"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Menu Plan Sunday

Well, last week some unexpected events came up, so meals got switched around.  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday's meals did not end up being what was on the menu, so some of them you will see on this week's menu again!  Such is life.

Sunday--Burgers, baked beans, milkshakes
Monday--Turkey Pot Pies
Tuesday--Fried Sole, baked potatoes (trying these in crockpot...I'll let you know how they turn out), roasted asparagus, corn
Wednesday--Crockpot Beef Stew, cornbread
Thursday--Roasted chicken & vegetables, biscuits
Saturday--BBQ Ribs, baked potatoes, corn

Be blessed this week in the joy of the Lord, and in following Him as you care for your dear family!

"The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy."  Psalm 103:8

Monday, October 25, 2010

Peace in our Purpose

The Lord has been doing quite a work in me lately.  I am a person who, in my flesh, has a besetting sin of anxiety.  Without the Lord I am a bundle of nerves, full of constant worry and fear.  So I am ever so very, very grateful for Jesus!  I can truly give HIM all of the glory for the peace that is in me, because there is NO way that I would have it on my own.  And I'm sure that is WHY that anxiety was allowed in my life...to show the glory of God.

Lately the peace has been amazing.  Why?  Because I let go of things.  I let go of...

worrying about what people think (I only answer to God)...

constantly second-guessing my decision to homeschool, and just simply following the Lord in what He's called me to do (He will enable me to do what He has called me to)....

wanting material things (we are not to lay up treasures on earth)...

wanting to control the number of children I have (this is not for me to decide)...I'm sure this is a controversial one but I am just telling you where God has brought ME...

wishing for a nicer house (compared to most of the rest of the world, I live in a mansion and I am truly rich)...

I have let go and let God.  Truly.  I am not in control.  I am here on this earth for His purposes. I am His vessel. I am here for whatever He may have me to do. 

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." Matthew 6:19-20

It is so easy to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth without even realizing it.  Our culture is so full of it...he who dies with the most toys wins, right?  WRONG.  It is so sad the number of people who are so busy doing things that are not going to matter one bit in the end.

"For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.  If anyone's work which he has built on endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

I'd like to go farther in that chapter because it is just so meaty, but I will stop there (for now).  Did you really grasp what those verses said?  Everything we do will be tested by fire, and everything will burn that is not of eternal value.  Everything we do should matter in eternity.  We need to be laying up treasures in HEAVEN.

How?  How do we lay up treasure in Heaven?  HOW have I found peace lately?  By simply keeping my eyes on Jesus.  As long as my eyes are fixed on HIM, my focus stays on eternity and following Jesus in everything I do.  This results in peace, and kills any anxiety that may want to creep in.  Anxiety comes when we focus on our circumstances, which means our eyes are on them instead of on Jesus where they need to be.  Here is a good illustration of that:

"And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out for fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."  And Peter answered Him and said "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."  And He said, "come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him,  "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"" Matthew 14:25-31

WOW.  I have heard this story practically my whole life, but I have to say that this is my new favorite Bible story.  It is an amazing passage.  Peter walked on the water, as long as his eyes were on Jesus.  When did he become afraid?  When he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind (circumstances).  Wow.  That is when WE become afraid.  We take our focus OFF of Jesus, and instead we focus on: the fact that we don't have money...our kids are being disobedient...homeschooling is just so hard lately....there is so much work to do....I have yet another load of dishes to wash....the baby is fussy....the car is in the shop so I don't have transportation. This is anxiety...fear....worry....NOT peace.  Take your eyes off all of those things, and just look to the One who loves you and cares, and wants to carry your burdens.  That is how you find peace.  Keep your eyes on Him and He will show you the next thing to do, and then the next thing, and then the next.  There is incredible peace in following the will of God for you, and not looking to the right nor to the left.  That reminds me of a quick illustration.  When we were at the fair, I was usually walking behind the girls.  Annamarie had a phone, so I knew if I somehow lost track of her, I could call her.  Abby, however, does not have phone, so I was very vigilant about keeping my eyes on her.  As I walked through the fair, I thought of how the whole time I hardly looked to the right or the left, but looked straight ahead with my eyes on Abby.  Dove's eyes.  If you don't know, the phrase "dove's eyes" comes from the fact that doves don't have peripheral vision, but they can only look straight ahead.  That is how we are to be.  Eyes fixed on Jesus, looking neither to the right nor to the left.

What happens if we do take our eyes off him, and start to sink and  become afraid?  What happened with Peter?  I love this part.  He cried out to the Lord, saying "save me!", and the Bible says that, "immediately Jesus reached out His hand and took hold of him."  What a beautiful illustration for our own lives!  When we become afraid and cry out to Jesus, he immediately reaches out his hand and takes hold of us!  What a comfort for us.  What a beautiful, precious Saviour we have!

"You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

All I want when this life is over is for Jesus to say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  That is all I live for!  That is our purpose here on this earth...to keep our eyes on our Lord and do what He tells us to, and to be watching and ready when He returns.  This is where true peace lies.

(PHEW.  The Lord has been giving me this message bit by bit over the past several weeks!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Menu Plan Sunday

My menu plan for this week:

Sunday--Salmon, risotto, mixed veggies, apple pie
Monday--Roasted chicken, baked potatoes, green beans, chocolate chip cookies
Tuesday--Chili, cornbread, salad
Thursday--Turkey pot pies
Saturday--BBQ pork ribs, baked potatoes, corn

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9

May God bless you this week as you serve your families!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Women Working Outside the Home,Part 3

I am really curious what others think about this series that I have been posting.  I'd love comments!  Here is part 3 of the series from Kristi at Courageous Homekeeping:

Oh boy, oh boy! Am I geared up for this subject today! I have some really great things that I think God has revealed to me in order to really get to the heart of this subject. I was going to put this verse at the end of my part 2 post, but it was just so good and I was encouraged by a friend to really unpack this issue…so I’m taking the advice! If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2 of this series yet, please do that before continuing on…I’m starting at the beginning and building on the ideas, so you’ll need to catch up first.

I read something the other day while studying this subject that I found really, really interesting. Do you ever have those moments when you’re reading the Bible and you read something that absolutely leaps off the pages at you? Maybe you’ve even read it before, but all of a sudden God just opens your eyes to a new way to look at it? I sure hope you’ve had that experience, cause if not, you’re totally missing out! Such was the case the other day, when I read this passage in Hebrews. I’m not a Bible scholar or anything, and so I can’t speak with authority whether these verses were really meant to go together or not, maybe he was just making a list…but since they’re right next to each other, it seems like there may be a good reason.

Hebrews 13: 4-5 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

I find a few interesting things there that should be considered. First of all, we’ve all heard that part of the verse, “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”. Originally, God said this to Joshua as He was telling him about how he was going to go back and win the promised land. And now it is quoted here in reference to being content and not having a love of money. Could it be that God has to remind us that He will take care of us, especially when we are faced with what looks to be an impossible situation? Taking back the promised land seemed to be an impossible situation. Learning how to be content, not envious, and not “stuff-driven” seems like an impossible situation sometimes too, doesn’t it?

I also find it interesting that the part about being content, not loving money, etc comes directly after the part about honoring marriage and keeping the marriage bed pure. Do you think there’s any correlation there? The part about being sexually immoral is pretty self-explanatory. But what about the part about the adulterer? Is that also self-explanatory? I would argue that the word ‘adultery’ can mean several different things other than just having sex with someone who is not your spouse. I believe that the word adultery could also mean sinning against your spouse and being unfaithful to the marriage vows…completely apart from the act of sex. So then…does that mean that keeping the marriage bed pure might possibly have something to do with money– loving it? Or learning how to be content with what you have and not envious of others? Could it be that the “Love of money” can somehow affect the purity of the marriage bed?

Whoa. Did that just rock your world like it did mine?

Here’s the big idea. You are selfish. I am selfish. We live in an incredibly selfish society. We want big houses.  We want nice, new cars. We want our kids in the “best” private schools. We want nice furniture. We want what we want and we want it now. We are motivated by money. Our identities are wrapped up in which neighborhood we live in and what kind of car we drive. And the terrible, dangerous reality is that our society caters to our selfishness. Want a new car? Sure, go get one! No money down and only $450 a month car payment! Want new furniture? Sure! Check out our 90 days same as cash payment plan! Want a new wardrobe? Sure! Here’s a credit card, go get whatever you want and you only have to pay a little bit of the total next month! No worries! We can have everything that we want and we don’t even have to have the money to pay for it. Right?

And could it be… could it be, that we have elevated our standard of living above our marriages? If the Bible warns us against having a love of money directly after telling us to keep our marriage bed pure, could it mean then, that loving money, valuing money could somehow be dishonoring to our marriages? If we are out working to bring in money so that we can afford that big house, and keep up that standard of living, and yet we have no time or energy left at the end of the day for our husbands and our children, do you think we are honoring God?




I think, that actually breaks the heart of God.

Some of you may read these words and think, “I agree with you…but you have a choice. I don’t have a choice.”

That. Right there. Is a deep, dark, lie right from your Enemy. You have a choice. You ALWAYS have a choice when it comes to how we order our priorities. When Josh and I first got married, I was working and both of us were making right about minimum wage. When I got pregnant with my first son 11 months after we were married, (Surprise!! Wasn’t planning on that one!) I ended up quitting my job because I was working around food, and the morning sickness was awful…and my employer wasn’t real supportive. I always knew that I would be a stay at home mom, so why not go ahead and start early?

We lived for several months on one income, barely over minimum wage. And then Josh lost his job. Thankfully, God provided right away for us, without much drama or time to panic, another job where he was earning more! A full $10 an hour job! I remember feeling rich! He had that same job for several years, and then moved on to another job, where he earned something like $11.50/12 an hour. We had two kids at that point. Money was never something we’ve had a lot of. We’ve never made perfect financial decisions…in fact, we’ve made a lot of financial mistakes along the way. But we made that decision long ago, to value me being at home with our (now) 5 kids. We still are not rolling in money. But over the years, we have NEVER gone hungry. God has ALWAYS been faithful. He has always honored our decision for me to be home.

How did we do it?

We’ve lived in tiny places.

We’ve never had a brand new car.

I buy 95% of our clothing second-hand or on clearance. Same goes for our household items.

I make meal plans and cook mostly from scratch.

I use coupons.

The list could go on and on. But my point in this, you have a choice. Do you have to live in that neighborhood? Can you sell that car and get something cheaper? Do your kids have to attend that private school?

God says, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.” That is His promise to you. There are so many verses that could go here…throughout the Bible God promises to take care of us. Always.

On the other side of the coin is the verse in Psalms (106:15) that says, “He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”

I don’t know about you, but that is frightening to me. I can probably talk God into giving me what I want, if I ask enough…I’m really good at talking people into things…just ask my friends and my husband. And God has shown that He is willing to be moved by us. But is getting what I want, worth gaining a leanness in my soul?

Don’t hear me wrong…it is not sinful to have a big house or a new car. Not in the least. But what I do believe is sinful, is placing those things above our marriage and above our families.

I also believe that a way to cultivate that “leanness of our soul” is to not allow God the opportunity to take care of us. He wants us to depend on Him. He wants us to know that He will provide for us. He wants us to know how important we are to Him. And sometimes we don’t allow that. We get caught up in our own strength, and our own ability to provide for ourselves. And we miss the absolute joy of having a dependence on God.

I am absolutely so excited for part 4 of this series. What? You didn’t think I was done, did you? There is definitely going to be a part 4…and likely a part 5 to wrap it up. But part 4 is going to primarily written by my husband, from the perspective of a husband who’s wife has stayed at home. I’m really excited to not only give him an opportunity to write, but to hopefully help us women understand how a man feels about this subject. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Menu Plan Madness

I love menu planning, but the reality is...life happens, right?  Sometimes our wonderful plans have to be tweaked.  I have to laugh, because I noticed on my recent dinner menus I have "vegetable beef soup" written 2 weeks in a row, yet I didn't ever actually make it yet.  Often times things come up, plans change, people won't be home for dinner, etc, so I switch things around.  And now, I'm laughing even more, because my teenage son just walked in here as I was typing, and asked if we could please have french toast for breakfast in the morning!  Um excuse me, but WHAT are you thinking...that is NOT on tomorrow's menu!  Hee hee.  It's good to be flexible.  Flexibility is part of my job description.  My menus are wonderful, helpful guides, and they keep me organized, but they are not my master.  Today, for example, I had turkey pot pies on the menu.  These are homemade and quite time consuming, especially since one of them has gluten free crust.  The baby has been sick, I'm fighting a cold, the girls are sick, my son won't be here for dinner....so I wisely switched dinner over to turkey soup.  Much faster, and good for healing colds.  Turkey pot pie will be moved to later in the week or early next week (you'll notice on my menu that we had a big turkey dinner on Sunday, which explains all the turkey).

After that long disclaimer about real life, I thought I'd share how I organized this week's food.  Below is my printed out menu that I keep in my Home Management Binder:
Someday I'll learn photography, but not today.  I get this printable menu form at Donna Young's website.  It's great because I can fill in all three meals for one week.  The fourth section says "snacks", but I use that section to make notes, or sometimes to write desserts.  As you can see, Tuesday morning we are having hash browns, so on Monday night I need to cook some potatoes to be ready the next morning.  You can see the reminder note on Monday.  On Thursday morning we're having overnight coffee cake, so on Wednesday I have a note to remind me to make the coffee cake that night. On Friday, I'm bringing dinner out to a friend who is pregnant and on bedrest, so I need to prepare ahead.  So on Thursday, I'm going to make 3 shepherd's pies...my family eats 2 and then we'll take one to our friend.  I'm making them a day ahead of time because I know I won't have the time on Friday  Then on Friday morning I'll make the apple crisp and bread that I'm taking, and the cornbread for our family.  All of that is written in the notes section (well, not the bread for the friends, because that was recently added!).  That way I also have time on Friday to do school with the kids and get my house in order, and our dinner will already have been prepared ahead of time.  Anyway...little things...lots of little things....these little things lead to bigger overall organization within our homes!  I hope this has blessed someone in some little way.

"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." "Proverbs 31:28-29

Monday, October 18, 2010

Women Working Outside the Home,Part 2

Once again, credit for this post goes to Kristi at Courageous Homekeeping, who gave me permission to repost this.  Be sure and read Part 1 first if you missed it!  Here we go with Part 2....

If we believe then, in what God says about our original roles as women, the second question is this; Does that then mean that if a woman is working outside of the home that she is sinning because it is going against God’s original intention? The answer to this, I believe (don’t hate me!) is maybe. The answer to this question I think has to be on a case by case basis…and it’s not a matter of working or not working, like I said in the last post, it’s a matter of the heart.

Before I jump into what I’m going to say in the rest of this post, I’d like to be clear about something. I’m not writing this post in ANY way to be judgemental. I do not have the ability or the desire to judge you, your decisions, or your heart. MY heart in writing these posts is that I desperately want women to really, really understand what they are doing and WHY. I want you to understand what God says about who you are as a person and as a woman. There is NOTHING more important than understanding what God says about who we are and how He views us. And we have been walking around for years, blinded to the Truth of this issue. As a result, marriages are falling apart. Families are falling apart. The church is falling apart. Society is falling apart. We’ve got to KNOW what God says about this! So, I would just ask you to pray before you continue this, that God would open your eyes and help you to see the truth. God’s truth as well as the truth of your own hearts. Okay…here we go.

When women go outside of their house to find a paying job, (this could also be a broader definition…we could put school in there or volunteering…anything that takes our focus off of our main priority of our families) I think we do it for one or more of these main reasons:

#1- We’ve talked to God, thought about and decided that getting a job would be the very best thing that we can do for our families AND our husbands. Remember, our main goal is to bring our husbands good. This could be a situation of, your husband is going to school in order to be able to support the family in the best way he can…and so you go to work to “help” him during this time…that’s one example of how it might be something that is bringing him good. Also, of course, there are examples of a woman having to work because her husband has sinned and abandoned her and left her with no other option. So, of course it’s not sinful in these circumstances.

#2- I believe that sometimes, women want to get a job because they are seeking value. Worth. Identity. Purpose. They are feeling bored at home, unfulfilled, restless…And the world tells them that whatever they are seeking is “out there”. Go find yourself. Be whatever you want to be. Climb every mountain, ford every stream. But the truth…the TRUTH is that we can ONLY find our value, our worth, our identity, and our purpose by looking at Jesus. What does Jesus say that we should do? What are our roles? What is our purpose? We will never, never, never be fulfilled until and unless we are using our God-given gifts and talents to fulfill the purpose, calling and ministry that GOD has given us. First and foremost, I believe, within our own homes. Has God given you gifts, skills, talents, abilities? Yeah, me too! And my job, is to figure out how to best use those gifts, while serving under the authority of God, and my husband….IN MY HOME to bless my family.

#3- For whatever reason their husband isn’t supporting the family…either not at all or not enough, and so we step in to cover where he is lacking. Now on the surface, that might sound like a “good” and “helpful” thing for us to do. But is it? Really? If we believe that our husbands are meant to be the sole providers for our family (we didn’t really get into this too much, but in 1 Timothy 5:8 it says that if a man does not provide for the needs of his relatives, especially his immediate family he is denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever…that’s kind of hard to argue with.) So, if we really believe this, do you think that running out to get a job to help make ends meet when your husband is not doing this is doing him “good”?

In some situations, the answer might be yes…but again, it comes back to the heart. The problem is, that we know that part of our curse is that we want to control everything. Amen? (I am a first born…I am bossy, controlling and have great leadership abilities…so I get this control thing, believe me!) But I would suggest to you that when we go to work, sometimes we are not allowing our husbands to bear the full burden that God placed on their shoulders. When we wiggle in there, and start helping to support the family, sometimes we are doing that in order to control the situation, and/or we are not allowing our husbands the freedom and ability to step into that role of sole provider for our families….and if we take that away from him, then I would argue that we are not doing him “good”. Providing for their families is one of the great God-given responsibilities of men. They feel it. When they are able to provide for their families, it gives them a great sense of fulfillment…don’t take that away from them because you feel like you need to control or take over the situation. Remember- our first priority is to LOVE our husbands and bring them good. And I would say that the best “good” we can bring them is to ALLOW them to feel the burden of providing for their family. Burdens are not always bad. I believe that God places burdens on our hearts to spur us into action where He wants us to work.

The book “Passionate Housewives Desperate for God” by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald has something to say about this:

“We don’t want to mold our husbands into the image of impotent androgyny; we want to encourage them to grow into the image of Christ, our Heavenly Bridegroom and King. The choice is ours. We can become the wise, capable helpers God created us to be, or we can tear down our homes with our own hands in a vain quest to “equal” men. God called femininity “very good” when He created Eve different from Adam; let us rejoice in that role and pour ourselves into servant-hearted submission to Christ as we bless our husbands.

Do you want to see your husband succeed and prosper? Do everything you can to build him up in his God-given role. Don’t create extra burdens for him to bear; ease his burdens by capably undertaking your own role in the home.”

Okay…I’m just going to have to stop there. But there’s so much more I want to talk about and explore together…so stay tuned for Part 3!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Menu Plan Sunday

There's something about blogging that holds one accountable, isn't there?  Whenever I post on here, I recall the verse that says "we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1 NIV) Yikes.  Talk about accountability!  Being that my reason for even being on this blog is to fulfill my calling in Titus 2 to teach women to be keepers at home, I'd say that includes me in that verse.  Anyway, whenever I post something I be sure that I am practicing what I preach.

So now...here's something for you to keep me accountable on!  I mentioned in a previous post that I put a lot of time into making sure my husband is eating healthy, but I tend to neglect myself.  I'm going to work on changing that!  It is especially important because I'm a nursing mama, so taking care of myself is actually taking care of little Adam.  The Lord really got a hold of me last night.  The baby woke up and wanted to nurse, and to my dismay he couldn't get any milk.  The poor little guy sucked and fussed for maybe 20 or 30 minutes, then finally gave up and went to sleep.  I was really upset, and tossed and turned in bed for a few hours.  I prayed and talked with my hubby, and we agreed that I've got to stay more hydrated and put more effort into nutrition and vitamins. (Fortunately Adam's been getting milk out of me all day, but STILL--that was a wake up call for me!)  So today, I've been drinking more water.  When I made my husband's fresh carrot juice, I doubled it and made some for myself.  Right now I'm drinking Mother's Milk herbal tea.  Please hold me accountable on this...I will make sure I am checking in and posting how I am doing on my diet.  And if you have any suggestions for keeping the milk supply up, please share!

Okay, that said...on to this week's menu plan!

Sun--Turkey, mashed potatoes/gravy, yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie
Mon--Turkey pot pies
Tues--Potato Chowder, bread, salad
Wed--Burritos made with homemade refried beans
Thurs--BBQ chicken, baked potatoes, corn
Fri--Shepherd's pie, cornbread (taking dinner to a friend who is on bedrest, so this will be a triple batch!)
Sat--Burgers, french fries, milkshakes

Again, I'll reiterate that my hubby and older son are usually not here on Mon/Wed this month due to drivers ed, and Tuesdays always have to be a crock pot meal because it is my day that I'm out of the house (horseback riding and gymnastics for daughters).

Enjoy cooking this week!

"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."~Proverbs 31:10-12

Friday, October 15, 2010

Women Working Outside the Home,Part 1

Everything I believe in is a "controversial topic", and here we go with one of them.  I got permission from Kristi at Courageous Homekeeping to copy and repost her series from her website.  I am lacking the time these days to come up with all of these words that she posted, so I'm grateful that someone else is allowing me to use what she wrote.  So far this is a three part series.

"Is it a Sin to Work Outside the Home?" Part 1:

This is a very tricky question. And one that has a very high potential for coming back to “bite” me! I’ve been thinking about writing this post for several weeks and I have put it off. I still felt like I needed to do my own research and come to a fuller understanding of how to answer this question. And to be honest…I still don’t have a firm black and white answer. It’s not a black and white question. And that’s the problem! I wish it was! But it isn’t. I believe that the Bible has much to say about this subject…and I have a lot of thoughts about it…therefore, this post had to be broken up into parts. So please bear with me as I work through this very difficult subject.

I have been feeling like I need to define my own “terms” for this question…both for my own personal convictions as well as for when people ask me questions. As is the case with anything in the Bible, we ought to have a clear understanding of what the Bible says about a particular subject and then be able to “know how to answer everyone”. So, that is why I want to answer this question.

So, are you ready for the answer? No. The answer is no. I do not believe that it is a sin to work outside the home. That would be the black and white version.

The gray version however, is much, much more complicated. And like almost anything else in life, this is a subject that comes back to the heart of the person. The trouble is, that there are so many layers to this subject. And it takes a lot of time to peel back all those layers to really find the root motivation at the heart of each woman to answer this question of working outside the home. Unfortunately, I believe that most of us (myself included– remember, I am only now taking the time to answer this question for myself, and I’ve been a stay at home mom for 10+ years!) don’t really take the time to peel back all those layers. We just go with the “easy” road, or what everyone else is doing without giving it much thought. And isn’t that exactly where our Enemy would love for us to stay? My conclusion on this subject has come from many hours of study and reading many books as well as, and most importantly, the Bible. But I would encourage you to not just listen to me. Let these posts be the beginning of your own thought process and personal convictions. My hope and prayer is, that this would cause you to think…and do some of your own research and studying on the subject, so that YOU will know how to answer everyone.

Let’s start at the very beginning…. a very good place to start! I have yet to read a book or listen to a sermon, or study Genesis and come up with anything different than these original roles for a man and woman:

Men will work the soil and be the head of their families…they are to be the provider, the one who goes out and works the land in order to get food for his family.

John Piper defines Biblical Manhood as this: ” At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.”

Women were created with the intention of helping their husbands rule over the land…it’s the dominion mandate- Men and women were created to rule together over the earth…each serving important but unique roles within the family. By the nature of how a woman was created, she was created to carry a child, and to nurse a child, she was wired to take care of that child.

John Piper defines Biblical Womanhood as this: “At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.”

I find it very interesting the perspective that the book “Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God” has on the creation of Adam and Eve.

God could have simply raised up a woman from the dust of the earth- an independent creature who could keep Adam company and even partner with him in subduing the earth by pursuing equal and separate ventures. Yet He instead caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, and from the man’s own rib God fashioned his glorious completer- woman.

After the fall, God cursed the man and the woman- He cursed them according to their specific roles! For the man, he said, “Cursed is the ground because of you, through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen 3:17+) In other words, working outside of the home to provide for his family ALWAYS is going to be hard. And toilsome.

For the woman, her curse is that “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing, with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. We all know that pain in childbirth is the curse…if you’ve given birth before, you’re particularly acquainted with this. God cursed one of the things that she was originally created for…giving birth. But let’s look at the second part of that verse where it says that “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” What this means ladies is that it will be difficult for us to learn to submit to our husbands. It means that naturally, we want to control things, and the joy that God originally intended us to have in our husband’s headship is much more difficult to come by…submission is now a difficult, difficult thing for us to do.

Let’s fast forward to Proverbs, shall we? I did a study the other day and read all the way through Proverbs and underlined everything that it says specifically about women and wives to see what it had to say…a lot of it was about how difficult it was/is to live with a nagging or quarrelsome wife, but there were several references as well to women who were prostitutes and adulterers. And you know what one way a prostitute is described in Proverbs? “She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home. ” (7:11) Let’s also take a look at our favorite Proverbs 31 woman…The very first thing that is said about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she “brings her husband good”… THAT is the first and most important priority to this Godly woman. There are 2 verses where it talks about her bringing in income to the family:(16) She considers a field and buys it, out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. And (24) She makes linen garment and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

So, the two references to working in this section are: real estate and sewing…as far as I can tell. My understanding of this is that yes, she is finding ways of contributing financially to her household…that seems to be a wise thing to do. However, her husband and her children and her household are her very first priority…and the outside “jobs” seem to support her overall desire to serve her family- and they come second. She has figured out how she can bring an income into her household in a way that fits into her first family priorities, rather than trying to fit her family into her work priorities.

Alright, so let’s check out Titus 2, shall we? I’m going to paraphrase. In Titus 2 it says that older women should teach the younger women “what is good”…to love their husbands and children… and to be busy at home. There is a list of things that older women are supposed to teach younger women, that seem to be the largest of priorities to Paul…and being homeward focused, busy at home, keepers at home (depending on your translation) is in that list of priorities. In this passage, it doesn’t say one thing implying that bringing in income to the family should be part of her priorities.

In all of the studies I’ve done, in all of the Bible that I’ve read, in all of the sermons that I’ve listened to, I’ve heard the same thing…God has given men and women distinct but equal roles and jobs. Specific ways in which He desires us to do Kingdom work. A woman’s main priority and role is to be taking care of her husband, her children and her home. This is, I believe, God’s original intention for how a woman should live.

Stay tuned later in the week for Part 2… We’ll get to dig even deeper!

A great comment from a reader:
With the dawn of “independant” women and all of their rights… Please don’t get me wrong, I agree with much of the heart of womens rights. I’m a woman. But what has been taken from it and added to it, is not always good. Anyway, with the dawn of all that, came a increase in all things consumer. Many women had to tend to the house, family, and their job, and because the job had a time constraint, they were not longer able to put into their home what they wanted to. Thus the birth of quick meals, and lots of additives put into the food to keep it fresh and tasty longer. There are many things that make that hard on our little ones, and us as well. Many of our country’s new uprise in medical needs are attributed to this concept. It is not loudly shouted, because of the possible dramatic loss of income. This also pushed after school classes, and before school classes, and the list goes on and on.

It seems that whatever was meant to be pure and holy is what our enemy wants to trash the most.

A couple very good questions from a reader, and good responses from Kristi:

I was curious about your interpretation of Proverbs 7:11 (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home). It kind of seemed as if you were linking together working away from home, to the “her feet never stay at home” of the prostitute description in Proverbs. Is this how you intended it to be, or did I perhaps misread it? I believe the verse is actually referring to the fact that the prostitute’s feet never stay at home in the sense that she is going around to various men’s houses. She does not stay at home with a husband and fulfill her sexual desires as she should, but she “never stay(s) at home” and is lustfully fulfilling her sexual desires elsewhere.

One of the statements that particularly caught my eye was at the end of your writing – ” A woman’s main priority and role is to be taking care of her husband, her children and her home. This is, I believe, God’s original intention for how a woman should live.” Just wondering if you meant this to be specifically directed at women who are married. ‘Cause the way it was written was that, if your a woman and not doing this, then your not following God’s mandate for women. I’m a woman … but I’m not taking care of a husband. Or children. And as much as I would like it, I don’t even have a home. And in the NT, Paul clearly speaks to the idea of not all will marry. In your future writings on the subject which you said are coming, are you planning on addressing what you think God’s role is for women who are not married – those who are single, divorced or widowed?

Thanks for spurring on discussion

Kristi says:

Thanks for writing, Steph.

I’ll do my best to answer your questions…In regards to Proverbs 7:11, I don’t really have an answer for whether the “feet never saying at home” part “should” be directly linked to a woman working outside the home. I have however, heard it used as such in sermons. I mainly think though, that it is something to heavily consider and decide for yourself. What I do know is that being an “adulterous” does not always only mean in the sexual sense. Adultery can be defined as straying from any kind of vows…I believe that God called the Israelites “adulterous people” because they were not living up to their covenant with Him…and I don’t know if that was entirely in regard to their sexual behavior. So any time we do not live up to a vow that we’ve made (such as a marriage vow) or a life/job/calling that God has given us, I believe that we are “prostituting” ourselves…going outside what we are called to or intended for in order to find fulfillment. So, do with that what you will! =) Like I said, do you own studying and reading and see what your own personal convictions are.

As far as what you said about being single and not having a husband or family or house to take care of, you are absolutely right. If you are not a wife, you are in a much different boat. I’m mostly speaking to those women who ARE wives, of course. Paul does indeed say that not everyone will be married…statistically, I’ve heard about 90% of people will eventually be married at some point in their lives though. And there are many ways that a single woman can build a home and/or practice her own gifting and calling as a woman. I believe that as a single woman, it would be very wise for you to be future minded…meaning that you should be content in your situation and not ever let anyone look down at you because you’re single first of all…but then also knowing that there’s a good chance of someday being married, and preparing to that end…perhaps building a home, without a home…learning skills that will come in handy, growing in your knowledge and wisdom, making wise decisions with your money and your time, so that if and when a husband comes along, you will have a healthy “home” built in order to be a good helper to him and bless him. =)

I hope that helps clear it up a little…it’s definitely a muddy subject! Mostly I just want to get people thinking deeply about this issue.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Healthy Food for Husbands

Our husbands work hard, and it is important that they have a healthy diet.  In our house, we often say that our diet is our health insurance!  Now I'll admit, I tend to get so busy attending to my family's diet, that I'm not always so good about feeding myself.  I need to get better about that.

Every morning, we have what I refer to as "morning rush hour".  This time consists of me cooking breakfast and packing my husband's lunch.  Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but the way I make his lunch requires a lot of time.  HEALTHY is the key word here.  Every morning for my hubby, I get out: 1 cup blueberries, 1 banana, 3 oranges, 2 apples, 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, and 1/2 cup of oats.  The blueberries, oranges, and banana are made into a smoothie, with yogurt, protein powder, and flax oil added.  The carrots, celery, and 1 apple are pushed through the juicer to make fresh juice.  The oats are turned into oatmeal, and then 2 T. of flax meal are added to that.  The second apple is put in the lunch box to eat as....well, an apple.  Also added to his lunch are a sandwich and peanut butter bars. His sandwich is usually made out of salmon (mixed with mayo like tuna) on whole wheat bread (often homemade).  I get all of that ready, which is his breakfast and lunch, and then also cook breakfast for the kids.  Theirs isn't quite that healthy, simply because they won't eat all of that--I wish they would!  They generally have pancakes or waffles, some kind of egg, bacon or sausage, etc.  I really need to get better about getting more fruits and veggies into those kids!

Soooo...that's really it...time for blogging is scarce lately. Remember that nutrition is important, and our husbands need us to take care of them in that way.  What are you doing to help keep your man healthy?

Monday, October 11, 2010

History Musings...

Hmmmm....so remember how I raved about Beautiful Feet History?  I still think it's great, but I will admit that I've gone back to Truthquest http://www.truthquesthistory.com/ for my 7th grader.  For my 2nd grader, we're doing a combo of TQ/BF.  She is doing early American history, which I really have a handle on and a lot of resources for, so it's comfortable for me to combine curriculums and do my own thing.  My 10th grader is still doing straight BF, which I think it's great for high school.

My reason for the switch?  Annamarie was BORED.  It is really important to me that history be fun.  I would really like my kids to just be reading books...stories of the past...because that is how history is really learned and it is FUN.  So much more learning seems to be retained by simply reading a story, and discussing it.  Memorizing facts and dates and taking tests just don't produce the same results.  It's worth it to me to take the extra time, to search through the library and order books to read for history.  It was really fun today to hear Annamarie's report after she read a book about Abraham Lincoln.  When I asked her what she learned, I didn't realize that I would be in for such an earful!  On and on and on she went, about all the facts she had learned.  That's what I'm talking about!  And the really cute part was that she sat her baby brother on her lap and read her history to him also.  True joy...this is what homeschooling is all about!

How do I do geography?  Easy! I have maps all over the house, and a globe, and a puzzle of the United States.  Whenever a place is brought up during history, or any other time during the day, we find it on the map.  I have two huge wall maps hung up, and it is amazing how often the kids are looking at them, and learning geography just from that. They actually find it interesting!

Anyway, short post today, but I thought I would share this info with everyone.  I highly recommend taking a literature approach to history.  It is very fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Menu Plan Sunday

How I plan dinners:  Weekends are basically always the same, so that kills 2 days right away.  Saturdays are traditionally burger nights, and on Sundays I do a nice "Sunday dinner" roast or something similar (usually beef, as we usually have our chest freezer full of a side or 1/2 side of beef).  There are exceptions, like if we have activities going on, but that is the basic schedule.  Tuesdays are always some sort of crock pot meal, because I'm out the house most of the day, at least at this time in my life.  Then that leaves just 4 days, within which I rotate all my other dinners.  I often come up with ideas for the following week; I scribble those down on the back of the menu so I don't forget!  So really, it's pretty simple...which makes me wonder why it sometimes takes me soooo long to figure out my menu!

This week, Monday and Tuesday start off with me using up leftovers from last week.  I'm using leftover pot roast to make bbq beef sandwiches, and a leftover meaty hambone to make split pea soup.  Also, dinners are quite strange lately, because my 15 year old is out so much in the evenings lately, due to driver's ed (mostly)/youth group/boys scouts.  Often my hubby is out with him also, and so they don't eat at home.  So my dinners have been more simple.  Driver's ed is only another month though!

This week's dinner menu:

Sunday- Crock Pot Beef Brisket, mashed potatoes/gravy, green beans
Monday- BBQ Beef sandwiches, baked potatoes, carrots
Tuesday- Split Pea Soup, bread, salad
Wednesday- Spaghetti, bread
Thursday- Pork Tenderloin w/roasted potatoes, peas, apple crisp (if time!)
Friday- Vegetable beef soup, cornbread
Saturday- Burgers, fries, milkshakes

"She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household..." Proverbs 31:14-15

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Five Minutes

Today's lesson is...what can you do in five minutes?  I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done around here.  I've been spending a lot of time praying, asking the Lord to give me a fresh perspective and to help me get everything done.  As I tried to plow through chores this morning, I found that there were many thing I was able to accomplish in five minutes time.

I live in an old house, with an old kitchen that has a lot of issues.  I don't have cabinets or anything, so everything is stored in my pantry.  Fortunately it's very large, but with so many things in one place, it can get hard to keep it organized.  Especially with so many people going in and out of there all the time and touching everything.  "Organize pantry" is something that is on my mind often, but it can potentially look like a huge job.  But today I was able to do something in just five minutes time.  I was going in to get something, and I stopped and took some time to quickly organize the spice shelf, and then organize the baby food.  Those two things didn't take much time, and they really made a difference.  A couple of days ago, I organized a different shelf.  Another time it was the cereal.  All these little things add up and make a difference, and don't take very many minutes.

This blog post is only taking about five minutes.  I got bread going in the bread maker in just five minutes.  I can spray and wipe down the bathroom mirror, sink, and toilet in just five minutes (really, you can...try it!).   What else can I do that quickly?  Make the bed...straighten the living room...dust a table...sweep the floor...do a quick straightening of the fridge...spray and wash a window....amazing, isn't it?  I really needed this perspective today to cure the "overwhelmed" feeling, and I'm thankful to the Lord for giving it to me.  It's something I knew, but it wasn't at the front of my mind, you know?  I hope it blesses you today as you care for your household!

What will you accomplish in just five minutes time today???  (I'd love comments!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Reality or Fantasy?

I recall seeing a commercial years ago that really irked me.  It was for some kind of orange juice, I'm thinking probably Minute Maid.  It started off with a nice traditional picture of a family; the mom was in the kitchen cooking breakfast with a smile on her face, the kids were at the table.  Mom smiled and said "good morning" as she squeezed fresh orange juice to go with breakfast.  As I watched it, I smiled and thought how nice it was, and how similar it really is to our life, until....the voiceover person said, "YEAH RIGHT", and suddenly the scene changed to what their perspective of "reality" was.  Mass chaos, kids running in and out of the kitchen calling, "Mom, where's my backpack?!?" and grabbing their lunchboxes.  Mom grumpy and frazzled, no one really stopping for breakfast other than to grab a bar or such off of the disorganized kitchen table.  Really?  Is that what our "reality" has become?

Don't worry; if you don't fresh squeeze your orange juice, I'm not looking down on you.  We squeeze ours because we prefer it, but that's not the point here.  I think people balk at me because I am such a traditionalist.  But the thing is, "traditional" is the old way, the way that God designed families to be before people decided that they knew of better ways and changed them. Jeremiah 6:16 says, "Thus says the LORD: 'Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.'"  There is nothing wrong with wanting to walk in the old ways, in fact there is something very right about it.  Right, but definitely not always easy.

I stand my ground and follow the Lord by staying here at home, while others look on and wonder what I do all day (although now that I'm homeschooling and have a baby, people tend to figure it out!)  I persevere in being a homemaker, even when my husband is out of work and we are broke, because the Lord has made it clear that this is what He wants me to do...while others watch and wonder why in the world I don't get a job and bring some money in.  I keep my kids home from school and teach them myself, while others look on and wonder, "will the kids be socialized enough?", "are they learning anything?" "she must have a lot of patience" (HA that is the funniest one yet--I am not known for patience!).  I look to Jesus and keep my eyes fixed on Him and what He has called me to, as so many other women around me get college degrees and careers, and my flesh wants me to feel "inferior".

I just think it is sad that women staying home and caring for their families and households has become the exception rather than the norm.  A happy family with the mom in the kitchen cooking breakfast in the morning is no longer viewed as typical, but rather as "yeah right".  Women are so capable of pouring so much love and care into their husbands and children, so much more than many are actually pouring into them.  I am not pointing fingers or accusing anyone of anything.  I am simply encouraging you, my dear sisters in Christ....pour into your families.  Die to self, lay down your life for others...go the extra mile and make a nice breakfast.  Put a smile on your face in the morning and greet your family with love.  When your husband walks in the door after a long day at work (I know you've been working too, but put that aside and focus on him), give him a kiss, get him some food, tell him to go put up his feet and rest.  We only have so many years on this earth.  Make them count.  Pour into your family.  That picture of a family at the beginning of that commercial does NOT have to be a fantasy.  YOU can make it reality in your own home.

God bless you!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Menu Plan Sunday

I'm going to start posting my dinner menu plan each Sunday, Lord willing.  This week I planned somewhat simple meals, as I have been not feeling well lately and thought that would be a good idea.  Here is what I have:

Sunday- Salmon, baked potatoes, green beans
Monday- Pot roast ,roasted potatoes and carrots, bread
Tuesday- Ham cooked in the crockpot, potato salad, peas
Wednesday- Spaghetti, salad, bread
Thursday- Vegetable beef soup (homemade), cornbread
Friday- Pan fried fish, tater tots, corn
Saturday- Cheeseburgers, fries, milkshakes (we make all of these homemade...a family favorite!)

I'm planning to make a couple of gluten free dessert recipes that I found off the Betty Crocker Website: Peppermint Patty Brownies and Monster Cookies.  They look soooo good!

Tuesday is our busy day when we are out of the house.  I need to pick up some groceries; Annamarie has horseback riding from 1:30-3:00 and Abigail has gymnastics from 3:45-5:00.  Plus of course there is school to get done!  By the time we get home, it is just too late to start on dinner, plus typically the baby is needy at that time.  So, my plan is to put a ham in the crockpot in the morning, and pick up potato salad while I am out.  Then all I will have to do when I get home is throw some frozen peas on to heat.

Life is busy, isn't it?  So much to do...husband, children, homeschooling, lesson plans, housework, babies, cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands...it can be so hard to juggle it all.  Some days I feel like I've really got it together, and other days it seems like it is all falling apart.  That is life.  The truth is that I don't ever have it all together; it is Jesus in me that accomplishes anything.  Jesus is there in it all; I just have to ask for Him to carry me.  Just like the old Footprints poem.

"Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing."  John 15:4-5 

Here is a verse the Lord has been giving to me a LOT lately:

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

Ahhhh...don't you just feel like you could sit at Jesus' feet all day and listen to him?  That verse makes me feel that way.  I am so very thankful for my Jesus!  Give him your weariness and your burdens...He will take them and give you peace.

Be blessed in the Lord today!