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Friday, April 22, 2011

Hand over the pants...

 I confess.....I'm a long time pants stealer.  I was raised in a pants stealing family.   I was such a pants stealer that I didn't know it was stealing.   It was normal and I had no clue it was wrong or there was a better way to live.  
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.  1 Cor. 10:22

uh oh....{seriously God? isn't that just a little sexist? I mean really? I can do anything he can and probably better....wait that sounds like a song...
....hmmmm...okay so my argument about girls being more mature is out....}

To the woman He said,"I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."  
Genesis 3:16

Part of the consequence of that very first sin was that the beautifully ordained pairing of man and woman would now be tainted by a power struggle for leadership.  We are still struggling for power....it's no wonder that men are always saying that they don't understand us.   We simultaneously desire them and fight them for leadership....if those aren't conflicting messages I don't know what is.   
Submit.   Respect.  Head of the house.   Who wears the pants in your family?   Typically the fruits of these words are conflict and discomfort.  But why?   The fruit of the Lord's Words and commands are sweet.  They multiply into goodness and righteousness and all things profitable.   So where does it all go terribly wrong?  Us.   We keep shoveling our sinful pride into the roots of those words, fertilizing it and covering up the Truth of His desires with our modern day denials that those statements are no longer culturally relevant.   Except they weren't cultural statements......it was prophecy.  He was sharing with us why He didn't want us eating of the tree in the first place.

Submit.......we use this word to turn over papers and then wait to see if they will be accepted; it feels like the precursor to a fight but when Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:22 "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."  It doesn't tell us "all men" or "you have no say" but that this submission is a yielding to the man's leadership in the marriage relationship.  I think too often we get uncomfortable with this and stop looking....and miss what he tells the husbands next.  Verse 25-27 "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."   I won't dive into that too much because I have already addressed that beautiful command of love here.  But later, Peter urges the same sentiment.  In 1 Peter 3, we are again told to (v1) "...be subject to your own husband..." but after we are given instruction, he then addresses our husbands again.  Verse 7: "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayer may not be hindered."  

Hindered.  A husbands prayers can be hindered by the way he cares....or does not care for his wife.  I think that we forget this....as wives we are all too eager to point out our husbands flaws for our own prideful dance of "I can do anything better".   Yet, it is not yielding, it is not loving, it is not encouraging, it is not helping.   
"However, let each of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
Eph. 5:33

It is a battle waged since the beginning of time.  Society tells us what to think and say and do but it is always filled with such venom.   Commercials market products to women by demeaning men and making men look like ignorant fools.   TV shows depict the men to be bumblers and that the women are who really know what is going on and are the wise figures who are really in charge......but condescend to allow the men to believe they are still "wearing the pants".   

We joke easily. Men rib each other about how they know it's the women who are really in charge.  But under that I sometimes sense a primal wound.  They were created to lead and we have stolen their pants.....leaving them to stand out in public, exposed and often humiliated. 

It is a continuous battle but one I will continue to fight within myself......I will hand over the pants as often as I realize I've stolen them.  They weren't made for me, they don't fit well and the Lord did say "You shall not steal."

An excellent wife, who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trust in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
Prov. 31:10-12
Blessings to you on the journey and may the depth of His love for you be revealed more fully during this Easter season.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The ministry in the mundane....

I love what I do.  I cannot imagine what else I would do with my life if I wasn't a homemaker full time.  I highly doubt I'd be a very good employee.....my mind certainly wouldn't be on what I was supposed to be doing.

I did not always love what I do.  In the beginning I didn't understand anything deeper than the practical tasks that needed to be done.  At first it was simply the best option for a one car family and no college education.  I couldn't have made any more than daycare would have cost so, what was the point?   It didn't occur to me what my job really was...beyond the obvious cooking, cleaning, laundry and making sure kids were taken care of.  I did not cheerfully keep house, in fact I'm fairly certain that I grumbled my way through.   I was resentful if I had to turn socks right side out or take care of something that someone was certainly more than capable of doing themselves.

I had attitude.  I believed that I was above some things and that "maid was not written on my forehead"......{yes, I actually used that phrase...oy.}.....Humble.....not so much my strong suit.   I was a believer at the time, in thought but not in deed.  Ah, I think perhaps that there was some maturity lacking.....gee, ya think?   Selfless was really not something I understood but if you'd asked me at the time....I probably thought I was Oh SO selfless.

I look back and grieve how often my husband would ask for help in the areas that he knows are not his strength and I blatantly turned him down out of my own arrogance.    So many times he made one simple request....help him by putting together a lunch for him to bring to work.   In my head I only heard my voice yelling about how I had no reason to wake up early and how selfish for him to ask me to give up that sleep, he was perfectly capable of doing it himself...if he weren't so lazy....if....   Unfortunately those things didn't just stay in my head.....and they drowned out Mr's request....not just the words but the struggle behind them....he was tired, it was hard enough to get up in the morning let alone earlier so he could put a lunch together......he wanted to save the money it cost him to purchase a lunch....


Had I been in the Word at that time....I would have learned from Proverbs...

When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, 
but the one who controls his lips is wise.  ~10:19

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, 
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.   ~12:18

The one who gives an answer before he listens 
- this is foolishness and disgrace for him.  ~18:13


 Conviction.   Ouch...but the Lord started to gradually change my heart many years ago.  The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martin.   This book changed our lives.  Yes, both mine and Mr's.  My favorite sentence in the whole book is one line out of a prayer....it was the hardest line to pray and it became my favorite prayer:  "Lord, Give my husband a new wife....and let it be me."

The Lord does amazing things through prayer.   Slowly He changed my heart, softened it and made me realize how selfish I'd been.   Gradually my prayer life began to take off.   I began to realize that I didn't have to just pray to God while I was sitting with my hands neatly folded.....I could talk to Him while I folded clothes instead.  I could talk to Him while I did dishes....scrubbed toilets.....floors.....made the bed...    The fly on the wall probably thought that I'd totally lost my marbles....because I wandered around talking to God, out loud.  Oh how He softened me....He turned my mundane tasks into a ministry.   Everything was done while talking to Him.....and everything became more joyful.   I no longer resented the socks rolled in a ball I needed to undo.....{don't get me wrong, it is not my favorite....nor do I jump with glee to pick up undies from the floor}......I learned how to do my job with Joy.   It was amazing to discover what the Joy of the Lord meant.

Gradually I started to do more, I got better at my work and became a much better housekeeper.  Eventually I even worked into my morning routine.....{are you ready?}.....getting up with him to make his breakfast and pack a lunch for him while he showered and gets ready for work.   Still do.  But I do it gladly now....it may seem small and mundane but I know how much it means to him.....this is part of my life's ministry. 

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good not harm all the days of her life.  
~Prov. 31:11-12

Blessings to you, 
the Mrs.



Monday, April 4, 2011

Lemon Fresh

I do my best to keep cleaning costs to a minimum.  He works hard to earn an income to provide for us and a large part of my job is to keep the outgoing costs to a minimum.   After all, someday I hope for us both to be home and enjoying our old age together. :) 

One of the big things that I've learned about is home cleaners.  When I grew up I thought that everything must be purchased and in order for it to be really, truly clean you must use lots and lots of stinky ~make your lungs squeeze~ cleaners.   Brilliant, huh?

So when I learned that all I really needed to keep my home clean was vinegar, water, baking soda and soap...I about dropped over.   Only problem is that my handsome hubster HATES the smell of vinegar.  I don't blame him...it is not the most appetizing smell to hit you when you enter the kitchen.  So I've added essential oils or substituted rubbing alcohol or peroxide for random things.   You'd be amazed at what a little bit of liquid vegetable oil soap mixed with tea tree oil and water will do for your counters....and the smell?  Divine! 

Anyhooo....so I read somewhere....and now I honestly can't remember where (would love to give them credit)......that if you put lemon peel into vinegar it will change it to lemon scented vinegar.  No way! Yes, way.   I tried it.  I have now had strips of lemon peel (cut very shallow to avoid the white as much as possible) at the bottom of a small bottle of vinegar.

 It worked!   It actually smells like lemon instead of vinegar!  I am excited to make up some new cleaners that smell lemony fresh for spring!

My Mr has been secretly saving his pocket money.   We budget very carefully and each of us gets a certain amount of money to spend on what we want.  He had been socking some of his away and saving it to buy me something.    He waited patiently for a particular sale and when it hit, he came home with this:

It is a battery powered hand tiller for the garden!   The sale included an extra battery for free. :)  I've had some issues physically in the last few years and I don't have the hand/arm strength I used to....or should for my age.  So this will do wonders!    Mr has been great to help me in the garden when I ask {even if gardening isn't exactly the love of his life} but this will give me some independence in that area so I don't have to wait for the muscles to come and help before I can move forward on gardening projects.

He is the best!  {Love you!}

The sun is shining here and the rains at night have been washing away the snow and dirt.  I walked around the garden today, first time this year, and actually saw a few green sprouts! :)  

Blessings on your day!
the Mrs.