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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14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE—Part 5

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Many years ago when I was a young mom, I had a conversation with my next door neighbor. My neighbor was telling me that she had 8 children and that she raised them to be good, honest, respectable, hard-working and polite. She told me that she never had to raise her voice to get her children to do what she needed them to do. I was in awe because I was struggling to raise my kids without raising my voice. I confessed to her that I often yelled at my children to get them to obey my commands. She said to me, “Yes, I can hear you all the time”.

I was so ashamed. I wanted to crawl in the corner and disappear. But God wouldn’t let me be done in by shame. He caused my heart to quicken with conviction and erased my feelings of condemnation. It was then that I asked Him to teach me how to parent my children and specifically how to train them to listen to my voice the first time I spoke. I knew this was a spiritual issue for me and my children. I knew if they wouldn’t obey my voice, they weren’t going to listen to and obey God’s voice.

Part 5 of “14 Ways a Wise Woman Builds Her House” focuses on training children in the way they should go. I am not saying that fathers have no role in training their children. In fact, Gill’s Exposition says it this way: “Train up a child in the way he should go … As Abraham trained up his children, and those born in his house, in the way of the Lord, in the paths of justice and judgment; which are the ways in which they should go, and which will be to their profit and advantage.” But since I am addressing the wise woman, I will focus on her role. Additionally, Matthew Henry’s Commentary states it this way: “Train children, not in the way they would go, that of their corrupt hearts, but in the way they should go; in which, if you love them, you would have them go.”

Yes, we should teach them the ways of God at an early age, but what other specific areas should the wise woman focus her time and attention as she raises her children? Here are 5 practical areas to focus on:
1. Manners–It used to be that children were taught how to say “Yes”, “No”, “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me”, etc. There is such a lack of manners nowadays that puzzles me. Children are commenting in adult conversations and are rude to older people. Children need to be taught to mind their manners.
2. Obedience–Teach children to obey your commands the first time they hear them. Counting to five (in my opinion) teaches children to ignore you the first 4 times you command something. We should not have to raise our voices or count to 5 before our children take us seriously. As wise women, we should teach immediate obedience because it provides safety for our children and helps them to obey God’s commands, too.
3. Responsibility–Mothers are not servants but teachers. We are to give our children responsibilities and teach them how to handle it. Stewardship over what they are given or use are good areas to take responsibility for.
4. Kindness–Teach children to be kind to one another. Some of the roughest places on earth for children are in their own homes. Sibling fights, name calling and outright mean spirits are left to run rampant in our homes. Teaching children to be kind and helping them identify with the very nature of God is a wise thing.
5. Raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord–Parents have the primary charge to introduce their children to Christ Jesus and raise them in righteousness. It is not up to the church to do it. The church should reinforce what you are teaching and modeling at home. Go over the lessons they bring home from church, pray with them, give them opportunities to see spiritual lessons in the seemingly mundane, hold them accountable for the choices they make, etc. As a wise woman who builds her house, live out Deuteronomy 6:7-9. This is mentoring in its truest form.

Dear wise woman, do you find purpose in raising Godly arrows? See Psalm 127:4-5. You’ve been entrusted with a sacred responsibility. Embrace it, nurture it and sharpen your arrows to penetrate this dark and dying world.

+First Look:
• Read Deuteronomy 6:7-9. Note every way we are challenged to engage spiritually with our children.
• What specific ways do you need to focus on as you train your children in the way they should go?

+Through the Looking Glass: Ask God to give you wisdom, patience, and courage to ‘train your child(ren) up in the way they should go, then do it.

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14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE–Part 4

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

I feel like I’ve always had a heart for homemaking. I loved and admired women in my family who really poured their heart and soul into creating an atmosphere that nurtured their families and those who entered in their space. I fondly remember being fully enveloped in the atmospheres created by my grandmother, great-grandmother and my mother. Outsiders were always happy when in their company. I remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Stokes, planning a breakfast for us young-uns’ in our classroom. We were each asked to bring a china place setting on which to eat our breakfast and drink our tea. I was so excited to tell my mom all about it! She purchased a 5-piece place setting with ‘green stamps’ from the gas station! I can still remember it: it was white with silver trim and sprinkled with little blue flowers. As a kindergartener, I thought it was gorgeous! Did you know that everything tastes better on china? Well, it does!! Lol.

As I continue my series on 14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE we’ve covered Know your Worth, Prayer and a Hospitable Heart.   Today, Part 4 encourages you, the wise woman, to Unleash Your Creativity.  Genesis 1:1 tells us that “In the beginning, God created …”  As image bearers of God, I believe we have the ability to be creative because God created us that way. Many women never really tap into their full potential to express and live in their God-given creativity. What does embracing your creativity as a wise woman who builds your home look like?  Here are two examples:

  • By not following a script: learn to let go of ‘packaged expectations’. Go ahead and let the kids build that fort in the living room with your ‘good’ table cloths. You know the ones that are packed away awaiting that ‘special occasion’ that never comes. Use the ‘good’ china for breakfast. One time I set the table for dinner using my great-grandmother’s ‘good’ china, stemware and silver flatware and my young son wanted to know who was coming for dinner. When I told him that they deserved the same ‘specialness’ as company, he couldn’t get his head around that. The expectation was that only ‘special people’ eat off of the ‘good stuff’. What was I communicating to them? They weren’t special? Too often we keep reserved places in our homes that only special people can enter like the ‘formal’ living room or dining room. How about eating pizza at that forbidden dining room table tonight?
  • Unleash your love of something in a different surrounding: I love the beach. Rephrase, I love being at the beach, not being on the beach.  I love the fabrics and accessories that I find in beach homes.  The homes are decorated with beach/sea/water themes. This year, I decided to add a few beach accessories like sea shells and beach-scented candles to my home on land.  Why can’t I enjoy these things even though I’m not at the beach? Well, I can and I do!!

Wise woman, I believe the sky is the limit to where our creativity can lead us. Ask God to unleash your God-given creativity. Ask Him to help you see life in a whole new creative perspective. One that’s creatively colorful, out of the box, free and unique!   Be creative in the area of the 5 senses: seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, and tasting.  Look at life as a canvas upon which you allow God to create His unique creative design in your world through you. It will blow your mind.

+First Look: Read the Word of God’s account of creation in Genesis chapters 1 & 2.

+Through The Looking Glass: What do you notice in these chapters? How might God be directing you to respond?

Dear one, I would love to hear how God is using you to unleash your creativity. Please share your comments here.

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