When Emotions Rule Rather than Serve

I’m an emotional person.  Ask anyone who knows me.  🙂

But emotions aren’t meant to rule us…and they’re certainly not meant to be a gospel substitute in our lives.  But this can and does happen!

What do I mean by this?  You can find out here.

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Remembering the 70’s

It was the early 1970’s when my “thought-I-was-a-Christian” churched boyfriend became a Christian. The morning after his conversion I could actually see the difference on his face.

A thug on probation had just become a Jesus freak!

During that time the “Jesus Movement” — a revival among young people that started in California and literally moved across the country — hit Northern Virginia.  Before long the camping trips on which our high school choir teacher took us included “church” on Sunday mornings. Benny and I went from tent to tent waking everyone up to hear Benny share the gospel. The Spirit of God was busy and we saw numerous friends experience saving faith.

Weeknight meetings that met next door to the police station where Benny had spent some time prior grew almost weekly. Benny and others taught and barefoot guys played guitars while we sat cross-legged on the floor singing songs that sounded nothing like the hymns we grew up with. One amazing day the school vice-principle asked our group to lead a 7th period assembly for the entire school! He had seen the change in so many “bad kids” and was inviting the revival to spread. Numerous students responded to an altar call that day to commit their lives to Jesus Christ.

Then we got married and Benny became a youth pastor. What fun we had caring for “kids” who were nearly our own age. Again, God moved and the Baptist church Bible study grew. Benny participated in starting Bible studies in local high schools and kids were finding irresistible grace to be amazing. To this day we have sweet relationships with then high schoolers who are now pillars in churches throughout the country.

But something happened.  In short, we became so focused on ministering in the church that evangelism waned. I had six kids in eleven years, was homeschooling and trying to keep up with the laundry. Evangelism slowly and subtly shifted to inviting a neighbor to an Easter outreach or telling a grocery store checker I would pray for her following her mom’s death.

For the first time in years I had lunch yesterday with someone who isn’t involved in a church and who may not be a believer. And it was her idea! We met at a business appointment I attended with my oldest son (I work part time from home for him). At the end of our meeting she asked if we might have lunch. I was thrilled! Yesterday after lunch with this delightful woman and devoted mother she asked if we could do this again.

Why has it been so long?

This formerly zealous evangelist became so church oriented that I forgot the mission to which the church is called: to incarnate Jesus Christ to a lost and hopeless world in need of a Savior. Extending a church invitation or praying for a grieving store clerk is nice…but it’s not sharing the gospel. 

Yesterday I watched the Lord steer our lunch conversation to me briefly sharing about the difference God is making in my life. In fact, I was able to empathize with some things my new friend is going through with her adult children — and then surprise her when this pastor’s wife of nearly 4 decades followed up her lack of enthusiasm for church involvement by admitting the times when I went on Sunday mornings only because…well…my husband is a pastor!

I came home yesterday hopeful. Who would have thought this homeschooling mom of seven and grandmother of eleven would be “out there” selling IT and having lunches with business savvy women who may walk away scratching their heads at how I’ve spent the last 35 years?

I just want them to walk away savoring the aroma of Christ.

God is stirring my heart to love the lost again. To admire women who have spent years building a career but who love their children just as much as I do. To not be ashamed of the gospel that has changed me and can change them. To resist the embarrassment or fear of man that tempts me to keep God out of the conversation. To look for ways to learn from some amazing women I’m meeting — many of whom share my values about marriage and motherhood far more closely than I thought when “us” and “them” attitudes tempted me to feeling superior because I was the stay-at-home mom.

I’m smiling. “Retro” stuff is back in. Our sons have repeatedly lamented that Dad didn’t save our Chevelle convertible for them and our daughters have chastised me for throwing away “cool” clothes and jewelry.

Maybe God is bringing me back.  Back to days when reaching out to the lost and praying for opportunities to share the love of Christ was a lifestyle.

Lord, please.

Deprived of Saturday Morning Cartoons

Mom liked having one day per week when the house was tidy all at the same time. So while my friends were enjoying Saturday morning cartoons, my siblings and I were cleaning. I remember telling myself that my children would spend Saturday mornings leisurely sleeping in and then watching cartoons like the rest of the kid world.

They didn’t. “Saturday morning chores” are still pretty typical, even though only two of them are left at home. While things sometimes happen that prevent us from working together in the house on Saturday mornings, I love hearing the sound of the yard being mowed while the smells of pine sol and furniture polish fill the house on Saturdays.

It’s Mom’s fault.

One of the concerns I have for young women today is the number of distractions available to them that take them “away” from home. As a young mom, our only car went with Benny to his office each day and I didn’t have the internet (including email, facebook, pinterest, blogs, online shopping, etc) to pull me away from working in my home. I’m not suggesting that these things are wrong at all.  I enjoy all these things myself and am tempted to spend too much time on my own computer. If I had these options as a young mother I would certainly have been tempted to “leave” home through my computer, too!

At least my messy kitchen is brightened by homemade Mother’s Day flowers from my little people. 🙂

You don’t have to set aside Saturday mornings for chores to be a hard working homemaker. Perhaps your routine involves splitting up chores throughout the week or you have the financial ability to hire someone to help keep your home in order. The question is more related to the heart:

Do we believe Martin Luther when he says that what we do in our homes is of eternal value? Or are our responsibilities at home the things we “have” to do so we can get to the things we “love” to do?

I don’t love cleaning toilets and dusting ceiling fans and removing science experiments from the frig. I have friends who actually love these kinds of chores. Not me. I would much rather read blogs, meet a friend for lunch, cook, or take pictures of my grandkids. I’m just as tempted as the next person to put off the laundry or wait till next week to scrub down the shower.

The question isn’t how clean our homes are, but how devoted we are to the scriptural mandate to be hard working homemakers. Whether you are single or married, work outside and in the home or are a stay-at-home mom, live alone or have a large family, we ladies all have something in common: we have been called and graced by God to manage our home for His glory. As a college student your “home” may be a dorm room or your bedroom at home. You may have a small apartment or a large multi-bedroom house. And being a godly homemaker involves much more than cleaning and organizing, but includes creating a warm and inviting place where love is on display to all who enter your dwelling. But making a home does mean we have to work to keep it presentable, welcoming, peaceful and orderly.

Those of you who have been frequenting my blog know the Lord has been exposing some areas of drift in my life. If you regularly visit my home you know that it is typically tidy. After all, four pretty-much-adults are all that live here now. So the drift isn’t that I’ve been neglecting my home or haven’t cleaned my kitchen floor in months. The drift has been in my heart. Slowly and subtly, caring for my home became too much of a “chore” and less of a joy. In recent weeks I’m finding a fresh breeze of grace blowing through my heart, reminding me that the faithful stewardship of my home is first and foremost a response to the commands of scripture and then a way to imitate the One who came to serve rather than be served.

This quote from Charles Spurgeon speaking of the Titus 2 passage for older women to teach younger women is stirring my heart:

“There were some women [in Crete] who supposed that, the moment they became Christians, they were to run about everywhere. “No,” says the apostle, “let them keep at home.” There is no gain to the Christian Church when the love, and the industry, and the zeal, which ought to make a happy home, are squandered upon something else.”

I’m grateful for the relationships and opportunities that enrich my life — and they often require me to leave my home to make them happen. Yet there is a growing return to the joy of homemaking due to the work the Holy Spirit is doing in my life. His work is requiring that I say no to some things I really want to do so I can invest the “love, and the industry, and the zeal” that being a diligent and joyful homemaker requires.

Off to start the laundry and get a bedroom ready for overnight guests.  Yay!

Hill Climbing is Good for the Heart

In my devotions this morning I read this quote:

‎”The land is full of hills and valleys. It is not all smooth nor all downhill. The hills collect the rain for a hundred fruitful valleys. Ah, so it is with us! It is the hill difficulty that drives us to the throne of grace and brings down the showers of blessing.” (N.L. Zindendorf)

After posting this on my facebook, a friend from up north mentioned there being no hills or valleys in Florida. Smile. But the ups and downs are alive and well in my heart!

Over the months I’ve definitely felt like I’ve been doing some serious hill climbing. The combination of health issues, family happenings (both fun and challenging) and changing circumstances (including starting a new church and anticipating our second move in 18 months) have found my mind and heart swirling. Throw my sin into the mix and…well…the hills and valleys have been on display!

In the midst of my ups and downs — which can swing back and forth from day to day — I have found the unchanging truths of God’s word and His uninterrupted nearness to be my strength.

Life changes.

Jobs get lost or transfers come.

Unplanned things that cost money happen.

Sin erupts.

Hormones fluctuate.

Kids make messes…in your home and in your heart.

Sickness strikes.

Friends disappoint.

Fears stalk.

Children grow up and leave home.

Sleep evades.

In the midst of all the changes, fluctuations, drift, eruptions, disappointments, unplanned happenings and disorienting shifts of life there is One who never changes. He who is the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8) is sitting down on His throne.  He is not pacing; fretful; concerned. He is still. In control. At peace. Ever watchful yet unruffled.

Yesterday I slipped from my hill climbing into a valley of worry and anger. Today the truth about Who God is — His unchanging character and sovereign control — is lifting me back onto the path.

I hate climbing hills. When I use the treadmill I keep the levels flat. I know it’s not as good for my heart as the incline upward, but I congratulate myself that I’m at least on it. Plus, I know I’m out of shape so I figure I’ll work up to a more vigorous routine.

In some areas I’m also out of spiritual shape. We are all a work in progress. We are weak. Needy. Frail. But God is strong and mighty to save. The ups and downs of life tempt me to be discouraged and weary. But remembering God’s unchanging, always faithful, forever present, unmoving strength governs my changing heart and life.

I hope these verses encourage you today as they have me:

“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,and rthe heavens are the work of your hands.They will perish, but tyou will remain;they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end” (Ps 102:25-27).

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6).

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

He is the same. He does not change. He never varies.

When “all other ground is sinking sand” it’s comforting to know He is the solid rock on which we stand.

Is There a Godliness Pill?

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that when ongoing battles with fatigue, discouragement, lack of motivation or depression occur, it’s important to see your doctor. Factors beyond our control can sometimes play a part in our battles with these weighty challenges.

This was certainly the case with me. A combination of thyroid and hormonal imbalances — along with high cortisol levels, and low B12 and vitamin D — were significantly contributing to the malaise and darkness I’ve been experiencing over the months.

This information alone brought me a noticeable level of comfort. Knowing there were medical contributors to what I’ve been walking through brought peace and hope. Just knowing I wouldn’t “stay this way” was encouraging to me and to Benny.  🙂 My doctor changed my thyroid meds; gave me options about some hormone treatments; reminded me of the importance of going back to diet changes I had made in the past that had improved my energy level and ability to concentrate; and told me the supplements I needed to help with adrenal function and deal with vitamin deficiencies.

By God’s grace, after about 10 days I’m already starting to experience the benefits.

I’m sharing this in hopes that that those of you who were empathizing with my struggles with drifting and discouragement will prayerfully consider setting up a physical with your own doctor. Please educate yourself and go into the appointment with enough knowledge to ask good questions and to provide a thorough list of your symptoms and struggles. If you don’t have a doctor who has a “whole person” approach to diagnosis and treatment, perhaps you can ask around and see if friends or family could make a recommendation.

Now that my physical symptoms are improving, I’m in a much better place to tackle the spiritual roots in my heart. Just as there have been real physical contributions to my challenges, there are also real spiritual ones. An angry outburst directed at Benny some weeks back felt like something I couldn’t control because while I have certainly been tempted with anger through my life, it doesn’t typically express itself in angry tones and words. Yet I knew right away that it was wrong. I had simply allowed the difficulties and strong temptations I had been facing to rush out in biting, harsh words.

I’m still finding comfort in the fact that physical limitations beyond my control have been at work in my life. But I don’t want to leave it there. If I simply breathe a sigh of relief and think, “Whew! I knew I wasn’t really responsible for how gloomy and tired and irritable I’ve been. Thank God I have these meds and supplements to help me stop feeling and acting this way!” then I’m denying my own responsibility. The fact of the matter is this: if you had been in my room that day when I fussed at Benny, I wouldn’t have done it.  🙂  I would have exercised self-control, if only to protect my reputation in your eyes!

Physical treatments are needed and helpful, but no pill will cure the heart.

Ed Welch of CCEF is helping me discern what the Lord is doing with these wise words:

“When you love physical treatments, you will spurn spiritual ones. And Scripture teaches that our spiritual interests actually outweigh our physical ones! Our spiritual health is more important and deserves more attention than our physical health….Be clear—the more you search for and rest in physical treatments for problems that are spiritual—the less you find rich hope and joy in Christ.”

I’m grateful for my doctor and the common grace of medicines and supplements. But I’m more grateful for the hope the gospel provides when life gets tough. The love and nearness of God has become more precious to me through all I’ve been walking through. His patience, tender presence and Fatherly correction is the real source of my hope. Each morning as I take my handful of thyroid meds, fish oil, calcium, vitamin D and the rest of those hard-to-swallow pills, I am full of thanks to God for His help in pill form.

But I know that self-control, patience, faith, joy, vision to serve my dear family, and peace come from my Father, not my pills. And the impatience, unbelief, self-pity, ungratefulness, selfishness and criticalness I’ve been battling springs from my own sinful heart. The physical limitations just made it easier for me to give in to those sins, even quietly and when no one knew.

Now that the physical remedies are kicking in, I have growing faith to tackle the vines of sin in my heart. And the remedy for that is my risen Savior who bids me to come to His throne of grace for help to see, repent of and put my sin to death. Wow. It sure would be easier if there was a pill for that, wouldn’t it? But then I wouldn’t get the joy of depending on and getting to know Him even better.

I’ll take Him any day.

Shrinking Giants

Yesterday I talked about how disappointment in my life is often rooted in unmet expectations.  Another thing the Lord has been confirming in my heart recently is how my disappointment can also come from wanting something more than I want God. Ed Welch from CCEF (Christian Counseling and Education Foundation) calls this the “irrelevance” of God.

Here’s an example:

On Wednesday night at our Community Group (our church’s small group) Benny asked for input about an area of relational conflict he is facing. Because the situation involves both of us, I shared my own temptations and struggles. I admitted to the group that what I want is simple. I just want relational peace.

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I can handle having a house full of rowdy grandchildren — including all the mess and noise and tears and bickering that come along with that — more than I can handle tension or conflict between or with those I love. I ache when I see people I love hurting, judging or being angry with one another. Or when I do the same!

Sometimes I crave this peace more than I love and trust God. As my fears or anxieties about the potential outcome of conflicts in our family or among close friends build, my awareness of God’s control and nearness fades.  I become fretful, preoccupied, and even lose sleep as my mind and heart churn over what is weighing on me.

God, then, becomes irrelevant. My hand-wringing can quickly develop into thinking through how I — or more often how Benny — can get involved to help. While this desire is often a genuine longing to serve others, it is also too often motivated by self-protection and a craving for peace. Sometimes I am simply looking to Benny to be God, then struggle when he is unwilling to assume that role…smile.

These word from El Welch are helping me to find hope in the nearness and love of God, which is gently exposing just how often and easily my heart can drift from from leaning on Him.

“Sometimes the Creator God, Father of all, from whom we receive all things that are good—becomes irrelevant to us.

When I was in high school I told my parents very little about my dating relationships, though they probably knew more than I realized. One evening, after I was dumped by a girl I had been seeing, my disappointment must have been obvious.

My mother was very kind.

“Eddie, we really love you.” She knew something was up.

And at that moment—I had an epiphany. I realized that all the love my mother could muster was irrelevant because I wanted someone else’s love—not hers. I knew parental love was a good thing. But, on that evening and for the next week or two, I didn’t care.

Sometimes, when God says he loves us, we have a similar response. “Well, I guess that it is better that you love me rather than hate me, but right now it doesn’t make any difference to me, because I want ________.”

…someone else’s love

…a job

…respect

…appreciation

…more money

When your desires are more important to you than God, confess them down to size. Some desires are just plain wrong, such as adulterous desires. You don’t confess these down to size; you confess them, turn and run. But most desires have a seed of something good in them. Being loved or appreciated is good. Having a job is good. But when your Father God is irrelevant to you, assume that these good desires have morphed into enslaving giants that must be must be shrunk down to their intended size.

Confession is an essential part of this miniaturization.

“Lord, forgive me. I want more for me. My interests and desires are at the center of the universe. I am undone and unworthy.”

Then a funny thing happens. God’s love begins to make a difference again. It is meaningful, comforting. God’s love was never intended to satisfy desires that have run amok. Instead, his love intends to bring those desires down to size and then fill us to overflowing with his expansive and unlimited blessings.”

Unchecked Busyness

Have you realized that busyness typically results in crowding out the really important things in your life?

That’s what’s slowly started happening to me. As more and more was added to my plate — much of it completely beyond my control, including some things I would love to have avoided! — I found myself getting increasingly weary. Gratefully, there were times when the added responsibilities or heartaches drove me to my knees in desperation. I didn’t want the urgent to crowd out the important. But over time, and as  heart-consuming circumstances built up, I started pushing things that have been important to me aside.

  • My devotional times were too often dutiful…and shorter.
  • Month by month, I started relying on eating out or throwing together thoughtless meals, delaying household chores or finding reasons why I just couldn’t “get to” things because of other duties I chose to take care of.
  • While I continued to enjoy planning, cleaning and cooking for family celebrations and holidays (with all 25 of us in the house…love it!), I began to lack motivation and planning for the normal stuff of being a wife, mom and homemaker.
  • New recipes and even weekly meal planning lessened to the point that I was winging it on a regular basis.
  • Little duties related to my “normal” life started piling up as the urgent things filled more of my thoughts and time.  Rather than taking care of things in a rhythmic and timely manner, I regularly felt I was playing catch up.
  • Computer use increased as I found “escape” in Facebook, Pinterest and internet research.
  • Time with Benny became focused on the growing list of pastoral firestorms, family issues, anxieties about the future or even the fun of planning our daughter’s wedding or a family vacation — rather than on our communication and friendship.  (His patience with me continues to amaze me!)
  • Prayer became a series of “Lord, help!” cries rather than tender and leisurely interactions with Him. While those S.O.S cries were a demonstration of my dependence on Him, the “rush” of my life encroached on the most prized relationship in my life.
You can see how I was drifting, can’t you? What was deceiving about it is that most everything I was doing was for others, and there were still moments of genuine joy through the process. Because my drifting was slow and “explainable” I didn’t notice it until I took the time to sit with Him with open ears.
Why is it that busyness tempts many of us to neglect the very things that energize and help us?  There are certainly times in our lives where normal responsibilities and needs legitimately must be set aside for urgent, unusual needs. But what made me think that continuing to drift wasn’t going to be something I would regret?
I hope my story encourages any of you who can identify with my season of drifting. You see, God is faithful. He never allows His children to drift too far. Even when we are blind, He sees. While we are wandering through our pressured and busy lives becoming weary and discouraged, He is focused and protective. The grace that drew us to salvation is the same grace that grows and changes us.
What kindness.

God Made me for a Purpose..and He Made Me Female

Webster defines drifting as “floating or being driven along by a current of water.” The “drift” in my heart didn’t happen quickly. There was no storm or high wind that came along and forced me into rapidly wrong thinking. It was slow. Subtle. “Explainable.”

As I’ve prayed and thought about it, there are two “explainable” factors that have contributed to the drift in my heart.

The first is stress from providential things that have been added to my plate. In recent years I have walked through some very weighty issues involving people I love that have yanked at my heart. Additionally, my husband experienced changes in his ministry responsibilities, resulting in him unexpectedly leading a team to plant a new church this past January.  (You can learn about Redeemer Church at http://www.lakenonachurch.com.)

Some of what I’ve walked through with people dear to me have been the most difficult and heart wrenching circumstances of my nearly 60 years. A few other situations have been wonderfully joyous. Stress can come from both positive and negative sources.

The pressures in my life have been good for me in many ways. I have learned things about myself and about God that have enriched my relationship with Him. I have had to cry out for His help, strength, wisdom, conviction, comfort and grace in new ways — and anything that leads me to do that is welcomed! I have watched Him do amazing things through the hard situations, including taking the saddest of circumstances and bringing redemptive good from them all.

The drift from prizing godly womanhood has happened because I’ve allowed the pressures of life to distract me. Rather than finding peace and joy in my womanly responsibilities, I have viewed them as just “more things” on my task list. I’ve allowed understandable times when I needed to give myself a break to turn into a growing attitude of entitlement that I deserved  break after break because of all I was going through. I’ve also become resentful when others didn’t seem to “get it” that I needed those breaks and expected me to keep serving them rather than them serving me! (How’s that for real honesty? Smile.)

Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame said,  “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” I, too, believe God made me for a purpose, and he also made me female. And when I’m fulfilling my created design I feel His pleasure.

Since I returned from my retreat I have found fresh joy in caring for my home and family. I don’t feel as much like I’m going through the motions and checking tasks off my list. I’m still working for my son and serving alongside my husband in our new church — things I never imagined doing in this season of my life. But I’m starting to experience the stirrings of new life, fun ideas and fresh motivation for serving my family. The changes in my heart are starting to affect my decisions and choices.

And I’m opening up my heart and struggles to others, which is a gracious means of accountability for change. The power to change comes only from God — but the simple truth is that when God changes the heart, visible differences happen. I’m seeing the first fruits but have quite a ways to go.

Thanks for listening!

P.S. Visit tomorrow for the second explanation for my season of drifting.

A Different Kind of Woman

Some time ago I decided to make my family’s favorite yeast rolls “for no reason.” Because they’ve been a special occasion staple in our family for nearly 20 years, I assumed I had the recipe down. After all, I had used it many times over the years. When the work of mixing and kneading was done, I set the bowl of dough out on my patio for the first rising. Nearly 2 hours later I realized I had forgotten about it!  I rushed out, expecting to find dough climbing over the sides of the bowl onto the patio table. But no. It had hardly risen at all! I didn’t have time to start all over so my no-special-occasion rolls never made it to the dinner table.

Over the past few years I have been relying on my memory about godly womanhood.  After all, I have benefited from decades of teaching, and learned from dozens of speakers and authors. But we are all prone to drift. Like my daughter Janelle and her friend, we get distracted and then find ourselves in troubled waters.  (If you didn’t read her story, you can find it here.)

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When I started reading the DeMoss/Kassian book, True Woman 101, I wasn’t prepared for the impact it started having on my heart. The things I’ve been reading aren’t new to me. But the Spirit of God started pricking my heart with conviction that I have slowly and subtly allowed my heart to drift from keeping the truths of scripture before me on this issue. Like the dough, I’ve been relying on my memory and past study and now see I’ve been leaving some ingredients out.

Two quotes from this book have been rolling around in my head and heart: “‘True womanhood is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of His son in ways that would not be displayed if there were no womanhood” (John Piper) and, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman” (Elizabeth Elliot).

How can I display this glory and be this different kind of woman?

I think the answer for me is simple: by allowing God and His word (not myself or others) to define for me why I was created. You see, I was created primarily to know and reflect the One who gave His life for me and to share that incredible news with others.  But I was also created to orient my life to the man I was chosen to help, to nurture and train our children, and to be a hard worker in our home.

Simple? Yes. I expect that most, if not all, of you who read this blog didn’t just read something profound. Smile. In fact, you live these principles out – tiring day in and day out. Whether single or married, kids or no kids, you love God’s word and the truths there and want to live according to His plan.

But are you like me and find yourself at times drifting from being a “different kind of woman?”  Are you tempted to believe that good teaching naturally results in good living? Do you find yourself excusing the sometimes irresponsible draw to things outside your home with, “Oh, it’s just not that simple anymore; life has gotten busy and I don’t want anyone to tell me I have to stay home every day to clean toilets and scrub floors.”

The good news is no one should be defining for you and I what being a different kind of Christian women should look like. For some, it could mean never being married or having children (as with one of the authors of the book I’m reading); home education or public school; working only in the home or also outside the home; having one child or ten; having a schedule for keeping your own clean and tidy or playing it by ear. And certainly godly womanhood is far more than having clean toilets and floors!

There is only One who can define for you what being a “different” woman looks like in your life. And He has quite a bit to say about how we should be different than our non-believing counterparts. For years I’ve found great joy in those differences but I’m seeing how I’ve drifted into thinking I — rather than God’s word — have control over what I do with my time and energies.

So, like my near-drowned daughter, I’ve decided to start yelling for help. I don’t like everything God is saying to me 🙂 but I do love His word. I’m actually starting to get excited about how an aging Granma who has loved biblical womanhood for decades can recover from drift and what change is going to look like. By God’s grace, He has protected my affection for being a “different kind of woman”…but I know that change is never easy.

Off to get some laundry going…

The Book in my Suitcase

Yesterday I mentioned there were three areas of “drift” that God gently addressed in my  heart during my recent time away.

It started when Benny found a new book release online several months back and asked if I would like to order it to review for possible use for the ladies in our church. It came a few days before I left for my retreat so I threw it into my suitcase.

Frankly, I didn’t expect to learn much from it. (Hmmm…you can already see the seeds of my problem.) I’ve been well taught for nearly two decades on the importance of  celebrating and maintaining our biblical distinctions as men and women by my pastors, as well as by authors like John Piper, Wayne Grudem and by Nancy Leigh Demoss and Mary Kassian — the authors of the new book.  I’ve even done some writing and teaching on this topic myself!

But I’ve been drifting.

I love being a wife, mother and homemaker.  There is truly nothing better I can think of to do with my life than care for my home and serve my family. (Not that I enjoy all the tasks associated with my role or fulfill them consistently!) But as I began reading the familiar truths in my recently purchased book, I found myself bristling. Hmm.

When I was homeschooling lots of small kids, cooking dinner and doing laundry most days, and having to release my husband frequently for pastoral responsibilities in which time and energy didn’t allow me to participate, the truths about the value of my womanly role were oxygen to me. The scriptures brought me strength and vision for the daily grind of my life. I devoured books and teaching about godly womanhood. I needed the help, affirmation and encouragement to find meaning in the mundane of my life…and to survive!

Now I’m older. Over three decades of homeschooling are about to end. In a few months our formerly loud, messy household of nine will have slowly dwindled down to three when Jake (our loudest and messiest remaining family member…smile) leaves for law school. And my youngest child is our most quiet, tidy and organized.

Additionally, I work for my oldest son’s IT company part time to help with the family finances, and am able to join Benny much more when he asks me to participate in pastoral counseling or meetings. When mid-afternoon comes around and I’m busy following up on company clients, enjoying my new photography hobby, or realize lunch with a friend has gone later than I planned, there are only three or four of us to affordably feed with fast food or take-out.

The homemaking and mothering demands on my time have simply changed. And as I sat oceanside reading True Woman 101 I wasn’t personally engaging in the material but was reading it for others. The Holy Spirit gently nudged me…

I started writing down questions to ask myself. Does my changing season of life mean my heart should change? Should I be any less devoted to my home just because I don’t have to schedule my cleaning to keep the Health Department away and laundry isn’t climbing out of my hamper? Do consistently home cooked meals mean any less to Benny and our still-at-home kids then when there were more plates at the table?

As you can see, I’m thinking. And praying. I’ll keep you posted.