The Soul Matters {POP31 – Chp. 10}

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Today is our final chapter on Pursuit of Proverbs 31 and it is one of the most important issues dealt with in Amy’s book.

As I was driving in my car one day, I was singing the words of a familiar worship song by Jeff Deyo, “Bless the Lord“.

“And I will worship you; I will bless your name forever.I will worship you. Bless the Lord O my soul, bless the Lord.”

The words came out, but they didn’t feel real. At that moment, they felt like lip service and nothing more. I had allowed my connection with the Lord to be fleeting rather than purposeful.

So the words didn’t carry the same weight they should have, and I knew it. I couldn’t fully believe what I was singing–of my soul blessing the Lord–because my soul hadn’t even been fully tuned into Him.

It was more like God was in the background of my life and I just went about my days. Sometimes throwing a “thank you, Lord” out or a “God, I really need this” His way.

But I wasn’t stopping, going over to Him, and simply sitting at His feet. I wasn’t taking in any of His teachings, His wisdom, correction, direction. Nothing. I simply acknowledged His existence.

Even the demons do that.

If I can’t set aside time for Him, He’s not my Lord. A lord is someone who has control over others. I wasn’t giving Him any control.

Passion was lost.

If we can’t stop for soul nurture, we’re going to die soul-starved. Beyond that, God cannot be in the background of our lives and still be called our God. Oh, He’s still God of the universe; but we aren’t letting Him be God of our universe. We’re just letting Him in on the ride, but we’re the ones piloting.

Our lives might be full, but they won’t be fulfilling. We’ll constantly be reaching for something that doesn’t satisfy, and when that fails we’ll move on to the next thing.

Meanwhile, God is behind us jumping up and down, trying to get our attention. (Could you picture that?! ;) )

OK, so maybe he’s whispering. But the noise–busyness, distractions, stuff–it’s so loud, we can’t even hear Him.

If we aren’t putting God in front of everything we do, it’s pointless. He truly must be lord of our lives if we’re going to call Him Lord.

What is something that hinders you from giving God full control?

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Ministry is Who We Are

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We’re on Chapter 9 of Pursuit of Proverbs 31.

Right under the chapter title, Amy writes “We don’t go into ministry; it’s who we are.

Doesn’t that explain a lot for you right now? Trying to press down the desire to do God’s work is like trying to cut off a part of yourself (or your whole self). That’s how God designed us. We were created with the desire to serve others, and further created uniquely to meet the different needs in the body of Christ and beyond.

Enter disclaimer here –> A ministry should never take the place or override your calling of being a wife and/or mother. Rather, it should work in conjunction with your responsibilities. Being a mother in and of itself is mission work.

Some may not have the desire to do more than minister inside the home. Others have a desire so deep, it will burn through them if they don’t release it.

I’m the latter. My desire to write went deep, and when I became a mother I buried it with the belief that I can’t mother and have an “outside” hobby. When I learned of blogging and read people like Ann Voskamp, and Emily Freeman, they encouraged me to write. It’s a part of who I am; of who God made me to be. Suppressing it made it really hard for me to express my thoughts and in turn understand myself.

Writing is how I’m wired.

You may have a different gift. Maybe it’s hospitality, or music. God wants you to use that for His glory. I fully believe that. I cannot imagine Him gifting us and not using those gifts.

There’s also another side of serving.

In her book, Amy mentions meeting people right where they are and ministering to them. Who is right in front of you who may need encouragement or a meal? Who lives across the country that could use an encouraging note, you know, snail mail style? Does someone need a ride somewhere?

These may seem small or even inconvenient, but they are still the epitome of service to God. They take us out of our way and require sacrifice. If God has given you the ability to do what someone is asking, I really believe we should take that opportunity. He will NOT leave you wanting when you give. He will always provide for you. Another disclaimer –> Neglecting your family is not OK. We must discern when our family needs us first and not be leaving them in need while we help others. Use discernment and wisdom in all decisions–and pray.

For example, say a friend needs you to drive them across town and back but you can’t use the gas because you need it for the rest of the week. {Insert light bulb here}–Opportunity! This is an opportunity to bless someone in need AND to trust God with your needs.{Amy uses a similar example in her book.}

Ministry is (or should be) a large part of who we are. In addition, it is important for our children to watch us minister to others (and not just on our computers). ;)

They learn by our example. Involve them as much as you can. Take (or make) opportunities for them to minister to others. Even young children can be a blessing to others–starting with their own siblings or other family members.

Really? The needs are endless. Don’t let that discourage you, but let it awaken you to the fact that your helps is needed and does matter.

Where are you passionate about ministering?

Resources to Help You Manage Your Home

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Today’s post is an extension of our series from Pursuit of Proverbs 31. We started this off in April using videos. Amy had some wonderful, unexpected circumstances happen in the middle of our series and has thus been unavailable. In addition, many of you know I lost my father in law at the end of April, so I was absent for a couple of weeks as well.

Amy is still super busy, so with her permission, I am going to finish up the series so we don’t need to stretch it out any further. Life happens, right? You just gotta roll with it.

So, chapter 8 in Pursuit of Proverbs 31 talks about using your resources or being resourceful. Much of what Amy touches on is saving money and simplifying. So today I’m going to share some of my favorite resources with you to help you accomplish these things. Sometimes we just need a little direction to get us started. Resources are a great tool for that — as long as you actually utilize them.

Free Downloads from Money Saving Mom: <—Click link

  • Income Earning Ideas
  • Freezer Cooking Planners
  • Meal/Menu Planners
  • Household Management Forms
  • Plus more!

Crystal’s site itself a wealth of resources! Plus, don’t forget her book: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider

One Bite at a Time by Tsh Oxenreider

Simplify by Joshua Becker

31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae

List Plan It – literally hundreds of lists to put your world in order

Investing in your home is worth it in order to manage it well.

What are your favorite resources for keeping your home in order?

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Managing the Home {POP31 Chap. 7}

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I love how Amy subtitled this chapter: “I’m a homemaker but my name ain’t Susie”.

Back when I had one child, I almost felt like Susie “Homemaker”. Seriously. I thought I had it all together. Our second child put reality into perspective for me; not merely because I had two children, but my second child was born with major food allergies and asthma. It put me on a road I never expected. And although he has been healed of most of those ailments (and is now 6 years old), I now have a total of five children. Susie left a loong time ago.

In recent months I have come to learn something about myself. Maybe this is true of you as well, but you just haven’t realized it yet.

I like to keep things simple. I have always been like that, but it’s become more intentional in recent months and I have further justification for choosing this lifestyle.

I do not want to waste my life constantly reorganizing my “stuff” to make it more manageable.

I would rather spend my time creating with my children, reading to them, writing, and helping others. So I have learned to simplify everything; from toys to clothes, books and furniture, decor and nick knacks. Everything. I keep the best of everything and let the rest go. It really helps me breathe and makes managing my home easier and allows me for more time with my family, and to be quite honest, for blogging, too.

Amy leaves you with some wonderful ideas on how to help manage your home.

What is something you can work on this week to help better manage your home?

 

For a full list of books, click the banner. Honestly folks, this is a deal you don’t want to pass up. This is a ONE TIME offer and it runs this week only. I own about 8 books on this list and they are all awesome.

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Mothering {Chapter 6 POP31}

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This blog is centered around raising our children in the Lord. We have a mission field right in our own homes. Children being born into a Christian family doesn’t secure their salvation. Perfect parenting doesn’t secure their salvation either.

Only Jesus secures their salvation. Our responsibility is to lead them to the cross; lead them to the throne of grace. We can’t change their hearts and we can’t whip them into shape. But we can guide them and love them until there’s nothing left and rely on Jesus to keep loving them.

What we can do is love them so deeply it drives them to Jesus; not constantly bash them for making mistakes or being childish, because they will mature as we continue to guide. Guiding them means being intentional about what we’re doing and teaching every.single.day. Not just once in a while pulling out the Bible because we feel guilty we haven’t in a month. That’s a harsh reality to be faced with, but friends, what are we compromising when we don’t make Him a priority right in front of our children?

My goal isn’t to take the soapbox today, however. Amy has some things to share with you so I’ll give her the floor. ;)

The winner of Grace for the Good Girl is commenter #4, Alison. Congrat’s Alison!

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A Blissful Marriage Doesn’t Just Happen {POP31 Chapter 5}

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This was one of my favorite chapters in Amy’s book. I love how she opens the chapter with Mark 10:9 and offers an insight I had never considered before.

Many people get married believing their wedding day is a “sealer” or guarantee of some sort that everything will  be great. The truth is, when you have two sinners living under one roof, this is simply not the case. Disagreements and hard times will come.

Many things need to be considered and we should always be proactive in our marriage. Last week I wrote about a few things that I have found vital for the health of my own marriage.

There is something even more vital that comes before all of that can even happen.

Your love for God.

Excellent thoughts here Amy. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us.

I love all the feedback in the comments from last week and I have read every single one of them. It takes courage to recognize areas we fall short in and I commend you ladies for that.

This week I want to challenge you to seek God and pray that He would mold your heart to be receptive to Him. Pull out a journal and write down your prayers if it will help you focus. Do not neglect your time with God because it ultimately effects everything else, including your marriage. God must, must, must be the center of everything.

This week’s giveaway is for the book:

Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman

Today, let’s discuss what is hindering us from being diligent to seek out time with God daily. This time is crucial for us to grow in our walk with the Lord and also in our marriages. The two are intertwined. Our marriage cannot grow if our relationship with God lacks, is strained, or isn’t regularly nurtured.

In order for your entry to count for the giveaway, you must add meaningful discussion in the comments.

Last weeks eBook winners are:

Motherhicks and Vickie

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Be His Wife {Chapter 4}

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Welcome to week 4 of our Pursuit of Proverbs 31 study. In an attempt to rally some of you back in to the study, we’re going to be offering a giveaway at the bottom of this post, so stay tuned!

I know sometimes when we get behind on a study we can feel like we’ve failed and just give up attempting to get back on board. Don’t do this! It’s better to jump in where we are at then to just give up the whole study altogether. You can always go back to those chapters, and visit the series here to watch the videos at any time. Let’s just keep moving forward and not worry about what we left behind. Nothing’s perfect, right? Let’s make the most of it!

Today we’re touching on being a wife and help meet to our husbands. Amy makes some excellent points in this section, so if you don’t own a copy, get it here!

Here are some of my thoughts and experience.

Your relationship with your husband should be first priority under your relationship with God.

Having a good foundation in your marriage sets a good foundation for your children. Having a good foundation with God sets a good foundation for your marriage {which perhaps I could have mentioned first}.

Children need to see their mama respect, support, and love their daddy unconditionally. Not only when you think he deserves it or only after you get your needs met, but simply because you want to show love to him. Which I know can be so hard when it’s not a lifestyle you grew into in the beginning of your marriage. But nothing is hopeless and I have heard of countless marriages transformed just by having transformed thinking.

We must remember the design for marriage God has given us — He’s given it to us for our good.

Here are some key elements that I have found imperative for the health of my marriage:

Communication & Prayer

When my husband and I don’t communicate well, it can lead to major frustrations and a sense of insignificance. However, getting to know my husband has helped me understand how he works, and as a result of this, I know he doesn’t do things to intentionally make me angry.

For example, when he’s running late (really late) from work and doesn’t call to let me know, and I try calling him and get no answer. I used to get so irritated at this because I would worry! Often, he doesn’t even realize the time because he is so deep in his work, trying to get it finished so he can come home. Since I have come to understand this, it’s easier to set my mind at ease. That doesn’t mean we’ll always understand everything our husband does, but we can still show understanding and grace.

I also pray for my husband, in general and specifically. Two weeks ago he hurt his back at work and was on work restrictions because he couldn’t lift or bend much. I specifically prayed and I asked my Good Morning Girls group to pray as well. He is almost 100% better now, doing his full work load again. Our husbands need our prayers! But please, mind your prayers. Certainly it’s important that our husband’s grow in the Lord, but don’t allow your prayer life to become a list of complaints against all the things your husband isn’t doing right. And certainly don’t ask your girlfriends to pray for all his “wrongs”. That would shame your husband. Yea, don’t do that.

Love & Respect

These are probably the two most important factors in marriage. Husbands are to love their wives, and wives are to respect their husbands. Obviously, we also should love our husbands and they should respect us. But isn’t it powerful how God knew what a man and a woman would need? Women need to feel loved and men need to know they are respected–especially by their wife.

I never had an all out desire to purposefully disrespect or dishonor my husband. Rather, there are little things that I had to learn that were disrespectful to him–and I’m still learning. For example, a big pet peeve of his is when I correct his disciplinary action of the children, in front of the children.

It used to be a really bad habit that was hard to break. Sometimes I just  felt the need to come to their defense if he didn’t know the whole story or if I thought the discipline didn’t fit the “crime”. However, that doesn’t justify my disrespectful behavior in front of the children. This is where communication is SO vital. My husband was wise in telling me this bothered him, rather then letting it stew and me never knowing about it.

Forgiveness & Unity

These are also very important elements in our marriage. When my husband and I get into a nasty fight, which are really rare, but they do happen. It hurts. I have a mix of anger and pain. Because although I might be angry with him, I am also hurting from being in disunity from him. We are a team. So when there is a disconnect, I feel that divide. These are the times when I really pray. I pray for God to work in both our hearts.

Regardless of who’s right or wrong, I apologize. Because if my husband is angry or hurt or upset, it means that my actions have caused those feelings. I’m not the one feeling them, so I cannot say what he should or shouldn’t feel based on my actions. The simple fact is, my actions wronged him in some way. So I apologize. Unity with my husband is much more important than who was right or who was wrong.

Ladies, we want to challenge you this week. What can you do to make your husband feel respected by you? Is there a specific area you fall short in? Do you struggle overall? Choose one thing, pray for God’s direction, and work toward it this week.

 Giveaway

We’re keeping this simple. Whoever adds meaningful comment discussion will automatically be entered for one featured eBook of winners choice. There will be two ladies chosen.

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The Center of it All {POP31~Chapter 3}

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Welcome to week 3 of the Pursuit of Proverbs 31 study. I do hope you have had a chance to watch Amy’s previous videos and shift some thinking in these last couple of weeks. If not, that’s OK! Sometimes it takes time to change mindsets we’ve lived for so long. Just keep renewing your mind with God’s truth. Replace the false ideas with the reality of God’s word.

Click here if you’re viewing in email or through a reader and can’t see this video.

I just want to echo Amy — your relationship with Christ should be the center of everything. He needs to be in every aspect of our lives. I once heard someone say that some people “over spiritualize everything” in response to learning of someone praying whether or not to homeschool. Honestly, unless we’re talking fruit loop faith where we try to over think things or over analyze them into being something they’re not. That’s not what I mean.

What I mean is simply including God, inviting Him in, to everything and every decision. There is certainly no way to “over spiritualize” your life with “too much God”. It’s just not possible. The more we seek Him, the more we want to know Him.

The Series

Week 1 - The Myths {of the Proverbs 31 Woman}

Week 2 – Will the Real YOU Please Stand UP {Chapter 2}

 

Amy blogs at Cajun Joie de Vivre

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Will the Real YOU Please Stand Up – Chapter 2

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Helloooo ladies! Welcome to week 2 of the Pursuit of Proverbs 31 study! What a blessing you all were sharing your heart in the comments last week! Today we’re looking at Chapter 2: The Real Woman of Proverbs 31

Amy’s thoughts for us this week are just AWESOME and I want to make sure you  have a chance to hear what she has to say today, so find yourself a quite corner for about 15 minutes and hear her heart…

Click here to see video if you’re reading in email or a reader

I love the reminder that what comes from our mouths (and actions) comes from the overflow of our hearts (see Luke 6:45). Our hearts must be in Him–first, before anything else.

If you haven’t done the digging into the verses Amy laid out in her book yet, I want to encourage you to make the time to do that today. It is so important we get into His word and see what He has for us. And this relieves you of one excuse — you now know what to read. ;)

My pastor said last week that the best way to interpret Scripture is with Scripture. Find similar passages and read them in context. Look up root keywords and see what is similar or different in their meaning. Friends, this is such a rich and rewarding way to study God’s word. God promises it will not return void. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Amy gives you some wonderful tools in this chapter to help you study the Bible without feeling totally overwhelmed.

If you have done some studying already, share some insights with us in the comments! We love to hear your thoughts.

In fact, we love hearing your thoughts so much that anyone who offers to share them by adding to the conversation in a rich way will be entered to win 1 of two $5 Amazon gift cards.

Here are some ideas to get the conversation going:

What do you struggle with most when it comes to studying God’s word?

What did you learn this week by using Amy’s tips to study the passages she chose?

What confuses you about the passages?

 

The Series

Week 1 - The Myths {of the Proverbs 31 Woman}

Amy blogs at Cajun Joie de Vivre

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The Myths {of the Proverbs 31 Woman} – Chapter 1

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Welcome to the first day of digging into Pursuit of Proverbs 31!! I am SO happy to see so many women who want to go deeper with God and serve their husbands in a fresh way!

If you’re new here or have NO idea what Pursuit of Proverbs 31 is, go here for a synopsis. We invite you to join us!

If you have not bought the eBook yet, you can still purchase it and begin with us today.

If you plan to join us, it really is necessary to own the eBook in order to get the most out of this study. It’s only $4.99 and it is filled with wonderful truths and Bible study tools specifically for this study that you don’t want to miss.

Amy is going to share some thoughts here and then I’ll add a few more thoughts of my own under the video…so without further ado…

{if you’re reading in a reader or through email, click here to view the video}

Over the years, I have read many books and blogs on being an excellent wife and mother. Many of them had the same running theme: sacrifice, service, selflessness. This is no surprise, as everyone who calls herself a disciple of Christ is expected to be these things.

But I began to recognize some slight twists in some of the teachings. One book even said that we should “worship” our husbands – and it was a Christian book! What’s worse is I *almost* believed it. We must be so careful the material we take in. We must test it and try it against scripture. We know that God’s word says to have no other gods before Him. Worshiping a husband is a direct violation of that. Yet the author justified it by saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, “As long as you don’t put your husband ‘above God’, but keep him on the same level with God…”. Um, no! No one should have the place in our lives that God has.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

The word “hate” here means, “to love less”, according to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary. In other words, our love for God should be so great, that it makes love for anyone else pale in comparison. So what that author was teaching was clearly not supported by Scripture. We must test everything.

Amy makes an excellent point and caution that when we work and strive and pursue this Proverbs 31 woman so intensely, we have made her an idol in our lives. We have made this image something we spend all our time and energy chasing after, believing that if we can grab a hold of it, God will be pleased with us.

Wrong.

God is already pleased with you. Not because you’re perfect, but because you’re His. And He would much rather have you spend that kind of time seeking hard after Him.

Is it wrong to do good? No! But it is bondage when we set standards on ourselves we could never possibly reach.

Read over the myths in Amy’s book again and pray that God would release any (or all!) of them that have been holding you in bondage.

Discussion: Which myth has griped you the most and why do you think that is?

 

The Series:

Week 2: Will the Real YOU Please Stand Up – Chapter 2

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