Monday, September 25, 2017

She Does Him Good: The Question Wives Need to Ask Themselves Each Day


"She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life." ~ Proverbs 31:12
The week had been hard. My darling husband had been working 5.30am to 5pm each work day, with issues at his site he was dealing with, and other commitments to be faithful to. As much as I was trying to support him, my own days were not easy. Being primary caregiver to two preschoolers for most of my waking hours makes the day long, especially when you're intentionally making most of the time given.

He was tired, I was tired. He was down, I felt low in spirit. He wanted to crash, I wanted to crash. In a situation like this, what is a wife to do?

As I was cooking dinner, the week only half over, I said to God, "Please, help me, Lord. I'm really tired. Tim's really down. I don't know what to do." I didn't want to be selfish, but I was feeling selfish. I wanted to stop cooking, shut the bedroom door, and have some down time. And maybe throw a pity party in it for fun.

And then, the above verse came to mind. It came so clearly, that I know (looking back) it was His Spirit. She does him good...She does him good... And I knew I had to ask myself the question,

How can I do good my husband right now?

Is it something practical? (Cooking, cleaning, taking the kids out)

Is it something helpful? (Running that errand, calling to book that appointment)

Is it something difficult? (Saying something he doesn't want to hear, but needs to)

Is it something challenging? (Going out of my comfort zone to honour him or being vulnerable)

Is it something restful? (A quiet moment, a date night)

There are so many ways in which we could approach doing our husband's good, but the most important thing beyond asking that question is - doing it.

Remembering the "She does him good" is one thing, but responding to our understanding of what that good is is another thing. Most of the time, when we're battling with the question, it's because we are not feeling like doing any good right at that moment. Like me, we're tired, or grumpy, or furious, or feeling absolutely forgotten. The very last thing we want to do to that man is good!

But Christ's ways are always counter-fleshly.

We say, "I ain't gonna speak to that man right now!", but God says, "Speak a gentle, edifying word" (Ephesians 4:15-16).

We say, "I feel so angry there is no way I want to pursue him romantically tonight!", but God says, "Love him, deeply, and from the heart" (1 Peter 1:22).

We say, "I've been up most of the night and have had no time to myself, there's no way I can deal with his birthday dinner tonight!", but God says, "Those who refresh others will be refreshed themselves" (Proverbs 11:25).

True, wonderful, unconditional, selfless love rises above our feelings and circumstances and puts the other person first. We are called to love our husbands, just like we love Jesus (Ephesians 5). We wouldn't deny Christ what He deserves as our Saviour - we wouldn't dare mutter, moan, or rebel against Him. Well, He asks us to love our husbands with the same kind of love.

I'm not a man and I'm not here to talk about what a husband ought to be doing for his wife. Friends, it's easy for us to throw that argument back when we're confronted with God's Truth about our own hearts and behaviour. Let's leave that up to the Lord and godly men who have ministries of encouraging husbands.

But I can tell you this: God never gives commands with conditions. He doesn't say, "Love your husband...when he loves you well". And he doesn't say, "Submit to your husband...when he is worthy of your submission". No, God asks us to do these things for His sake, not our husband's. We are to honour God in our marriage before our husbands and allow God to do any work in them that is required (and Him with us with the prayers our husband's are praying for us!).

As always, let us worry about our own relationship with God and how we are trusting and obeying Him. We are bound to Him and He to us, and in our marriages, He asks us to love and do good to our husbands the way we love our Saviour.

So let us ask ourselves the question, "What good does my husband need from me right now?"

Let's do that good...

And see God work wonders in our marriages.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Disciplining Our Children: Stepping Towards The Truth


"There is nothing that a mother cannot bring her child up to." ~ Charlotte Mason

As a Christian parent, where does disciplining my children fit in? What does it look like? Is disciplining - that is, pointing out wrong behaviour and correcting it in a manner that fits the situation - damaging to my child?

One aspect of disciplining that I have struggled with is the contention within our society today - even in Christian circles - that discipline is somehow wrong, or damaging, or too harsh. Being born in the 1980's, my parents were "old-school": when I did wrong, they made sure I knew it and, therefore, grew up with a strong sense of right and wrong. God blessed my parents efforts and gave me a strong moral compass right from young childhood.

Becoming a mother then, I knew I would walk a similar path. It was right that I teach my children right from wrong. The Bible is clear that children are born with sin inbuilt within them (Psalm 51:5) and - hey, we don't need the Bible to tell us that. Who teaches them to lie? or yell? or disrespect us? or hit when they don't get what they want?

But suddenly, I began to doubt.

Blogs, books, the internet - so many voices began to contradict what I always thought was right. Suddenly, I received the perception that being a parent who disciplines her children is a horrible parent. Disciplining will harm your children. Correction stifles their personalities. Giving consequences stops their self-expression. There are even laws in my country that determine how to parent.

And so on.

Despite knowing this sort of thinking is very New Age and based on the belief that everything is relative (that there is no right or wrong), all over the internet, I began to see Christian parents singing a similar tune (without New Age-y words, but the same meaning). I felt the assurance I had in God's Word, and my own strong childhood, begin to drip away. This was coupled with the fact that, I had children. And parenting children was hard. Maybe these people were right?
"But You desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there." Psalm 51:6
Right from the moment our children are placed in our arms, God asks us to lead our children in the way they should go. Though expressed in different ways and are used differently in different circumstances, all the below words are required of us as parents:
  • Discipline

  • Correction

  • Teaching

  • Training
A newborn is trained to feed from her mother. A six-month old is taught to eat solids. A one year-old is corrected with the word "No" when they start reaching and touching things that they shouldn't. A toddler is disciplined when they scream for something they are not allowed to have. A preschooler is taught manners and how to treat others.

It is a continuous path towards adulthood. And hey, God's not done with us adults yet, right? ;)

God's Word clearly teaches us that all people are self-bent, and children are no different. They need us, as their parents, to show them the way to live on God's Earth. 

Though on the surface, especially in the younger years, it seems that discipline is all about changing a child's behaviour, in the long haul, it's all about transforming their heart. The Christian parent needs to be disciplining behaviour and training hearts. True character in our children can only come from both, just as faith in a Christian must come with deeds (James 2:14-26).

As the hearts of our children develop upwards (to Christ) and outwards (to others), God's Spirit will used our teaching and correction to instill in them another blessed fruit of discipline: wisdom.
"A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother." ~ Proverbs 10:1

"For lack of discipline they [the wicked] will die, led astray by their own great folly." ~ Proverbs 5:23

"A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent." ~ Proverbs 15:5
We don't want foolish children! We don't want our children to make stupid mistakes (at best) or live lives of wrong and pain (at worst). But that is what is happening to children all around us in this "Don't say 'No' to your children" society: the younger generations are deeply troubled and hurting. We don't want that for our own precious ones.

We must love wisdom and pass that wisdom on to our children. We must raise our children to listen - heed - our instruction, and accept - respect - our authority as their parents. They will chafe, they will buck, they will rebel - and we just press in deeper to them. It is our job.

If we deeply and truly love our children, we will lead them on the right path of teaching them right from wrong. We cannot listen to the world's "truth" that there is no truth. They have no strong branch to stand on - by saying there is no truth, they are proclaiming the belief in a truth! It is utter foolishness.

Let us love our children with a heavenly love and discipline them when they need it. Let us do it lovingly, in a way that suits their personalities, gently and softly so as not to anger or exasperate them (Proverbs 15:1, Ephesians 6:4). And in so doing, we will bless them with a true treasure:

"Then he [the father] taught me, and said to me, 'Take hold of my words with all of your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honour you. She will give you a garland of grace to your head and present you with a glorious crown'." ~ Proverbs 4:4-9

As you have been mothering your children, how have your faced the different pressures about discipline in your circles? How has God guided you?

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Little Years: Wonderful Encouragement For Mothers (From JaniOrtlund)


If you're in the midst of mothering little ones like me, I must encourage you to watch this message from Jani Ortlund. She is a wonderful biblical teacher whose book, Fearlessly Feminine, is one of my favourite books for becoming a Christ-centred woman. She is the daughter-in-law of Anne Ortlund, a well-known contemporary of Elisabeth Elliot - so you know this is going to be good!

I watched it while I was doing the ironing. The kids were playing round on the floor. There were interruptions. A couple of squabbles. And I only got through two shirts - but not because of the kids! Ha! As you know, ironing is not my forte, but I'm getting there!

Anyway, Jani's message just reached into my heart and I can't not share it. If this week - among all the things pressing on your time - you make one goal, let that goal be making time to watch this video. You will be encouraged, challenged, touched, and delighted. I know I was.

There were so many snippets of truth in her words. I want to watch it again so that I can write them down! All mothers need encouragement - no matter the stage - so even if you don't have little ones at your feet but big ones leaning on your shoulder, this will meet your soul's need as well.

If you watch it, please come back here and let me know. I want to know how you were helped and encouraged by Jani!


Friday, September 8, 2017

The Organized Life Planner for 2018 is OUT!


As an affiliate for Kayse Pratt at IntentionalMoms.com, I must make you aware of her Organized Life Planner. This week is Launch Week for her 2018 version (7th to 18th September) and there are so many added bonuses that I can't not share them with you.



What Is It?


Kayse is a self-admitting planner junkie and for a number of years was famous for her Planner Round-Up's. But then, oneday, she decided to create her own planner with ALL THE THINGS she has loved in the other planners she has used over the years. This means that her Organized Life Planner is robust and catered to the busy, hard-working, need-to-stream-line-her-mummy-brain woman of today.


From Self-Care and Home pages to Daily Layouts, from Monthly pages to Meal Plans - there are so many pages for you to organise your life. Kayse has been thorough and careful to make the layouts and details beautiful and streamlined. I love it.



The Details


This year, there are two printable planner options:




  • DATED PLANNER:

    • Comes in Full, and Mid Sizes - BOTH sizes are included with purchase!

    • Dated January 2018-December 2018

    • Sells for $20



  • UNDATED PLANNER:

    • Comes in Full, Mid, AND Half Sizes - ALL sizes are included with purchase!

    • Undated, so can be started any time.

    • Sells for $17




Not only are there two types of dated/undated planners, this year you can also purchase the DIGITAL version or the PAPER version.


PRO's FOR DIGITAL 




  • the convenience of being cheaper,

  • on hand in your computer,

  • print at any time at your so desired wishes,

  • can be bound at an office supply store


CON's FOR DIGITAL




  • all the set-up is by yourself

  • on-going price for printing and binding



PRO'S FOR PAPER:




  • the convenience of it all set-up and printed

  • no need to sort it all out yourself

  • a gorgeous package in the mail


CON'S FOR PAPER:




  • more expensive

  • less customisable


It's really up to YOU what suits you and what will benefit YOUR life and YOUR family. For me, I bought Kayse's Organized Life Planner last year as a digital download. I have loved the comprehensiveness of it. But I do enjoy that I don't have to print all the pages that I don't need for our family life. This is why the DIGITAL version suits me.



Here's A Detailed Look Through the Sections













Isn't it wonderful? Even though, as an affiliate, I receive a commission if any of my readers purchase the Organized Life Planner - that's not why I am sharing this. I really, really believe that this is one of the BEST planners out there and that Kayse has put her heart and soul into creating it. I know it will bless your family AND you will be supporting Kayse's family by purchasing from her. She is a wonderful wife and mother doing her best to support her husband. For those reasons alone, I would buy it. But, there's more.



Launch Week Bonuses


From the 7th to 18th September, when you purchase the Organized Life Planner you will receive:




  • Planner Bootcamp: a 3-part video series on how to use your planner and organise every aspect of your life (VALUE: $20)

  • The What's For Dinner Family Meal Planning Notebook: A brand new resource for mother's who want to make meal planning a priority. Includes all the printables you need to create a Family Meal Planning Notebook (VALUE: $20). This is ONLY with the purchased planner.

  • All 5 new Planner Covers (VALUE: $10)

  • September 2017-December 2017 Bonus Pack - so you can start using your planner immediately (VALUE: $10)

  • Access to the Organized Life Planner Group on Facebook - for planner tips and friends << I'm on this group and I love it! <<


Honestly, all this is just incredible. The planner alone is worth what you pay, but to get all these extra supports to help you get organised makes it so much sweeter.



UPGRADE


Lastly, when you purchase your Organized Life Planner you can also UPGRADE by purchasing a BUNDLE. Kayse has lots of other planner printables in her shop and you can add any of these to your purchase.

You can choose from the Home Binder Pack for $10 on top of your Planner Purchase : -



or, you can choose any of her Printable Packs for $5 each : -


Honestly, there is so much to choose from! You cannot lose for the money you invest!


So, head over to Kayse's Shop and have a look around. Invest in yourself - and therefore, your family - and buy her Organized Life Planner, plus the FREE Bonuses, and any of the other options for you to choose from. You will be blessed!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Rooted Deep: One Reason We're Homeschooling


I've been asked several times recently why Tim and I are going to homeschool. I find that, depending on who I am talking to, how I answer can be different. The choice to homeschool will be made for a myriad of reasons - some practical, some spiritual, some relational. I am no different. I have reasons from all the above categories.

But, above all else (and aside from the belief that we feel led to by the Lord), the reason I hold closest to my heart about homeschooling our children is this:

We want to give our children the time, space, and training to be rooted as the persons God has made them to be.

What do I mean by that?

Standing Tall


Let Sally Clarkson explain:

"They [our children] need time to grow their roots in love, innocence, kindness, truth, morality, and trust. When they are strong and tall, then they will be able to withstand and battle the forces of life, but not until they have been established first in their root - heart - systems!"

There is great wisdom in Sally's words and experience. In God's very own creation, among His plants and trees, He has designed root systems. These roots, from baby seeds, slowly grow down and outwards so that, by maturity, they are anchored into a strong foundation. This strong foundation allows the plants and trees to stand tall, to be rocked about by winds, storms, or earthquakes and withstand those forces. There are very few forces that annihilate those root systems.

What Childhood Is For


I don't believe that God intended for children to be apart from their parents like they are today. I don't mean a few hours here or there - I mean the hours upon hours that children spend apart from their parents at schooling, programmes, childcare. None of these institutions are wrong and have great benefits if used wisely. But the abandoning of children to these institution to replace personal parenting is absolutely detrimental for both parents and children.

Childhood isn't for preparing them for the next stage. One mother said to me the other day,

"It seems we're always preparing our children all the time. There's a mentality that, say, my child is turning two and is going to preschool more, so I need to put him in for more hours so he can be used to it by the time he starts...Or, my child is starting school soon so I need to put him in preschool full-time so he is used to that kind of day before school starts."

Instead of allowing children to just be and to just enjoy childhood as children, we're pushing them out of the nest earlier and for vast amount of hours. Instead of giving children time and space to adjust naturally to the next stage of life, we're thrusting them into the kind of life they're just not prepared for.

Did God really create families for this kind of existence? When He thought of childhood as He created the world, did He envision what we have made it to be today?

Don't Hope For The Best


Sally continues,

"Simply throwing children into a cultural tornado and hoping for the best gives them little chance of living up to their potential or coming out unharmed. Someone needs to take responsibility for their nurture, protection, nourishment, intellectual development, manners, recreation, personal needs, and spiritual development. Someone needs to commit time and energy staying close to them as they grow, encouraging and correcting and teaching..."

I don't believe that homeschooling is the only way a parent can do this. Not at all. Schools can be excellent with amazing teachers, good peer programmes, and a safe environment for children to develop.

But for many families - us included - we don't have the option of a good school. So, for us to stay close and help our children grow their heart-roots deep into a strong foundation, homeschooling is the best option for us. And it may be for you, too.

Please don't hope for the best and risk those fragile baby roots getting rooted into wrong soil because homeschooling is scary or hard. Our children are worth the cost.

We Are The Keepers

"Keep thy heart with all diligence: for out of it are the issues of life." ~ Proverbs 4:23

Our children do not know how to keep their hearts. So we, as parents, have to - with all diligence, until they are ready to do it on their own. This is so important, the rest of their lives depend upon our own hard work and commitment as parents.

This is one reason - but the most important one - that we are homeschooling. We want them to be able to stand tall, stand strong, and - by God's mercy - be warriors for His Kingdom when He deems them ready.