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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Proverbs 31 Woman: Day 29- The Condition of Our Heart


The beginning of Proverbs 31:30 states- "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain...." (KJV)

Proverbs 31:30- "Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain..." (AMP)

Proverbs 31:30- "Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades....." (The Message)

Proverbs 31:30- "Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you..." (NCV)



Charm.

Charm is described as, "a power of pleasing or attracting, as through personality or beauty:" "Attractiveness, beauty, glamour, loveliness, appeal, allure, desirability, seductiveness, magnetism, charisma." 

Jane Austen once stated, "There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart," and I would think God would agree since He inspired Solomon and others to write about the fact that charm is deceitful.

"Beauty is only skin deep" is a quote we hear often. This means that what we see on the outside, does not always depict what is on the inside. Someone can be the world' definition of 'true beauty' on the outside, but their insides can be full of anger, malice, bitterness, spite, hatred, revenge, haughtiness....

We have to be so careful that we are not judging others based off of their appearance... and that we are not judging ourselves based off of our appearance either.

1 Peter 3:3-4 states, "Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights." (The Voice)

1 Peter 3:3-4- "It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from inside you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God." 

This isn't saying we shouldn't take care of ourselves, but it is saying that our outward appearance should not be our main focus in life. What does it matter if we look perfect on the outside, but our insides are a mess. Beauty fades. Kindness-- and the effects of kindness-- will last forever.

Have you ever seen a 'beautiful person' on the outside? You couldn't believe how put together they looked. They were attractive in every sense of the word. And then you got to know them.... and you heard them making fun of others, you saw their lack of respect for authority... you saw them stealing... you heard them lying... you watched them use other people and manipulate them... 

and then all of a sudden, that outward beauty started to fade because in that moment, it didn't matter so much.

Kahlil Gibran once said, "Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart."

How does our heart look today? Does it reflect our true beauty? Or is it dark, mean, cold, and angry?

Proverbs 31 Woman: Day 28- How Would Your Husband Describe You?



Proverbs 31:28-29- "....Her husband, too, joins in the praise, saying:
29 “There are someindeed many—women who do well in every way,
    but of all of them only you are truly excellent." (The Voice)

Proverbs 31:28-29- 
    "....her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”" (NIV)

Proverbs 31:28-29- "....Her husband brags about her and says,
29 “There are many good women,
    but you are the best.” (ERV)




Yesterday we talked about what our children would say if we gave them a survey based on our behavior over the past year or two. What would they truly say about us? Would they describe us as miserable? Mean? Too busy? Or they would describe us as happy? At peace? Always making time for them? Her children rise and call her happy....

And her husband praises her.

If we were to give our husbands a survey today about our behavior over the past year or two, what would they truly say about us? Would they describe us as miserable wives? Unhappy? Always nagging? Critical? A complainer? Or would they describe us as happy? Encouraging? Optimistic? At peace? Gentle? Compassionate?

Unfortunately, like my children, I know what kind of wife my husband would probably describe me as over the past two years.

I've been on a gradual downward spiral and it has shown. I've been the miserable, complaining, nagging, never happy, always griping wife. And it hasn't been fun-- on him or our marriage.

I love being a wife. I do. I feel like I've always been striving to be the best one I can be. But as we continued having our children, I got overwhelmed with all that was on my plate. And then I became resentful of my husband. In my head, he was gone working all of the time. He had a 'break' from the children every single day and here I was, trying to manage the three of them, get everything done around the house, making every single meal, trying to keep the house organized. And then when I began battling with anxiety and hypochondria, what I had always done around the house began to suffer. And I became more resentful.

I carried around this weight of bitterness. This weight of anger. This weight of wrath. I was just angry all of the time. If my husband said one word to me that I thought was remotely offensive, I immediately got defensive. And when I got defensive, he got defensive. We started arguing every single day and most of it linked back to my bad, nasty attitude.

I knew I needed a change- my soul needed the change. It needed cleaned out. All that entitlement, bitterness, resentment, anger, wrath... it needed washed away and replaced with thankfulness, gentleness, peace, happiness, kindness, joy.

God began dealing with me about pleading the Word over my life, my mind, my spirit, my attitude. The Word is a powerful weapon for us. Hebrews 4:12 states, "God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts." (ERV) I NEEDED the Word to cut through to me. I NEEDED it to change me, shape me. 

Research began taking place. Honestly, I had been around the Word of God almost my entire life. Studied it. Memorized it. Read it. And I still had no idea where to start with scriptures that I NEEDED to hear. Bible Gateway became my best friend... and God led me to the places He wanted me to go.

For thankfulness, I prayed Colossians 2:7- "You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God." (ERV)

For gentleness, I prayed Proverbs 15:1- "A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow." (ERV) Help me to answer gently, Lord. Even when I feel deserving of a 'rough answer', please help me understand the effects of this behavior. God, please help me to hold my tongue and think before I speak. My husband deserves that- our marriage deserves that.

For peace, I prayed a few verses.

1 Peter 5:7 states, "Give all your worries to him, because he cares for you." (ERV)
Philippians 4:6 states, "Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have." (ERV)
Matthew 11:28-30 states, "“Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. Accept my teaching.[a] Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. Yes, the teaching that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is light.”"(ERV)


For happiness, I prayed Job 36:11- "If they serve and obey him, he will make them successful and they will live a happy life." (ERV)

For kindness, I prayed Matthew 5:8- "Great blessings belong to those who show mercy to others. Mercy will be given to them."

For joy, I prayed Psalms 51:12- "Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey you." (ERV)

And every morning I still have to. The 'old man' has a way of creeping back up, constantly. It is a battle I fight every single morning to bury the wife of my past and put on the wife of NOW. 


It is a decision we must make every single day. To put our thoughts, our words, our actions into His hands. Praying that God would change our hearts, change our minds. It takes work. There are days I don't feel like rolling out of bed and asking for forgiveness for my incomplete parts. There are days I don't feel like putting the 'old person' under subjection to His Word. BUT---- I am TOO scared of becoming that woman again... so, I pray to Him to help me fight the flesh and we push forward together.

What kind of wife would our husbands describe us as?

Would he praise us like the Proverbs 31 husband did? Would he be ashamed of us? Would he wonder where the woman he married went to? Would he shout it from the roof tops how amazing we are?

If the answer is 'he wonders where the woman he married went to'... lets work to fix that.
If the answer is 'he would praise us like the Proverbs 31 husband did' lets keep praying that God will keep your heart and soul pure in His eyes.

We can do this, ladies. We can become better women for our children and husband. It will take work, a lot of Bible reading, a lot of praying, and a lot of burying our old habits, but we can do it.

You can do it. 

Proverbs 31 Woman: Day 27- Happy Momma, Happy Life




The beginning of Proverbs 31:28- "Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired)...." (AMP)

Proverbs 31:28- "Her children rise up and call her happy...." (NRSVA)



I would say the saying is true. Happy wife, happy life. Happy momma... . happy life.  Doesn't rhyme, but the truth is still in it. Oftentimes, we set the mood for our entire home. If Momma is stressed out, angry, upset, overwhelmed... chances are, the rest of the house is going to feel it too. 

Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard stated, "In the end... I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life." And that is the truth. The ball is in our court. 

If we were to give our children a survey right now about the kind of spirit we have, what would they say? If we asked them how many times we scream a day, what would they say? If we asked them how we treated them on a daily basis, what would they say? If we asked them how many times we lose our temper through the day, what would they say? If we asked them how many times we said hurtful things through the day, what would they say? If we asked them what kind of things they see us doing through the day, what would they say?

I know the answer my children would probably give about the woman I have been.

Yelling somehow became my go-to.
I wouldn't say any of them would say I was 'happy.' 

I remember my middle child used to say, "What's wrong, Momma? Why you so sad? You need more wine?" And this was becoming an every night occurrence. 

Thankfully, Jesus rescued my soul. He started revealing to me what my children saw when they looked at me.. and He began asking me if this was the kind of example I wanted to be to them. 

Did I want them to see me having to get 'buzzing' every single night just to function?
Did I want them to see me laying in bed day after day because I could hardly pull myself from under the covers?
Did I want them to remember I screamed 24/7... even about little things?
Did I want them to remember that I made them feel bad for asking for anything?
Did I want them to remember I was on my phone 24/7 instead of paying attention to what they were doing?
Did I want them to remember me sleeping in every single day, even when they were already up?

That broke my heart when I thought of the person I had become. The mother I had become.

The Proverbs 31 woman's children rise up and call her BLESSED-- HAPPY-- PROSPEROUS.

Would my children say the same?

Probably not.... 

So my prayers began.

God, change my heart! Help me to be the mother You called me to be Jesus! Help me to be patient, help me to love with all my heart, help me to stop becoming overwhelmed with being a Momma. Help me to shine Your goodness, Your compassion. Help me to be strong, even when the days seem long. Help my children to see You in me.

And God started doing the changing. He started cleaning out all that junk and darkness in my soul. 

Instead of getting 'buzzed' every night to function, we are now enjoying cups of chocolate milk and cookies before bed. I probably don't get the 'healthy mom' award, but my kids get to see a Momma that relies on Jesus instead of alcohol.

Instead of laying in bed every day because I couldn't cope with anxiety and hypochondria, they get to see a Momma that relies on Jesus to help her go outside, play with them, sing, dance, watch movies, and clean the house so they have a happy, peaceful home to come back to.

Instead of screaming 24/7 just to get a point across or get them to listen to me, He is now softening my spirit so I speak with kindness instead of wrath and anger. It is amazing how much easier it is to have them listen when I'm not acting like a crazy person!

Instead of making them feel bad by saying things like 'Can't you let me relax for 5 minutes,' He is allowing me to see that homemaking can be a ministry for Him! Everything we do should be done unto Him. He is allowing me to see what He has called me for. A life of service to the 4 most important people in my life. What greater job could I ask for?

Instead of being on my phone 24/7.. He is giving me enough peace that I don't have to sit and stare at it to keep my mind occupied. I am free in my mind to sit outside while they play and read a book or read the Bible... play when they ask me, give space when they want independence.

Instead of sleeping in and barely getting my child to school, God has allowed me to have a renewed relationship with Him. He helps me get up early in the morning, start a prayer life with Him, sing to Him, read His Word.... and I am so thankful that my children finally get to see that as soon as they wake up instead of a Momma that cries because she can hardly bare what the day will bring.

God has the ability to change us, Mommas.
He has the ability to let our children see a HAPPY Momma, but we have to give Him all of those broken, icky pieces.

What kind of Momma have your children been seeing?

A happy Momma?
Miserable Momma?
Lonely Momma?
Lost Momma?
Blessed Momma?
Thankful Momma?
Bitter Momma?
Faithful Momma?

We are the only ones who can decide to change our ways... and we can only do it through His help.

I'm useless on my own. With Him... well, He makes me brave.

If you are struggling with how to be a happier Momma, here are some great ways:

1. Read the Word of God.

Hebrews 4:12- The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. (The Voice) His Word can change our spirits. It can show us what to pray for... It can show us how much God loves us and wants us to be happy people! He called us to have a life full of joy... an abundance of joy! Reading His Word can remind us of all of His promises.

2. Pray.

Prayer is one weapon we have that can truly change every fiber of our being. How can we be angry, spiteful, bitter people when we are talking to the Creator who has zero of those qualities in Him? We can't. Through prayer, we can seek His face to help us be better Mommas. We can pray for patience, love, compassion, temperance, joy, happiness, peace. 

3. Sing songs/dance.

Have you ever had a dance party with your children? Cranking up joyful music that causes you to have a happy dance... sometimes we have to THINK ourselves happy! Sometimes we have to have a little healthy, happy fun to get ourselves out of that funk. One of our favorite songs around here is 'Unfinished' by Mandisa and 'The Cure' by Unspoken. I promise, if you blast those songs, dance around a little-- your spirit will start feeling lighter!

4. LAUGH.

Did you know even the Bible talks about LAUGHTER?? Proverbs 17:22 states, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.(KJV) Laughter is truly the best medicine. It can lighten your spirit. Think back to a time when you laughed until you were crying-- how good did you feel inside? We need to remember that. Find something to laugh about. Seek to let your spirit be at rest.

5. Take care of yourself.

This is another part of being a happy Momma. Care for your soul! Care for your body. How much better do you feel after a good shower? After getting your hair done? After exercising? After reading the Word in the quiet? After spending time with your friends? We have to set aside time for ourselves, Momma. I always go back to that quote- you cannot fill from an empty pitcher. Fill yourself up with good things! Quality times with friends that enhance your being. Wholesome movies. Good songs. Whatever lifts your spirit.

6. Spend time with your family-- and really see them.

I know we get so caught up in all the roles of a Momma. Running errands, laundry, dishes, dinners, lunch, breakfast, cleaning, organizing... that we forget the beauty that is our families! Look at our babies... we need to see the things that we adore about them. We need to stop thinking about all things that need done that day and just embrace our children. Look at their personalities... look at the little people God trusted you to care for. Take in their tininess. Their innocence. Love them for just being them... without worrying about what they need for the day... just for a little bit.

I know life gets overwhelming at times. Trust me, I get it. 

But Momma, our children need to see HAPPY Mommas. PEACEFUL Mommas. LOVING Mommas. COMPASSIONATE Mommas. PATIENT Mommas. JOYFUL Mommas. 

We can only do it through prayer... through seeking His face to help us. He CAN do it. I am living proof of a life that is constantly changing because of Him! 

You can be too. I promise.

Love you all.

Proverbs 31 Woman- Day 26: Slothfulness and Laziness.. Ouch!





The ending of Proverbs 31:27 states, "... and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat." (AMPC)

Proverbs 31:27- "...and ·never wastes her time [L does not eat the bread/food of laziness]." (EXB)

Proverbs 31:27- "...and does not eat the bread of doing nothing." (NLV)



I truly believe that the Proverbs 31 woman kept herself busy because she understood the dangers of idleness. 

According to Eccleasiastes 10:18, Solomon wrote, "A roof sags because of laziness. A house leaks because of idle hands." (GW) "The roof sags over the head of lazybones; the house leaks because of idle hands." (VOICE) 

We are called to be diligent in every single thing that we do. Colossians 3:23-24 states, "So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s, because you know your reward is the Lord’s inheritance. You serve the Lord, the Anointed One..." EVERYTHING we do, we should strive to do our best because we are the Lord's servant. This not only means at our jobs, at our ministries.... it also means around our house and with our family.

I'll be the first to admit it.

The beginning of this year, I was in deep pit of anxiety and hypochondria. I've told this story before. My housework suffered greatly. I could hardly get out of bed most days-- which meant dishes, laundry, and any other cleaning suffered greatly. I remember one morning I heard my husband up getting ready for work and it hit me 'He had no clean work clothes...' and it wasn't because I didn't have running water or laundry detergent or a working washer/dryer. It was because I spent most days in bed watching TV instead of caring for my family. I would scream at the kids to be independent because I didn't want to get out of bed. Laziness and slothfulness followed my anxiety and hypochondria. And you know who suffered from it? My family. The whole dynamic in our house shifted. My husband and I started arguing. I was a miserable mother. It was horrible.

And then, God started pulling me out of that darkness, one day at a time.. and I pushed through to care for the house. I started cleaning out the clutter-- not just in the house, but my soul.

It is amazing how when our house is cared for-- our soul is cared for as well.

I really didn't feel like cleaning this morning. My oldest and youngest child slept horribly last night.. okay, horrible is an understatement, LOL. I was up at least 9 times with both of them... slept on the living room floor.. my back hurt when I got up... two cups of coffee wasn't enough.. I was dragging. BUT. I started reading through these Bible verses and once again, God hit me with that feeling of 'I know you're tired, but your family needs you.' So, I stopped in the middle of this blog, got my booty up, pulled my hair up on top of my head, cranked up 'The Cure' by Unspoken (MY FAVORITE RIGHT NOW. Just a little plug for them!! Lol) and started going to work. It is hard for me to focus on writing, on reading, on being the kind of mother I want to be when my house is a wreck.

I think they align with each other well-- our homes and our souls.

My home was the worst it has ever been-- and well, so was my spirit.

Our family needs us, Momma. Our souls need us, Momma.

We have to be so careful that we do not get caught up in the spirits of slothfulness and laziness. They can attach to us easily- especially when we are struggling internally. 

'Our clean homes can be a place of rest and refreshment from the outside world for our families.' [Becoming His Crown

That is my one desire for our home- that His spirit would be so thick in our home that we are at peace and rest every single time we walk through that door! 

And that our home is clean- that it smells clean and that everything is organized so that we are at peace and rest every single time we walk through that door!

I pray against the spirits of slothfulness and laziness today. I pray that God would wash our souls clean and give us peace. That He would help us remove the clutter from our lives so that it can be removed from our souls. An idle mind.. idle hands.. .it is the devil's workshop. We must pray against it every single day- every morning.

Becky Mansfield at 'Your Modern Family' stated, "Your home is your haven. You should feel relaxed the minute you walk through the door. If you aren't feeling that you need to make changes. How much time are you worrying about your clutter instead of LIVING? Free yourself and get on with your life."

That sums up this journey of decluttering our homes and our spirits perfectly.