living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Tied Down

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I have recently been reading the biography of Amy Carmichael.  As she began to realize the plight of some of the Indian children, and God began to send them to her, she struggled with “giving up” the ministry she felt God had already given her.  Could it truly be the will of God for her to raise these children?  Would it not take time away from other important things?  She wrote,

He took a towel. The Lord of Glory did that. Is it the bondservant’s business to say which work is large and which is small, which unimportant and which worth doing? Children tie the mother’s feet, the Tamils say, and …. Paget said, ‘with the venture of faith there is need of self-discipline and effort.’ Babies are truly a venture of faith and, in India at least, they tie the mother’s feet. We knew we could not be too careful of our children’s earliest years. So we let our feet be tied for love of Him whose feet were pierced (from Gold Cord, by Amy Carmichael).

As mothers, it is often tempting to feel that the work of mothering is unimportant; or worse yet, Satan may whisper to us that the duties of motherhood hinder us from doing something “more important” for God.  Our children do “tie us down”, but rather than viewing that as a bondage of some sort, we should view it as a beautiful and awesome privilege.  

Spurgeon said this, O dear mothers, you have a very sacred trust reposed in you by God! He hath in effect said to you, “Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will give thee thy wages.” You are called to equip the future man of God, that he may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. If God spares you, you may live to hear that pretty boy speak to thousands, and you will have the sweet reflection in your heart that the quiet teachings of the nursery led the man to love his God and serve Him.

Those who think that a woman detained at home by her little family is doing nothing, think the reverse of what is true. Scarcely can the godly mother quit her home for a place of worship; but dream not that she is lost to the work of the church; far from it, she is doing the best possible service for her Lord.

Mothers, the godly training of your offspring is your first and most pressing duty. Christian women, by teaching children the Holy Scriptures, are as much fulfilling their part for the Lord, as Moses in judging Israel, or Solomon in building the temple.”

I will close with one of my favorite poems by Edgar Guest,

“Tied Down”

“They tie you down,” a woman said,
Whose cheeks should have been flaming red
With shame to speak of children so.
“When babies come you cannot go
In search of pleasure with your friends,
And all your happy wandering ends.
The things you like you cannot do,
For babies make a slave of you.”

I looked at her and said: “‘Tis true
That children make a slave of you,
And tie you down with many a knot,
But have you never thought to what
It is of happiness and pride
That little babies have you tied?
Do you not miss the greater joys
That come with little girls and boys?

They tie you down to laughter rare,
To hours of smiles and hours of care,
To nights of watching and to fears;
Sometimes they tie you down to tears
And then repay you with a smile,
And make your trouble all worth while.
They tie you fast to chubby feet,
And cheeks of pink and kisses sweet.

“They fasten you with cords of love
To God divine, who reigns above.
They tie you, whereso’er you roam,
Unto the little place called home;
And over sea or railroad track
They tug at you to bring you back.
The happiest people in the town
Are those the babies have tied down.

Oh, go your selfish way and free,
But hampered I would rather be,
Yes rather than a kingly crown
I would be, what you term, tied down;
Tied down to dancing eyes and charms,
Held fast by chubby, dimpled arms,
The fettered slave of girl and boy,
And win from them earth’s finest joy.”

Mothers, let us stop and be grateful for the precious little treasures that tie us down today.  Let us willingly, joyfully, prayerfully invest in them.  They are one of the few things we can take to heaven with us.

A Prayer for our Children

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A Prayer for Our Children
Father, hear us, we are praying,
Hear the words our hearts are saying,
We are praying for our children.
 
Keep them from the powers of evil,
From the secret, hidden peril,
From the whirlpool that would suck them,
From the treacherous quicksand pluck them.
 
From the worldling’s hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Holy Father, save our children.
 
Through life’s troubled waters steer them,
Through life’s bitter battle cheer them,
Father, Father, be Thou near them.
 
Read the language of our longing,
Read the wordless, pleadings thronging,
Holy Father, for our children
 
And wherever they may bide,
Lead them home at eventide.
 
~Amy Carmichael


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Do You Know Your Homemaking Strengths?

 

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I love being a “keeper at home.” On top of it being my part of my calling from the Lord, it’s a great creative outlet and opportunity to express myself. I am not only the “housekeeper”, I am the interior decorator, the chef, the seamstress, the custodian, the personal shopper, and much more. I’m sure you could add your own titles to your homemaking resume. Being a homemaker can be a rewarding job, but it’s also a challenging one.

If we are going to find joy and fulfillment in our role as keepers at home, one thing we need to do is to find and realize our strengths and be aware of our weaknesses.

I. Realize the Strength of Your Place

By this I mean, do not diminish the importance of the role you have. God has commanded us to be “keepers at home” (Tit. 2:5), and instructed us to “guide the house” (I Tim. 5:14). This is no small responsibility. The world may not view our jobs as glamorous, or even worthy; but if we see our place and our purpose in our homes as something that is important and precious to God, we will realize that it is not only a duty, but a joy to seek to fulfill it.

II. Realize the Strength of Your Personality

Every personality has strengths and weaknesses. We need to learn to incorporate and make the most of our strengths in every area of our lives, including our homes. We then need to ask God to help us in our weak areas. The wonderful thing is that He tells us that His “strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Cor. 12:9).

Let’s look at some examples. Maybe you’re an organizer and a perfectionist by nature. This can be a great strength. You may excel in the cleaning of your home, and the organization of your family. Your weakness may be that you tend to expect perfection, and feel frustrated and disappointed because it’s always just out of reach. Make the most of your strength! Use your organization and detail skills to keep your home at its best. Then ask the Lord to help you give your expectations to Him, and to enable you to relax enough to enjoy your family.

Another example may be the opposite of this. Maybe you’re a very laid-back, relaxed personality. Your strength may be in the ability to be flexible and creative. You probably take the time to go outside and play with your kids, and not worry so much about the house being perfect. What a gift that is! On the other hand, you may need to ask the Lord to help you to not be so relaxed and fun-loving that you neglect the tasks of keeping your home “clean enough to be healthy”.

Maybe you fall somewhere in between these two examples. The key here is to find your personal strengths, and make the most of the gifts God has given you. Then, be honest with yourself, and seek God’s help in your areas of weakness, and know that He is able and willing to give it.

III. Realize the Strength of Your “Palace”

Part of the joy of being a homemaker is learning to enjoy our home. If you’re expecting to have your “dream house”, you may live in a world of disappointment. It is easy to focus on the problems and shortcomings of our homes, instead of maximizing their potential.

My house is an older home. Now, I love old homes, and when we first looked at our house, it wasn’t in bad condition, but it really needed some love! It has been a lot of fun to fix it up, and make it reflect our personalities and lifestyle. It has also been a lot of work! Be willing to invest in your home, not only financially, but with love and creativity.

If you’re on a budget (and who’s not?!), don’t use that as an excuse to do nothing. Instead, use that as inspiration to get creative. Go to your library, or get on Pinterest, and find looks that reflect styles you like, and get ideas. Then, adapt them to your home and budget. Will it take some effort? Sure. But is it worth it? Absolutely!

View your home as your own personal “palace”, a gift from the Lord. Realize the strength of a welcoming home, not only to serve your family, but to serve the Lord. Use it as a place of hospitality. Your home is a reflection of you. So as you look around today, are you pleased with that reflection? More importantly, is the Lord pleased? If not, begin to make some changes.

I am still working on this constantly in my own life.  How has the Lord challenged and helped you in surrendering your strengths, and overcoming your weaknesses as a homemaker?  I’d love to hear from you!