Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hampering Home

“She watches over the activities of her household.” ~Proverbs 31:27
Proverbs 31:27 is one of the reflection verses from Melisa Taylor’s Online Bible Study on Karen Ehman’s book “Let. It. Go.” this week, and it has resonated with me in a powerful way.  When I read it, the word WATCHES jumped off the page at me in a large, bold, flashing lights kind of way, and hit me right between the eyes, striking me with the realization that this does not in any way describe me – I am not a Proverbs 31 woman…or at least I haven’t been…God is working on that.  But when I read it?  No, definitely not!  I think I was more of a Proverbs 14:1 kind of woman: “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”  And no, I’m not referring to the wise woman in this scripture, but rather the foolish destructive one.  Yep, that’s more like the me that started this “Let. It. Go.” journey just a short three weeks ago.  You know, the one who’s proverbs 31:27 read, “She controls over the activities of her household.
"Controls"…"watches"…I think the whole world could fit in the gap that makes up the difference between these two words, and yet I interchanged them as if they were synonyms found together in my thesaurus.  It was that woman who, when something wouldn’t get completed her own way in the home, would criticize, condemn, and control with the attitude and belief, “how dare you hamper MY home!”  So sad…sigh…but let’s not dawdle on the past because that is, with the help of God and this study, where it/that woman will remain.  I declare it in Jesus name.  Praise the Lord!
While reading through the last few chapters on husbands, kids, and home, God has shown me that it’s not in fact the other members of the household hampering “MY” home by not completing things in MY fashion to MY satisfaction.  But rather, it is ME hampering OUR home with MY criticizing and controlling ways.  He has reminded me that my husband and child are individuals that He created – each with their own unique personality traits, talents, and purpose.  They’re not mini-me (or in my husband’s case, muscle-me) replicas of myself that are there to serve my selfishness.  And by treating them as such, not only have I hampered our home, but I have also hampered their individual growth and any growth that would/should take place in our relationships together. 

Wow!  Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?  With as harsh as it felt for God to bring that to my attention, I can only imagine how much harsher it has felt for my family to have taken this treatment…sigh…again…but I remain hopeful because I now have Proverbs 31:27 at the forefront of my mind and a God in me and for me that is larger and stronger than any obstacle that I can create.  Again, praise the Lord!
In Proverbs 31:27, God has shown me that instead of replacing "watches" with "control", I should see "watches" as:
Willing to
Children & my
Husband to
This helps me tremendously to act accordingly when managing our home! 

There were also several great tips and quotes from chapter six that I’ve added to my arsenal for taming my controlling tendencies.  One such tip is, when things don’t go my way around the house, to tell myself, “Two plus two equals four.  Three plus one equals four.  Seven minus three equals four…there are many ways to get to the number four.  Additionally (pun intended), there are many ways to accomplish tasks around the house, no matter who does them or how they get done,” (pg. 112).  I’ve never been much of a math person, but even this number deficient mom and wife can understand how this simple equation can add up to a much happier home!
I’m also a very visual person, so I can really relate to the quote, “Be a thermostat, not a thermometer.  Set the tone and environment in your home,” (Donna Otto pg. 114).  This is a big one for me because I hadn’t really given much thought to the fact that I’m the one who’s responsible for the negative tone that radiates through our home!  I've been like the heat on a hot summers day with no windows open to offer a soothing breeze or air conditioning to tame those ever rising temperatures!  While I may love me a little heat, I know that my husband in particular does not, and in both senses of the word!
Though I may have been the thermometer all too often, I can now thankfully declare that I’m a thermostat in the making - one that wants to, “set the tone in a way that invites Christ and calm into our home rather than cutting words and chaos,” (pg. 117).  And a woman who can, “offer some friendliness to the members of our own homes, to keep our tempers in check and our grumbling at bay, to let perfect love wash over a multitude of sins,” (pg. 116).  And most of all, one who wants to be a Proverbs 31 woman who, “speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue,” (vs. 26), and who, “watches over the affairs of her household,” (vs. 27), so that she can be the woman who’s, “children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her,” (vs. 28)!  That’s surely the woman that I want to be – one that is set free from the captivity of her own control! 

I know that this transformation is going to be a process and not one that happens over-night, but I feel the excitement inside that comes with facing any challenge, and I’m ready to step out in faith and give God his job back once and for all!  Say Adios to this Hampering Home Momma!

“A tidy house is going to regularly untidy itself.  The clean laundry will require washing again very, very soon.  The belongings in our own larger-than-life dollhouses are going to get rearranged.  Continually.  When they do, are we going to badger and belittle or show grace and patience?” ~Karen Ehman – “Let. It. Go.” (pg. 116-17)

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” ~Proverbs 15:1

Saturday, February 16, 2013


From the time I was young, I set out to achieve,
In following God's plan, I did not believe.
Created to marry? Ha! That's surely not me!
A successful career women, is who I want to be!

So I strove for high marks, in all of my classes,
In a hurry to go out, and join in the masses.
On the fast track, I was headed straight for success,
There was no way I'd fall in love, and settle for less!

But then to my surprise, along came this guy,
I suddenly found myself thinking: "maybe I'll give marriage a try!"
For live without him, I'd surely not dare,
I had finally just found someone, in which I truly cared.

"I told you," said the Lord, "that you'd one day wear the veil.
For it is not your plan, but rather mine, that will PREVAIL."

I wish that I could tell you, I'd learned to follow God my wedding day,
But in truth I'd never let go, of my plan or my own way.
"Created just to marry?" I mocked God with a laugh,
"A career is what I'll have, and I'll even have my own staff!"

For the next five years, our life was all about my success,
So much so, that I didn't even know how much I'd let the rest digress.
Eventually, the day did come, in which I knew that I was lost,
I couldn't believe, however, just how much choosing my own way had cost!

Nothing, I did recognize, not even my own reflection!
How did I allow my life, to go so far in the wrong direction?
"OK Lord, I will quit then," I cried out in desperation,
"I'm done with my own way God, make me into Your creation!"

"It's not a "job" in which that I your God, had created you to hail,
I told you once, I'll tell you again, it is my plan that will PREVAIL."

For three beautiful years, to follow God is what I sought,
To love, and trust, and walk in faith, is what the good Lord taught.
Choosing to follow, in His great plan instead of mine,
Led to many blessings, unforeseen and truly divine!

Our financial future became bright, where once it'd been so dim,
God grew my faith tremendously, in my man and also in Him!
He proved to me they could provide, and so I stayed at home,
In God's plan we did invest, our time and tithes were sown.

Despite the fact our income, had been cut by more than half,
The dear Lord blessed and taught us, we're out of debt at last!
"How could this be?" I asked, surprised and in great shock,
No longer my own plans I'd follow, nor in God's plan I'd mock!

"It's not your job to understand, just what my plan entails,
It's only your job to follow me, and let my plan PREVAIL.

So walking in faith wherever He led, is what I set out to do,
And as a result my love for Him, just grew and grew and grew!
Then suddenly to my surprise, God had made me a true lady,
For I found out I was pregnant, expecting our first baby!

The labor went on for several days, and really took its toll,
But rather than handing it all to God, again I sought control!
It's been nearly four years now, since our daughter's birthday,
But never did I let go again, I've fought to control the entire way!

Exhaustion, anger, bitterness, again is what I've felt,
So why do I continue on, trying to control the cards in which I'm dealt?
Through all my pain the Lord's been there, He's never let me go,
He's been patient in loving me, even when I've ran the show!

"Alas, dear child," the Lord's said to me, "I did not make you male.
Let it go for good this time, for it is my plan that will PREVAIL!

 While the world has taught and continues to try to tell us to seek out and follow the desires of our own hearts, when we read God’s Word we gain the true wisdom and truth in the matter.  The question is- in which will you choose to believe and follow?  I’m choosing to let my own way go, once again, and it is my hope and prayer that you’ll do the same and join me in living for Him!

“For your thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. ~Isaiah 55:8

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ooo! Shiny!

(From Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo - the trench scene)...

Dory: “Nice trench…Hello? (echoes)…OK, let’s go!”
Marlin: “No.  Bad trench, bad trench.  Come on.  We’re gonna swim over this thing.”
Dory: “Whoa, whoa partner.  Little red flag going up.  Something’s telling me we should swim through it, not over it.”
Marlin: “Are you even looking at this thing?  It’s got death written all over it.”
Dory: “I’m sorry, but I really, really, really think we should swim through.”
Marlin: “And I’m really, really done talking about this.  Over we go.”
Dory: “Come on, trust me on this.”
Marlin: “Trust you?”
Dory: “Yes, trust – it’s what friends do.”
Marlin: “Look!  Something shiny!”
Dory: “Where?”
Marlin: “Oh, it just swam over the trench!  Come on!  We’ll follow it!”
Dory: “OK!”
(to watch the above conversation from Finding Nemo, hold ctrl key while clicking on link)
Anyone who’s seen Disney/Pixar’s animated film, Finding Nemo, knows how this scene ends up playing out – by the fun-loving, but very forgetful Dory, allowing Marlin’s deceit of “something shiny” to distract her into going his way rather than the way in which she had been instructed to go, and they then find themselves smack dab in the middle of trouble, amongst a swarm of jellyfish.  How many times have we, as believers, done this very same thing?  God gives us an instruction which we know we should follow, and sometimes even intend on following, but then Satan dangles “a shiny” in front of us and we, just like Dory, find ourselves deceived into choosing a different way; or to put it another way, we choose our way.
In this world, we are constantly being bombarded with all kinds of things that can lure us away from our “East Australian current,” otherwise known as God’s plan/way.  God’s word warns us in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”  While I have found that there are many “shiny,” worldly things that can and have distracted me, the main one would definitely be in making and keeping my own little world – my home – “shiny.”
Those who know me well know that I am a self-confessed neat freak.  I love to create, clean, organize, and systematize everything, and sometimes even everyone!  Keeping my world “shiny” is such a distraction, that often times I lose focus on everything else in life – including God…or maybe I should say, especially God.  While I’ve never actually been diagnosed, many of those around me would likely label me OCD…I would have to say that I agree, though I don’t necessarily think of it as “obsessive compulsive disorder.”  I like to think of it as “obsessive controlling desires” because my “need to clean” definitely stems from my deep rooted “need to control.”
Whenever things aren’t going my way in life, whether big or small, it manifests itself through the frantic and obsessive perfecting of my surroundings.  You can always tell how “in control” of my life I feel based off of how clean and orderly my house is.  I guess it’s my way of grabbing hold of what I feel I can control when my life feels out of control.  Somehow I’ve gotten it into my head that if everything in my immediate surroundings is perfect, then everything is OK because I’m now in control.  The more I have grown in my walk with God, the more I’ve come to realize that this is just a self-defense illusion very well crafted by our ever so deceitful nemesis, Satan…the problem is, if I really believe this to be true, which I do, then why haven’t I stopped? Why do I frantically continue to try to maintain control? Why have I yet to LET IT GO?  Well, a week ago today, I set off on a venture to do just that!
As Melisa Taylor’s online Bible study of the book, “Let. It. Go.,” by Karen Ehman points out, “The world is full of shiny things begging for our attention.  What are the things in your life that have turned into controlling tangents?  Let’s help each other break just one!”
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” ~Hebrews 12:1-2   
“Set your minds on the things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” ~Col 3: 2-3