Pray, Refocus and Reflect

Tuesday was a rare day for me – I was able to work at home and spend the day with my little guy and my husband.

Problems started around 3 o’clock when a bad attitude developed out of nowhere (in me). We had a great day and we were getting ready for a family campfire in the evening and I could see myself ruining the entire night.

There was no need for my attitude. No one thing seemed to trigger it. It just crept in on me.  I could feel tension building and stress mounting.

Sure a campfire was going to be nice (if I didn’t ruin it) but there was so much to be done in the house.  I was switching in to high gear – Mary Gear.  Focusing on what needed done.

Pray

Thankfully I recognized what was happening to me.  When my husband had to leave the house I took the opportunity to pray.

With my dear little on in his room playing I hit the bed and asked for help.

No long drawn out prayer, just an honest cry from breaking heart.  I asked God to give me peace and grace and I apologized for being short tempered with my little man.

Refocus

I was focused on doing. A place we mothers seem to slip into quite often don’t we?

What needs done

What’s on the the to do list.

Oh the time I have wasted in years past doing!

What about being?

Being a mom.

Being a wife.

Being in the presence of God?

I believe we are called human beings not human doings.

“There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you. ~ Deuteronomy 12:7

House work, homework, blog work and your job all necessary and vital parts of our days but they are not all we are to do.

I fall into this trap more often than I care to admit.

We were sharing last night at bible study about various things and one woman said “I put all the toys away before we go to bed…why? No one see the floor anyway..everyone is sleeping!”

I had to laugh. How true is that!

I do the same thing.  It gives me a sense of peace, especially in the mornings when I come down stairs to a  semi-organized living room and kitchen.

Lord help me!

My peace shouldn’t come from a clean house it should come from The House Cleaner himself.  The one who comes in, to us, and cleans out the junk.  Renewing us and rebuilding us every day.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2

Reflect

There was a reason behind my seemingly unnecessary Mary Moments

I reflected on it yesterday and the Lord showed me what was happening.

It was as if I was going through withdraw.

What? Withdraw?

My husband began his journey through giving up chewing tobacco products yesterday but it seemed I was going through withdraw, not him.

The Lord showed me that the enemy was trying to use me to be short-tempered and grumpy as a way to cause a stressful situation for my husband.  If you’ve ever been a tobacco user you know that when you’re stressed you’re body then craves a nicotine fix.

If I could stress him out then he’d want a chew.  The enemy doesn’t want my husband having victory.

Meant for Harm but Used for Good

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” ~ Genius 50:20

Still reflecting on this situation, this morning the Lord showed me that He used my Mary Moment for my good.  Now I have a fresh perspective of how my husband is feeling during this time of withdraw and detoxification.

I can not just have empathy but I can relate and I can help create physical peace here in the home to ease stress for him.

After all, our homes should be a place of refuge for our husbands, and others, from the battle the rages around them in the world.

Do you have Mary Mode Moments? How have you learned to Be and not to Do all the time?

Until Next Time,

Be Blessed

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When God Has Other Plans

I can proudly (which may be part of the problem) say with God’s grace and wisdom my husband and I are making great progress in reducing our debt and tightening up our spending.

Each year for the several years we have sat down and figured out what we would do with our income tax return each of us having a list and then comparing it and coming to an agreement.  The past few years have led to more responsible things like eliminating debt, major vehicle repairs and the like.

In January I spent three or four days mulling around ideas in my head on what the best use of our tax refund would be.  Some fun stuff, some necessary expenditures and some debt reduction.  A good mix for Brad to take care of a few things he wanted to do and I had peace of mind that we were working on debt.  It seemed like a good plan.

Brad greed with the ideas and so it was settled.

Then along came God.

He said to me  “Let him buy it. He needs to make the decision.”

To read the rest of this post come visit the new More Than Four Walls launched 4/9/12.  Here’s a direct link to this post.

The Hunt

Here in Pennsylvania we are far cry from deer hunting season.

Too long if you ask my husband.

Truth is, I miss it too. I enjoyed hunting.  My days of hunting are on hold now.  As our son gets old I will hunt again one day.

Priorities for me have changed at this time. It is now my husband’s duty to bring home nourishment. It is mine to prepare it and serve it with loving hands.

Wikipedia.org

A Holy Experience

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm 46:10

There is something special about sitting in the woods.  Before day break as the crisp breeze blows across your face you can almost hear the stars sing. Then dawn breaking through the darkest hour brings the forest alive.

The beauty of stillness, quietness and clarity are a feast for the senses. Creation speaks of the creator and there is time to ponder; time to think; time to pray. There is much truth to see sitting 25 feet up in a tree. I feel closer to God when I sit in a tree stand. There is nothing else to focus your eyes on but His creation.

Photo Credit: Dave Bonta

There is no to do list, no dishes, no laundry.

Only you and your Daddy sitting still and quite together.  If you invite Him it can be a holy experience.

When else do any of us have three, four or five hours of uninterrupted silence in which we can talk to God and have few distractions from listening to Him?

The Hunt

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. ~ Genesis 1:28

There is also something core deep in hunting. Something that feels natural, right and God-given. You scout, you watch, you carefully place your stand, you prepare but ultimately He will decide if that animal, large enough to harvest walks by you.  You have no control.  You are dependent on Him allowing you to take one of His creatures for your nourishment.

I have observed my husband and other men in my family during hunting season.  There is such passion and depth to hunting that you might miss.  I see my husband’s desire to hunt not merely for sport but for providing for his family.  Certainly we can go buy meat at a store but harvesting our food provides satisfaction for his God-given desire to provide for his family.

I know there is debate over whether we God intended humans to eat animals and how the word “dominion” in the above scripture is translated.  I know there is at least one scripture reference to preparing and eating a harvest animal in Proverbs……

Real. Food.

The slothful man roasts not that which he took in hunting: but the possessions of a diligent man are precious. ~ Proverbs 12:27

I can understand why people become vegans or vegetarians, especially if they are Christians.  If you have educated yourself to our industrialized food system, watched Food Inc. or Fresh The Movie you know what I’m talking about.  The industrialized food system is an injustice to God’s creation.

Chickens were not meant to live in tiny cages without sunlight and fed and “all vegetarian diet.”  Chickens are omnivores. Omnivores eat meat and veggies.

Beef cattle were not meant to live on acres of barren land fed corn and soy and animal waste products.  Cattle are herbivores.    Herbivores eat grass.  This is why cows have multiple stomachs.  God created them that way.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

Harvesting a deer, turkey, bear or elk or catching a brook trout that has lived and thrived in its natural habitat is of no comparison buying burger at Wal-Mart.

This is real food from an animal that lived a life that God intended it to live.

Photo Credit: Indirect Heat

 

You may have heard the phrase “Know your food source.” There is no greater knowledge to your food source than harvesting, dressing and processing your own animal.

Hunting is more than a sport, more than killing something for fun. It can bring one closer to the Lord and provide a family with high quality food.

Are you a hunter or do you have hunters in your family? What is your favorite game to prepare and/or eat?

Until Next Time,

Be Blessed

If you have not seen Fresh The Movie or Food Inc. I urge you to do so.

21st Century “Servant Girls”

“She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.” ~  Proverbs 31:15

Photo Credit: Daniel Ridgway Knight

I have heard many arguments that we, 21st century women, cannot be like the ever-popular Proverbs 31 woman but the one that seemed to make logical sense to me was that the majority of us do not have servant girls.

I struggled to see how I could literally get it all done, like the Proverbs 31 woman when she had “help” and I did not.

I’d love to have a helper that could help me get things done around the house.  When I first had our son my niece came over a few times to help me and it was such a blessing.

A Multitude of Servants

If you live in the United State, Canada, England or any modernized country you have helpers and you probably don’t even realize it.

Maybe you are sitting in your kitchen as you read this.  If so, look around.  If not visualize your kitchen. What do you see?  A table, a pile of dishes….well, skip over those, a refrigerator, maybe a food processor, a stove, even a dish washer.  In the cupboard you might find a blender and if you’re a real foodie maybe even a grain grinder. Is that a stand mixer on the counter I see?

Head to the laundry room now.  What ‘cha got in here? Washer and Dryer…most likely.

You my dear 21st century sister have helpers, 21st century servant girls.

Modern Helpers

In biblical times there were no washers and dryers, grain grinders (at least not electric), food processors, gas stoves or dish washers.  The servant girl was there to aid the woman with her daily work.  The wife and mother probably could not have gotten everything done with a helpful girl/woman by her side.

We too have helpers that come to our aid so that we can get all of our daily work done.  When I load my dishwasher and turn it on I am giving it a portion of today’s work.  My washing machine does it’s part by cleaning the clothing for me.  My food processor assists me in making a variety of foods.  The list goes on.

Living out the Scripture

I realized that when I write my daily To Do list for the home I am living out this scripture.  I am being the 21st century version of Proverbs 31:15.  I write out what I need to do and I assign those jobs to the wash machine, the dishwasher and a host of other helpers that I am blessed with.

I have no wish to be rich and have “hired help” but I am very thankful that I have some modern conveniences that aid me in my daily work.  When I stop to think of what I can achieve, what I do get done, even while working full time I truly do not know how I’d manage if it weren’t for these mechanical marvels.

I am thankful that I have modern conveniences even things like running water and electricity that aid me as I follow the desire of my heart, given to me by God, to be the keeper of my home.

I think my washing machine and my stand mixer tie for biggest helper in my home.  I could not make wonderful loaves of bread or pizza crust with ease if it were not for that wonderful KitchenAid mixer and I could not imagine scrubbing clothing on a wash board!

Which one of your helpers is the most beneficial in your home?

Until Next Time,

Be Blessed

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Sunday Scripture

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  ~ Hebrews 10: 22-25

 

Until Next Time,

 

Be Blessed

A Word on Giving

A thoughtful question from a reader on my Finance Friday post prompted me to write this post today.  I felt that his question might be stirring in others.

In our home we follow the teaching that tithing is to take 10-percent off the top of our income and return it to the Lord.  But why? This is such a valid question.  I think this is something each person needs to seek out for themselves, or each couple needs to seek out.

To blindly give and not understand why you are giving robs you of the wisdom and truth the Lord wants you to have.

More so, it robs God of the praise he deserves for His ways.  If His ways are higher than ours, we should seek to fully understand as much as our finite minds can, the ways of the Lord.  If He wanted us to blindly do whatever he commanded he wouldn’t have given us free will.   That is the beauty of our Heavenly Father.  He loves us, He wants us to follow his leading but He wants us to do it because we sincerely want to, not out of obligation or because He made us do it.

Why 10%

The Hebrew word translated to tithe is asar which means ten. Ma’asr means tenth part or tithe.  This is why many follow the 10% guideline when giving.

When I start taking my offering seriously my husband was not on board with giving “that much” to the church.  So since I felt convicted I to increase I began to tithe on my income alone.

 Giving doesn’t just stop at 10% though.  The tithe should be your goal if you are not giving or are giving less but you also should not stop at 10% and feel that’s all you need to give.

This is a decision that you (or you and your spouse) need to make.  We have begun to increase our giving each year when we get a raise.

  

Ok, but why do I give off my gross pay and not my net pay (Or) Why give before taxes, why not after taxes?

Our reasons for tithing on our gross pay are this:

In biblical times when the Lord called for a sacrifice an unblemished (clean) animal was chosen.  The bible also says in Exodus 13:2 and 13:12 that the first-born was to be sacrificed.

By sacrificing the clean, the unclean was made righteous and was redeemed.  (In comparison to us and Jesus – Jesus, clean & spotless, was sacrificed to redeem us, the unclean.)

Exodus 23:19 says “The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. We give back to God the first fruits of what He has given us.  In Proverbs 3 verse 9 we see “Honor the Lord with your wealth and the first of all your produce.”

While we no longer take grain offerings or animal offerings to the Lord we do take a check or cash to the offering plate. I believe that we honor God by bringing him the first of our wealth.

Simply stated, God over government.

In today’s society our paycheck is taxed before we see one cent of our money so I can see why people choose to give based on their gross earnings. I feel if God gave me a job at $10.00 an hour and I work 40 hours God has blessed me with $400.00.  I want to give back to him based on what He gave me not on what is left after the government has their fair share.

Only God has the authority and ability to bless our finances and multiply them.  The mortgage company doesn’t, neither does your credit card. And the government certainly does not have that ability (though they do think they have the authority.)

When we really started to budget our money I began to write out our tithe check before I would even look at our bills.  Why? Not because of an obligation but as my personal way of saying “God, this is your money and before I do anything else with it I am committing this portion back to you.” For me it was a matter of the heart.

Additionally, this is the only subject, to my knowledge that the Lord tells us to test him on.  Malichi 3:10 reads “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” He wants to pour out abundant blessings on us but we must acknowledge that it is all His to begin with and take back to Him His portion.

Until Next Time,

Be Blessed

 

A word on comments: This can be a hot button issue.  I encourage your comments but I demand respect, love and kindness.  You may disagree with me or what someone else may post which is ok.  Disagree in love.  Disrespectful comments or comments with cursing will be deleted.  

I Was Thinking Of You Today

I was thinking about you today,

I was wondering where you were.

 

I was thinking about you today

I was hoping you’d show up and tell me that you love me.

 

I was thinking about you today

I was doubting the promises you made to me.

 

I was thinking about you today

I was believing you’d forgotten me.

 

Then I stopped and prayed.

I realized that

 

You were thinking about me today

You were wishing I’d spend more time talking to you.

 

You were thinking about me today

You were whispering sweet words to me that i was too busy to hear.

 

You were thinking about me today

You were loving me even when I was doubting.

 

You were thinking of me that day,

When you hung your son on a cross to die for me.

Drawing by Eugene Delacroix

And so I will think of you today,

I will praise you in the storm.

 

I will think of you today,

I will remember your promises are yes and amen.

 

I will think of you today,

I will cherish the little things you send my way.

 

I will think of you today,

I will wait faithfully for your promises.

 

Until Next Time,

Be Blessed