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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14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE Part 3

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Can you hear the construction? Can you hear the hammers, the power tools, and the dump trucks removing the rubbish? Wise women all over the world are building homes.  Listen.  They are not building houses with human hands, but spiritual houses.  Houses that don’t necessarily resemble HGTV’s dream homes but homes whose environments resemble a haven on earth.  They resemble a house that is built on who she is in Christ, prayer and a hospitable heart.  God is building her house from the inside out.  Inside the very heart of the wise woman.  Can you see this house being built on The Foundation that stands through all time: Jesus the Christ?  It’s a beautiful masterpiece, isn’t it?

As we continue to move through the 14 Ways a Wise Woman Builds Her House, we’ve already covered two ways: Know Your Worth and Prayer.  This time we will add another wall to the house: hospitality.  Our primary focus will be on having a hospitable heart. The wise woman has a hospitable heart.  Hospitality is defined as the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. Disposition.  Does my heart reflect a hospitable disposition?

The Bible has many examples of hospitality extended to strangers.  Entertaining, while an expression or form of hospitality, doesn’t quite capture the essence of true hospitality.  Its true representation is an open heart.  As Trisha Wilkerson writes, hospitality is when we provide for the needs of others by giving of ourselves—even something as simple as our attention in a warm conversation.  Trisha says that true hospitality is sacrificial, uncomfortable and does not seek to impress others.  Hospitality flows from a hospitable heart.  It is more about your open heart and home, not your impressive entertaining skills.  Trisha, I couldn’t agree more.

The Greek word for hospitality is philoxemia.  It denotes a love of strangers and the poor. See Romans 12:13 and Proverbs 14:31.  We are called to love strangers like we love our own families and love the poor with no expectation of anything in return. [Proverbs 19:17]  It is the love of God that drives this kind of heart.  I have a hospitable heart when I engage with and give of my heart to strangers and the poor.  Like you, I have spoken to and engaged strangers while in the airport, grocery store, or while volunteering and especially at church.   I have a hospitable heart when I give my husband, children or grandchildren my undivided attention.  When I listen enough to engage in a warm conversation. This is true hospitality in its simplest form.

I don’t know about you but that takes the pressure off of having a picture-perfect house. You know, a house that boasts in a beautiful location and is beautifully appointed.  If my heart is warm, inviting and open, I am being hospitable.  When I invite you into my space (my life) I am the quintessential hostess.  The hostess with the mostest, if you will.   A hospitable heart in a regular house is warmer than a house with all the bells and whistles with a cold or grumpy hostess.  A well-worn sofa where I can put my feet up is better than a stiff sofa where I am expected to sit just so and sip my tea.  Better a bread crust shared in love than a slab of prime rib served in hate, right?  See Proverbs 15:17 MSG.  So, it makes sense to me to quit trying to make my house look picture-perfect at the expense of being truly and authentically hospitable .  I need to ask God to make my heart and attitude a place that welcomes Him first and then strangers and the poor.  Do you have a hospitable heart?    Do you look for opportunities to serve strangers and thus witness to them about the love of Christ?  The wise woman does and she builds her house with it.  Are you that wise woman?

+First Look: Read Romans 12:13; Proverbs 14:31; 1 Peter 4:9; 1 Timothy 3:2; Luke 5:29; Luke 14:12-14; Matthew 10:9-11; Genesis 18:1-22 and Romans 12:20-21

+Through The Looking Glass: As you read these scriptures, what stood out to you?  What encouraged, challenged or convicted you?  Which area in regards to having a hospital heart,  are you asking God to develop in you?  Reach out with a hospitable heart to someone today.

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14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE—Part 2

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

In my last post, I challenged my readers to consider knowing their worth. Consider that the woman God made you to be is instrumental in how a wise woman builds her home.  Not knowing your worth is like being a woman who plucks her house down with her own hands. Why?  Because you cannot teach what you do not know.  If you don’t know (or struggle with knowing) your worth, the foundation you’re building a house on will not stand.  It’s like building a house on sand. It cannot stand.  (See Matt 7:26,27)

In this post, we will take a look at the second way a wise woman can build her home, a way she builds her area of influence.  Her domain, if you will.  Her area of stewardship.  She has been given her house to steward over it, after all.

House of Prayer—A wise woman builds her house through prayer.  A wise woman realizes that prayer confirms her utter dependence on God.  It’s the first words from her lips every morning.  It’s the first burden on her heart.  It’s the outward sign of a dependent and grateful heart.  A wise woman prays for her house.  She desires to know what God wants for her family and she trusts that God will direct her steps in influencing that.  She is in a constant state of prayer all day because that’s where her help comes from.  Consider the heart behind this traditional hymn penned by a homemaker:

I Need Thee Every Hour

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;

No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;

Every hour I need Thee;

Oh, bless me now my Savior,

I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay close Thou nearby;

Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;

Every hour I need Thee;

Oh, bless me now, my Savior,

I come to Thee.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;

Every hour I need Thee;

Oh, bless me now, my Savior,

I come to Thee

“I need Thee ev’ry hour, most gracious Lord.” Author Annie Hawks was busy about her household chores one day when she started thinking about how much she depended on the Lord to help her through the day. Inspired, she took pencil and paper and began to write. The words came quickly and easily. She never imagined that her hasty verse would mean anything to anyone.  But yet it did.  It captures the burden and privilege of building a house.  We cannot do it without Him.  We need Him ev’ry hour.  We need His blessing, His direction.

Dear one, do you commit your day to the LORD when you open your eyes?  Do you say, “Good Morning, LORD” or “Good LORD it’s morning”?  The heart that depends on Him looks for His guidance and wisdom throughout the day and cries out to Him first thing in the morning. Psalm 63:1  She asks Him to prioritize her day.  She asks for the ability to be flexible. To look for ‘God moments’.  To recognize divine interruptions when they come.  And they will come.  She welcomes them as from the hand and heart of God.  Her heart praises Him with her last breath at night because He is faithful.  The wise woman builds her house on prayer.  The foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Which one are you?

+First Look:

>Read Philippians 4:6-7.

+Through The Looking Glass:

>What kinds of things do you ask God for concerning building your house?

>Are your prayers wise?

 

 

 

 

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