Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Where should we look for answers? Who is there to help us decide? How will we know right from wrong? We have to draw near to God.
At times I find it hard to make a choice. What should I wear to church on Sunday? Do I pack the peanut butter and jelly sandwich or the cheese sandwich for lunch? What will I make for dinner tonight? Is there enough milk left for tomorrow, or do I have to make an extra trip to the store to buy more?
How about you? Do you find it hard to make decisions?
It doesn't end here, does it? Sometimes there is money involved. Should I buy the cheaper shoes that I can afford right now, or should I wait and spend more money to buy the branded leather ones? Do I really need a new car or will the one I drive last another two years? How much should I save each month?
And, what about the life-changing decisions? Should I go out with this guy or not? When is it okay to get married? How many children do I want to have? Should I seek a college degree or not? Where should I go to work? Do I accept a full-time job or not after getting married?
Questions after questions, and we are longing for the LORD to answer them, don't we? God is probably not telling us which of the two sandwiches we should pack into our lunchboxes. Concerning a sale, He might not give us the answer right away, and we will need to wait a little bit longer to find out whether we should buy a more expensive item or not. One of the ways God is leading us in our decisions is by sending people into our lives who will give us wise counsel. He can use a friend or sister to guide us (back) onto the right path. The best advice for us to make the right choices in life is found in God's Word. To seek it, we have to pick up our Bibles and read.
We must be aware, though, that the devil is crafty and a deceiver from the beginning. It's no mistake that he is called the father of lies. He always questions God's commands and asks us, "Has God indeed said?" If we give in and reason with the devil then the foundation on which we stand on is shaken. We have to be careful not to fall for the devil's lie. Many times the forbidden food looks so good, so ideal, so pleasant to our eyes that we desire it, reach out, take it, and eat it. The consequences are often devastating and always lead to some sort of death, e.g. death of our marriage, not necessarily death of our bodies but of our health, or the death of an important contract. (see also Genesis 3:1-6)
Yes, God's Word is still relevant today no matter if Satan continues to question it. Sad but true, we need to be aware that the original lie, Has God indeed said?, can even be found in churches at times. Its wording will be different, e.g.
Before any major decision: Pray. Read your Bible. Wait and expect the LORD to answer.
God is never done working in our lives. No matter if we are in our 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s, we need wise counsel from other Christian women who are mature in their faith.
My mom's birthday is coming up in a few days. If she hadn't died eight years ago she would have turned 78 this year. I still miss her so much, and sometimes I wonder how different our lives and our relationship would have been if both of us would have been raised in a Christian home.
I started this website, The Christian Homemaker, with the goal in mind to teach young women about homemaking in the light of God's Word. Likewise I wanted to exchange thoughts with the older women on how we can reach the next generation.
How will the young women know if they are going in the right direction? We need to help our daughters in how to make decisions because if we don't somebody else will. The world will more than miss the mark in teaching young women about true love, hope, and faith in the LORD Jesus. A worldly oriented society pushes our daughters unto wrong paths, but it will bail out when things get tough or advice them to give into extreme actions.
To be continued...
Who are your friends?
1 If I wanted to know which friend you trust the most what would your answer be?
2 If I would ask you, “Who is your best friend?” what would you say?
3 If I tell you that you have won a two-weeks trip to a lonely island for two people. Which one of your friends would you take with you?
Depending on our relationship with the LORD Jesus we probably mention Him in our answers of questions one and two. Or else, if we are married, we might say that it is our husband. I wonder, though, how many of us would take our husbands on a two weeks trip to the isle?
For now, I would like for you to put aside options Jesus and husband, and think of your girlfriends. Who would you be most comfortable with spending a whole two weeks together?
Once you arrived at the destination, how would you spend your time together? What would you expect to find out about your friend? Would there be something you are afraid of that might annoy you while being so close to her for two weeks?
True, most of us don't spend that amount of time with our girlfriends. Even if we do go on vacation together we enjoy a good deal of hours on our own. Nevertheless, throughout the years we meet a lot with our friends, and so they have a more or less bigger influence on our lives.
What does God's Word say about friendships? Find out in one of my future posts. So please stay tuned.
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.
Do you take delight walking at the beach?
We usually don't leave home to go on a vacation. Why not? We are blessed to be living in an area where others are dreaming of spending their time during the summer.
I'm so grateful for that, especially during my walks at the beach early in the morning. Some mornings I get sidetracked but most of the time I enjoy being there — watching and listening the waves coming ashore, smelling the sea breeze, and reaching down to pick up some of the most beautiful sea shells and stones. I always find it amazing how these beauties sparkle — right there, at the place where I'm finding them. And how many times do I pick them up to take them with me! I love looking at them. But, you know what? I'm always a bit disappointed after taking them home. There is something missing when they are out of place: they aren't nearly as magnificent as they are at the beach.
Could it be that women who are taken out of place are losing a bit of that "sparkle" that makes them so special?
I know that this post is very similar to last week's Homesick. Still, it is something so dear to my heart. So, please bear with me. (Thank you!)
Today, just before this year's summer break, the ladies of my Bible study had come together for breakfast. Some of us talked about college degrees and on-going education for women. I mentioned my own degree, saying: "I have degree — in baking and cooking, cleaning, and other household tasks. I've learned it at home." One of the ladies agreed and said: "Yes, you have a degree in domestic science."
The world is looking down on homemakers, though. So what? At several stages in my life I had the chance to go for a college degree but I refused again and again. Did I ever regret it? Looking at it through worldly-oriented eyes: perhaps. Looking at it from an eternal point of view: not at all! It might not give the "reward" (to self) that some women are asking for. And, at least for some of us, it takes more time until we find true contentment in it — a contentment that the world will boldly promise us but isn't really capable of giving to us.
It's nearly two weeks since my last post and it has been two weeks before that one, too. I have been kept busy doing all kinds of things. I didn't have much time to do what I love most: homemaking and writing.
The last four weeks have been filled with such busyness but this week's schedule topped them all. I haven't felt this exhausted in ages. Running from one appointment to the next, keeping myself occupied with giving a lending hand here and there, some things — and somebody — suffered. I have not only put aside writing my blogs, but I have also neglected looking after my husband's needs. My home hasn't been kept as well as I would have liked to.
I felt so badly out of place this week that I was very much looking forward to getting back on track again. I longed to slip back into the fulfilling role of being a wife and homemaker — and a writer, too.
Do you ever feel homesick at times? When working outside your dominion do you feel an urgency of being back home again?
It’s about time to go back into the garden and pull some weeds. My mom actually enjoyed pulling weeds. You could literally see the joy in her face after she had managed to get to the root of each weed. Something I did not inherit, I’m afraid.
However, it is a job we will have to do. As long as we are on this earth we have to continue weeding. No matter how much we will ignore the weeds in our gardens, they will not disappear by it. They will grow as quick as lightning. The longer we procrastinate pulling them out the more stubborn they become; until they are almost unmanageable to handle.
As it is with weeds, so it is with problems in our families. What will start out small, if left unnoticed, will grow bigger and bigger and turn into a real threat for us and our loved ones.
One way of keeping them under control is through prayer and praises to God. Now what could offer us a better pattern for prayer than the Psalms? They are inspired by the One who knows all about us and our problems. Many who have gone before us have used these very words to express their needs and their helplessness to God. They have used them to offer their heartfelt praises to the LORD.
Girl, pull the weeds early enough to avoid unnecessary hardships in your life. However, if the weeds have become so unbearable and unmanageable, don’t despair. Instead, take the Word of God and sit down in a quiet spot — perhaps right now — and read, meditate on, and pray the Psalms.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring:
The rain also covers it with pools.
(Psalm 84:5-6 NKJV)
In It Takes Time I said that It is important to take time. Now that time I had been talking about the time factor for a good and successful marriage. Today I want to emphasize that we have to set our priorities right (Setting Priorities) in how and where we are spending our time.
I drove somebody to town the other day so that she could catch a bus to go to the airport. It was at an early hour but it was time well spent. On the way back I dwelt on these thoughts...
We have an appointment for a job interview, a job we really want to have. Won't we do everything in our power to be there on time?
We want to meet with that special friend who we haven't seen in months. Won't we go through all the efforts to arrange a meeting with her?
It would all depend on the work we are willing to put into our assignment the teacher said. Oh, and how seriously we had taken his words.
She had to get up at 5 in the morning. But she didn't mind. It was her wedding day and all worth it.
They made sure to leave early to head to the airport and to catch their plane. They made sure it would not leave without them because it would take them to Hawaii.
What about meeting with God every day? Do we take this lightly because, after all, He is there all the time anyway? Or do we think we can be there as we please because He will understand and forgive us if we are not?
Why do we pressure ourselves to the extreme to meet certain deadlines and to rush to appointments but when it comes to our time with God we procrastinate? How about just setting aside 5-10 minutes of quality time with the LORD every day?
I'm very much preaching to myself here, too. I have often caught myself putting God second, third, even last. We are tempted to push God off His rightful place in our life when we forget about Him. We are in danger of forgetting the One who has saved us, whenever we are of "perfect" health and well-off financially. We are tempted to hold on to our money and stuff, thinking more highly of our own "capability", and we are craving for other gods (things and people can become our gods).
God's Word offers us such an abundance of advice how to live: no matter if we are poor or if we are rich, whether we are young and full of energy or whether we are getting old. God, through His Word, talking to us today. He wants to be our one and only Father. He loves to spend time with His children. Are we making the time for Him today?
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:28-31 NKJV)
This is for you, my precious friend and beloved sister in Christ - and to you, girls, who are insecure whenever praises are directed at you.
Notice that the praises the woman of Proverbs 31 is receiving are not coming from herself, which wouldn't be right (Proverbs 27:2). Instead, her children, her husband, others, and her works are the ones who praise her.
This woman is a great blessing to her family, her friends, and her neighbors. Her children stand up for her mom and call her blessed. Her husband praises her for he is convinced neither his own nor any other daughter could ever keep nor make his house the home his wife does. His love looks beyond her charm and beauty; he acknowledges that because of her love to God she is able to help him in the way she does. Her works are praising her, they speak louder than any words could ever do.
Back to you, my precious friend. ...
Did you see that soft glance in your husband's eyes while you were sharing something about the good old days? Have you noticed how his shoulder moved closer to yours after you've taken your seat next to him? Did you hear his tone of admiration when he mentioned that dish you are cooking so well? How about your children? You may think you have failed in one or another way but have a good look at them! Not too close, my friend! Keep a bit of a distance to see them through the eyes of someone who isn't part of your family. You will see how comfortable they feel in your home and how much they love you.
Myself? At times, yes, I find myself having trouble accepting praise. That usually happens when I'm in doubt of deserving it or if I question the honesty of it. And, sadly, I do find myself desiring approval from others now and then. On the other side, whenever I read Proverbs 31:23, I become more and more aware of what is giving me the greatest pleasure of all (praise):
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
(Proverbs 31:23 NKJV)
Now, understand, this doesn't necessarily regard his place in the church. It might talk about his achievement at work or a position he is having within the community. A wife has quite an influence in her man's life: she can either support and encourage him and advance his reputation, or she can nag and drag him down. Remember, encouragement and praises mean a lot to your husband. I'll share some ideas about this in one of my future posts.
Sanitary pads that are reusable? Are you kidding me? Nope! Actually, I would like for you to reconsider using them if you have thought about them before. And, if you are new to this topic, please consider the numerous advantages that come from using washable feminine towels.
Do the math and add up the price for disposable ones, how many of them you are using per month and throughout the year, for how many years of your lifetime...
True, it will take a short while to get used to wearing them instead of disposable ones. However, you will feel the difference soon. These natural and washable cotton pads feel much nicer on the skin and they are healthier than their alternative chemical ones.
Yes, the plastic ones seem so much easier to handle and appear more convenient, at least most of the time. On the other side, however, they are absolutely not good for the environment. They contain quite a few chemicals (e.g. BPA and other plastics and fragrances and/or odor neutralizers) which can cause health issues to this sensitive part of your body. Restricting the free flow of air, they create a warmth and dampness in this area which can cause growth of bacteria and trigger yeast infections.
What to do with the pad after it has been used Keep a bucket (preferable with a lid on top), filled with cold water. Add a few drops of bleach to the water if you don't mind to do so. This will prevent smells and will prepare the pads for the wash later on. Put the used pads into it. Empty the bucket and refill the bucket frequently, rinsing the pads while doing so. Wash them later on, preferably at 60°C.
Store the washed ones in a non-transparent plastic or cardboard container close to where you will need them. Keep some of them in your handbag: put them inside a small bag along with a plastic zip lock bag for the used ones to take back home to wash.
Where to buy reusable sanitary pads Search for them online (e.g. at Amazon where you will usually find them). They come in different sizes and shapes. I've bought mine a few years back. I'm using Imse Vimse pads and I'm quite please with them. They are all white, including the inserts. Nowadays, they come in all kinds of patterns and colors.