Tag Archive for homemaking

Purpose for the Sidelined Mom

Nobody wants to live a sidelined life, especially young mothers who are full of energy and dreams. We want to make a difference and live with purpose, but frankly, life with little kids feels like being left out of the game all together.

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The rest of the world seems to be tackling life, moving ahead, and making progress, and we are very much stuck in the house. In fact, we haven’t made it out of the house in three days.

Do you ever wonder,

Lord, when am I actually going to do something of meaning for you? When will my life count? I’m home with these kids all day, every day. Everything I do is undone within 24 hours and nothing seems to last. I dreamed of serving others in your name. I long to share your mercy with others. I’m itching to encourage someone with your great love today.

I thought all these things when my kids were young. Especially on the bad days. You know the ones. On those days, I felt like I had missed my boat somewhere, somehow.

Those are exactly the times when my faith was tested. I wondered if God remembered me. Did He hear my prayer? Does He think that I am only qualified to wipe noses and break up toddler fights? (Which can be pretty scary, sometimes.)  I wondered if He realized all the lovely things I wanted to do for Him….if I wasn’t stuck in this house.

And then, one day, in the midst of my pity-party, God pulled back my blinders and showed me that He HAD in fact, answered my prayers. What I called “stuck”, God called “serving Him.” I wanted to go somewhere exciting to serve, but the Lord set up my base of ministry in my home. 

Perhaps you’re discouraged today. You thought that God would lead you to some exciting foreign mission, or to tend the sick in His name, or lead a Bible study, or to mentor women, or to have a ministry of encouraging hurting people, or feeding the poor. You thought you’d have this amazing calling.

From where you sit {looking over the mounds of laundry and your toy strewn living room} life is pretty mundane, and you’re discontent, wondering if this is all there is for you. You fear God’s passed you by somehow and that everyone else is doing the important work.

BUT, what if God has answered your prayer and you just don’t know it yet. Consider this:

What if God’s special mission for you is to be the one to encourage your own husband in your own home? Imagine how wonderful it would be to have him come home to a smile and a hug, a warm meal, and a “you’re important to me” look that lets him know you care?

What if God sent you to cook for those little faces right in front of you?  To give them a cup of cold water, in Jesus name?

What if God put you there to nurse sick kids in kindness in the middle of the night? To dry their tears when they are having nightmares? Someone has to do it.

What if God sent you teach your own children the Bible? Your teaching will impact generations for Christ, including your own grandchildren. That’s a pretty big assignment. Did you talk to your kids about God today? Are you pouring your life into teaching them first? Perhaps you could start there.

What if God sent you to encourage anyone who entered your home with the wonderful message of mercy and forgiveness that you’ve received? Imagine the impact a heart full of gratitude and a mouth that spills forth praise and thanksgiving could make on a discouraged younger mom, mailman, or neighbor?

Perhaps the biggest ministry impact we can have is right here, in these four walls.

Now, I know you’re doing many of these things, because women get things done. But, we all know that we can serve willingly or grudgingly. Sometimes, we’re going through the motions but our joy is all gone.

Let me encourage you to do what you’re doing for Jesus sake, and the joy will return. 

“Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

The location of your ministry doesn’t make it big, the Author of your ministry makes it big.

And if you are at home with little ones all day, praise God for such a ministry! Give them your best. Be the best example you can be. Show them how much Jesus loves them by being His hands and feet.

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That perspective changes everything, doesn’t it? :)

This, I can do Lord, for You!

Where Are The Titus 2 Women? – Part 2

For whatever reason, Titus 2 mentoring brings a mix of emotions.  Fear and insecurity, on the part of the older women, and frustration on the part of the younger women, who are wondering why all of the older women are MIA.

I received a lot of feedback on my article “Where Are The Titus 2 Women” and I am hoping to answer some of the questions that seem to be plaguing you.

So, several thoughts.

You are older than someone. Think of it in terms of young children. Your eight year old learns to tie their shoe and in turn teaches your five year old the same skill. They don’t know much but they teach what they know.

You don’t have to teach everything. Nobody expects you to be a walking Biblical encyclopedia or the next Martha Stewart. But you can teach them something. Whether it is to rely on Christ and point them to Him, or to  teach them to pray. When you are going through hard times, just watching a Biblical response to trials and fear is the best lesson you can pass along.  Domestically, you can teach whatever you are good at: baking, crafting, floral arranging, etc…

Teach them that God is sovereign over their life, even if it looks different than yours.  I have two teenage daughters and I am training them that God is sovereign. I am not training them to be “mommys”, or to be a wife, although those things are important. There are no guarantees that they will marry, or be able to have children. Training them to this “lesser” goal is doing them a disservice. I am training them to do whatever God puts in their path  for and to His glory and with the goal of furthering His Kingdom.  I think it is short sighted to train with any other goal in mind, and that you could actually set your child up for disappointment by training for something that is not a guarantee in this life. When I wake up in the morning, before I climb out of bed, I pray and thank God that he is in control and welcome whatever He brings into my life this day, good or bad.

Teach them what scripture teaches, and no more.  The best lesson you can teach your sister is to trust in God and to seek wisdom from Him on areas that are  “indifferent” in scripture.  Teach her to balance her liberty in Christ with self denial. What you may be able to practice without indulging your flesh (keeping your flesh at bay/self denial), your younger sister may not be able to practice.

We cannot go beyond what Titus 2 teaches, and add our own rules.  Scripture teaches that young women should to keep their homes, but it does not say by word or in example that they can never work outside the home. I have seen two opposite extremes of this view played out: on one hand to neglect your homes and to never care for it, and on the other hand to proclaim that women are “queens of their home” and that this is where they should always be.

We are to train them to be the best help that they can be to their husbands. Sometimes this involves working to help with finances, or working to help a husband get through seminary.  It means that we care well for our family, as unto the Lord, like everything else we are to do in life,  so that God’s word will not be evil spoken of. (Examples in scripture would be Ruth, Lydia and the Prov. 31 women.)

But for the most part, just being an encouragement and listening ear is a great place to start.

If you are lacking older Christian women, pray and then start by get advice from books. (see my Titus 2 resources)

If you are looking for a younger woman to encourage, begin by asking her to come to lunch or by offering to watch her children so she can get some errands done. Be helpful and start by building a relationship. God will bless your efforts to bless her!

Where Are The Titus 2 Women?

Last night I spoke to a sweet group of home schooling moms about the topic of Keeping Your Devotional Life devotional. I was so encouraged by their desire to teach their children God’s word. We sat and chatted afterwards and as we spoke, the “topic” came up. Titus 2 mentoring. These young women are raising families and they are looking for flesh and blood women who have “been there, done that” to walk beside them and give them guidance. Unfortunately, they are coming up short.

Titus 2 mentoring is not optional. Ladies, this is part of our calling.

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It does not need to take place in a classroom. It can take place in your home, in the car, as you grab a coffee or run an errand. You just need to be available, and willing to answer questions and offer suggestions when asked. This is not rocket science. And there is a reason that this needs to be done: so that God’s word will not be maligned. Maligning someone is saying something evil about them–not necessarily a lie, just something wicked.

What do you need to be a mentor?

1. The desire to be obedient.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.

 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands,

so that no one will malign the word of God.

2. A good testimony reverent in the way they live- this means you take seriously the commands of scripture and you live in a way that is Christ-like. You aren’t perfect, but you are sold out to Christ, dedicated and striving to do right. You are literally his servant, doing His will and not your own. (and by the way, when you blow it, you make restoration, for the sake of your own testimony and for the sake of Christ.)

3. Time- it takes time. Just do it.

4. Grace, humility, meekness- You don’t have all the answers and maybe you have done things wrong. Be honest and transparent with your sisters in Christ. Apart from grace, you would be nothing. And without humility, you are nothing, and God resists you. You received with meekness the engrafted word which was able to save your souls, and now you teach with meekness and instruct from the posture of humility.

Older ladies, don’t be afraid.

If God puts a younger mother in your path, help her!

For extra reading on the subject of Titus Two mentoring, may I suggest these that I have found the most helpful?

Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women by Susan Hunt.

Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

Part Two:Where Are The Titus 2 Women? 

Home Comforts

I have a confession to make.

One of my all time favorite books is a book on housekeeping.  Before you think me compulsive,  I am not a spotless housekeeper, mind you. I have five kids, remember? But I love, love, love Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelsson. (She also has a wonderful work on laundry.)

To me, this book feels like home. All of your secret housekeeping questions are answered in this authoritative anthology. It is not for compulsive cleaners, but for those wanting a clean, comfortable home.

Topics like the ritual of weekly chores, the best lighting for the feel of the room, the science of laundry stains, making your bedroom a haven, caring for books, and folding your shirts correctly find their way into my domesticly inclined heart and I sigh.

And I love the dry humor of this author.

“ You should also air the bed and the bedroom simply to freshen them after your long use. On this subject, my Italian and Anglo-American grandmothers exhibited different attitudes. The Italian relatives were outspoken in defense of long airing, insisting on hours of this and putting little stock in making the bed… To the Northern European relatives, such a bed was a symbol of degeneracy and immorality; it suggested not only were you too lazy to make the bed properly, but that you intended to get back in and be slothful–or worse.” (p.659)

Here are a few excerpts:

“I first learned that housework has meaning by observing my grandmothers. The reason they made a fuss when they saw a granddaughter doing things in a “foreign” way is that they knew–in their bones if not in words– that the way you experience life in your home is determined by how you do your housekeeping. Just as you can read a culture in the way its people fold a shirt (or do not), little domestic habits are what give everybody’s home the special qualities that make it their own and let them feel at home there.” (pg.7)

“ The sense of being at home is important to everyone’s well-being. If you do not get enough of it, your happiness, resilience, energy, humor and courage will decrease…Being at home feels safe; you have a sense of relief whenever you come home and close the door behind you…but too much attention to the looks of a home can backfire if it creates a stage set feeling instead of the authenticity of a genuinely homey place…What really does work to increase the feeling of having a home and its comforts is housekeeping.

Housekeeping creates cleanliness, order, regularity, beauty and conditions for health and safety. It is housekeeping that makes your home alive, that turns it into a small society in its own right, a vital place where you can be more yourself than you can be anywhere else.”

“American housekeeping and home life are in a state of decline… Washday is any time anyone throws a load into the machine, and laundering skills are in precipitous decline. Dishes are washed when the dishwasher is full. Meals occur any time or all the time or , what amounts to the same thing, never, as people serve more and more prepared and semi-prepared foods. Cleaning and neatening are done mostly when the house seems out of control.”

I have borrowed it so many times from the library that I was tempted to send my husband in for it this time. :) Can’t wait to reread it again.

*If you enjoy this blog, would you pop over here and vote for my blog on The Top 25 Blogs of Faith. You can vote once a day through June 8th! Thx! Vote here.

Some Good Advice on Home Education

A home schooling mentor once gave me some good advice: Begin with the end in mind.

Looking back, my friend was insightful.  But when you are a new homeschooling mother, you are– I don’t know–just plain overwhelmed. And scared.

Well-meaning people unintentionally put fear–no, out right dread–into me as their jaws dropped open at the mention of even thinking of home schooling. It seemed akin to letting your kids lick batteries or play in the street. Questions like “Do you think you can do it?” and “What makes you think you can do this?” left me deflated  and discouraged. At that time, both of our sets of parents were skeptical (or just plain scared that we would turn their first-born grand daughter into a first-class social outcast. And an ignorant one at that.) :)

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I remember looking through my first home schooling catalog with that “deer in the headlights” look.   But I reasoned, “How could I possibly mess up kindergarten?”

So, for the first years we played school in our house.

We displayed an American flag and pledged it. ( I am not joking.) We bought a full curriculum, complete with class room charts and flash cards. I had a desk and a chalkboard in my kitchen! (Yuck!)

I had all the tools, and none of the goals. My “plan” was just to go through the work pages. Every. single. one.

Of course, that did not last. My home is NOT  a school room and I do not need to treat it like one. If my child fell and scraped his knee, I would just give him a band-aid; not play ER and take the kids vital signs,scan  insurance cards, and ask about the family history. My  home is my home, and in it we eat, clean, play and learn.

So my friend asked me a simple yet profound question: What do you want your kids to know when you are done? Begin with the end in mind.

Ahhh…a revelation. Yes, I know. This should have been obvious, and now YOU are concerned that I have taken on this task. :)

So, we sat down and made a list.

  • 1. I want my kids to love reading.
  • 2. I want my kids be learners for life.
  • 3. I want my kids to be self motivated and directed someday.
  • 4. I want my kids to have good character.
  • 5. I want my kids to know the Bible and their Savior.

So, our next year looked a lot different. We read books. Lots of them. We did hands-on math. We watched science movies and visited living history museums. We studied and memorized scripture . We talked about godly character traits. We played great music and painted. We fired the text books and went to original sources. In short, we made learning…well… interesting.

Now that my oldest is in her senior year, I am seeing the results. I can tell you right now that my kids are not the smartest kids by any stretch. They are not “cool” by this worlds standards. (thank God! Have you heard the lyrics to the music the cool kids are listening to? ) They are not perfect spellers or math whizzes. But they do love to learn. Even in high school, they are still inquisitive, avid readers, musical, creative and happy.

I leave you with these great quotes:

‘The surest sign of true intellectual acumen is a student’s comprehension of what it is he does not know; not what he does know. It is a spirit of humility that affords us with the best opportunity to grow, mature, and achieve in the life of the mind. It is knowing how much we do not know that enables us to fully embark on a lifetime of learning; to recover to any degree the beauty goodness and truth of Christendom.”    ~C.S. Lewis

 

“I learned most, not from those who taught me but from those who talked with me.” ~St. Augustine


“When a baby is picked up, spoken to, and loved, he is starting his education as God planned it. For all our lives we are human beings, in an active state of learning, responding, understanding. Education extends to all of life. In fact, an educational system that says, one bright summer’s day in the dawn of my youth, ‘There. Now you are educated. This piece of paper says so,’ is doing me a gross disfavor. The truly educated person has only had many doors of interest opened. He knows that life will not be long enough to follow everything through fully.” ~Susan Schaeffer Macaulay


“The question is not, how much does the youth know when he has finished his education but how much does he care and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him? …….In the end we shall find that only those ideas which have fed his life are taken into the being of the child……..” ~Charlotte Mason


EDUCATION, n. [L. educatio.] The bringing up of as of a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future situations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties. ~ Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary