Tag Archive | family

Every Wise Woman – Introduction

The wise woman builds her house,

But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Proverbs 14:1

 

The year was 2017. The diagnosis was bilateral invasive breast cancer.  The events of the year were certainly unexpected and unpredictable, but the Lord, in His faithfulness, love, grace, and mercy, carried us through by His amazing strength.  As of today, following much prayer, many doctors’ appointments, and two surgeries, as far and we know medically, my body is cancer free.  But 2017 also brought some other things into my life.

We all know that the Scriptures teach that our life is but a vapor and will fade away.  We know that it is appointed to each of us a time to die, and we know that our days are numbered. But 2017 brought a time of examination into my life. With a clear view that my life could have ended here on earth, I had to ask the Lord what He would have me do with the future days that He has graciously placed before me. The Lord has so blessed my life through His Word over the last 33 years. He saved me, totally changed our marriage, helped me raise our son, taught me so many truths, and essentially gave me a new life. I cannot keep these blessings to myself.  I must share them and allow the Lord to bring them into the hands of those who need encouragement in truth. I also leave these writings, with great love, to the next generation.

So … for 2018, I have been led to write devotional posts entitled Every Wise Woman.  Simple devotional thoughts will be written to encourage women in their walk with the Lord, in their marriages, and in their homes with their families. We will build truth upon truth through these simple devotions. The posts are not already written.  I will write as the Lord leads. I do appreciate your prayers.

I invite you to join the journey and to invite others to join us, as well. You will be able to  find these posts on our blog at http://www.wisdomandkindness.com and can follow the blog there to have the posts sent to your email address, or you can have them show in your Facebook feed by liking our Facebook page entitled Wisdom and Kindness.

Looking forward to the journey. Praying that you will join us.  May the Lord bless!

 

Mom, Will You Play Legos With Me?

Will You Play Legos?I sat on the park bench, watching my eight-year old son playing with a friend. As I enjoyed the beauty of the day and the simple joy of the children laughing and playing, a Scripture came to my mind:  Love your children …  Oh no, there it is again, I thought!  That Scripture had been on my mind constantly, returning time and again.  Love your children … I had heard it over and over in my mind.  I knew the Lord was trying to speak to me, but I just didn’t understand.

What, Lord?  What are you trying to say?  Here we were at the park.  I had gotten his friend to play with him, picked up a pizza to bring along, and brought the boys to the park for the afternoon. Yet, I was hearing love your children again.  I was actually feeling a little frustrated and confused. I really didn’t know what The Lord was trying to get me to understand. What else did I need to do?

As the boys played, I ran many thoughts through my mind.  I truly did hundreds of things for my son.  I left a career to be a stay-at-home mom.  I cared for his physical needs impeccably.  He was very well-dressed at all times.  He was well-fed, with his nutrition as a priority of mine.  I homeschooled him, spending hours pouring into his heart the Word of God, as well as being certain that academically he functioned at the top of his age group.  But still the prompting persisted: Love your children.  I really didn’t know what more I could do.  I had given my life to raising him, and I reminded myself  once again of the multitude of things that I did for him.

Well, the play date was over. We took his friend home, and we happily returned to our home.  Happily for him, but I was still troubled within.  I knew there was something that I needed to learn.  I grabbed my Bible and withdrew to my room.  I bowed my heart before The Lord and asked Him to show me what He was trying to say.  I knew there was something that I just didn’t understand.

I opened my Bible to Titus 2 to the passage where older women are instructed to teach the younger women, and there it was … Love your children … Love your children … Love your children.  I knew that I had to understand that phrase.  I pulled out a Bible dictionary and searched for the definition.  What I found opened my eyes, spoke to my heart, and answered my question.  The word used here for love was not agape, the self-sacrificing love to which the Bible so frequently refers. This word for love was phileo, the kind of love that focuses on relationship. It actually describes a friendship love.  It was then that I saw the truth that I had missed. It was then that I understood.  I had spent years doing things “for” my son.  I had actually given my life to that.  But what The Lord was calling me to was to do things “with” my son.  I could see that I needed to focus, not only on the tasks at hand, but on the relationship.

I began to run so many things through my mind.  Yes,  I did that “for” him.   And I did that “for” him.  And I did that “for” him.  But there were not too many “with” things.  Even the afternoon outing to the park had been “for” him.  Then came the flood of questions that I heard replayed in my mind.  Mom, will you play Legos “with” me?  No, Mom has to fix dinner…  Mom, will you ride bikes “with” me?  No, Mom needs to do the laundry…   Mom, will you play a game “with” me?  No, Mom is busy right now.  The tears began to flow.  Now I saw.  Now I understood.  I had been so focused on all of the things that I did “for” my son that I was missing the most important thing of all – the relationship “with” him!

God did something major in my heart that day.  He gave me a new priority.  The truth love your children became very special to me.  Now, when my son would say: Mom, will you play Legos with me, I could hear the “with me” loud and clear.  And I would do my best to say: We sure can!  Even if I could not do it right at that moment, I was sure to let him know that we sure can!  Days turned into weeks.  Weeks turned into years.  Although I still made mistakes, I am thankful that The Lord persisted to teach me that truth.  Love your children – a truth I desperately needed to learn.

My son is grown now, with a family of his own.  Do I have any regrets in raising him?  Do I regret giving up a career to be a stay-at-home mom?  Not for a moment!  Do I regret giving all of those years to homeschooling him?  Not for a moment!  Do I regret painstakingly caring for his needs? Not for a moment!  Do I have any regrets at all? Only one comes to mind – that I would have taken every opportunity to do things “with” him.

The childhood years pass way too quickly.  Love your children. It is a decision that you will never regret!  Mom, will you play Legos with me?  We sure can!  We sure can!

Kara’s Sory: Learning to Build

imageEvery wise woman buildeth her house:

but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Proverbs 14:1

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.

Psalm 127:1

What a work God has done in my heart with these two verses!  For so many years of my marriage, I was a foolish woman, constantly plucking my house down around me with my very own hands.  Oh, I didn’t realize that was what I was doing.  I thought that I was standing up for my rights as a “liberated” and “educated” female.  I thought that I deserved a life beyond my husband and two children.  I didn’t realize that God had given me a precious gift – a household full of wonderful people – and that I was the one steadily destroying it.  God had done more than His part, bringing my family through many self-inflicted storms and trials, but every time the Lord would begin to pour a foundation for my family, there I would be, tearing it down to the ground by my words and neglect.

Now that I look back, I should have seen what was going on, especially since in His mercy, God had given me a very vivid physical example of what neglect causes with the house that we had bought soon after our daughters were born.  This house seemed perfect when we first visited it – quaint, quiet, understated – the perfect place to raise our children.  But little did we know the work that is required to keep a house, especially an older house, as ours was, in good condition.

I was busy with my job (in a Christian work, by the way) and my husband was busy establishing a new business.  The house – like my family –  was left to itself.  Unbelievably soon, the roof was leaking, termites had eaten through the foundation, and the beautiful yard that the previous owner had so painstakingly landscaped was overgrown with weeds.  We were so overwhelmed when we realized the work ahead of us that we simply threw up our hands in defeat.  And I did the same thing with my family.  I will spare you the details of the damaging results, but suffice it to say, my home and my family were nearly destroyed.

But then a miracle occurred.  God saved me and began to open up the truth of His Word to me, line upon line, precept upon precept.  He began to use my physical house to show me what was happening to my household and to my family.

One day, my husband discovered that the main support of the house would have to be replaced before any other repair work could be done; God used this to show me that my family needed Him as our main support before any other lasting improvements could be made.

On another occasion, my husband found that termites had damaged our walls and many of them would have to be rebuilt; likewise, we would have to rebuild our family’s spiritual walls through prayer, study, and church.

Little by little, we have begun to repair our home, both physically and spiritually, and little by little, I am changing from that foolish woman who destroys her home to one that builds her home.  Each day I pray that God will show me ways to build – and any ways that I may be destroying – the precious family with which He has blessed me.

Through wisdom is a house builded; and by understanding it is established:  and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Proverbs 24:3-4

The above anonymous testimony was first printed in Dawning Light © 2004.  I, again, extend my thanks to ladies willing to share their story to the glory of God.

Some of the Better Things

imageI was wondering what we consider to be the better things in life? For most, the list would contain material things – lots of money and lots of things that money can buy!

Prompted by a Scripture that came to mind, I took a brief stroll through the Proverbs.  Here is what I found:

For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. Proverbs 8:11

Better is little with the fear of The Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.  Proverbs 15:16

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. Proverbs 15:17

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.  Proverbs 16:8

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!  Proverbs 16:16

Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.  Proverbs 16:19

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.  Proverbs 16:32

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife.  Proverbs 17:1

It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.  Proverbs 21:9

It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.  Proverbs 21:19

So, what are the better things?

A life with God … walking in wisdom and understanding … living in righteousness and integrity … having love and humility … in a home with peace and harmony.

Yes, Lord, I am persuaded that these are the better things.

Mountains of Laundry, Thousands of Meals

Mountains of Laundry

I stood at the washer transferring the same damp clothes to the dryer as I had done last week.  I loaded another load of clothes into the washer – the same clothes that I had loaded last week, then gathered up those that needed to be folded and put away – again the same clothes that I had folded and put away last week.  The cycle continued week after week.  I had come to the conclusion that this was a non-ending job.  I was sure that my family purposed to fill up the laundry basket at any rare moment that they found that it may be empty.

But I gathered up those clothes and brought them to the place where I sit to fold clothes.  As I continued folding clothes, I reflected on this continual laundry task that I faced weekly, and the drudgery of it all.  From there my mind wandered to another task, that of fixing meals.  Oh, I thought, cooking is not just a weekly task.  That one occurs over and over, over and over, over and over each day. Sometimes that one feels like a fast-running treadmill on which I can’t keep up.  Sometimes I have even thought – Mealtime again! It seems as if we just did that! They can’t be hungry again!

I’m sure most wives and moms have had those or similar thoughts at some time during their life.  But I recall when The Lord freed me from this drudgery.  Don’t misunderstand.  I still do laundry weekly and still prepare meals, just as often as before, but what he freed me from was the drudgery of it all.

What I learned was that my thinking was totally wrong!  I needed to see laundry and meals through the truth of God’s Word.  Laundry and meals in the Bible? There is nothing “spiritual” about that!  But that is exactly where I was wrong!

In a passage in 1 Timothy 6:6-8, the Scripture mentions contentment.  Then the Scripture says: And having food and raiment let us therewith be content.  What I saw through that Scripture was that food and clothing are the most basic needs that every person has.  Almost all other material things are optional, but food and clothing are necessities. Now I will agree that most Americans have far more food and clothing than needed, but nonetheless food and clothing are basic human needs.

Then, I saw my family through that truth.  The most basic physical needs that my family had was food and clothing.  And I had been given the privilege of meeting that need for them. For me, that was certainly a new way of looking at laundry and meals.

My mind went from there to the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, a woman who is familiar to us all.  I went through the Proverb, verse by verse, and was amazed at how much time this woman spent taking care of the food and clothing needs of her family.

She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands. (clothing)

She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar. (food)

She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.  (food)

She considers a field and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. (food)

She lays her hand to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. (clothing)

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.  (clothing)

She makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. (clothing)

She makes fine linen, and sells it. (clothing)

She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. (food and clothing)

At that moment, I saw the virtuous woman in a whole new way.  I knew the Scriptures described her as a woman strong in The Lord, as a woman who did good to her husband, as a woman to be honored, but what I now realized was that she spent most of her time caring for her family, and very much of that time was spent on the food and clothing needs of her family.

In all of my life, I had never seen laundry and meals as part of my serving The Lord. I had certainly never seen it as a “spiritual” work. That was the day that The Lord took the drudgery out of my housework.  I realized that all of those duties were not just responsibilities or obligations to be drudged through.  They were actually a large portion of my service to The Lord.

I began to see our home as a place of refuge for us all – a place where physical, emotional, and spiritual needs would be met.  My outlook changed.  My attitude changed.  Actually, it was my heart that changed.

I still have mountains of laundry to do and thousands of meals to prepare, and I still need to be reminded.  But this is what I now know – each load of laundry and each meal that I prepare is one more opportunity to serve my Lord by loving and serving my family.

And when the drudgery tries to sneak back in, and surely it does, I ask The Lord to remind me – these are the things that a woman that is strong in The Lord does – and she will be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:31

A Willing Heart

… She worketh willingly with her hands.

Proverbs 31:13

Isn’t it amazing the powerful impact that one word in the Scriptures can have?  As the virtuous woman is described in Proverbs 31, Scripture could have simply said that she works with her hands.  But there is a very important word inserted in this passage – and that word is willingly.  She worketh willingly with her hands.

We instantly get the picture of the virtuous woman’s heart.  The work that she does is not just an external action.  It initiates and results from a willing heart.  How different any work is when it is done willingly, rather than out of duty or obligation.  The end result may appear the same when the work is accomplished, but the journey along the way will be, oh, so very different.  The willing heart joys in the journey.  The obligated heart loses the joy.

A similar Scripture is found in 1 Peter 4:9:  Use hospitality one to another without grudging. There is to be a love and outreaching to others, seeking to serve their needs, but look at the remainder of the verse – without grudging.  You see, right actions could be taken to minister to others, but what was the condition of the heart?  Was this a willing service – or was it done with grudging? The Greek word for grudging is gongusmos and is described as a private complaining.  Perhaps the most private place of all that we complain is in our own heart.  It is that murmuring that we do – perhaps to others, perhaps to our own selves – that directly affects the way that we serve.

A full reading of the Proverbs 31 woman reveals no murmuring and no complaining, but rather a willing heart.  She worketh willingly with her hands.

But let’s look more closely at the word willingly.  This word is far more than just saying, “OK, I’ll do that and I won’t complain!”  The most common translation of this word is to take pleasure in; to delight in.  In fact, a full study of the word will show that Proverbs 31 is the only place that the word is translated as willingly.  It is most frequently translated as desire, delight, and pleasure.  So it is very appropriate to say that the virtuous woman desires her work, delights in her work, and takes pleasure in her work.  Isn’t that an interesting view of  her heart!

And in what kind of work was she delighting?  She was delighting in caring for her family.  She was taking pleasure in doing good to her husband.  She was delighting in looking well into the ways of her household.  She was taking pleasure in seeing that they were fed well and clothed well.  She was delighting in reaching out to those in need.  No wonder she is described as such a strong woman!  Her life is not about herself.  It is about her Lord, and it is about others.  And she delights in it!

Lord, we humbly ask that you renew our hearts, that they may be willing hearts – hearts that take pleasure in You and hearts that delight in serving You – hearts that work willingly – hearts that delight in serving our families and hearts that take pleasure in serving those in need.

 

A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

Proverbs 31:30

The above post was first printed in Dawning Light © 2003.

The Light Still Shines!

I gently pushed open the hospital door, knowing that things were not going well. I carefully entered, as quietly as I could. All was dark and still, except for the small glimmer of light that filtered through the space where the bathroom door was slightly ajar.  I could see her there, just sitting in solitude, reading her Bible.  I thought to myself, “What is the deal? Why is she sitting alone reading her Bible at a time like this?  I just don’t get it!” But that was the pattern of her life. How many times as a child had I found her alone in her room reading that Bible!

I turned my attention toward the hospital bed where the frail fourteen-year-old lay.  He should be out running and playing or riding bikes or fishing like other young boys, but here he lay, resting quietly at the moment.  His mom had closed the blinds, turned out the lights, and retreated to the only place of solitude that she could find, where she could both read and keep an attentive ear to her precious son. During his waking hours, he was in extreme pain and discomfort so, as he slept, she lovingly kept any and all from unintentionally disturbing him.  She had faithfully cared for him through the years, and now, she would continue to love, nurture, wait, pray, and trust as the long and hard battle against leukemia would come to an end.

We buried my little brother a few days later.  That little guy had literally been my heart – and my closest side-kick. Many special memories would always remain.  But when I think back on those days from over thirty years ago, that vivid memory of my mother reading her Bible, enclosed in the walls of that tiny hospital bathroom, will be forever etched in my mind.

Years passed, and through the course of time, I, too became a Christian. And, yes, I, too, began to read my Bible.  But I was plagued with doubts and questions. Was the Bible indeed true? Could it all be believed?  Why was it so hard for me just to, by faith, accept it all as true?

Then, one day my answer came. I was doing a study on what the Bible actually declares about itself, and I made the most amazing discovery.  I found that the most unbelievable accounts in the Bible, those that are so often mocked and scoffed at, and those which are so often debated, were used by Jesus in His teachings.  I was intrigued! I followed them through one by one. I studied and pondered how He made references to the Biblical truths of old and used them to explain and expound many of His teachings!

Many do not believe in the Biblical account of Creation. but Jesus did! (Matthew 19, Mark 10)

Many do not believe in a literal flood, but Jesus did! (Matthew 24:37-39)

Many do not believe in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but Jesus did! (Luke 17:28-30)

Many do not believe that Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, but Jesus did! (Luke 17:32)

And many do not believe that Jonah really remained alive in the belly of the big fish for three days and three nights, but Jesus did! (Matthew 12:40)

These were the passages that made such an impact on me, but there were more. I also saw how he used these Old Testament truths to teach critical doctrines of the faith.  He used the story of Jonah to exemplify His resurrection. He used the days of Noah and Lot to explain what the world would be like at His second coming. He took some of the most controversial of Scriptures to explain truth.  Truly, He believed the Scriptures, and He believed all of it!  There is no way to explain what happened in the depths of my heart!  It was settled!  If it was good enough for my Lord, it was good enough for me! It was true! It was ALL true!  Within my heart, I KNEW it was true!

Rested, grounded, settled, I continued my studies.  I found the same was true of the apostles.  Peter, James, Jude, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, and the writer to the Hebrews would go back and reference the Old Testament scriptures. Indeed, they too, believed!  I knew of a certainty that the Bible was true!  I knew that there I could find truth!  I now knew that in His Word, I could hear Him! And my life would be forever changed!

I would go to His Word to find answers to my questions! I would go there for comfort! I would go there for encouragement! Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, in the good times and, most assuredly, in the bad, I could be found in some quiet place reading my Bible.

I think back thirty years ago. In my mind, I re-enter that hospital room. I see my mom in that little hospital bathroom reading her Bible!  She didn’t even know I was looking!  “Oh, mom!  I get it! I understand!”  All I can think is, “I love you, Mom!  Thank you for showing me the way!” – when you didn’t even know I was looking!

And for those of you who may still be waiting on your own children – Don’t give up!  Let your light continue to shine!  Even when you are not aware, your children ARE watching!  You never know what God may do when you do not even know that they are looking!