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.
Blessed is the man
Yesterday my husband and I finished the first six months of our Bible reading plan*. This means that we just started our second round of reading through the Book of Psalms and therefore we have read Psalm 1 this morning. If you are following me at my other blog, too, you probably read my post about Favorite Books where I'm talking about my love for the Psalms:
I love the Psalms — reading them, meditating on them, and especially singing them.
Reading and believing in God's Word doesn't make all of our problems and sorrows disappear. We will find much comfort and hope in the Word of God, though. By seeking the LORD Jesus Christ with all our heart, we will soon know that He is the only One who is capable to give us eternal life and the One who will, in the near future, wipe away every tear from our eyes. Then there shall be no more death, nor more sorrow, no more crying, and no more pain! (see Revelation 21:4)
Don't be fooled. Some might try to tell you that there is a way in the middle. But there is not. From cover to cover the Bible tells us that there are only two ways in this life to choose from: The Way of the Word vs. The Way of the World.
*Bible Reading Plan We are using The Legacy Reading Plan as a guideline. I have slightly adjusted the plan so that we are following along reading the books as suggested, reading one Proverb a day, and reading one Psalm a day instead of three Psalms per week. This will take us once through all the other books of the Bible (Old and New Testament), except for Proverbs and Psalms. Our slightly changed plan guides us twelve times through the Book of Proverbs and twice through the Book of Psalms.
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?
I grew up in a more or less traditional Christian home. My parents had a business with my mom working close to full time hours. I've always admired her talent to keep her household running. She wasn't that great of a cook — we often ate take away food at home — but now and then she would bake delicious cakes and she always kept her house spotless. If you could have taken a look inside the chest of drawers, cupboards and wardrobes in our home, you surely would have been amazed at how clean and tidy they were. She did a good job being a part time homemaker. Sadly, most of her life her focus had been on worldly things, beauty, and wealth.
My aunt was a full time homemaker. Her house was not as spotless as ours but her pantry offered an abundance of homemade canned products from her garden like fruit, juices, and vegetables. She baked more breads and cakes than my mom. She sew beautiful dresses, shirts, and various other clothing. When I was growing up I thought that she really enjoying keeping her home. She penny-pinched and did not waste money on fancy things — neither for herself nor for her family.
They both got married when they were still very young. My mom had a full time job working outside her home. My aunt was a full time homemaker. I doubt that neither one nor the other found real joy in keeping the family home. Sadly, neither one nor the other has passed on her knowledge of homemaking to the next generation.
In a world in which our roles and identities are so badly distorted, very few of us can build our homes on a solid foundation. Not many women will get a good start into the life as a young homemaker. And who, if any, is teaching the young girls today — what it means to be a keeper at home?