Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'm a Homemaker

I was recently speaking with someone who was complaining about not being recognized for her leadership in a group.  She made the comment, "So what, all I'm good for is cooking and cleaning the house?"  Although I said nothing, I thought "All I want to be good for is cooking and cleaning.  All I want in this world is to make our home."   The only title I want is "homemaker."  I've had other titles.  I've had fancy titles and very responsible titles.  None of them made me feel like I was home.  None of my titles gave me the calm in my spirit that being a wife, mother, and homemaker has given me.  This is God's will for my life.


 


I was listening to a Cindy Rushton seminar recently and she was talking about a time when her children were small.  She was in Sunday school telling her class about how God blessed her days with her children.  She told her Sunday school teacher how each day was full of teachable moments.   After finishing her explanation of her week, her teacher said, "That's great Cindy, but what have you done for God lately?"  I have received comments like this many times.  I've had people question what I know to be God's will for my life in just the same way Mrs. Rushton described.  Once, I told someone that all I wanted was to be home with my children, educating them and taking care of our home.  That person said, "Yes, but is that all GOD wants you to do?"  Somehow, homemaking has become a secondary pursuit that comes AFTER God's true calling in our lives.  Some time in the past 50 years, homemaking has become something you do if you have time, not a calling in one's life.  Many people question a homemaker asking if there is something more that they could be doing.


 


Today, as I was making supper, it hit me.  Just as clearly as anything has ever been, I knew my response to all the questioners.  I know, today, my response to all those who would say that I need to be working for the kingdom outside my home.  And, hopefully, I can communicate this as clearly to you as it was when the Lord first laid it on my heart this afternoon.


 


I make my home so that my husband can go to work.  By keeping our home, he can go and earn a living without worrying that things are being taken care of at home.  By keeping our home, my husband can reach out to those at work.  He can share scriptures with others and speak with conviction about his beliefs because there is no baggage from home that he carries with him to work.  And because he is earning a living outside our home, he is able to give to the kingdom through tithes and offerings.  He can give these tithes and offerings because I have kept his home.  By keeping our home, our boys and my husband can bring friends home with confidence knowing that all will be welcome and a warm meal will be prepared.  By keeping our home, my children will grow in grace each day.  I am here to catch those times when the boys want to talk.  We can be in the word each day together, because I am keeping our home.  By keeping our home, my boys will grow up and reach out to those in their community and at their workplaces.  They will be confident in their faith and secure in their identities because I kept their home.


 


What have I done for the kingdom today?  I've impacted every person with whom my husband has come in contact, because I kept his home.  I've impacted all of my children's friends, because I kept our home.  I'm part of each person to whom my children will witness in the future, because I was faithful to God's call in my life.  When He said, "Keep this home for Me."  I said, "Here I am!"


 


 I read this quote on Mrs. Wilt's website:  http://www.thesparrowsnest.typepad.com/  Martin Luther said, "What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God.  We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow."  He saw the importance of home keeping and elevated the calling to one of Godliness.


 


Several weeks ago, God gave me a verse.  Jesus actually said this about his ministry, but it applies to my life as well:  "This is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all He has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day."  John 6:39.  I wrote this in my journal and wrote, "This is my calling in life!"  and circled it.  God gave me my husband and my two sons.  He gave me a home to keep for them.  I will lose nothing, and will raise it up at the last day.  I will keep their home.


 


I am called to be a home maker.  Would you go to your Pastor and ask him to take a job building highways?  No, you would not because he answered the call to shepherd a flock.  Would you ask an artist to go and be a brick layer?  No, because he is gifted by God as an artist and you don't question that giftedness.  I was given the calling to be a home maker.   So, no, I won't be taking on many other responsibilities outside my home, because this is to where God has called me.  I know this because this is the only job I've ever had that DOESN'T make me say, "Well, this is nice...and I'm good at it, but there has to be something better out there."  When I wake up, I know that I am doing the exact job God made me to do.  I am a wife.  I am a mother.  I am cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling.  I am making the home that God planned for myself, my husband, and my sons.  And through this home, He will do great things. 

Monday, February 19, 2007

Show and Tell

Three weeks ago our oldest son came to me and said, "We need to have show and tell."  My reply was, "Yes!  We do!"  The following Friday, I was the first presenter of our first show-and-tell session.  Our first session did not have a theme.  Each of us brought something that was important to us.  One at a time, we stood in an open area of the living room and told the other two about our special item.


 


I presented my crochet hook case.  The boys were very attentive and even asked me questions about why I selected this item to present for our first show-and-tell.  In turn, each of the boys presented a special item to them.  I asked questions and so did the son who wasn't presenting at the time.  The boys took their presentations very seriously and answered each question thoughtfully.  It was a wonderful time.


 


After our first show-and-tell meeting we brainstormed several topics we could use for each week's show-and-tell.  We wrote those topics on cards and selected the subject for the following week.  The subject chosen was electronics.


 


And so, this past Friday was our electronics presentation.  I showed the boys my ipod.  They had lots of questions and we all pressed buttons.  My eight-year-old showed me features that I didn't know it had!  Our youngest showed us his favorite on-line game.  Our oldest son showed us his favorite Xbox game.  I am not a gamer and usually let Daddy get all excited about the boys electronic games.  But by asking thoughtful questions during show-and-tell and really taking an interest in what they presented I saw something light-up in their eyes.  I saw another chord attach from their heart to mine.  We are close.  I do feel we have the boys hearts, but this opened another connection as I took interest in something about which the boys are so passionate.


 


And so, I have yet another idea for your little homeschool.  Give show-and-tell a try.  Take as much time as your children need to listen to them as they show you pieces of their hearts through things they love.  It will open their hearts toward you and yours to them.   It is also a great way for them to practice public speaking.  Maybe presenting to two or three people is not as intimidating as some presentations, but isn't home education all about preparing in the comfort and safety of your home.  What better place is there to conquer a fear than home? 


 


This Friday, the presentation subject is "Middle Ages."  It is the period of history we've been studying this year, but the boys just received swords from Vision Forum.  They worked for daddy loading wood in order to earn "real" swords.   And so they arrived.  The swords are four feet in length and made of stainless steel!  I'm a little fearful about this presentation, but the boys are incredibly excited!  Pray for me!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ready to Go!

Today was a quiet day and I had a chance to "catch up" on my reading.  I'm trying to read through the entire bible from Genesis to Revelation this year.  I am about two weeks behind even after spending the better part of the morning reading!


 


As I was reading in Exodus about the construction of the temple and all of it's furniture, I thought about how the furniture was ready to move at a moment's notice.  The table of incense, the ark of the covenant, and the table for the show bread were all equipped with a golden ring at each of the four top corners of the pieces of furniture.  Into these rings, long wooden poles were inserted so that when the Lord moved, the pieces could be easily picked up and moved. 


 


God put his cloud over the tabernacle tent during the day.  At night, God represented Himself as a pillar of fire.  In Exodus 40:36, the Lord told Moses that when the cloud moved, the Israelites were to pack up and follow.  When the cloud remained on the tent, everyone stayed in that area.  When the cloud moved, the Israelites moved.  And they were ready.  All the priests needed to do to move the tabernacle furniture was pick them up by the poles and go.  They were ready to move when God said, "Move!"


 


It was upon reading this that I asked myself, "Am I ready to move when God says, 'Move!'?"  I need to be sure not to become too attached to anything of this world.  I need to be ready to throw off all of my stuff and all of my ideas when God says, "Move!"


 


So, are you living life with the poles in the furniture?  Are you ready to go?  If God called you to a mission in Africa, could you throw a few clothes in a bag and go?  Well, thankfully, God gives us more warning than a day to go to Africa!  But what about reaching out to the undesirable neighbor next door?  Can you throw aside your fear of rejection, or your disgust at another's lifestyle, to be a witness and go where God commands?  I have to say, that last example is one  with which I struggle.  I struggle with fear of man.  I struggle with fear of rejection.  But I'm feeling the challenge to dust off my poles.  I'm ready to watch the cloud.  I'm learning that I need to move when God says, "Move!"


 


I was always ready to go for the big things.  Go ahead, God, call me to the mission field.  We'll pack up the boys and go!  Have homeschool, will travel.  Go ahead, God, ask me to pursue foreign adoption.  I've got the poles in the furniture!  OK, God, shall we plant a church?  Do you want me to begin a city-wide women's bible study?  Let's go!  But, although God does occasionally ask big things of us, it is the day to day obedience for which He longs.  He wants us to move when He says, take a meal to the new neighbors.  He wants us to move when He says, wake up a few minutes earlier to spend extra time in prayer, or arrive at church a few minutes early to pray for those directing the service.  It is the, seemingly, little things to which God is more likely to call us.  Are you ready to move?


 


Matthew 24:42 says, "Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."  The Israelites watched a pillar of cloud that was God.  We watch the clouds He created for another movement.   We are not watching for the cloud to move, but we're watching for them to part.  When the clouds do part, we will see our precious Savior coming to take us home.  Oh, come Lord Jesus!  I'm so ready to throw off these earthly trappings for His return!


 


But until then, just as the Israelites watched for the cloud to move, I'm watching.  My poles are in the furniture and I'm ready to answer His call.  I just pray that I can be faithful and go when He says, "Go!"

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pantry Treats

On Friday I tackled the daunting task of cleaning my pantry.  I am very blessed to have a small pantry just off the main entrance to our home and kitchen.  This large closet with shelves is located right next to our back door and remains quite cool during the winter months.  I removed everything from the pantry shelves and the pantry floor.  I put all of the food and storage items on the kitchen table, which soon overflowed to the counters and the floor.  Keeping busy hauling dry goods, coolers, and old lunch boxes kept me warm in spite of the below freezing temperatures which permeated our entrance and pantry area.


 


Although it took the better part of my afternoon, in the end I had a lovely, clean, and organized pantry once again.  I did throw away a few items that were "leftovers" from past cooking experiments, but I tried to find a use for almost everything.  One thing I had left at the end of my cleaning jag was a pile of dry cereal ends.  I had four to six bags of cereal with an inch of cereal left in the bag.  I didn't have the heart to throw away cereal when the regular price of it at the market is so high!  That's when I decided to make what will now and forever be known as "pantry-treats."


 


I pulled out my rice krispie treat recipe from my favorite recipe box and proceeded with the recipe.  In my treat recipe I mixed four different types of cereal.  Only one cup of the cereal had a sugar coating, the rest were very plain-types of cereal.  I doubled the traditional rice krispie treat recipe.  I used a little more than 10 cups of cereal, a stick of butter, and a large bag of mini-marshmallows.  After melting the butter and the marshmallows using the microwave and stirring after each minute, I added my conglomeration of cereals.  I poured all this into a 9x13 cake pan and let it sit.


 


We ate our pantry treats as part of a car-picnic on our way to a great thrift store that has a half-price sale on Friday evenings.  My husband thought that the use of different cereals gave the treats a better texture and some added flavor.  I will definitely be using this recipe again to clear out all those left-over cereals!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Book Review: Kingdom's Dawn

We are thoroughly entrenched in our Middle Ages study after being sidetracked by the vikings for months!  As part of the study, we began reading the Kingdom series of books by Chuck Black.  Our first read was "Kingdom's Dawn."


 


Everytime I read a chapter to the boys, they would chant, "Read another chapter!  Read another chapter!"  This book was engaging and full of action for two want-to-be knights.  It was full of valor and bravery, but also a great analogy of biblical truths.


 


Our oldest son picked up on the biblical parallels right away.  As I read the story of Leinad's father's time in a paradise-like castle with his wife, our son said, "Oh, it's like Adam!"


 


This book has inspired our little knights!  They earned $50 for stacking wood this fall and they used it this weekend to order swords from Vision Forum (www.visionforum.com).  Their sword of choice is the William Wallace sword because it looks like the sword that's on the cover of the book.


 


When we finished the book we put it in Daddy's "launch pad."  He came home from work to find it there and we told him that he just had to read this book.  Daddy read it in two days and wanted the next one immediately.


 


Well, we don't have the next book yet and need to take a trip to the bookstore to pick it up!  Today, Daddy said, "Hey I'm ready for that next book.  Where is it?"  We had to remind him that we need to take the 40 minute drive to the book store.


 


So, our next book will be Chuck Black's Kingdom's Hope.  I think we'll pick up Kingdom's Edge while we're there, too!