Practicing Gratefulness

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When you buy a new house, there is a constant battle that goes on in your mind with all of your new wants, and striving to be content with what you have. It’s a natural thing to want to furnish a home and set it up as cozy and comfortable as possible. And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t start to idolize those desires. It’s been a fun process of deciding what’s most important to buy first and what things can wait.

Matt and I decided living room furniture was next on the list because we currently have one couch in our living room (that we dearly love) but that doesn’t leave a lot of room for guests to sit if we have them over. We’ve joked about having a BYOCC (Bring Your Own Camping Chair) policy if people want to sit anywhere but the floor or squished on the couch when they come over. So needless to say, we were so excited about saving up our money and buying new living room furniture.

Well……..we can dream right? Turns out our cars were feeling a little under the weather and needed to be taken care of. Unfortunately, they are rather needy cars and don’t settle for minor fixes. They require a lot of attention when they decide to stop working properly, leaving us with a major hole in our emergency fund. All that goes to say, the money that we thought was going to go towards new furniture has now been invested into our cars, so the BYOCC policy will have to remain in effect for a little while longer while we re-save.

SO, tonight I made a little chalkboard sign to remind us to be grateful. Because so often we can look at these circumstances and get really bummed out. So we needed a visual reminder to look on every day that we have been incredibly blessed.

To name a few things:

  • First and foremost, we have Jesus. The author and finisher of our faith who provides for our every single need.
  • Each other. God has blessed us with a wonderful marriage and a 2-year wedding anniversary coming around the corner.
  • Our family. We have the most incredible support system on both sides.
  • Our friends. God has given us lifelong friends that sharpen, encourage, and challenge us. As well as just making life fun.
  • Our church. We have an amazing church that preaches the Word and really lives like the Body of Christ.
  • A brand new house with a one year warranty on everything.
  • A vacation coming up that we’ve saved for for 6 months and is already completely paid for. Hallelujah.
  • The cars that we do have, no matter how problematic they may be, are both paid in full.
  • Food. We’re never without food or access to food.
  • Our health.
  • Our jobs and the fact that Matt’s on summer vacation!

AND about a billion more things. We are blessed. So when it comes down to it, gratitude really does turn what we have into enough. It changes our perspective and encourages us to use what God’s given us to be a blessing to others.

So tell me, what are you thankful for? How do you practically practice gratitude? I’d love to hear some of your ideas!

The Honor of Working at Home

Well….hello.

I feel like I need to introduce myself to my readers again because I’ve been gone for so long. With all the craziness of Christmas and a new year, building a house, and being on the job search again, my blog has taken the backseat, totally unintentionally. I honestly didn’t realize it had been so long since I had updated and for that, I apologize! So, without further ado, let me finish my summaries of Feminine Appeal for those of you who have been following along. Our Wednesday night group just finished last Wednesday, so I’m not too terribly behind, right? Ha, right.

Chapter 6 is titled, “The Honor of Working at Home,” which could quite possibly be a source of debate among some of you. So let me preface this by saying, there is no biblical mandate that says the wife and mother is sinning if she does not work at home. Absolutely not! There are definitely circumstances that do not allow that to happen, and people who would prefer to have a career outside the home. This is not intended to induce guilt by any stretch of the mind, so please don’t think this is some legalistic virtue that binds women to ONLY household duties and mothering. It is merely an encouragement to priorities these roles over other things and for us to realize the great honor that comes with it.

Titus 2:3-5 says,

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

Let’s all start on the same page here. Obviously, we are living in a post-feminism movement society. So let’s ask ourselves:

  • In what ways have we been influenced by the toxic feminist air that we have been breathing for the last several decades?

The media feeds us constant lies that being a wife and a mother is less honorable than having a career. Mahaney states, “Feminism has failed to deliver as advertised. Yet feminism philosophy has become thoroughly integrated into the values of mainstream society–so much so, that it has been absorbed and applied by the majority of women, even many who do not consider themselves feminist. Ask yourself: “Have I been seduced?” For me, having a career seems more glamourous sometimes–especially in my 20’s. It seems glamourous to have a nice paycheck, be able to buy nice clothes, travel for work, and to meet all kinds of people in all walks of life; to not be “tied down” at home.

  • But how does Scripture convince us to think differently about “working at home?”

1 Timothy 5:14 counsels the younger widows to marry, bear children, and manage their households.

Proverbs 31 we have the ideal wife and mother who’s sphere of work centered around the home.

1 Timothy 5:8 clearly states that men are responsible to be the providers for the home while women are responsible to be the caretakers of the home.

However the KEY is this:

“Scripture provides examples of godly women who worked in other settings and earned extra income, but never to the neglect of their families and homes” (104).

Working at home should be a constant and ongoing priority in our lives. Seasons of our lives will change and working outside the home will not compromise our work in the home. Especially before children and after they have left the house. However, whenever we contemplate opportunities outside of the home, we must first consider what consequences they might have on our families. That includes our motives for working outside the home. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are my reasons for considering this opportunity? Are they selfish or God-honoring?
  2. Will pursuing this venture glorify God and honor the gospel?
  3. Is this an undertaking that will help my husband?
  4. Will it enhance and enrich the lives of my family?
  5. Does this endeavor hinder my role as caretaker of my home?

Let us remember, though, Scripture doesn’t say that wives and mothers are sinning if they work outside the home. Let that be clear! There will be some women in circumstances that do not allow them the choice. However, our PRIORITY should always be to our husband, children, and home first.

In all of this, we must know where our ability to do this comes from. Psalm 28:7 says, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts and I am helped.” God is the One who has called you to be a homemaker, and He will supply all the strength you need as you look to Him (107).

Scripture has provided a job description for us as managers of our homes, and it is surprisingly simple: We are to be our husband’s helper. (Genesis 1:26-31, 2:7-25, 1 Cor. 11:8-9) We can easily determine what we should do and how we should do it by asking ourselves: “What will most help my husband?” As Douglas Wilson puts it, “The man needs THE help, the woman needs TO help” (109). That is our God given role and God-equipped nature.

  • How is your attitude at home while you are “homemaking?” Would your husband and family describe you as happy?

REMEMBER: Proverbs 31:13 says “she works with her hands in delight!”

The tasks have to get done, you might as well make them fun!

The goal of all of this is so our homes can actually be a showcase for the gospel. In God’s economy, homemaking is a high and noble calling!

Our homes should be our families’ safe haven. It is our responsibility to make that happen.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Ask your husband what you can do that will be MOST helpful to him this week.
  2. What is one new skill of homemaking you’d like to acquire?
  3. Keep this as a constant issue of prayer in every season of your life.