September 29, 2009

When God Tells You To Ask

“Moreover, the Lord spoke again to King Ahaz, saying, Ask for yourself a sign (a token or proof) of the Lord your God [one that will convince you that God has spoken and will keep His word]; ask it either in the depth below or the height above [let it be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven]. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.”
- Isaiah 7:10-12

 

War was unsuccessfully being plotted against Jerusalem. It was scary times, but God was on the scene and in control. He knew about the evil plotting against His people and He did not like it one bit. So He sent Isaiah with a message for Ahaz.

God was so thorough that He not only told Ahaz, through the prophet, that Jerusalem was in danger, but He even went as far as to lay out the plans in detail that had been created to destroy them. How amazing is that? That fact alone, that God would love a people so much that He would send specific word about someone’s plans to destroy them astounds me.

After revealing the enemy’s plans of destruction, the Lord tells Ahaz not to worry, that the plans wouldn’t stand and would never come to pass. But then He takes it one step even further, when He gives HIS offensive plan to Ahaz, with a clear timeline of how and when everything will happen.

But the Lord didn’t even stop there. He loved Ahaz so much, and was so concerned that Ahaz be strengthened and encouraged to believe in His word, that He told Ahaz to ask Him for a sign as confirmation of God’s word. And here’s the kicker...Ahaz refused the Lord.

How many times have we done this? How often have we listened to and received a word from God, through our pastor or a preacher, then crossed our arms and refused it? How many times has God reached out to us, through the ministry, and tugged on our heartstrings? Yet we feel condemned of our own sins, shortcomings, flaws, or faults, so we choose to shake our heads and say, “No, I don’t deserve to ask God for anything. I’m not worthy to receive a word from Him.”

I wonder how often God becomes weary with me. I can just imagine Him reaching to me, saying, “Hope, here I am. Ask what you want of me and I’ll grant it to you.” And there I sit, trapped by my own fears or failures, convincing myself that I shouldn’t request something more from God.

How dare we refuse God? How dare we weary Him with our foolishness?

Perhaps there is an underlying reason why we decide not to ask Him for that sign that we need, or otherwise. Maybe it’s because there is hidden rebellion in our heart. Maybe we think we have the answers we need already, so what more could God say to convince us otherwise? This is a scary place to be.

Or maybe we want to believe God’s word spoken to our lives, but we’ve lost all hope and that word seems far too wonderful, beyond our wildest expectations. Maybe our vision has dimmed to the point that we can barely see the hope of the prize we strive for.

Whatever the reason, we must choose to set it aside. We have to realize that God loves us. He sent His son into this world of sin, so that we could be saved. How can we refuse such love?

The solution to this is simple. When God calls, respond. When He speaks a word into your life that sparks hope inside you, but you’re still afraid, ask for that sign you need. When He gives you that promise, write it down. Count on it. Believe it. Above all, never be afraid to ask, especially when He tells you to.

September 28, 2009

What’s on the agenda

This morning I’m sitting here thinking about all the things I need to do and all the things I want to do this week. The last few weeks have been especially interesting around here—mostly because I have been struggling to find balance in my life amidst a lot of stress. I have totally disregarded schedules and planning and I think that is only contributing to my stress levels. I like order. I like schedules. I like knowing what’s going to happen and when.

So I want to create a tentative agenda for myself for this week. I think it will make me feel better. I’m going to do this in two ways. First, I’m going to jot a quick list of tasks. Then I’m going to plug these into my calendar. I don’t know if this will work or not, but I’m going to find out! :)

Quick List

  1. Housework (cleaning, laundry, etc.)—Monday
  2. Study
    1. Sunday School lesson for next week
    2. bible study
    3. Woman After God’s Own Heart
  3. Writing
    1. catch up on last week’s stuff
    2. start outlining article for magazine
    3. book
  4. Go through closets & toys for donation box
  5. Finances
    1. budget for October
    2. Christmas
    3. pay kids’ lunch money @ school
  6. Read
    1. WAGOH (#2 above)
    2. fiction
  7. School
    1. Call to finalize withdrawal process
    2. take care of financial aid stuff
    3. check up on misc. stuff
    4. check in with advisor for next steps

I have a lot more than this I want to accomplish, but I am going to continue this list offline after I get started on the housework this morning.

What’s on your agenda this week?

September 21, 2009

I Almost Let Go

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How many times has this been my song? I can’t even begin to count.

The last week has been a really tough one for me. I have lost so much sleep in the last six months or so, and it finally caught up with me. My body started ignoring me, deciding it was time for me to listen to it and slow down and rest. My mind began to fail, as my emotions took control of me. Finally, over the weekend everything came to a head and I had to just stop everything and rest my mind and body.

You know what? It’s right in these times of emptiness when the devil starts whispering ugly things in our ears. He knows when we are weak in our minds, his attacks are usually more effective.

Satan started whispering in my ear yesterday. I almost started believing his lies. Thank God I called on my sister and she set me straight. I told her I felt like something must be wrong with my spirit, or I’d be able to overcome this weariness quicker. She told me not to dwell on those thoughts because Satan would use it to make me believe his lies. And she was so right.

God has kept me through so many storms and dark nights in my life. If I started telling you about them all right now, it would take years to tell you about them all. He wrapped His loving arms around me through some long, cold nights when I feared the hand of death itself. He kept me through years of depression and anxiety, when I felt like the best thing I could do for my family was sink in a hole and die. He kept me through long years of fear and torment that I thought would never end. He has walked by my side, holding my hand through stressful situations. When I felt like I couldn’t take another step, He carried me until I had strength to stand on my own again.

I’m still weak right now, but I am holding fast to His hand. I know this weariness will pass. I’m counting on it bringing me greater strength for the future. Because I know there is a reason for everything we go through.

I praise God for His unfailing love and mercy. It is only because of Him that I am alive and well today. Thank You for Your mercy and grace that kept me, sweet Jesus! Thank You for holding me close, Lord, so I wouldn’t let go.

September 17, 2009

How do you know when you’re in the will of God?

This is a question I’ve asked myself many times. Is it even possible to know the will of God? How can I be sure I am in the will of God? At one point, I even felt like this was some elusive, supernatural subject that I simply would never comprehend. So I pretty much gave up on trying to figure it out.

So…can you know if you’re in the will of God? Definitely! Trust me, when you aren’t in His will, your life will feel like it’s raveling apart quicker than you can mend it and attempt to piece it back together.

How do you find the will of God for your life? Prayer. Fasting. Studying His word. Seeking Him. As you start to do all these things, asking for His direction and guidance, it will begin to come together.

I feel like this is the place where I’ve been for a while now. At first, I just gave up trying to figure it all out, and I seriously think if you have endless questions and feel confused, this is exactly what you need to do. Stop trying to figure it out. You can’t.

Last night something happened that made me pause for a moment. I saw God’s hand in it, and felt like He was saying to me, “Okay, Hope. Here’s an opportunity for you. I’m opening this door again. What are you going to do with it?”

I don’t take this lightly. I feel like this is just one of several doors that God has led me to lately, and I’m walking through it with much prayer and consideration. I want to live my life so that it is pleasing to Him. I want Him to receive all glory and honor. I recognize that I cannot do a thing if He’s not in it, and I pray that He engulfs every aspect of my life. I want to be transformed and changed through Him.

So how do you know when you’re in the will of God? I believe things will start to click and come together. There may be opportunities presented to you, doors open that you thought had been shut and bolted forever. What seems impossible, God will make possible. Where you feel like there’s a huge question mark, and you’re not sure where the answer will come from, God will provide it. When you are walking with Him, the road won’t be without bumps or potholes, but you’ll have everything you need to travel it, and just when you need it the most.

September 14, 2009

Thank God For The Broken Pieces

broken pieces Last night my pastor preached an awesome message, under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. For a brief summary, he preached that God has provided the broken pieces in our lives so that we can be saved. But all too often, we worry about the broken mess in our life, and become frantic, feeling like there’s no way we can salvage the brokenness. We’re barely treading water, so we can’t see or understand that God has allowed the broken pieces to float around us, so that we can grab them and hang on. Because of the broken pieces, we can be saved.

I have a lot of broken pieces in my life. There are some broken pieces that I thought I had super glued back together, only to learn recently that all the glue in the world cannot hold some things together. As hard as I had worked to rebuild something that was never there to begin with, it all came crashing down yet again.

I’ve been struggling with this thing, this relationship. I have never understood it, never have been able to come to an understanding why what should have always been a very basic, steady, solid relationship in my life has been anything but that. Instead, it seems to have always been a volatile one that, at one time, yanked my emotions harshly from one extreme to another.

It is one that I have worked on for many years. I had a lot of anger, bitterness, and even hatred in my heart towards this person at one time. It took a few years before I could finally come to the realization that all this negative energy was only hurting myself and my spirit. After I was able to forgive, it seemed like things were slowly beginning to get better, and the possibility of a real relationship with this person was looking up.

But then out of nowhere they turned on me. A simple comment from me—something that was meant only as a joke, and nothing more—was twisted into something very different. What followed was shocking, sad, and totally unexpected. Since then, although I’ve been sad at the events, but I have also recognized that (A) the devil loves to try to use things from our past to cause trouble, (B) he is the father of lies and (C) I only control my actions, thoughts, words, and deeds; I can’t change anything else.

I know I’m probably talking in riddles to most of you. But to say the least, these broken pieces have been here my entire life. I think some of you will understand what I mean, because you have broken pieces that have been in your life forever, too. Even though I thought I’d patched them up and fixed them well enough, I was wrong, and they all became broken again.

Last night, though, I finally understood. I’ve been looking at these broken pieces the wrong way. I’ve been seeing them as something bad, something sad, something ugly. And while they might be all those things, they are also a blessing in my life. I just couldn’t see that until now. At one time in my life I only saw those broken pieces as horrible parts of my past I wanted to forget—they made me untrusting of others, have zero self-esteem, unable to say, “I’m sorry”, feel lonely and empty inside, like I didn’t belong anywhere, etc. Now I see the broken pieces as a blessing from God—they made me hold on tighter to God, refined a deeper strength within me, taught me how to be a Godly wife and mother, etc.

Thank God for all the broken pieces of my life—they truly did save me! I’m not going to question God any more about them. I’m going to grab hold of them, hang on, and swim towards the shore until my feet touch sand. I know God has a plan for it all; I’m trusting Him to refine me and lead me to that shore, where those broken pieces will all come together, like a jigsaw puzzle, to glorify God.

September 11, 2009

Home Management 101 – Part 1

home management

Read the Managers of Our Homes series to learn more.

As I created my Household Notebook, it opened my eyes to how I had been allowing some things to slip through my fingers because I either wasn’t paying attention to them, or hadn’t thought of them in the first place. Another thing I learned was that that are many facets to running a home, and my diamond needed some polishing—ASAP.

So my HN became my guidebook, my command center of operations. And it has truly helped me in many ways. The most important aspect of it, I think, is that it keeps everything in one place. All my budgets, financial planning worksheets, Bible studies, school schedules, etc. are all in my notebook. When I started adding personal items to it, like a project idea sheet, I realized this notebook is much more important than I’d originally realized. As I keep my notebook updated and organized, I can think much more clearly, and best of all, everything I need is at my fingertips. All I have to do is open my notebook and flip open the section I need.

Bible-based concepts on Home Management for women

My Household Notebook play a huge role in my home management. But there are other things I’m learning along the way as well about being a good manager of my home. My findings are scripturally-based, and I continue to seek and study the Word to refine my home management skills. So here are some of those lessons:

Home Manager: A wise woman, who oversees the physical, spiritual, emotional, and financial needs of her family.

1. A home manager is trustworthy and charitable.

*Proverbs 31:11-12: “Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.”

We woman are the core of our homes. Honesty and trustworthiness begins with us. As the manager of my home, if I am dishonest with my husband or children, it erodes not only our personal bonds, but my family unit as well. My husband must know in his heart that he can trust me in any situation or circumstance. He should never have reason to doubt me, and above all, I should never give him reason to regret trusting me. Once trust is broken, it is very hard to earn back.

Verse 12 is one that I think many women have a problem with. What’s the first thing you tend to do when you’re mad at your husband? If you’re human, you probably want to lash out at him. You might even have a streak of spitefulness in you and try to figure out how you can even the score with him. If you want to be a good Home Manager, you have to stop this. You have to learn to be giving and have an open heart.

This was one of the main things that made me fall in love with my husband—he has a huge heart. There were times when I couldn’t understand how he could forgive and forget so easily when someone did him wrong, then turn around and help them in the next instant when they needed help. I model myself after him (although I do struggle with this at times). I want to be like that: compassionate, bighearted, generous in all I say and do.

2. A home manager is thrifty and frugal when necessary.

*Proverbs 31:13-14: “She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.”

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t fallen on hard times at some point in their life. Unfortunately, if you don’t learn how to be frugal before this happens, you’ll be forced to learn it then. This isn’t to say that you have to be cheap, but I think sometimes we waste a lot of money—and time—on things that aren’t necessary, or aren’t good for us.

The best thing about being frugal with your money is that you learn how to get around price tags and become more creative and adventurous. You learn to think outside the box, instead of just grabbing something off the shelf and doling out too much money to pay for it, or worse yet, charging it to a high-interest credit card when you know you can’t afford it in the first place. Believe me, I’m not preaching about something I don’t know anything about. Been there, done that, have the scars to prove it. (Maybe one day I’ll share more about this, too.) So I know what I’m talking about when I say that although you might get that temporary high from doing what everyone else is doing, you will come crashing down.

One thing that really disturbs me is watching women chase after elaborate, expensive things in an effort to keep up with others, or make others believe they have more money than they truly do. (Look back at #1. This principle applies to everyone in your life, not just your husband/family.) Be real. Be you. When you create an imaginary life built on dishonesty, you will eventually become so twisted and entangled in the deceit that you will become empty, unhappy, and broken inside.

For me, thriftiness and frugal living doesn’t only apply to money matters. It applies to my time as well. It took many years for me to finally learn this. My time is just as, if not more than, important than my finances. When I allow my time to be eroded away by listening to people gripe or gossip, or when I’m surrounded by negative people all the time, this rubs off on my spirit. I can have the most positive attitude ever, but if I constantly give my time to negative people, chances are, that pessimistic attitude is going to end up rubbing off on me. And because I’m the manager of my home, guess who that bad attitude will become present in next? You guessed it….my family. So I have become much more aware of this and work diligently towards guarding my time against such socialization.

3. A home manager attends to her families needs and has good time management skills.

*Proverbs 31:15: “She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.”

Proverbs 31:21: “She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.”

I can hear what some of you are thinking right now: ‘But I hate cooking! And up before dawn?! Are you crazy??’

home managementI’m not going to sit here and tell you that you need to get up early every morning and cook a full breakfast for your family. If you enjoy doing that, great! The point I do want to make here is that as a Home Manager, it is our responsibility to make sure our family has what they need. Make sure your children have breakfast, whether it’s a bowl of cereal or scrambled eggs and biscuits. See to it they have lunch money for school, or that their socks are still in good shape. My family is a reflection of me, so I want to be sure they have what they need to be successful and confident each day.

Most of all, I have been entrusted with 24 hours a day. At least 10 of those hours are for sleeping, for the kids (not quite so much for me). That leaves 14 hours for them. They are at school 7 1/2 hours a day during the week. That gives us about 6-6.5 hours together per day, excluding weekends. If I am not wise in time management, those few precious hours can be easily squandered away.

That concept aside, if I don’t organize my time each day, there is a much greater chance that I will end up wasting a lot of time on something pointless. In addition, there are always appointments to be kept, places we need to go, and things that must be done on a certain day, at a specific time. If I am late for everything because I forgot about it, this is not a positive reflection on me or my family. Instead, this tells others that I don’t value my time, thus I don’t value theirs, either.

4. A home manager saves money, is a sage investor, and uses her profits wisely.

*Proverbs 31:16: “She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.”

I am not the smartest when it comes to investing money in the stock market. I don’t know anything about savings bonds. But I can always learn. I think this is something that trips some women and I’m hoping to encourage us all to do something about it. I’ve always very much been a DIY kind of person. If I want to do something, I figure out how to do it. I might study and read up on it for months, or maybe even a few years, but I’ll figure out a way to get that thing done. I think we should take the same approach with our money. If you, like me, aren’t wise in the world of investing, let’s learn about it so we can discover ways to make our money work for us.

Otherwise, I might not know much about that, but I do know how to save money. Even if you don’t understanding big bank investing, anyone can go to a bank with $100 and open a savings account. Even though it won’t yield much in return, you will be saving money. Another good idea is a Christmas club account. Lots of banks offer this way to save any amount of money throughout the year, then empty your account at the end of the year and send you a check. No worries about how you’re going to buy presents!

Likewise, as Home Managers, we have an important duty of thinking things through before we spend money on anything. Think of the field in this scripture as a metaphor. Before you drop a lot of money on a new wardrobe, ask yourself if you really need it? Or do you want new clothes because you’re trying to maintain appearances among others? When you look at the price tag on that pretty dress, do you think about how much this will set you back on your budget, then wait a couple of weeks to see if it will go on sale, or do you spend money out of your grocery budget because you “just have to have it”?

5. A home manager isn’t afraid of hard work and recognizes its importance.

*Proverbs 31:17-19: “First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.”

As managers of our homes, we have to understand the importance of hard work. Whether you are at home, like me, or work outside the home, this applies to all of us. If we greet the day with woe and laziness, our time will be squandered away. At the very least, our bad attitude about what we “have” to do will be noticeable to everyone we come in contact with.

In addition, we home managers must not quit until our work is done. We have to come to an understanding that what we do is important. Whether it’s washing dishes, or running a multi-million dollar business, we all hold great and important work. My family depends on me to fulfill my duties. When I don’t, everyone is affected, not just me.

6. A home manager displays a kind, helping spirit.

*Proverbs 31:20: “She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.”

This is, I think, a very important lesson to learn, because I believe when we can grab hold of it, we will open up a whole new world of blessings. I know a woman who gives and can never say no to people who ask for help, but she doesn’t want to do any of it. She gives, but in her heart, holds one fist clenched. Even though she gives, she doesn’t have a giving heart.

This is an important lesson we can teach our children, through our examples of giving with a loving heart. Deuteronomy 15:10-11 (The Message) points this out clearly, “Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.”

In addition to giving financially, such as in offerings and special pledges, I believe it is important to give of our time as well. Dedicating special time for prayer and meditation, lending a volunteer hand, or pitching in where you know help is needed and not asking for anything in return are just a few ways of doing so.

More lessons to learn

These six things provide a great starting point for learning how to be good managers of our homes. There are many more lessons to learn from this passage of scripture and as I study them through, I’ll share more of what I’m learning with you.

I hope this series is blessing you as much as it is me!

*The Message version.

Managers of our Homes – The Series

If you missed any of this 3-part series I’ve been writing, about managing our homes, here are the links to all three parts:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

September 10, 2009

Managers of our Homes – Part 3

How to Become a Mom, CEO (aka. Home Manager)

home manager Now that we’ve laid a foundation for this series, I am going to discuss some things I’ve personally begun doing in my own home. I’ll probably also share ideas of ways I plan to continue building on this. I’m not saying I have the answers to all this; I’m learning as I go. One thing I know for sure, since I started embracing the role of Mom, CEO of my home, it has definitely changed a lot of things for me. So let’s get started…

First, I’ll share a little background about myself, in case you don’t personally know me. I’ve been mostly at home for the last 10+ years. I’ve taken the occasional part-time job to help out with finances a few times as needed, but for the most part, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been at home to raise our children. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always used this time wisely. But I am learning more and more that each day is a gift from God, and every second of the 24 hours He gives me each day is a blessing I can’t afford to mess around with. So I am striving to become a better time manager, in addition to other things.

Second, this concept of being a Home Manager is nothing new. There are books out there you can pick up and read, which would probably provide you a lot more in-depth information and research than what I’m giving you. I am simply sharing from my heart about a transformation I’m undergoing, in hopes that some of you might share your own as well, if you’ve experienced the same thing. I am a firm believer that we can all learn something from each other. And women should especially be more open to sharing and learning from one another. I love this portion of scripture from Titus 2:3-5, of the Amplified version:

“Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble, So that they will wisely train the young women to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited).”

The Household Notebook

I think the beginning of my understanding started taking shape earlier this year when I decided to make myself a Household Notebook. After Rob left, I sat down with all our bills and immediately became frustrated, scared, and nervous when I saw just how much debt we were under. You don’t really realize the amount of debt you have if you don’t make a list and add it all up. Paying $50 here, $225 there doesn’t really make you see how much debt you have. Tallying a total, though, might be mind-boggling if you’ve never done it.

As I sat there with all our bills, I decided then and there that I could either ignore the problem, or I could do something about it. And I knew that with Rob being gone for about a year could either be a turning point for us, or make no effect at all (because our income would increase just a bit). It was then that I purposed in my heart to buckle down, make a plan, and stick to the plan to see some positive changes and results before Rob came back home from Iraq.

It was right then that I realized I could either play around (with my time and money), or I could get serious about our situation (not that it was bad, but I want better for us) and change the course of our path. I have dreams and goals for our family, and I knew that if things didn’t change for us, all those dreams and goals would sprout wings and fly away.

With Robert gone, and the sole responsibility of running and maintaining our household falling totally on my shoulders, I grasped right then and there the importance of me stepping up and taking charge. It was a mental shift, more than anything, when it became clear to me that I am truly the manager of my home. If the water bill goes unpaid and they shut off the water, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. I can’t make excuses and lay blame because I am solely responsible for what happens in our family right now.

And this is the mindset I think I should have had many years ago, but now that I understood it, it suddenly made me feel a lot more important….to my husband, to my children, to our family, but most of all, to myself. If I am managing our home and things go awry that are within reason of my doing something about them, it’s my fault. This was a huge dose of the reality of responsibility I needed. Thus, the birth of my Household Notebook.

As I started building my HN, I felt a surge of excitement and hope course through me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Yes, it was scary listing all our debt and adding up the total. But by facing the scariness of this and doing it anyway, I totally knocked out all fear and felt courage rise within myself, and confidence that we can do whatever it takes to make our family successful.

Here’s the secret: No matter how much you avoid something, it’s still there. It will remain there, like an ugly monster growing bigger every day. Work up your courage to face it, deal with it, meet it head-on.

The fear of the unknown is always worse than knowing what you are dealing with. So if you’ve been struggling in your finances, and you don’t really know what your total debt is, that might be one clue as to why you are still struggling. This is such a simple concept, but one that I ignored and avoided at all costs for a really long time. I didn’t want to know what our total debt was. It was too scary. We struggled to make ends meet for many years. Looking back now, I see that we were flopping in the wind, with no plan at all. That’s why we never got anywhere.

Here’s another secret tip: No plan, no destination.

If you’re going on a road trip to some place you’ve never been to before, are you going to load up your family, get in the car, and just start driving, hoping you’ll get where you want to go? Of course not! You’re going to plan the entire trip with maps, marking rest stops, the best dining areas, and fun pit stops along the way. You’ll probably even figure out more than one possible route, to find the quickest or shortest distance. You’ll plan even further for your trip by stocking up on snacks and drinks, if it’s a long trip, and deciding where the half-way point is to stop and rest overnight. If you’d take such great measures to plan a road trip, why not create a life plan?

So the household notebook is one step in becoming a good Home Manager. You can click here to read more about how I created mine. If you have a Household Notebook, or something similar, leave a comment and share what your system is like.

Managers of our Homes– Part 2

Laying the Foundation

home managementTo become a manager, or land a supervisory position in the “real” working world, there are certain measures you must take. Unless you are super special, you won’t land a managerial position until you have knowledge and experience in that field. You have to have a proven track record that shows you can actually follow through and do what your resume says you can do for that company.

Becoming a manager of your home works much the same way. You might not understand or know everything necessary to running your home. But you can learn and grow daily and grow more confident in being a home manager.

Just like building a house, you have to begin laying a solid foundation as you embrace this new role as the manager of your home. A good foundation is always grounded in prayer and studying God’s Word. Through these, we can seek and find direction from God and gain wisdom, knowledge and understanding for things beyond our grasp of reasoning or experience.

Adding Walls and a Roof

The more we study and learn and grow, the more depth we can add to what we’re already doing. Maybe you think you’ve done a pretty good job so far without God’s help. While that might be true, why not just give God a try? Job 28:28 (KJV) states, “…the fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” Why not ask Him for help, and see how much better you can do with His help?

Knowledge without wisdom won’t get you very far. Proverbs 4:6 (NIV) says, “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.” I learned a long time ago that I don’t have all the answers I’ll ever need in life. Just when I think I’ve figured out something, I learn very quick that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. But when I turn to God and ask him to open my eyes, heart, and mind, He never fails to guide and instruct me.

Fixing a Cracked Foundation

Maybe you feel like you started with a solid foundation, but have veered off the path and you aren’t sure anymore if you’re even worthy of God offering you help. If I don’t impart any other word of wisdom to you through this series, listen up and take note of this one thing: None of us are perfect. I fall and fall and fall again. I used to beat myself up while I was down, but God doesn’t expect or want that kind of behavior from us. So if you’re feeling this way, let me assure you, God will always provide correction for any problem you might have. So forget about perfection and mistakes. Ask for forgiveness, be covered afresh with His blood, then get back up, dust yourself off, and try again.

Managers of our Homes – Part 1

Introduction

home manager I was originally going to direct this thought towards stay-at-home-moms/women, but then I decided this isn’t only relevant to at-home women, but to all of us women. We’ve all read and studied the Proverbs 31 woman, and I’ll be the first to admit that so many of us have discussed it that sometimes it seems a tad redundant. But if we seek to be more like Christ and follow His teachings and the Word, nothing therein should ever become redundant to us. So I’m going to dive back into this portion of scripture again and share something that has been on my heart for a few weeks now.

Embrace a different frame of mind

I think one reason why some women don’t agree with the Proverbs 31 woman is because it’s easier to just live your life the way you want to. And for some, the Proverbs 31 woman seems to be a woman of the “old days”…and we’ve moved beyond that, right? Wrong.

We may not have to gather wheat in the fields anymore, or sew or own clothes by hand with a thread and needle, but the basic principles still remain the same. The only way we can come to understand this better is to change the way we think. As women, we have a huge responsibility, especially when there are children involved. Yes, the man is biblically the head of our household, but as women, we have a huge and intricate part of our household as well.

I guess after going through one deployment and living alone for the first time in years, for a year-and-a-half, and now going through a second deployment, has really opened my eyes to things that I think a lot of [married] women take for granted. Even though I’d always been an independent person, after marrying my husband, and then eventually becoming a stay-at-home-mom/wife, I came to depend totally on him for everything. I was no longer working and earning my own portion of the household income. I had to learn to look to my husband to provide for the needs of our family.

Through both of these deployments, I’ve been forced to learn how to rely on myself to do a lot of things again without any help: mowing the lawn, taking out the trash on garbage day, maintenance on both vehicles, paying the bills each month, etc. And I have come to realize that even when my husband is at home, I still have big responsibilities as a wife, mother, and woman. Some of the load and burden will shift when there are two of us to carry it, but there are basic responsibilities there that I can’t ignore. One of them, I have come to learn, is being the manager of my home.

Before you can become a manager of your home, you truly have to first embrace a totally different perspective—of yourself and your place in your home. Until this happens, reading the rest of this probably either won’t make much sense to you, or you might find it silly and nonsense.

September 09, 2009

Clutter Dump

This morning I stumbled across this blog post, where the writer started a 10 Things Challenge, in an effort to get rid of ten things per week. I really like this idea. I’ve been ignoring an urge to dig through closets and boxes and do a huge clutter dump from my house. Reading that blog post sparked the courage in me to get started this week.

I’ve been ignoring and procrastinating this because (a) I still have TONS of boxes shoved in every closet and free space in this house since our move in May and (b) I hate this kind of cleaning. I tend to make emotional attachments to non-essential items, thus making it very hard to get rid of anything. But the clutter is driving me crazy.

So I think I’ll follow suit of this blogger and start this week. I’m going to go on a search today and find 10 things to dump. That should be easy enough. Will update with a picture of my ten things when I’m ready.

September 05, 2009

5 Reasons Why I’m A Better Person Today

Sometimes I feel self-doubt creep in and start to question myself. Have I really grown? Am I refining myself like I need to? How am I changing into a better person? Most of the time when I start doubting myself, it’s because I have allowed outside circumstances to dominate my mind and time. One of the best ways to stop myself from heading into a tail spin is to define ways I’ve changed and grown. So I think I’ll do that this morning.

1. I’m learning from my mistakes.

We all make mistakes, but we don’t always learn from them. I’ve been working very hard on learning from the mistakes I made. Mostly, because I don’t want to repeat them again. If I mess up, I want to pinpoint where, why, and how it happened because I don’t want to do the same thing again. There’s always a lesson in every mistake, if I dig deep enough to find it.

2. I’m taking responsibility for my own actions.

It would be incredibly easy for me to take on a victim role and start blaming other people for everything I think is going wrong in my life. But I have learned that blaming others not only covers up the heart of the problem, but it causes me to become blind to areas of my life I need to work on. I am responsible for my own life. Nobody can force me to say or do anything I don’t want to. If I mess up, it is my fault, nobody else’s.

3. I’m learning to be in control of myself.

Accepting responsibility for my actions holds hands with me being in control of myself. If I can’t maintain a level of self-control, it’s a lot easier to point the finger of blame at others. This is one area that I still am working diligently to refine because it’s one of my weaker qualities. It’s so easy to jump to conclusions or be defensive (and sometimes I still am). I pray many times throughout nearly ever day for God to help me to control my thoughts and my tongue. I know if my mind is under submission to God, my tongue will follow. Best of all, my heart will remain in the right place as well. Self-control is a powerful tool against Satan.

4. I have more self-respect.

There was a time when I had absolutely no self-esteem. I felt worthless and empty. It took some time, but I built a foundation of self-esteem. There are times when I still struggle with it, but that does not nearly plague me like it once did. I know that I am a good person, with a good heart, no matter what anyone else says or thinks about me. And because I’ve learned this, I have begun to build a tower of self-respect in my life. I’ve learned that when I don’t respect myself, neither will others.

5. I’m learning how to stand up for myself.

When I married Robert, he was the first person in my life that ever truly loved me unconditionally. He made me feel loved and protected, like nothing in this world could ever hurt me again, because he’d be right there to make sure I was protected from all ugliness. Because I’d never felt this measure of trust or strength, I came to rely on him a little too much. I depended on him to fight my battles for me, and take up for me. While that’s okay, and I believe a husband and wife should form such a partnership, I really needed to learn how to stand  up for myself. Inside, I’d been a scared little girl my entire life. With this second deployment, though, I am learning that I am not that little girl anymore. The things that once stood in my way and loomed over my head don’t hold that power anymore. I am a strong woman, deserving of respect. And I know now that, while it’s nice to know Rob has my back, I can take care of myself, too.

How have you changed and grown over the last few years?