a fellowship of bearing up

I’m sitting her in my PJ’s in a quiet house, waiting for my oatmeal to finish cooking. I pull up my Bible app on my phone and read the verse of the day:

 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.- Psalm 68:19

I chuckle and sigh.  Daily bears us up.  I had just been bemoaning the daily bearing up tasks of being a mom and wife secretly in my heart.  Opening the fridge, taking mental note that there’s nothing to make for dinner and I’ll need to go to the store.  And we’re out of eggs.  And the kids will be up soon and so will begin the grumbling and moaning I’ll get to hear as soon as the call for morning chores is given.  And I need to get pellets for the animals.  And plan for someone to do the morning chores and milking while I’m gone next week.  And I need to make more soap and advertise it and post lotion for sale in the online store.  And I need to contact local retailers about carrying our soaps in their stores.  And I’ll be going to part-time soon and that’ll leave one more day a week for… for… for daily bearing up the needs of the household.

I sigh for a minute.  It’s a blessing that I’m treating like a burden.  But no doubt, it is a burden.  It’s a burden that has to be born up.  Carried.  But it’s a burden with blessing built in because it’s a burden that in it’s very nature shares the likeness of God in it.  It’s a fellowship of bearing up that I get to share with the Living God everyday!

I am no savior.  I do not save my family.  I save no one.  But I get to let the beauty of what God does shine through my life in walking with him under the load of bearing up.  And all the while I point to him as salvation.  He is my salvation.  He’s why I can bear the burden of the needs of this family with delight in the gift it is to get to do it.

It only begins to feel like a tax on me for one reason: sin.  The sins of my husband and children make it painful and draining sometimes to bear the needs of this family.  And my own sinful grumbling and lack of faith cause me to feel the unbearable weight of this calling.  But when I see through eyes of faith, that I join God in the way of bearing up the needs of others, I feel empowered.

God is using my life to show his way among the nations.  Even the Dougals.  I tremble.  What a high and wonderful call.  I don’t need to break the glass ceiling or prove my equality in power with anyone.  I know who I am.  And Whose I am.  And where I’m going.  I can bend down and bear today’s burden.  Because I’m His daughter.  And that’s what He’s doing.


Tuesday Thoughts

It rained mud last night.

It’s 9pm and I just stopped cooking. This crazy Music Man of mine is charging me to dive into entrepreneurship, but I have NO idea what I’m doing.

He’s convinced I’m just a few short steps away from success with my homemade paleo mayo and the other paleo creations I’ve come up with.

Thursday he meets with a gym owner to see if we can do a test run and survey with his gym’s clients.  We’re going the direction of catered paleo meals.

I’m scared to death and excited as a kid in a toy store.

There’s a helicopter hovering over our house right now.  My man says he thinks they’re scanning the desert across the street from us for someone who’s hiding.  “Does this mean someone could come running into our yard?”  I asked,  “Could,”  he answers non-chalantly with the front and back doors wide open.  I shut and lock the front, he walks out back with his binocs to see what he can spy.  Polar opposites.

I listened to a wonderful teaching on what it means to be a complementarian today.  I had no idea I was a complementarian.  But I am.  To me it is a beautiful, Christ magnifying thing, that we are made in the image of God as male and female.  Not unisex or asexual.  Male.  Female.  Each with a race set before us to live out by faith in Christ.  Each with a calling from God to conform us to the image of His son through our maleness or femaleness.  Servant Leader and Strong Helper.  Both terms God uses to describe himself.

So the primary responsibility for initiative and leadership in the home is to come from the husband who is taking his cues from Christ, the head. And it is clear that this is not about rights and power, but about responsibility and sacrifice. Verse 25: “As Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.”  No abuse. No bossiness. No authoritarianism. No arrogance. Here is a man whose pride has been broken by his own need for a Savior, and he is willing to bear the burden of leadership given to him by his Master, no matter how heavy the load. Godly women see this and are glad. This leadership in the home involves the sense of primary responsibility for nourishing provision and tender protection. Verse 29: “For no one ever hated his own flesh (that is, his wife), but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.” The word, “nourishes” implies nourishing provision. And the word “cherishes” implies tender protection. This is what Christ does for his bride. This is what the godly husband feels the primary responsibility to do for his wife and family.So a complementarian concludes that biblical headship for the husband is the divine calling to take primary responsibility for Christlike servant-leadership, protection and provision in the home. And biblical submission for the wife is the divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. “A helper suitable for him,” as Genesis 2:18 says. -John Piper

So what does a godly woman do who doesn’t see that her husband’s, “…pride has been broken by his own need for a Savior…”?  She looks to her Designer, and Servant-King Lord and bends her knee to his Soveriegnty and, “… entrusts {herself} to Him who judges justly.(1 Peter 2:23 with my personalization) 

Oh Lord, make me that woman!


Quiet time

(My rockhound kids with his geode finds from Payson last weekend. More on that another post.)

I’m still here. It’s been a full couple of weeks. Mostly full of sickness. UGH!

Tomorrow I get to teach the 3rd and 4th graders at Pathway one of my favorite sections of the Bible.  The part where the lady pours expensive perfume over Jesus head, causing quite the stir.  What others saw as a waste, Christ saw as an act of adoration.

I get to “waste” my life and all I have on responding to the love of Christ with my poured out life.  To some it will be a beautiful perfume.  To others it will smell like a waste.  Like death.

Monday, it’s back to work.  This is the last stretch of time I get to spend with the kids and staff at Wildflower.  I want to leave it better than when I came.  I have a lot of work to do.

I was thinking the other day about how turned upside down my world has been the last few years.  I had a plan.  It didn’t go my way.  And that’s a good thing.  I am no Joseph.  But I agree with Joseph, things done were wrong, but God had a plan.  And part of that plan was to cause me to be refined.  It is good that I’ve been afflicted.  It’s caused me to learn God’s word even more.  Being a homemaker isn’t about where you make money, or if you make money; it’s about making a home that honors the Creator of marriage and parents and family. Christ-like submission is not weakness or slavery or doormatishness; it’s Christ-like.  It’s not submission to wallow in self-pity.  That’s just pouting because I want things my way.  It’s not submission to gladly do whatever you agree to.  That’s agreeing.

Entrusting yourself to Him who judges justly.  That’s Christ-like submission.  It’s good that I’ve been and continue to be afflicted.

May Christ be magnified in me!

I’ve been off Facebook and Blogger quite a bit.  It’s good.  I’ve wanted to write many things, yet I’ve had this whispering in my heart:

Learn in quietness.

Some will think that’s a waste.  At least One will think is smells beautiful.


To Work or Not to Work? That is not the question

A couple years ago my heart was stirred to ask my husband to consider supporting me in staying home full-time. He graciously agreed to do so.
During these years at home, I have experienced sweet fellowship with Christ in doing the unrecognized, unfinished, servant-like, foot-washing tasks that involve keeping up a home. I’ve come to see the home as a foundational testimony of God in society. I’ve developed a heart for the simple, priceless things like eating a meal together and being here when my husband comes home. God has also wooed my husband’s heart through me being home. But during this time I’ve clung to the false-doctrine that being a homemaker meant I could not, or should not, work outside my home. I believed that’s what being a homemaker meant… not working outside your home.
This past year I have had to humble myself and confess that I’ve been wrong both in believing and teaching that dogma to others when it’s just not what God’s Word says! I made homemaking about “to work or not to work” when God’s Word is clear… that is not the question to ask.

The Spirit has helped me to understand that homemaking is not the absence of working outside the home but is a multifaceted ministry. In fact, as I study it out, I see a triune service in homemaking.

It is management:

She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:27 NKJV

It is doing the “foot-washing” no one wants to do:

“{She} willingly works with her hands.” -Proverbs 31:13 NKJV

And it is the building of relationships:

The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”- Proverbs 14:1

NO WHERE in scripture do I find God saying that being a homemaker means not working outside your home.

Now, this means I have to eat crow. I have been one who trumpeted the cause of not working outside the home. I know the arguments out there. I’ve read them, said amen to them, and been caught up in them, as though the message of a woman not working outside her home were the gospel itself! I WAS SOOOOOO WRONG!

As I look at the Word of God I see very clear commands for women to:

  • Manage their households (1 Tim.5:14)
  • To watch over the ways of their households (Proverbs 31:27)
  • To build their homes, that is, the relationships in their homes (Proverbs 14:1)
  • And to be about the business of homemaking (Titus 2:5)

In none of those do I see a mandate for women to refrain from working outside their homes. In fact, if anything, I see in the Proverbs 31 woman the example of a homemaker who sells her skills. Her employment to the “merchants” of the world is PART OF HER HOMEMAKING!

She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.” – Proverbs 31:24

Now, no doubt, the extent to which a woman is engaged in employment for money and can still manage, build and keep a home is a factor. But I can’t decide how much is too much for you, neither can you decide that for me. Each of us must walk by faith in the Spirit and decide how best to manage our households under the leadership of our husbands (if we have husbands).

It has been really hard for me to admit this. I feel like I can identify with Paul after having been Saul, zealously, in the name of God, persecuting Jesus by persecuting His church. I feel like I’ve been so blind to the truth about homemaking and have clung to the cause of “to work or not to work” that I’ve ignorantly been hurting my Lord and His body in doing so.

Christ has not called me or any of us to trumpet the cause of to work or not to work. He’s called us to trumpet Christ! And as far as causes, God has ONE for us no matter what the circumstances of our lives are:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. – Romans 8:28-29

Yes, we are to teach sound things, scriptural things. As women of God we’re called to obey the teaching of being homemakers and to teach other women in our lives to be homemakers too. And when we add to that command OUR belief that homemaking means not working outside our homes, we add a burden that is beyond the easy yoke of Christ.

“…admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:4-5

Christ calls us to be servants in our homes, managers of our homes, and builders of the relationships in our homes whether we work outside our homes or not! And from Proverbs 31:24 I see Him calling us to use the skills He’s given us to contribute to the income that maintains our homes.

Whether our use of skills is in making homemade things and selling them, or serving dinner in a local restaurant, or helping a woman give birth to her child… part of the management of our homes involves using our skills to earn money. This of course will have its season in our lives as homemakers.

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven… – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Some of us have the blessing of a husband who provides all the necessary income for the household, freeing us to use our skill to earn money in creative ways. Some of us are doing the unpaid service of nursing and raising small children, an employment for which the compensation is beyond monetary, and one which leaves little time in the day for earning any money. Some of us are single moms, providing is not an option and is a very real part of our homemaking. Some of us are able to work outside our homes and still be available to our families and about the business of managing our households. In each case our call is the same: We are to be watching over the ways of our households and not eating the bread of idleness. This brings God glory in our lives.

The question is not should I work outside my home or not. These are the questions I need to ask:

  • Do I love my husband and children as a friend?
  • Am I a home-maker or a home-destroyer?
  • Do I watch over the ways of my household or have I abandoned that for self indulgence?

I’m so thankful for the past 3 years I’ve been able to dedicate solely to our home. My heart is full of gratitude for my husband who has been, and continues to be, the willing provider and leader of our home. As God has rid me of my own law concerning homemaking, and taught me His will, I’m excited to see how He will provide the perfect way to make my own “linen garments” and sell them as part of the testimony of homemaker He’s building in me for His glory!

In the rest of this first part of the Matters of the Home series I’ll be sharing more about the triune ministry of homemaking I see in God’s word. I’d love to hear your feedback, even if it’s in disagreement with what I’ve written here. Whether you feel passionate about a woman not working outside her home or not, if you are a new creature in Christ we are sisters! We are part of the same body! I want us to be united in Him in love!

Comment questions:

  • Is working outside your home a season of life you are in right now?
  • What skills/talents do you have that you can do your own modern-day making of linen garments and selling them?
  • Is your mind engulfed in personal career goals or in the building up of your home for God’s glory?

    So glad He found me ,

Isaiah 51:3

From Elizabeth Elliot

Sunday Morning

Sunday mornings can be a real test of a mother’s sanctification, especially if her husband happens to be a pastor who leaves the house much earlier than the rest of the family. Here’s how it went recently in one house (you’re free to speculate on whose):

“The fifteen-year-old couldn’t tuck his shirt in because of `something to do with the pockets,’ and his belt was too small.

“The thirteen-year-old was having trouble curling her hair.

“The ten-year-old couldn’t find her Sunday School lesson.

“The eight-year-old hadn’t done his Bible readings because he didn’t know which they were.

“The six-year-old’s room and closet were unacceptably messy, and the socks she had on were muddy.

“The three-year-old couldn’t find her Bible. Although not yet a reader, she couldn’t
think of going to church without the Bible.

“The baby’s carrying blanket had disappeared.”

Somehow the mother was to be nicely groomed, calm, and able to get this whole package into a van, seated and belted as law requires, and drive them to church on time.

But everything in this scene is the King’s Business, which He looks on in loving sympathy and understanding, for, as Baron Von Hugel said, “The chain of cause and effect which makes up human life, is bisected at every point by a vertical line relating us and all we do to God.” This is what He has given us to do, this task here on this earth, not the task we aspired to do, but this one. The absurdities involved cut us down to size. The great discrepancy between what we envisioned and what we’ve got force us to be real. And God is our great Reality, more real than the realest of earthly conditions, an unchanging Reality. It is His providence that has put us where we are. It’s where we belong. It is for us to receive it–all of it–humbly,
quietly, thankfully.

Sunday morning, the Lord’s Day, can be the very time when everything seems so utterly unrelated to the world of the spirit that it is simply ridiculous. Yet to the Lord’s lovers it is only a seeming. Everything is an affair of the spirit. Everything, to one who loves God and longs with a sometimes desperate longing for a draught of Living Water, a single touch of His hand, a quiet word–everything, I say, can be seen in His perspective.

Does He watch? Yes, “Thou God seest me” (Genesis 16:3, KJV). Is His love surrounding us? “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3, KJV). “I will never leave thee or forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5, KJV). May I offer to Him my feeling of the dislocation between reality and my ideals, that great chasm which separates the person I long to be, the work I long to do for Him, the family I struggle to perfect for His glory–from the actuality? I may indeed, for it is God Himself who stirs my heart to desire, and He can easily see across the chasm. He enfolds all of it, He is at work in me and in those I pray for, “to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, KJV). I may take heart, send up an instant look of gratitude, and–well, get that beloved flock into the van and head down the freeway singing!

Sir Thomas Browne wrote, “Man is incurably amphibious; he belongs to two
worlds–to two sets of duties, needs, and satisfactions–to the Visible or This
World, and to the Invisible or Other World
” (Essays and Addresses, 2nd series).

I’m so glad there’s an Elizabeth Elliot. I tell ya, sometimes I think God gave her the words to speak because He new I couldn’t and yet I need so badly for someone to speak what the Spirit is teaching me. He truly is doing this work in me. I find Him often pointing out that my disappointment and disatisfaction is not because my life is not what I thought it should be or would be by now, but because I have not fully surrendered myself to His soveriegnty in what my life is RIGHT NOW! He knows the desires of my heart… I must leave them with Him. But He is in control of what is before me today, so I can be His diswasher today, or His bend-down-to-tie-that-shoe-15-times person today, or the one looking for that misplaced inhaler for the third time today. I can be His meal-planner today, and His training children in manners and hygiene person today. Whatever He sets before me today, if I surrender myself fully to it for His glory, I will be fully satisfied, because I’ll simply be serving Him. I’ll have a heart like David, who, though he knew his annointing was as king he said, “A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:10)

I’d rather be a floor washer, and dish doer, a bum wiper, and bath drawer, a meal server, and husband helper, a child trainer and comforter, and a dog-poop picker upper, for one day in the courts of my God than live the good life in the home of the wicked.

Redeeming the time