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.
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor 11:3 NKJV)
Let's look at some of the facts about man, as found in Genesis 1 and 2:
Headship was established in the Garden of Eden. It is not a result of the Fall. However, due to sin, men now "naturally" struggle to lead while women struggle to submit.
Adam was to start his own household and to be the head of his wife. Nowadays, men could lead their wives in love and in wisdom, while women could humbly and in meekness follow their husbands' guidance. But, you see, that day, when Eve took of the forbidden fruit, she decided to go her own way. And Adam listened to her and followed her lead instead of obeying God's command.
Now, because of our fallen nature, leading and submitting have turned into something unpleasant, something we want to deny and escape. Men either do not want to rule their own households, or, if they do, they do so in a more or less selfish and abusive way. Women, on the other side, do not want to be told what to do and often take over the lead to rule over their husbands.
If she submits, will she not admit that she is worth less (than her husband)?
Think of different roles: Whenever men of different ranks are sent to war, are the lives of the men with the lowest rank worth less than the ones who have achieved higher ranks? Of course not!
Think of different ages: Is a twenty-year-old mother of less value than the one who is in her forties? Of course not!
Think of different sexes: Is a 4-year-old girl worthless compared to a 4-year-old boy? Of course not!
We, the women, have not been made to be trampled upon by men, nor have we been made to rule over them.
I love what Matthew Henry says in his commentary:
That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her... (Proverbs 31:11 NKJV)
One of the good things mentioned in Titus 2 is love, namely that the older women teach the younger women to love their husbands and to love their children.
When I was a teenager I asked two older women (my grandaunts) how I would know that I love a man enough to get married to him. "Love has nothing to do with it," they replied and that it must always be a marriage of convenience. The two ladies grew up during WWI. Since then, opinions have changed dramatically, and so did the reasons for getting married and staying married. Now, by what standard shall we choose our spouse? We will leave that question open for another day's post. Today I want to introduce what it means to love our husbands.
One grandaunt's husband went to war after their wedding and died, the other never did get married. I often wondered: How would they know what loving a husband really means? Say, is it possible to find out just by reading the Bible? Yes, I think so. But it takes time, good listening (to God's Word) skills and the effort to study the Word of God. After getting the big picture of it, though, more or less unanswered questions might remain especially in regard to what this love should like when the marriage life is getting tough. I couldn't possibly go into all details today. That would be going beyond the scope of this post. However, I will pick up sensitive topics in the near future and I will write about them. So please stay tuned.
Overall: What does loving your husband mean?
Praying for him.
Submitting to him (as long as he doesn't demand of you to go against God's will, of course).
Doing him good all the days of your life.
She is a good wife that is fit to be trusted, and he is a good husband that will leave it to such a wife to manage for him. (Matthew Henry's commentary on Proverbs 31:10-31)
Have you ever wished that someone would have told you the truth about how hard and painful it can be to become pregnant, give birth and raise children in this world? Or, have you ever wondered why, in a more or less civilized world, men and women are still fighting in a competition of who is worth more than the other? Why are people still struggling to find meaning and purpose in their lives?
I didn't grow up in a Christian home and I regret that I didn't have any older women around who would teach me the principles about biblical womanhood and Christian homemaking. Now older isn't necessarily relating to age here. The women could have been much younger than I but more mature in their walk with Christ.
True, nowadays we will find an abundance of advice available to us – online and offline. So why bother writing more on that topic? Let me explain what kind of studies I have found so far and what it is that I'm really looking for.
There are studies for women arranged by topics. Often enough these teachings will talk about a specific topic that is of more or less interest to us. Throwing in Bible verses doesn't make these teachings Rock-solid, though. They are usually created to be women-ish and all about us and how we will succeed in life.
On the other side, there are studies for women that go through certain books of the Bible. Often enough I don't find any “female” aspect in them.
What I'm looking for is a study for women that would guide us through God's Word, stopping us each time the verses are specifically addressed to women, and then helping us to read them again and to study what God is telling us – so we can apply the principles in our own lives.
Twenty years ago, while still in my 30s, I started writing a book about The Christian Homemaker. That time God had other plans for me, though. Surely I needed to grow a lot more before I could even start thinking of teaching other women. Now, twenty years later, I feel a strong desire to pick up this work again and – by God's Grace – to finish it before my time on earth is up.
I want to share the pleasure with you that comes through digging deeper into God's Word. I want to encourage you to read and study along. You will be amazed, how much God cares for us and how much He has to say to and about us.