Family Friday – Ten Things This Mom Would Do Again

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My mommy days are behind me now, and as I’m watching others in this special, yet demanding role, I have done some reminiscing over the years when my girls were young.  I have plenty of regrets, as all moms do, but I’m not going to dwell on those, because I can’t change them, and because doing so would not fall under the Philippians 4:8 things I should think about!  It’s in the past. But there are things that were so good about those days.  As I think back, I remember things that we did that I would definitely do again, if I had the chance.

Here they are:

  1. Be a stay-at-home mom.  I’m so thankful that I was there for all but 9 months of both of my girls’ lives.  The nine months I worked were the longest months of my life!  I hated being taken away from my family and my home.  I was under a teaching contract, and I kept my word to the prinicple, but when the school year was done, so was I!  My husband and I decided that it was best for me to pour into our own children, rather than someone else’s!
  2. Be relatively poor.  Does that sound strange?  I would have never anticipated saying that!  Our churches did the best they could to care for us, but when the girls were young, things were tight.  Very tight. As I stated above, I was a stay-at-home mom, so we lived on my husband’s salary alone.  We homeschooled, so we had book fees and satellite costs, which were a large chunk of money every year that we never had on hand.  We were in ministry all those years, and we needed time away – times to rest and refresh as a family and recharge our spiritual batteries and physical bodies.  We had growing girls and we entertained missionaries and guest speakers, so groceries were another cost that stretched us.  Where did we get the money for these things?  We prayed.  Our inefficiencies ran us to our all-sufficient God.  He provided for us in amazing, life-changing ways!  Had we had all the money we wanted or needed, it wouldn’t have taught us to depend on Him so greatly.  Being needy turned into a great blessing.
  3. Read aloud to my girls.  One way we entertained ourselves at bedtime, around the kitchen table, in the car, or on a blanket in the backyard was through books.  We read a varied kind of books, and they were carefully chosen, and opened a whole world to us, even while we stayed home.
  4. Use God’s Word in discipline.  We always sat down and talked with our girls in their bedrooms at discipline times.  We explained from the Scriptures what they had done wrong that God considered sin.  This kept us from acting quickly out of anger (we sent them to their room and we’d cool off before addressing the issue!).  They knew it wasn’t just that mommy and daddy didn’t like what they did, but they saw it in God’s Word, and it guided their thinking and changed their behavior.
  5. Laugh and have fun.  We had lots of laughs as a family.  I should have laughed at myself more, but we shared many fun times around games, out in the snow, in the car playing the alphabet game, baking in the kitchen, or building a fire in the backyard.
  6. Be faithful to Sunday school and church.  It’s not just because we’re a ministry family that we went to church.  We love being in God’s house and with God’s people!  Worshiping, singing, reading Scripture, giving our tithes, and fellowshipping with other believers helped all of us to grow!
  7. Show outward affection and say, “I love you.”  We’re a “touchy” family, in that we hug and love on one another.  Using words to express love between parents and children is so important.  Our children learn how to love by watching us.  The first place they should feel acceptance and unconditional love is at home.
  8. Leave the girls once in a while to go on a date with their dad.  We were making a stronger home for them, and they lived through the trauma of it all!  A parent can feel really guilty leaving a crying child, even though they’re in great hands with grandparents or other caring adults, but without those times away, your relationship will get stagnant, and you’ll only discuss things like empty milk jugs and unfinished homework!
  9. Spend time alone with God every day.  When the girls were small, this time was limited, but I would read what I could and pray over each of my family.  Sometimes it came a verse at a time, with interruptions in between.  Sometimes my prayers were while I was ironing their clothes.  It was then that I’d pray for the one whose clothes I was pressing.  I often left verses on cards around the house so I could meditate on that passage.  Those “little moments” fed my soul and kept my heart right with God so I could parent them and point my girls to Christ.
  10. Marry my girls dad.  I let them know often how much I loved their daddy and how God brought us together.  He had to be my first priority because that’s God’s order.  Why?  Because God knew that I’d be where I am today – an Empty nester, and He wanted my home to be just as fulfilling now as it was when our daughters were here.

And you know what?

It is.

What are you doing right now that you know you’ll be glad you’re doing as a mom?  Keep doing it!  What are you regretting?  Ask God how to change it and watch for how He steps in!  

Refresh your children by being the mom God will enable you to be by His grace.

With love,

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Family Friday – Keep Your Marriage Safe

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Recently in the late hours of the night, while a subdivision of residents was fast asleep, a thief entered the quiet of the street and began making his way up driveways looking for unlocked cars. All he was interested in was cash, and any he found was taken.

What the thief didn’t know was that a security camera was right on him, taking footage of his sinful deeds.  Aside from seeing him enter unlocked cars, one thing noted on the security tape was that when he approached one vehicle that was locked, he simply moved away from it. There was no attempt at breaking in.  The security of the car door locks, kept him from taking what was not his.

As I thought about the crime, the Lord brought a truth to my mind about my marriage.  No one can steal away from our relationship unless we leave areas unlocked.  So then, we must check to be sure that we’re keeping our marriage safe.  Here are some security locks that need to be checked regularly:

  • Keep your marriage vows.
    • Love
      • Love is a choice, not a feeling. If you’re not “feeling it,” pray and ask God to help you love your husband – He will. Keep praying about it and don’t quit!
      • Love him thoroughly, the way you want to be loved. Accept him and don’t have any expectations of what he should be or should do.  Would you and I want to be held to our husband’s list of expectations?  We must accept him in the same way.
      • Love him physically. Don’t withhold your physical love as punishment.  Doing so could cause ramifications that could cause the thief to come in and steal what is supposed to be only yours.
    • Honor
      • This is the same as respect. A husband doesn’t earn it as the world says he must – you give it because God commands you to.  Eph 5:33 Honor him as unto the Lord, or as you would the Lord!  Your words, your reactions, your decisions – your whole married life is to show the man you married honor – the highest esteem.
    • Obey
      • He has ultimate leadership for your home. Whether you like his decision or disagree, God says the husband is the head, and unless what he is asking is sinful, then you must come under his authority. Period.
    • ‘Til death do you part
      • Never should we use the word, “Divorce.” Nor should we threaten to leave.  Marriage is for a lifetime.  Considering divorce is leaving an open door for the right situation to enter so we have an out.  (I realize divorce for fornication is allowed, but often lesser things cause those words to be spoken.)

So, how secure is your marriage?  Are you leaving an unlocked door in any of the areas above?  There are many other safeties we could discuss, but I believe if we’re  honoring our marriage vows, most of the other scenarios will be safe from danger.

Marriage is a gift from God that is a beautiful picture of our relationship with Christ.  He keeps us secure for eternity.  I’m pretty sure I know a subdivision of people who will now be locking their car doors at night.  Don’t you wait until the thief comes to steal from your marriage before you do what is wise!  Keep it secure all the days of our life, “so long as you both shall live.”

Happy Easter!  Rejoice; He is risen, and that makes a difference in every area of life – even your marriage!

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Family Friday – Be Kind!

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Sometimes all it takes is a simple request to repeat what I just said to my husband that will do it.  I make a statement, he doesn’t hear and he says,

“What did you say?”

So, out it comes again, only this time it has a razor-sharp edge to it that would make Floyd the barber flinch!

Do I think he purposefully cannot hear me?  Do I really believe his diagnosis of hearing loss was an intentional  plan just to get under my skin?

How ridiculous, yet, sadly, that’s occasionally how I respond!

Why is it often easier to be really kind to people we barely even know than to our spouse?  He’s the one to whom we pledged to love until death, yet we kill him with our sarcastic responses, glaring looks and deathly silences.

 

There are kinder, nice ways of saying something and there are words or tones of voice that I could use that would upset someone.  Your husband is a person, too.  There are kinder, nicer ways of communicating with him and there are ways of setting him off, just by your choice of words or tone of voice.

Today’s encouragement for your family, your marriage, is just this –

Be Kind.

  • There are two ways to say something.  Choose the kinder way.
  • Show him even greater kindness than you would a friend who you love dearly.
  • Smile at him.
  • Forgive him.
  • Listen.
  • Look in his eyes when he speaks.
  • Lend him a hand.
  • Do a favor.
  • Oh, and repeat yourself with the softest tone when he cannot hear you (said Denise to herself!)

Do you find yourself being kinder to others than you are your spouse?  What will you do today to fix that?

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How to Stop Wifely Christmas Grumbles

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In a favorite episode of Andy Griffith, Aunt Bea goes out of town for a few days.  While she’s away, Andy and Opie TRASH the house while living their bachelor days in her absence.  When Andy tries to make Opie understand that their mess might be upsetting to Aunt Bea, Opie recalls the words he’s heard his great aunt say, and  what he thought she might say when she returns to find the disaster –

Land sakes alive!  Look at this mess; just look at it!  If it weren’t for me, this house wouldn’t be fit to live in!

Most wives can probably relate in some way to that scenario.  We dust, shine, mop, vacuum, and pick up – only to have to do it all again after the family has “lived” in it for a day!

But then we add into our busy worlds one word – HOLIDAYS -and we find ourselves with even more responsibilities than Dollywood has Christmas lights!  It can be really easy to fall into the “Aunt Bea” mode and mumble under our breath and complain about the holiday tasks that fall into our already full laps.

Our mumbling might include statements like:

I have to shop for the gifts, purchase the gifts and wrap them.

If I don’t schedule a time for our annual Christmas card picture, it never would happen!  Then I have to address the cards, seal them. and get them to the Post office.

I have eight different kinds of cookies to bake because everyone will expect them, and of course no one helps make them or clean up the mess, but they sure are there to eat them!

Then, of course, I have to buy the gifts and wrap the gifts!

If I left the tree decorating to my family it never would get done either!

Let’s face it – the whole Christmas celebration is up to me and I’m about worn out!!!!

It’s about that time that you can hear, instead of words, the honking sound, like Snoopy’s teacher:

 

No one wants to listen because of the terrible “sqwaking” that’s coming from our lips.

How do I know?

I’ve been there.

I’ve sqwaked.”

I’ve complained.

I was wrong.

Okay, so much of the doing of Christmas is up to us as the female in the home, but the attitude and heart with which it is done can make it either sweet or spoiled. How might we spoil it?

  1. Negative talk about our husband.  This is simply wrong.  He is the head of the home and is to be honored. Eph 5:33  Would we rather take on that responsibility?  I wouldn’t!  That’s a load every single day – not just at Christmas.  Let’s let our husband lead, and let’s you and I help make him the best leader by lending a hand with all our feminine ways.  That includes:
  • Planning
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Purchasing
  • Decorating
  • Wrapping

2.  Not doing our work to glorify God.  I Cor. 10:31  If we work ourselves to death and do it with a wrong attitude we shouldn’t be expected to be rewarded in heaven.  We got our reward – everyone’s pity (and maybe their distance from us, too!).  Let’s do all we do as unto the Lord.  Oh, that we would make our efforts like the precious gifts brought to the Christ child by the wise kings!

3.  Having an ungrateful heart.  A thankful spirit will be grateful for the:

  • Family we have to serve – I know some wives who have gone to heaven this past year.  Their families will be missing them this Christmas.  You and I are here; let’s make our families glad!
  • Health with which we can serve – This can be taken in an instant.  Be thankful you can walk, work, and think!
  • Provision for the cards, gifts and foods to prepare – Everything we have is a gift from God, and we have far more than most!
  • Reason we are celebrating!!!  Don’t lose the focus of this celebration; it’s all about Christ!

Maybe we need to do as I suggested yesterday and simplify our Christmas; make it a little easier on ourselves!  Our families would probably be fine with a little less decor, baked goods and gifts if it would mean we are sweeter and more fun to be near!

Have you been muttering under your breath?  Ask God to forgive you, then when you get up off your knees, ask your family’s forgiveness, too.  Start the day over with

  1. No more husband bashing,
  2. Work that glorifies God.
  3. A thankful heart.

Watch and  see what a difference it will make in your Christmas preparations!

Who’s with me?  

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Roast Beef Lunches

If you could have one, which would you choose:   Roast beef leftovers for lunch that you fix yourself, or a peanut butter sandwich fixed by a maid?  It’s a silly question, I know.  I’m going somewhere, trust me.  =)

I am an I Love Lucy fan.  Her antics and  scheming have kept us all entertained for  years.  Do you recall the episode where she hires a maid?  She is intimidated by Mrs. Porter right from the first introduction.  The maid tells her what days she needs off, what she will and will not do, and then proceeds to eat the Ricardo’s out of house and home.  Because Mrs. Porter ate the leftover roast beef in the fridge, she fixes Lucy a lunch of what was left –  dry and very sticky peanut butter on white bread.  As Lucy attempts to eat it, she can’t even open her mouth to speak due to the gooeyness of the sandwich.  She is, of course, hysterical as she attempts to tell the hired help not to fix her another dry morsel, but can’t even pry her jaws open!

I thought of that hilarious episode yesterday when I read this verse:

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
Proverbs 17:1
There are several other verses in Proverbs that would be companions to this verse.  They all teach us that it’s better to have a little bit of something in our hearts and  home  (even a dry peanut butter sandwich) and enjoy the quiet that is a result, than to have that roast beef for lunch and have strife.
The “sacrifices and strife” might be things that would keep us busy and away from home.  We are running here and there with friends or family, dragging the children along, trying to keep them happy while so doing.  They miss nap time and are cranky because we had to run to the mall for the sale we heard about.  Or they are delayed finishing up home school as a result of our outings and they are now irritable while trying to do what should have been done hours ago.  We are experiencing roast beef with strife.  It would be better to have the dry morsel – that of missing out on some of those excursions so we could be home where we need to be.  Why is it better?  Sit still and listen to the peace and love that’s there and you’ll know.
It might mean really sacrificing as a mom to stay home with your child(ren) – especially while they are young.  I know there are scenarios, such as that of a single-parent home, where there is no option.  In some cases, though the financial stress would press upon a family, many times that stress is less than the strife caused by carting a child to day care and not being sure of all they are being exposed to each day. 
“Roast beef Lunches” in a marriage might be a wife finding greater fulfillment outside her marriage than in it.  Oh, she may not be running off with another man, but if she isn’t making her husband her first priority, as God intended she’s having roast beef and strife.  Her job, her children, her hobbies become more important and there is conflict, and she wonders why.
Take a good look at your personal life and ask the Lord to tell you – Is there quietness or strife in my home?  If there is dissension more often than quietness, ask the Lord for wisdom as to how you can rid it from your life.  He will show you. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5
Have a peanut butter sandwich today, and smile at the quietness. 

So, on the trivial side, a maid with peanut butter or roast beef that you fixed yourself?  Which would you choose?  I’ll tell you my preference tomorrow. =)

With love,

The Blessing of Being a Woman

Have you really considered how great it is to be a woman?  I read once that a blessing about being a woman is that on a sinking ship women and children get the life boats!  Wearing cute shoes is another small reason, but honestly, aren’t you thankful not to be the one who has to take the ultimate responsibility for the family or the Church?  That is a huge load! 

Are you aware how much God values women?  We are not second-class citizens.  It was women who first saw the resurrected Christ.  The women are noted for being at the cross while all others had forsaken Him.  Jesus welcomes Martha to join Mary in sitting at His feet to worship, though at this time the women were not allowed to sit with the men and worship.  But here we see Christ drawing these women into His closest circle for fellowship.  Many women in Scripture were used in mighty ways.  Consider Ruth, Deborah, Rahab, Priscilla, Anna, Dorcas & Abigail, to name a few.

God loves you, dear lady!  He has a plan for your life and a reason for you being a female.  Don’t begrudge the things you have to do today because you’re a woman – things like – dishes, laundry, cooking, homeschooling your child, cleaning house, and preparing for birthdays and holidays. 

Don’t squirm under the fact that because you’re a woman you have an authority over you.  If you’re married it’s your husband.  If you work outside the home you might also have a male boss. Another authority is your pastor.  God gave men the heavier responsibility of leadership.  As we nestle under the protection of their rule in the home, workplace and church, we should be praying for them, and then sweetly allowing them to lead.  The world balks at this teaching, but our hearts need to be obedient and our lives an example of what this looks like.  It’s a place of safety for us.  The buck does not stop here – what a blessing!

God has a place for women in the home, the church and the world.  Love your place.  Be glad for your Creator making you a woman.  It’s a place of power under the safe haven of protection.  Serve.  Submit.  Smile…you’re a woman!

Wearing pink shoes,