You never pay attention to what I'm saying.
We have to watch our words. Unkind words can tear people apart, and they can break a marriage. As Christian women we should practice using words that are constructive rather than destructive. We need to focus on building up instead of tearing down.
It's so easy to give out, but it's hard to accept censure, isn't it? At times, we can really dish it out, can't we? But if we are attacked by harsh words we are deeply offended. Both times the problem lies in the way we handle the situation.
We often go wrong by targeting the person and not the problem. We will say something like, "You never..." or "You always..." do this or that. Think of it from the other's point of view, if someone tells you that you never or you always do this or that, aren't you offended?
A well-meaning friend threw me out of balance a while ago. She criticized one of my habits. First I was offended and went into defence mode. Then I decided to tackle the problem. I made some progress but only with baby steps. No, I'm far from avoiding this particular habit. Honestly? Each time I sense that someone shows the slightest attempt to mention it I'm thrown back to the beginning again. Did I need to hear the criticism? Perhaps. Was it okay for her to attack me and not my problem? No. Did she intentionally use hurtful words? I don't think so.
Unkind and destructive words can come out in a flash. In some cases the offended person will eventually get over it. In other cases unfit words leave deep cuts behind. By all means we need to target the problem itself and not the person. Sometimes that isn't quite as easy to do, I know. Here are just two ideas how to attack the problem and not the person:
The toothpaste problem: Are you annoyed because the tube of toothpaste in your bathroom looks the way it does - all but nice and neatly squeezed? >> Don't get annoyed at the people using it. Get a toothpast roller (also called squeezer) to tackle the problem.
The laundry problem: Tired of having to collect all the socks and shirts off the floors and out of each room? Buy a few extra popup or foldable laundry hampers. They are available in many nice colors. Put one in each bedroom. Tell each family member that only the clothes that are in the hampers will be taken to the laundry room to be washed, dried, folded, and brought back to the rooms.
A full-time homemaker doesn't leave her home to make money, but she is out to save the family some money each month. The family's finances will not increase, but they will decrease slower than usual. In other words, less money spend will make the regular income last longer.
Following are few ideas on how to stretch your monthly resources:
What does God's Word tell us about our finances? If we would do a topic search about money we would bump into keywords and phrases like:
Don't love money. Love God instead.
God owns everything. It's all His. In 1 Chronicles we read:
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory,
See, we don't own our money. We are stewards of it. God gives us the resources freely, but He also asks us to be wise in the way we handle them. As full-time Christian homemakers we are given the opportunity to praise and honor Him in the way we are handling "our" monthly income.
I was looking for a good recipe for making strawberry jam today. The recipes I found online were not good enough. They asked for too much sugar, water, and gelling agents. An old recipe book came into my mind. So I knelt in front of the kitchen cupboard and, after taking out most of the things, I found the old Weck® book all the way in the back. I scanned through it and found some recipes I liked. I noticed that many of these 1950s recipes were quite different than the ones we find in today's cookbooks.
The jam recipes in my old book called for less sugar, no water, and no gelling agents. I tried one of them today. As hubby walked into the kitchen he said: "It sure smells good in here." He got to taste fresh, homemade strawberry jam. He didn't miss any sugar in it. In fact, he mentioned that the jam was quite sweet. This means that next time I could use even less sugar. I'm delighted about that. There will be homemade jam on our breakfast table from now on.
Processed food contains a lot more than the original ingredient/s. It will have additives and preservatives inside. Many of these add on products are more or less unhealthy for us. If you look at the product packaging label you will discover ingredients you probably never heard of before. The question is: Are they necessary, healthy, filling?
I give you three reasons why you should consider to make food from scratch:
Now, I have to admit that baking and cooking does take time. Sometimes we will have to invest a lot of time to get the right results. Today's jam recipes will take only 3-5 minutes to complete. Making jam according to a recipe of the good ol' fashion days requires 20-25 minutes. The tasty outcome proves, though, that the right ingredients and the extra time spent are well worth it.
In Exodus 18 we find a story about Moses judging the people. Some of the issues brought before him were minor while others were major problems that needed to be solved. From morning until evening the people came to Moses asking him to settle their issues. At some point the workload became too heavy for Moses. He was not able to carry it out on his own. Jethro, his father-in-law, said to him:
Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.
Just like Moses we tend to think we can and have to do everything on our own. We wash, hang up, take down, iron, and fold the clothes. We prepare, cook, and serve the food. We clear the table, rinse the dishes, load and unload the dishwasher. When we are running out of our own strength we try to push ourselves just a little bit further.
Just like Moses we have to listen and admit that we have our limits. We are not able to perform all tasks on our own. And we are certainly not able to do the impossible. We can't change others and we can't fix their problems for them. In fact, we ourselves are in desperate need of help so that we can and are willing to change. We have to face our hardships, and while we are going through them we are in need of someone who can not only do the possible but who is also able to do the impossible.
When the death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction, abuse, sickness, mobbing, or any other worldy lions attack us then we are in desperate need for someone who can carry us through and make the impossible possible.
And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
What lions are you facing right now? Do you believe in the One who is able to deliver you from them?
In my last post, Tough Decisions, I shared with you a story about one of my saddest times in my life. After reading a tract about marriage, divorce, and remarriage my husband and I had to face the question of whether we could stay married or if we would have to get a divorce. This is a follow up to Friday's post.
We prayed. We asked, no, we begged, we pleaded with the LORD for our marriage.
What are you supposed to do in a situation like that? Search for articles, read books, go online for help? How about asking your pastor, friend, or members of your family what they would do? For us the dilemma started after reading what a particular denomination says about remarriage.
I will not mention the tract in details nor tell you more about that denomination. This post is not intended to refute their arguments nor to belittle their denomination.
The whole point I want you to get out of this post is: Search the Scriptures for answers. I don't mean for you to pick and choose as you please (oh, I'm very much guilty of having done that before) but to diligently search for answers in the Bible.
Searching for answers in God's Word means to be ready:
Our marriage could have ended right there. To move forward we had to accept to do whatever He would require us to do. We had to lay our marriage on the Altar of God. All glory to Him, He had plans for us to remain married.
No matter what you are facing, in all you do, seek God's will first.
This had been one of the saddest times of my life. I had read a tract about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, handed it over to my husband, and eagerly waited for him to share his thoughts about it with me.
“Let's pray. Let's ask God to reveal to us, through His Word, what He wants us to do.”
We prayed. We asked, we begged, we pleaded with the LORD for our marriage.
This particular tract argued that a person who remarried, after having been married and divorced before, must get a divorce and go back to the first spouse and marry that spouse again. The second marriage, or any that follows after the first one, except after the death of the first spouse, is sinful in God's eyes.
In a situation like this one we tend to find out all we can by...
reading articles and books about it
searching the internet for answers
asking our pastor, friends, or members of our close family what they suggest we should do
However, this kind of situation calls for a serious digging into the Bible!
Pray for wisdom and understanding from God.
Read your Bible. Trust in God's Word.
Wait upon the LORD to reveal His answer to you.
We prayed, we searched the Scriptures, and we asked God for direction. The hardest part was to admit and be ready that, if the LORD says and requires us to get a divorce, we will have to do as God tells us to do. It felt like something is tearing my heart apart...
It's hard to come to a point where your heart longs to go this way but God seems to be leading you unto another way. When faced with tough decisions, what will you do? Will you choose God's ways over man's ways? How far will you go?
I love to read Proverbs 31. By the end of 2019 I will have read it seven times (once in each month that has thirty-one days). Honestly? Often enough I will read its words with mixed feelings. Why? I feel the standard is quite high and it seems impossible for me to achieve.
A few weeks ago, while reading Proverbs 31, I dwelt on verse 15 for a little while:
She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.
While I was thinking about the word "food" something came to my mind. Before I'll go on, I'll have to explain that I'm originally from a region in Germany which is famous for its money wise people. All through our lives we hear: Save! Economize! Use sparingly!
So how does this relate to the food for her household? Whenever I'm trying to share with others how to save money on grocery bills they will usually reply something like: "I save here and there but I can't cut down on my food expenses." It is important to mention, of course, that saving on food goes hand in hand with being (a little bit more) content with what we are eating. That's where the problem usually lies and the discussion will end: barley, beans, chicken soup, pea stew, lentils, wheat, and many other homemade dishes I grew up with are no longer tasty for the modern tongue.
The Proverb also says that the woman is not afraid of snow (verse 21), that she watches over the ways of her household, and that she doesn't eat the bread of idleness (verse 27). She is such an extraordinary good role model, isn't she? I admire this woman and would love to become like her some day. How about you?
The past three weeks had been quite tough. In the middle of struggling with problems it's hard to be still and know that God is still in control, isn't it?
One thing happened after another and each situation brought new challenges along. I'm worried about things and so I try to plan ahead to avoid any bad consequences. Planning and organizing just comes naturally to me. Something that isn't in my (human) nature, though, is to be still and to wait upon the LORD.
How about you?
Just a short while ago we had been reading through the Book of Isaiah. Then, the other day, I have stumbled across Psalm 27. I looked over the notes again to remind myself of what we had discussed during our Bible study a few weeks ago. Verse 14 says: Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the LORD! (NKJV)
Yes, it isn't always easy to wait on the LORD. We want to take matters into our own hands, don't we? We want to make things happen then and now - the sooner, the better. The problem is that, often enough, we will fail due to our own weakness; we will faint and be weary, and utterly fall.
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)
If you find yourself going through a tough time these days, take a short time out and open up your Bible to Isaiah 40. Start reading from verse 21 and onward, or, better yet, read the whole chapter (it's only 31 verses long) of Isaiah 40. Then, go ahead and read Psalm 27 to comfort and encourage yourself - to know that, no matter what you are facing today, God remains faithful and in control.
Of all the larger and smaller kitchen appliances that are available on today's market, which ones do we really need? Which ones could we do without?
Last year the old one broke and had to go. Now, having enough money saved up for a replacement, I searched for the right one. I did an extensive online research. While at it I ran into some shocking trouble (You can read more on that in Take Precautions). But, finally, I have found the one I wanted to order. It's on its way now and should be delivered today. (I'll do a review about it in the near future.)
Even though it can be very time consuming, I usually enjoy buying a new kitchen appliance and find it exciting to go into the store or to order it from an online shop – at least most of the time. What I don't like is the part I'll have to do before the purchase: thinking about whether I'll need the item or not, researching what's on the market, and then choosing the right one.
I start by asking myself a few questions:
Have you ever asked yourself just how different shopping would be not having to pinch pennies? Imagine, you could choose whatever you would like to pick without having to look at the price-tag. Would this be easier and more fun? I don't think so. If I'm looking back, thinking about many of the things I have bought for my home, the ones I had to save toward to buy were the most exciting ones to get. Yes, if the budget is more generous then we can choose from a wider selection of products. We are able then to buy more expensive items. But, you know what? Having more money means that we are able to pay more for products we do need; but we will also waste income on fancy items that we don't really need.
Do your research and then make a decision based on the best possible answers you could come up with. Remember that there is no perfect machine and that even the best will cease to function sooner or later.
Stay tuned for more detailed posts about individual kitchen appliances.
We can so easily get distracted, can't we? Innumerable thoughts are crowding our minds and throughout the day more or less urgent tasks are calling our immediate attention. Some mornings we are so overwhelmed by the enormous pile of work that lies ahead of our day. We ask ourselves: How do other homemakers get all of their jobs done? What is their secret? How come their house is always spotless and tidy while our home can't remain in that stage for more than thirty minutes after it has been cleaned up?
Forgive me, now I got a bit carried away with homemakers. We will dive into the secrets of efficient homemaking in future posts. Today, let's focus on avoiding distractions, though.
What do I mean by that? Stay on target! First things first. Don't fall for distractions coming along your way that will keep you from fulfilling your role. Remember that other women might not be as convinced as you want to be about your work at home.
While I was a young child my parents used to tell me:
“You can go outside to play after you have finished your homework.”
Later on, being a parent myself, I've heard the exact words come out of my own mouth.
How come we will understand this principle in regard to schoolwork but fail to apply this to keeping our homes? Is it true that at times we won't take our job seriously enough?
I'm not judging you but have to start with myself here. Do you know how many times I'll get drawn away from my commitment at home? All sorts of other things or more or less well-meaning people demand to play first role.
I know too well, that housework seems an everlasting task. I'm not saying that we should never spend time outside our homes. What I wish, though, is that we would remind ourselves to take our God-given role more seriously and to stay focused on what is important and needs to come first.