while my kids peruse the game section of the bookstore…

I’m sitting in Barnes and Noble watching a huge thunderstorm dump a ton of rain outside. I sort of wish I had stayed home and sat on my patio now.  If there’s any redeeming factor to the unbearably hot summers in the Phoenix valley it’s the summer monsoon storms.  I’m captivated by the power in the thunder and lightening and wind and dumping of massive amounts of water in minutes.

It’s my third day off from working a long stretch at the hospital.  I made use of the first two days with household chores, errands and grocery shopping.  Today was a Goats Make Soap Co. day.  I finished a custom order of wedding party favors and made four batches of our top seller- Lavender Fields Forever, and a 5 pound batch of our Original soap.

Parenthesis: I think I’m sitting next to an invisible skunk or someone in this store has beat my 13 year old son in the stinky feet department cause there’s no person within 20 feet of my position at this table at B&N and I’m dying here!  I may have to make this a short post.  Yuck.

Tomorrow I get to go to church.  I’m like Bono when it comes to church… I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,  but I’ve decided I need to commit myself to loving a bunch of imperfect people in Jesus’ name whether they do church the way I think is best or not.  But I do enjoy the time of sanctuary where I can sing and direct my affections and longings toward my God in harmony with the dozens of other broken people like me in the same room.

Starting in September my friend and neighbor are going to begin going to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) on Tuesdays.  I was involved in a BSF for a couple years before I had children.  It was key in developing my Bible literacy.  I grew spiritually so much during that time.  Feeding on God’s word really makes a huge difference!   It’s been a dry year or so for me without a church and not in the Word as consistently as I need to be.  I’m really looking forward to just soaking my mind in Bible.

I’ve decided to go the custom order route with the soap biz.  Sometime tomorrow I’ll start working on putting out an email blast and re-ordering the website to reflect the coming changes.  I’ll finish the year with the current online store and planned soap shows, but starting in 2017 Goats Make Soap Co. with be custom, handmade, locally sourced goats milk soaps and lotions with options for custom orders and some in stock soaps online.  We will be doing a couple soap shows next year but not a weekly farmers market.

During a conference at work the other day I learned of Circle The City.  I’m very interested.  As soon as I go to part time I plan to investigate more.

I’m reading The Insanity of God right now.  Desiring to “go” as Jesus commanded to make disciples of all nations sounds glorious until your in the face to face horror of humanity’s evils and no progress seems to be being made.  Going can mean staying too.  Staying in the inglorious marriage and head to head battles with kids.  Praying for that difficult-to-work-with person and making a point to serve them in some way.  There is a definite draw to leaving the mundane in exchange for the adventure of reaching the unknown and unreached.  But it’s not glorious.  Any service can be turned upside down and inside out by pride and illusions of grandeur.  But really following Jesus because you love Him and you want to go where He leads and do what He says is an adventure with sure glory in the end and sure trouble along the way.  Knowing my Redeemer lives and with my eyes I shall see him and when I see him I’ll be made like him… free from this sin-philic body.  I long.  He’s worth it all.


The Triune Ministry of Homemaking: Footwashing

“She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” Proverbs 31:13 KJV

When I think about why homemaking (remember, I’m not talking about absence from working outside the home. I’m talking about managing, serving and building relationships in your home for God’s glory) is so important to me, and why I believe its such a vital (not trivial) part of living out a life of faith in Christ as a wife and mom, I think of John 13.

John 13 contains the account of Jesus washing the disciples feet just hours before being betrayed and ultimately crucified.

It begins with:

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. – John 13:1-5

Homemaking certainly isn’t defined by not working outside your home, but it is largely lived out by serving in the hands-on daily tasks that never stay finished in a home. It’s the laundry. The toilet cleaning. The picking up of things all day. It’s the washing dishes and putting them away. It’s the organizing of cabinets and ridding of accumulated clutter. It’s putting away laundry. It’s ironing. It’s bedmaking and mirror cleaning. It’s picking up dog poop and cleaning litter boxes. It’s pulling weeds and dusting blinds. The list goes on and on. Every home has “footwashing” tasks that must be done or else… its gonna start to stink! 🙂
Footwashing, in Jesus’ day, was considered the lowest of the low jobs. In fact, amongst Jews, even a Jew who was a slave would not stoop to footwashing. Only a slave from among the “heathen” would be appointed the despised chore of footwashing.
But Jesus, the Creator of the Universe, the King of kings, the Redeemer of souls, the Holy God in Flesh… He washed feet!
The day to day tasks of caring for a home are not glamorous. They aren’t exactly the jobs we all line up to get. But if Jesus were walking around our houses in flesh every day, He’d be doing those jobs gladly. Why? Because that’s the kind of God we have. He stoops down to do what others don’t want to do. He knows in doing so something is quickened within us.
Like Peter, if we saw Jesus on the floor, scrubbing up dried urine behind the toilet, we’d see our wise and powerful Lord and say, “No! Don’t do that Lord!” But in bending down to do such a lowly task, Jesus, in washing the disciples feet, was impressing on their hearts (and all of us) the true character of God, and the model He desires us to follow. When we submit to the Spirit of Jesus in us Who desires to clean our toilets and fold the never-ending pile of laundry, we let Him impress on the hearts of those in our families the character of Christ, and we give our children a model to follow.

But footwashing is not just doing unwanted chores. It’s also touching the lives of our husbands and children with holy hands, even when sin has dirtied them up, even when the dirt of this world has made them a little dusty, even when they kinda stink to us.

It’s choosing to wash our children with the water of God’s word. It’s stooping down when one son talks rudely to another son, looking them in the eye and gently saying, “Son, that was rude. Jesus died for your brother. Jesus says he’s worth a lot. And since Jesus died for him you are to treat him with respect.” Rather than screaming, “KNOCK IT OFF! I’M SICK OF HEARING YOU GUYS FIGHT!” (Is it only me, or does that senario ever happen in your house?)
Footwashing is also applied to those who reject Christ. Jesus washed Judas’ feet… without pinching his toes! 🙂 Whether it be our husbands when they don’t know Christ, or our husbands when they do know Him and just aren’t obeying Him, or whether it be a prodigal child… sometimes, as homemakers, our footwashing means a willingness to be a refreshing and pure presence that serves that other person even when they don’t respond.
I think often times our husbands respond to the footwashing tasks we do, and the spiritual footwashing acts of maybe rubbing their backs when they’re distant or saying “You’re a treasure to me honey” when they aren’t being so sweet, are hard for our husbands to accept. Some of us have husbands I think who are like Peter. They don’t want us to “lower” ourselves to those things but in their protest they are really keeping us from intimacy with them.

Jesus said to Peter, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” I can see how that truth can apply to intimacy in marriage. If we don’t allow our husbands to do some of the footwashing things in our lives when they desire to, we’re going to miss out on some intimate connection with them. And the same goes with us. If we shrink back from those footwashing things, our husbands are going to miss out on a level of intimacy with us. Some times our husbands need to hear us say with a smile, “I know I don’t have to do that… but I want to!”
I know I’ve seen this in my own marriage. As God’s moved in me, desiring to wash feet in my house through cleaning and ironing, massages and special dinners, I’ve heard my husband say, “You don’t have to do that.” It’s given me such an opportunity to respond with the heart of Christ saying, “I want to do this babe!”
Do I always do that? NO! But when I do I overflow with an unexplainable joy! And there’s an intimacy, an interdependence, and a deepened friendship that develops between my husband and I. And there’s also 4 little eyes watching, learning how to “wash feet”with gladness.

  • What are some ways you can engage more in footwashing things in your home?
  • When’s the last time you reached out and touched your husband or kids with kindness even when they weren’t too receptive?
  • What are your thoughts on this footwashing aspect of homemaking?
So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

Are you kissing the Son with your life?

I love looking at the original meanings of key words in scripture. Recently the Lord brought to mind one such meaning I’d studied:

“But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

Worship: Greek- Proskuneo: Verb, to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence

This past few days it’s been only in the shower and in the bathroom that I’ve found a bit of reprieve from serving my post-surgical man and kiddos. Going into this surgery I knew there would be much needed from me, and I was actually quite excited about it, because the Lord has taught me over the past three years that it’s in willing service that so often an opportunity for Jesus to be seen, questions to be asked… gospel to be shared happens.

But, the test comes when my physical energy is running dry. My motives are examined, “Are you kissing the Son Sheila? Are you worshipping Him or just looking for a pat on the back?”

Like Peter sitting next to Jesus by the sea after His resurrection and being asked, “Do you love me?” my answer to the Spirit of God has been, “You know me Lord? You know that there’s a fleshly, imperfect woman here who wants a pat on the back, but when You search me You know that truly I do love You. I love You because You’ve loved me so much. I am doing this in worship… as though I were kissing You with my life! You deserve my life and so much more!”

This is probably a busy time of serving others in your house too, being the holidays and all. Are you kissing Jesus’ hand in reverence with your service as worship? May we give Him our lives and do all we do as though we were kissing our Redeemer!

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1

Redeeming the time,

Nothing is Lost from Elisabeth Elliot

Reading this in my email this morning surely is the response of comfort by the Spirit, working through Mrs. Elliot, after my meditations on Phillipians 2:12-17 this morning.

As moms, it can be so easy to get discouraged and feel like our labor is in vain. After all, we clean up the same messes over and over, and in regards to our kids, the same issues get addressed time and time again. And for some of us all our effort seems to be burning up in the choices our kids are making or in the seeming never-finished work we’re doing. But this TRUE word of comfort is what we must confidently press on in!

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: Keep A Quiet Heart
Scripture Reference:
1 Timothy 6:15 Acts 2:23

Nothing is Lost

A pastor’s wife asked, “When one witnesses a work he has poured his life into ‘go up in flames’ (especially if he is not culpable), is it the work of Satan or the hand of God?”
Often it is the former, always it is under the control of the latter. In the biographies of the Bible we find men whose work for God seemed to be a flop at the time–Moses’ repeated efforts to persuade Pharaoh, Jeremiah’s pleas for repentance, the good king Josiah’s reforms, rewarded in the end by his being slain by a pagan king. Sin had plenty to do with the seeming failures, but God was then, as He is now, the “blessed controller of all things” (1 Timothy 6:15, PHILLIPS). He has granted to us human beings responsibility to make choices and to live with the consequences. This means that everybody suffers–sometimes for his or her own sins, sometimes for those of others.

There are paradoxes here which we cannot plumb. But we can always look at the experiences of our own lives in the light of the life of our Lord Jesus. How shall we learn to “abide” (stay put) in Christ, enter into the fellowship of His sufferings, let Him transform our own? There is only one way. It is by living each event, including
having things “go up in flames,” as Christ lived: in the peace of the Father’s will. Did His earthly work appear to be a thundering success? He met with argument, unbelief, scorn in Pharisees and others. Crowds followed Him–not because they wanted His Truth, but because they liked handouts such as bread and fish and physical healing. His own disciples were “fools and slow of heart to believe.” (Why didn’t Jesus make them believe? For the reason given above.) These men who had lived intimately with Him, heard His teaching for three years, watched His life and miracles, still had little idea what He was talking about on the evening before His death. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him. The rest of them went to sleep when He asked them to stay awake. In the end they all forsook Him and fled. Peter repented with tears and later saw clearly what had taken place. In his sermon to the Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 2:23, PHILLIPS) he said, “This man, who was put into your power by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed up and murdered…. But God would not allow the bitter pains of death to touch him. He raised him to life again–and there was nothing by which death could hold such a man.”

There is nothing by which death can hold any of His faithful servants, either. Settle it, once and for all–YOU CAN NEVER LOSE WHAT YOU HAVE OFFERED TO CHRIST. It’s the man who tries to save himself (or his reputation or his work or his dreams of success or fulfillment) who loses. Jesus gave us His word that if we’d lose our lives for His sake, we’d find them.

Redeeming the time,