mistakes. He wrote you eyes, your hair, your height and the unique curvature of your smile. He wrote you body style. Yes, we can gain or lose weight, but He wrote the very nature of your body’s natural shape. God made you beautiful, and you are beautiful dear sister. Yes you are!

“Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?” Job 31:15

So we know that God designed us physically has he formed us in our mother’s wombs and that we are beautiful to our heavenly Father. As for our character, well that is the beauty that matters most and God has given us His Word to show us what distinguishes us from making ourselves the Beauty or the Beast. Let’s look at some scripture to see where we fit:

Beauty

* Worships the Lord – “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” Psalm 45:11

* Fears the Lord – “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman thatfeareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

* Knows Her Calling – “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2:12

* Gracious – “A gracious woman retains honor…” Proverbs 11:16a

* Prudent – “…a prudent wife is from the LORD.” Proverbs 19:14b

* Joyful – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” Proverbs 17:22a

* Submits to Husband – “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” 1 Peter 3:1-6

Beast

* Contentious/Nagging – “And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.” Proverbs 19:13b

* Foolish/Clamorous – “A foolish woman is clamorous; She is simple, and knows nothing.” Proverbs 9:13

* Indiscreet – “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” Provers 11:22

* Takes Part in Evil – “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

These are just a few scriptures that we can examine to know if we are making ourselves into having a beautiful or ugly character. God has already made us beautiful. He did it on the day He wrote us into being. Now we are called to live by His Word, and doing that makes us absolutely stunning. Leave the botox and the pills for the world. God has called His daughters to have beautiful, God-honoring hearts, and there is no comparison to that kind of beauty. It shines forth and exudes the glory of God to all who behold it!

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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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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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