14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE – PART 10

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

In the last nine blog posts, we have gotten a chance to really see how a WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE. The wisdom this woman has in building her house allows her to plant a stake in the ground for her family.  She is not a woman who feels like she has no place in this world.  She’s confident that she does. She doesn’t entertain the idea that she is a non-entity in society.  She knows her worth.  She knows the value of her contributions.  She allows Christ Jesus to lead and guide her.  She knows the worth of her prayers, opening her home, raising godly children, etc.  [Read past posts starting here.]

Last time we peered into the life of the virtuous woman’s business mind in Proverbs 31:16.  She earned money and reinvested the money she earned.  To take this a step further, we said that the Virtuous Woman would do well to consider the return on the investments she makes both physically and spiritually when is comes to building her house.  Her investments of time, talent and treasure need the same consideration as if she were making a BIG purchase! She needs to count the cost to live out her best yes! That is certainly food for thought!

Let’s take a look at Proverbs 31:17-19:

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.  MSG

I love the way this is worded.  Let’s dig further into the life of this Wise Woman.  As a practice, I get up in the morning and dress for ‘work’.  My ‘work’ clothes consists of sweatpants and a t-shirt.  I always believed that dressing for ‘work’ helped shape my mindset for the day.  Staying in pajamas all day…well…that would mean no work for me.  Some days I am eager to get started with my agenda.  Some days I like to linger a bit over a hearty breakfast and a good cup of coffee.  If I’m in my pj’s all day, I do not have a mindset to work but to relax.  That’s just me.  I try to steer clear of that. I give myself a deadline to accomplish the many tasks I have and I always make time to connect with God.  That’s a non-negotiable.

As A WISE WOMAN who BUILDS HER HOUSE, consider this: the way we do our jobs at home is directly related to the way we approach our job.  If I greet the day with “Good Morning, LORD”, my day is off to a grateful start.  If I approach my day with “Good lord, it’s morning”, then everything is built on that mindset.  I could only  pray that my day gets better from there.

Question, do you know the worth of your work?  Do you consider it to be mindless or less than?  I would encourage any woman struggling with her God-given work and its worth to talk to God about it.  I know that He will help you see the worth in the work He’s given you to do.  It’s essential to building your home.  The Virtuous Woman loved her work so much that she was in no hurry to call it quits for the day.  I want to believe that she loved creating an atmosphere for her family to thrive in – NOT just survive in everyday.  I want to believe that she received such joy from watching them thrive that she kept going.

Is there something that needs caring for at home?  A tattered sofa?  Neglected windows?Bare walls?  Have you considered re-purposing things to gain a better use somewhere else?  Perhaps moving a piece of furniture to be better used in another part of the home? Back in the day, I loved having a Christmas table that was beautifully coordinated.  I loved the look of a tablecloth, napkins, runner and perhaps a window covering that matched. Since I couldn’t afford those things ala carte, I bought 2 of the largest tablecloths they made.  I used one for the table and the other I cut up to make 6 napkins and a runner.  If I had anything left over I made a window topping.  I smile when I think about that now.  I loved connecting with my creative side.  I feel close to God when I do.  Have you connected with yours?

Lastly, if you awake eager to build your house, know the worth of your work, and aren’t in any hurry to call it quits for the day, I’d like to think that you are diligent in homemaking.  What do you think?

Happy Homemaking!!

+First Look:  What might God be saying to you from these verses (Prov 31:16-19)?

+Through The Looking Glass: Consider how you prepare for the day.  Does it prompt you to work diligently?  Do you call it quits before you begin?  Have you tapped into your creative bent?  How do these verses equip and challenge you to build your house? 

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14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE–Part 9

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

When I was a little girl, my dad and his brothers owned, brokered and sold real estate.  So as I continue my trek through Proverbs 31, I can resonate somewhat with The Proverbs 31 Woman’s real estate/business mindset and ultimate transactions in verse 16:  She looks over a field and buys it, then, with the money she’s put aside, plants a garden.   

I chuckled when I read this scripture.  As a young bride, a stay-at-home mom and mentor to other stay-at-home-moms, I had difficulty placing myself in this verse.  What did this verse mean for the average, ordinary woman like me and the ones I mentored?  My husband and I were sacrificing a great deal for me to be at home with our kids.  I pondered verse 16 a lot: Look over a field? Consider buying it? Plant a garden in it from the gains of my purchase?  I tried to make it hit home.  How about walking into a garden shop and considering which pot I could afford, buying several pots, selling some and using the money I earned to plant herbs in the pots and sell those to make more money?  That was a thought.  Or I could take a look at my life and consider making an investment in the Kingdom of God and then bloom where I’m planted…well you get the point.  As a Wise Woman who Builds Her House, let’s not miss the point.

Consider this from Portrait of A Godly Woman:Every woman doesn’t have to go into real estate and horticulture — the principle here is that this woman uses her mind. She does not act on a whim, but logically analyzes a situation before making a decision. Her goals are not only short-term — she envisions the long-range benefits of her decisions.”  Radiantly Purposed says this: “This woman was making a major purchase.  She was closing deals, negotiating, making offers and clearly was never intimidated by any competition that could outbid her.  She was also a saver.  The money that she set aside [from the gains] went to plant a garden and I’m sure reaped multiple benefits.”

This woman had good business sense.  She earned money and made investments.  She was wise.  View this verse through the lens of your family.  A Wise Woman who  Builds Her House saves for the best yes!  She doesn’t spread herself thin.  She does well to consider where she’s going and how to get there.  She would do well to consider the return on the investments she makes both physically and spiritually when is comes to building her house.  Her investments of time, talent and treasure need the same consideration as if she were making a BIG purchase!

Where can you, as a wise woman, plant yourself to bloom? Where is the fertile soil on which you can thrive and have overflow to pass on to others?  Consider if it will be well for your family before you make that purchase. Ask yourself, “Can the Kingdom of God get a good return if I make that investment?”  If so, then buy the field and continue to plant seeds and reap a harvest of blessing.  Just something to consider.

+First Look: Look up Proverbs 31:16 in several different translations.  Rewrite it the way you understand it for your own life.

+Through The Looking Glass: Consider the investments you make.  Did you consider the impact they would have on your family?  Do they yield a good return?  

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14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE – Part 8

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

As I continue to move through 14 Ways A Wise Woman Builds Her House, specifically focusing on Proverbs 31:10-31, I find myself constantly challenged and encouraged as a wife, mom and grandmother.  Last time I shared with you from Proverbs 31:10-12–The Perfect Wife. [Read that post here].  As I said in that post, my heart’s desire is to be this kind of wife.   A wife whose marriage reflects Christ in the way I respond to and care for my husband.  Sometimes I fall, but I am determined to get right back up and surrender to God in this area again.

Today in Part 8, I would like to take a look at Proverbs 31:13-15:  She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.  She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.  She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” NIV.  The Message says it like this: She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.  She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.”  In these verses, we see that this wife is industrious, a planner, determined, she cooks and she delegates.   

As I mentioned in my last post, don’t let this woman intimidate you.  Let her spur you on to upping your game.  Ok, let’s chew this in bite-sized pieces.

a.  She shops around for the best yarn and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.  I so admire women who work with their hands in this way.  Back in the day (as a young wife and mom), I was that wife.  In my attempt to be the perfect Proverbs 31 wife and mom, I shopped for yarn and fabrics and I knitted and sewed.  I had a cousin who taught me to knit and I had a friend who taught me to sew.  They mentored me.  The same friend that taught me to sew gave me my first sewing machine which I still have.  That was 35 years ago.  I made clothes for my children, myself, and others.  I made curtains, pillows, tablecloths, etc. for my home.  I knitted sweaters, hats, scarves and slippers for my children.  I amazed myself.  I took so much pride in the creativity of my hands. I knew at that point God could make anybody creative.  After all, we were created in His own image so we possess that ability as well.  I must say that this newly discovered work of my hands deepened my purpose, my potential and my passion as a homemaker.  I felt like I was a very strong and very real contributor to my husband and our family as we were desperately trying to make ends meet.  This was the part that I could invest.  Today, in this season of my life, it is no longer a necessity nor a priority but I did enjoy it.  The principle is: Be Industrious.  I no longer shop around for the best yarns and cottons to knit and sew, but I do shop around for clothing and household goods that are less costly but well made.  If I know I can make something cheaper than I can buy it, I don’t hesitate to pull that sewing machine out and get to work.

b.  She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. I would love to sail to faraway places and bring back exotic surprises for my family.  It ain’t happening though.  I set my sails to enter the ports of Target and Wal-Mart.  Exotic surprises? Does French toast and Colombian roast coffee count? Swedish meatballs and Italian spaghetti sauce?  I hope so, lol!!  I will definitely go out of my way for a good deal though but nowadays, I’ll settle for any place that’s within driving distance!  I get online ads for my favorite stores and I make a plan to shop that gives me the best productivity for my day.  Have a plan.  Make a plan.  In considering what’s a good deal or not, count the cost of travel and time.   The principle is: If Its Worthwhile, Go The Extra Mile.

c.  She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.  This woman is determined to get the most from her day.  A snippet on this topic from www.radiantlypurposed.blogspot.com says it like this: “She is not struggling to get out of bed at 8am or even at 11am.  She makes sure her family has food before they awake so that no one leaves home hungry.  She also organizes her day.” She is up on her feet, moving about early in the morning. She has a heart and mindset to greet the day first.  The only way she can get up before dawn and make all of this happen is that she had to plan this beforehand.  Nothing is left to chance.  Breakfast items have been accounted for the night before, clean dishes/utensils are available to serve the food on, and her day is ordered.  It doesn’t say in these passages, but I am sure she greeted God with a “Good Morning, LORD” instead of “Good Lord, it’s morning”.  Her attitude is what makes the loving difference in living out her deep commitment to her husband and her family (and her servant girls).  While I don’t have “servant girls”, I do have a stove, fridge, washer, dryer, iron and running water.  Just wanted to make that clear, lol.  The principle is: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Get clear about what you’re trying to do and make a workable plan to do it!

As you can clearly see, The (modern-day) Wise Woman Who Builds Her House is a woman to puts first things first.  Her ultimate desire is to reflect Christ in all she does. He leads the way.  She follows. Her family is well taken care of.  He is glorified.

+First Look: Which passage are you having difficulty wrapping your mind around?  Which passage is encouraging to you?  Why?

+Through The Looking Glass: How might Christ be reflected in your life in the areas mentioned in this post?

Please leave your comments below.  Also, visit www.radiantlypurposed.blogspot.com where some snippets were used for this post.

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14 Ways A Wise Woman Builds Her House – Part 7

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

As we continue our conversation about the Ways a Wise Woman Builds Her House from Proverbs 14:1 (see previous posts here),  I will take the remaining posts to talk about the most talked about, the most envied, the most looked-up to and perhaps the most intimidating woman in the Bible – the Proverbs 31 Woman.  Some are so intimidated by this woman that they doubt she is a REAL woman, perhaps even fictitious.  Even so, we can learn so much from the ‘Perfect Wife’.

Throughout these next 7 blogs, I am excited about pulling great info and quotes from other women who have spoken about the ‘Perfect Wife’ in very practical terms.  Let’s begin at verses 10 through 12 of Proverbs 31.  These verses begin what is known as an acrostic poem.  Each one of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet is used in sequence to begin the first word of each verse.  This poem (Proverbs 31:10-31) sings the praises of the ‘Perfect Wife’.

Why is this woman called the Perfect Wife? First, we see that she is a woman of noble character and very rare (hard to find).  She doesn’t come a dime a dozen.  She is not as plentiful as common, everyday things.  She’s very rare.  She stands out in a crowd of ordinariness.  This, my friend, increases her value.  Rare things are always very expensive or even priceless and even harder to find!  When you are in possession of a rare treasure, it increases your worth.  She increases her husband’s value.  She is a Holy Spirit filled and led woman.  She is able and a help meet to her husband.  Secondly, she conducts herself so that he has FULL confidence in her.  He’s at ease and he trusts in her conduct and her discretion.  And number three, she does not damage his reputation.  She’s not calling out his faults to anyone and everyone who will listen.  She speaks well of him and speaks well of him to others and speaks honestly of him to God.  She is known by her integrity in her marriage.  She’s a complete, strong, industrious and resourceful woman!  She knows her worth in Christ and uses it with wisdom and grace.  Yes, she’s a woman fit to be reckoned with!  No shrinking violet here.

My desire is to be this kind of wife to my dear husband.  Every year that we are married, I try to achieve this kind of heart for and towards him.  I set goals for myself.  My desire is to listen to his heart and knit mine together with his.  Sometimes I struggle and fall.  Sometimes I get it right.  I will never stop trying.   Wise woman, do you consider yourself both noble and a rare and precious gem for your husband?  To the extent that you say yes or no will show itself in how you build your house.  Be a wise builder who fills your home with wisdom and grace.  Be a rare gem!!

+First Look:

Read Proverbs 31:10-31 in at least 3 different translations.

+Through The Looking Glass:

Can you see yourself in these verses? Which verses are you having trouble seeing yourself in?  What steps can you take to reflect Christ in those areas? Commit your way to the LORD.

Keep the conversation going! I would love to hear your responses.  Comment here.

Posted in Homemaking, Issues of the Heart, Lessons from Scripture, Spiritual truths | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE–Part 6

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

I have loved writing about The Wise Woman and the Ways She Builds Her Home in this venue. Each way (topic) I’ve covered here has in some way coincided with where I am in my life at the time. Today, Part 6 finds me celebrating my 36th Wedding Anniversary. So, as is fitting, The Wise Woman Builds Her House when she loves her husband and celebrates him in word and deed.

Through The Looking Glass By Kathy Facebook Page, I have used the month of August as my platform for celebrating my husband John and the way God has worked in our marriage. Dear one, I can assure you with 100% certainty that God has taken two broken, confused, sinful, baggage-carrying, mud-slinging, disobedient, strong-willed people and chipped off the rough edges, smoothed our calloused hearts, and aligned us in vision and purpose. He alone gets the honor and the glory for the great things He has done.

In August 1978 (when I was 19 and my husband was 20), we embarked on a journey that neither one of us had the mindset to walk with honor and integrity. I’m sure we were different from most 19 and 20 year-olds who know everything.  We needed the hand of God to reshape us and guide us if we had any hope of surviving. About 20 years into our marriage, I sensed that God was not only sustaining us but changing us. Rearranging our priorities and our passions. We began to desire what He wanted for us versus what we wanted the other to be. It has been truly a transformation.

As a bewildered wife, I answered the challenge from the Word of God to be reverent in the way I live, to not slander, to not be addicted to much wine and to teach what is good. I was also challenged to love my husband and to be subject to him, so that no one would malign the Word of God. [Titus 2 NIV] This was a tall order for me, but my heart’s desire was to be obedient to God. After all, the way I was going about ‘being married’ was a complete and utter disaster.

Loving and celebrating my husband means (to me) to recognize the role he has played in my spiritual growth. He has been a spiritual mirror back to me. Things I thought I was good at were reflected back to the mirror of his soul.  I didn’t like what I saw.  Because we were not on the same path spiritually for many years, I had to learn to trust God to protect my heart, to use all my experiences for my good, and to make beauty from ashes. Without those extremely difficult years, I know I would not be the woman I am today. God has redeemed the hurt and the pain and as a result, I have a very different perspective on hard things and hard times. My trust is not so much in my husband’s ability to make me happy but in God’s ability to cover me when John doesn’t. I now look for the blessing out of the tough times instead of the curse. It’s truly been transformative.

Loving and celebrating my husband also means that I get to pray for him and not condemn him, not count his faults and idiosyncrasies against him simply because of the mercy God has shown me. I get to show him unconditional love because God shows me unconditional love. I get to take my frustrations with John to God rather than projecting them back at him. Loving and celebrating my husband means that I get to praise him for the many ways he loves me.  I try to be specific with my praises.  Everything is not always visible to the naked eye.  It takes spiritual eyes to see it.  God will give you spiritual eyes to see what He’s doing in you and your marriage.

After 36 years, I count it an extreme privilege to love and celebrate my husband and ALL that God has done and will continue to do in us and through us AND for the gift of my husband. Happy Anniversary, John!! To the Glory and Power of God, Amen!

+First Look: Read Titus 2:3-5, Ephesians 5:21-33, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16. How is God speaking to you through these passages?  How might you celebrate your spouse today?  Ask God to guide you.

+Through The Looking Glass: Get to Celebrating ALL that God is doing in you and your marriage.  Remember, hard times doesn’t mean God is not using your hurt and pain for your good.  Trust Him at all times!

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