Archive for the ‘Women and Children’ Category

What’s in a Name? My Unborn Children

Some years after having my four wonderful children, I was listening to a radio program about healing after abortion.  I never had an abortion, but I had five, perhaps six miscarriages.  I had never thought much about my miscarriages because I understood and still do the verse in Job 21 that says,  “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”  However, on this day, one of the comments in the discussion caught my attention.  It had to do with asking God to reveal the name of the baby since he knew the baby before the foundations of the world.  I turned off the radio and began praying for the LORD to reveal the names of my miscarried babies.

Miscarriages

My first miscarriage occurred after having two healthy babies.  It was a shock, but not one that emotionally destroyed me as happens with some women.  For whatever reasons, with each of my miscarriages, I had great peace and knew I was in God’s perfect will for my life.

Mary, the ‘wished-for one,’ Bitter

My first miscarried baby’s name was Mary.  In Hebrew, Mary means ‘wished-for one’ and ‘bitter.’  I have known quite a few Mary’s in my life, but my paternal grandmother came to mind immediately.  I didn’t really have a good relationship with her so I didn’t like that He had given that name to my baby.  Why couldn’t He have named her the Hebrew equivalent of Mary – Miriam?  She at least played the tamborine after the Israelites pass through the Red Sea.  Instead, I was given a Mary.  A memorial to my grandmother who lived in ‘bitterness’ nearly her entire life because she had a child out of wedlock – my dad.  Her bitterness went deep as my dad’s father was the pastor of a Methodist church.  His wife was ill that he hired my grandmother as a nanny for his children.  My grandmother  became pregnant during this time.  It was never known if she mutually agreed or he raped her.  Whatever happened, it changed her life forever and she went on to bear more ‘unwanted’ children.   It seemed that God wanted her remembered with a name, but would not allow her ‘bitterness’ to infiltrate the next generation.

Being my first miscarriage, I was unsure of what was happening so I went to my doctor.  After she examined me she said I most likely had a blighted ovum and would probably miscarry.  I remember looking at her and saying what Job had said millennia before, “Well, God gives life and God chooses to take life.”  Her expression was one of shock.  I asked her why she looked at me that way and she explained that she tells women every day that they are going to miscarry and they get angry and  blame her.  No one had ever said what I had said.  She was blessed.  I didn’t know it then,  but a journey with numerous unborn children had begun between me and her.

Michael, Like God

Michael was my second miscarriage.  Micha’el means “Who is like God” in Hebrew.  He was an archangel, and according to Daniel chapter 10,  was the archangel who helped fight the prince of Persia so the messenger could deliver an answer to Daniel’s prayer.  This miscarriage happened quickly. I took a pregnancy test in the morning of one day and by the morning of the next, Michael was gone.

During that day, however, a friend came to visit.  She had been attending some dance classes at a Messianic congregation.  She wanted to start a little dance group at our church and asked if I would join.  She had given me the steps to a simple, traditional dance and wanted to teach them to me.  By the time she arrived at my house, I had already taught myself the steps and the dance.  So, as I miscarried Michael, we danced “As the Deer” together.  Truly, who is like God who knows exactly where we are?

Martha, My Little Lady

My third miscarriage occurred at about 16 weeks.  I had already heard a heartbeat and like my other babies, I had started a pregnancy journal.  This little one’s name was  Martha which means ‘Lady’ in Aramaic.  The most-famous Martha in Scripture was Lazarus’ sister. It was to Martha that Yeshua said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

I went to church one Sunday just before my four-month checkup. I was very excited. Our little dance group was dancing again during the worship service.  For an evangelical-type church, this dance group was nothing short of a miracle. After the service was over, we decided to dance a fast, hopping dance to words from Jeremiah 31, “As David Did”.

Later that day, I noticed some spotting and realized I was miscarrying my Little Lady.   I don’t believe it had anything to do with the dancing, but I know that the song was about being a warrior and celebrating victories.  

The next day I had my appointment with my OBGyn.  She didn’t have good news.  There was no longer a heartbeat.  I was going to miscarry this baby, too. While driving home up a dark, canyon road alone in my car, I did the only thing I knew how to do.  I began to worship through a Rich Mullins song, and with the words tears flowed for my ‘little lady’. To this day when I hear that song, I remember the pain of that evening and the peace that my praise brought.

“Oh God, You are my God and I will ever praise You; Oh God, You are my God and I will ever praise You; I will seek You in the morning  and I will learn to walk in Your ways; And step by step You’ll lead me and I will follow You all of my days.”

Rachel, The Lamb

Rachel. Little ewe lamb.  She was the beloved wife of Jacob who gave him two sons: Joseph and Benjamin.  With the birth of Benjamin, Rachel passed away.  For me, Rachel was more than a simple fourth miscarriage.  I developed a molar pregnancy.  Without going into numerous details, my doctor thought I was carrying twins because I expanded so quickly.  Instead, morning sickness not only lasted into four months into the pregnancy, it continued to get worse. I had not allowed a doppler to hear a heartbeat because there may have been a connection to the ultrasound and my miscarriages. It was discovered that I had a Hydatidform mole. In short, my body created a tumor around a failing placenta.  With all of the dying going on in my body, I became seriously ill and went immediately into surgery.  During the recovery process, the mole became malignant and cancer cells were still in my body.  I needed chemotherapy.   My three-month journey of healing through the ‘lamb’ became a testimony not only to my doctor, but to all the nurses who had to take my bi-weekly blood tests and administer the shots of chemo.  This fourth miscarriage actually changed the course of my doctor’s career.  After the birth of my third child she stopped performing abortions.

Then I had my son, Jacob. He needed a sibling so I got pregnant again.

Rebecca, the Binding

I had a fifth miscarriage.  Her name was Rebecca and in Hebrew means ‘knotted cord’ or ‘snare.’  Rebecca was the wife of Isaac who had a sense of adventure – a willingness to leave her home and family to marry a man she had never met!  This particular miscarriage happened in the early weeks like Michael, however, I found out the sad news once again at the doctor’s office.  My 6-year-old daughter was with me at the time because she wanted to hear the heartbeat of her little brother or sister.  There was nothing. Nothing.

I have considered the relevance of ‘snare’ because of its suggestion of capturing an animal.  Yet, I could not understand how that fit into having a baby.  So I decided to look up ‘snare’ in a dictionary and found one of the meanings to be a device for surgical extractions.  That’s when I understood.

All of my previous miscarriages, except for Michael, had been ‘snared’.  In other words, I allowed my doctor to do a DnC for extraction.  The first one was so terrible the for the third one I requested to be ‘out.’ The molar pregnancy was full-fledged surgery so I had all of the bells and whistles with surgery, recovery and the rest of the adventure with cancer.   Sometime during all of these miscarriages I became convicted of just allowing the miscarried baby to be born – not ‘snared’.  So with Rebecca I chose to allow her to be born.

She arrived two weeks after the doctor’s appointment with an painful labor and delivery.  My young daughter was with me again as we were preparing to host a baby shower at a friend’s house.  I had to drive one hour home through a mountainous canyon  in excruciating labor with a six-year-old coaching me through each contraction.   Sadly,  when Rebecca was ‘born’, I reacted and she was not given a proper burial even though she appeared fully formed and in her amniotic sac.

After being given all of the names of my unborn children, I noted something peculiar.  None of them began with the letter J. We had named all of our living children with J-names: Jesse, Josi, Jacob, and Jemima.   I asked the Lord, “Why are there no J-names?”  His response, “I gave you the J’s.”  At that moment I had a silly vision of five beautiful blonde-haired children all about eight years old sitting on a cloud tickling, laughing and punching each other in crazy, but imp-like ways.

As with the names of my birthed children, it seems that these also speak a testimony into my life from not being ‘bitter’, be ‘like God’, his Little Lady, who loves the ‘lamb’ and is not ‘ensnared.’ And, remember, Yeshua is the resurrection and the life and I will see my children again.

The Myrtle and the Remembered

As time has passed in my life, two more unborn children entered my heart.  As I was not a moral young woman, I decided to go on the birth control pill in college so I would not get pregnant proving my immoral behavior.   One time while playing frisbee with my future husband, I felt as though I was suddenly pregnant.  It was the weirdest feeling that I had ever experienced.  I told him that I thought I was pregnant and he commented that I couldn’t be because I was taking ‘the pill.’  I didn’t completely agree and noted a more intense period that month.

Several years later when I became pregnant with my firstborn, I had the same exact sensation.  I knew that even though I had been on the pill, I had become pregnant as the birth control pill makes the womb’s environment antagonistic for a developing baby which is why I most likely miscarried with my next cycle.

What was that baby’s name? It was only when writing this little piece that I realized that God gave me her name many years ago, but I didn’t know why because I wasn’t having more children.  Her name was Hadassah.  As a Jewish woman, she faced persecution and certain death for her heritage.   Yet, she exemplified great faith and courage and brought salvation to her people.   I believe the LORD gave this baby the name Hadassah because he knew that since I was a little girl I loved the Jewish people.  He knew before I did that I would understand my connection with Hadassah – her faith, courage, and the desire to bring salvation to the Jewish people.

There is another unborn baby who has a special place in my heart.  His name is Zechariah.  In Hebrew, Zechariah means “God has remembered” which can also mean that God has not forgotten.  I cannot share details about this little boy, but God uses everything to His glory. Even the shortness of  Zechariah’s little life has brought restoration to a rebellious, wandering and grieving soul.

Not long ago a Facebook friend nearly lost her daughter.  She was playing in a park and disappeared. After a long and frantic search, her daughter appeared.  Several nights later she had a dream about her young son who died by drowning.  She dreams about him frequently, but she is never allowed to touch him.  In her dream she she meets a young boy named Zechariah.  He is obviously friends with her son, James.  Zechariah runs to her and hugs her which her own son could not do.  Then James begins to tell his mom that when his sister was lost in the park, it was Zechariah who found her and brought her back to his mom.  My friend cried because she realized her son was not alone and blessed to have Zechariah as a friend.  When she woke up, the Lord told her to tell me about her dream and Zechariah.   She didn’t know why, but contacted me.  She never knew anything about a Zechariah in my life until that very day and telling me opened the door for her to be set free from her past pain and look forward to her future – the birth of her daughter, Menorah Grace.

©2013 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

High Calling of Motherhood

by Edith Detweiler

“I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Motherhood is a high and holy calling, but before we can press towards the mark for the prize, we need to know what the mark is, where it is, and how to get there.

God has lovingly provided the way for every one of us to get there.

Whether we attain to God’s high calling does not depend on our circumstances:  what kind of husband we have, how many children we have, how great we feel physically, what kind of personality we have, what our living conditions are, or even what kind of background we have.  God is not a respecter of persons.  However, attaining to the high calling of motherhood does depend upon the quality of our relationship with Jesus.

When we look at the ‘high calling’ of motherhood, we have to consider three areas of our lives.

1.  A vibrant relationship with Jesus.

2.  Sanctifying our motherhood.

3.  Keeping our hearts in our home.

A Vibrant Marriage Relationship With Jesus

Most women desire to have children, but motherhood doesn’t start with babies.  It begins with a relationship.  How foolish it would be to try to have a baby without an intimate, love relationship with your husband!  So it is in your spiritual life.  You desire to bring forth fruit to the glory of God, but it will never work if you are not living in the reality of a vibrant relationship with God.  Once you are real with God, you will find his grace and power flowing into your life, making you a vessel He uses daily to carry His glory into your home.

Love relationship.

You need a love relationship with God through Jesus.

You need to bask in Jesus’ love and let His love fill your heart, then respond with love and praise to Him.  He wants your love; your heart of love.  Then out of this beautiful love-relationship with Jesus, your life will overflow with love for your husband, your children, and everyone else you touch.  Natural love will not reach far enough to bring glory to God.  It must be the love of Jesus.

Trust relationship.

You need a trusting relationship with Jesus.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).

Jesus means just that – trusting – when He says, “Seek ye first.”  The reason we come up with excuses to not seek Him first is because we do not trust Him to take care of all ‘these things’.  We feel so responsible to get enough sleep and take care of the household, but God wants us to take Him at His Word and simply obey in faith.

In my own life, I can testify that the Lord cares for me in an amazing way when I rise up early to nurture my relationship with Him.  It is a delightful relationship that I never want to miss out on.  He is always faithful!  I know I can trust Him!

“Faith is the leaning of your entire personality on Christ in complete trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness.” Colossians 1:14 Amplified Bible

Strength relationship.

You need a strengthening relationship with Jesus.

“She girds herself with strength (spiritual, mental, and physicals fitness for her God-given task) and makes her arms strong and firm.”  Proverbs 31:17 (Amplified Bible)

Here you clothe yourself with divine strength.  Here you get your soul happy in the Lord.  Here the joy of the Lord becomes your strength.  You would never think of beginning a day without getting your body dressed.  It is even more foolish to begin a day without girding your soul with a divine strength for your God-given task of motherhood.

Satisfying relationship.

You need a satisfying relationship with Jesus.

“She opens her mouth with skillful and godly wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness and giving counsel and instruction.”  Proverbs 31:26 (Amplified Bible)

Here, Jesus meets the particular needs of your heart, washing, cleaning, setting you free from the burdens of sin and filling you with His marvelous peace.  Here Jesus quenches your spiritual thirst and satisfies your hungry soul.  Don’t settle for anything less than an relationship that meets every need of your heart and satisfies your soul in Christ so you are complete in Him.

A mother who is not satisfied in Christ is not able to bring the glory of God into her home. She does not have these kind of words from herself.  They must come from a daily, fresh infilling of the Word of God, the source of rivers of living water.  She needs God’s anointing upon her words as well as her life in Christ.

Sanctify Your Motherhood

“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…. That we should be to the praise of His glory who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:4,12).

To sanctify motherhood means to ‘set it apart for God’.    Your call is much higher than taking care of babies and children, cleaning, cooking and caring for your husband.  Even carnal women can do a pretty good job in these areas.  If you find yourself so wrapped up in the natural needs of your family, that you make little progress in your own spiritual growth and nurturing your family’s spiritual health, you have not sanctified motherhood.  You need to get a firm hold on what God’s purpose is for you as a mother.

Allow the eyes of your spiritual understanding to be enlightened so that you receive a clear vision of God’s higher calling and His purpose for a mother.   As you sanctify your motherhood, your devotional life should hold the highest priority for you.

Your personal quiet time with God will not just be one of the many things to get done in a day.   It will be THE ONE THING – the priority.   It will become the hub from which all the day’s fruitfulness extends.

The most important part of your labor as a mother is accomplished during your quiet time in the presence of God.  The only way to have the fruit of motherhood that will withstand the tests of life and bring glory to God is if you labor WITH God.  What you do apart from laboring with Him will amount to wood, hay, and stubble. It will burn in the fire of testing.   In order to build with precious stones, you need to  listen for His words of clear direction for your specific needs and area of service.  When you begin to have  this kind of communication with Him, you will have sanctified your motherhood and labor along-side of your Lord and Master.

God wants to make you a woman of prayer, a woman who has God’s power and understands  how to pray in the Spirit and get answers to her prayers.  Oh, it is a great part of your calling as a mother to pray for your children.   Sisters, learn to pray!

Learn the secret of fasting.  For years, I thought fasting was not for me because I was either expecting or nursing a baby.  But God showed me I was wrong.  He showed me how I fasted when I obeyed Him and sought Him through prayer and fasting.  He always came through to me in amazing workings.  My life has never been the same.  Praise God!

As you become more sanctified through prayer, His Word, and waiting on Him, you will be convinced that there is absolutely no other way possible to reach the high calling of motherhood in your life.

Keep Your Heart In Your Home

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened that ye may know the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power toward you.” (Ephesians 1: 18-19)

If you desire to reach the high calling of motherhood, you must keep your heart at home (includes staying at home) and get rid those things that keep you from the work of bringing God’s glory into your home.

Distractions.  Get rid of unnecessary distractions.    Know and accept your own limitations. Learn to say “No” to many voices that only distract you from your high calling as a mother for God’s glory.  Get rid of those things that leave you feeling disoriented.   Be slow to assume responsibility outside the home.

“She considers a new field before she buys or accepts it – expanding slowly and not courting the neglect of her present duties by assuming others.” Proverbs 31:16 (Amplified Version)

Light reading.  Don’t allow your mind to be cluttered with the “Christian” reading that lacks God’s anointing.  It will lure you away from the real issues that God is working in your life and home.

Phone chatter.  Unedifying and unnecessary talk definitely darkens the mind.

Theology. Be aware of the trap of being preoccupied with theology while passing over the glory of a beautiful relationship with Jesus in your actual daily life.  Also, do not assume the burden of the church problems that are not your responsibility.  They will weigh you down and make it impossible for you to function gracefully within your own realm.

Straying interests. You can get carried away with studying and doing interesting things, while your children helplessly look on, trying to keep up with you, or live in their own world while you live in yours. (Titus 2:5)

Other people’s problems.  Don’t get into them unless God specifically calls you to minister.  Learn to intercede for others, but flee from gossip and minding other people’s business. (1 Timothy 5:13)

Peer pressure.  Yes, peer pressure a common distraction for mothers.  You feel pressured to perform like other mothers do.  You try so hard to keep up with the way others keep house, garden, sew, can, and freeze.  God’s not trying to get you to measure up to someone else’s performance, He wants a beautiful love-relationship with you.

Remove all of these things  so that you can bring the glory of God to the next generation.  That is the high calling of motherhood.  God is seeking mothers who are zealous for His glory and who become agents for bringing His glory into their homes.  God needs you to represent His glory, His name, His purpose, and His working in your home so that the work of His Kingdom can be advanced through your home.

God purposes for you to sanctify yourself daily and live in the reality of a vibrant relationship with Him so that you can share it and pass it on to your children.  God has purposed that you should be His agent to bring your children into the realm of His blessing.  God wants to reveal His glory to your children and He has chosen to do it through YOU.

“She rises while it is yet night, and gets spiritual food for her household, and assigns her maids their tasks.” Proverbs 31:15

You wouldn’t think of not feeding your children natural food for one day.  It is even more important to provide them with spiritual food for their hungry souls.  Yes, their souls are hungry and you must supply them with fresh living bread from heaven for their nourishment.

Our children belong to the Lord.  We might understand a bit how He feels about them when we think how we feel when we entrust our child to someone else to watch over them for a time  We are very much concerned about how that child is treated in our absence.  Much more so with God as He entrusts His children into our homes for a few short years.

“She tastes and sees that her gain from work (with and for God) is good; her lamp goeth not out, but burns on continually through the night (of trouble, privations, or sorrow) warning away fear, doubt, and mistrust.”  Proverbs 31:18 (Amplified Bible)

God has so many beautiful things He yearns to do in the lives of our children and He is seeking mothers who understand His heart and will work with Him.  Oh!  How He loves each child!  How He broods over them!  How He grieves when we deprive them of seeing God’s glory through us.  We either reveal His glory or else put an awful blot upon His name by our attitudes, words, and actions throughout the hours of every day.

Are you letting the glory of God shine through you by the way you respond when things go wrong?  When the baby keeps fussing?  When the boys misbehave?  When the milk spills?  When your husband changes your plans?  When you are tired and weary?  When you are on behind in your work and the house is out of order?

God wants you to reveal His glory by speaking words of faith in every situation, speaking words of grace and love, words that overflow from a heart that is full of God’s Word and full of His love.  You reveal His glory by showing your children an excellent spirit no matter what happens.  You may never attain to perfection in all the petty details of life, but there is one area that must always be sanctified.  You must have and you can have a sanctified attitude.

Choose the High Calling

If you are not living in the reality of a vibrant relationship with the Lord as the basis of your motherhood, you need to repent.  Repent of grieving God by putting other things before your relationship with Him.  Repent of all your excuses and human reasonings for not trusting Him.   Repent of your lack of discipline and your lack of faith and lack of sanctifying your call as a mother.

Our home is a very busy place with eleven children.  I used to think it was impossible for me to get up early and have quiet time before the family was up.  I tried to pray while I worked and read snatches of God’s Word here and there.  I was surviving, but I wasn’t really growing.  I didn’t have the power of God to bring His glory into our home.  I am so glad God showed me I was wrong and that He lifted me out of the miry clay (my excuses) and now He has established my goings.

Sisters, go deep with God now.  Don’t wait for a more convenient season.  Don’t allow yourself to drift on in a shallow surface-relationship with God, grieving him daily by your refusal to be a vessel for His grace and glory in your home.   Keep your relationship with God vibrant, fresh and sanctified so that you hear and know what God is saying to you so you can stick with the high calling of motherhood.

©April 1999, The Heartbeat of the Remnant, edited by Julie Almanrode

A Crown for Your Husband

The Heartbeat of the Remnant, February 1999

by Kary Martin

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband, but she that maketh ashemed is as rottenness to his bones.”  (Proverbs 12:4).

What comes to your mind when you think of a crown?  Something hiding in the closet collecting dust?  Hardly.  We immediately picture something glorious; something very beautiful to behold.  Almost unconsciously we envision the honor, dignity, and power which a crown represents.  Try to imagine a crown of pure gold, inset with thousands of diamonds and hundreds of pearls.  Wouldn’t it be beautiful?  Now think of a woman who is ‘made of pure gold.’ Her heart is set on following Jesus.  Her motives, actions, and words are pure before God.  She has hundreds of little attributes that make her shine.  Doesn’t this sound just as beautiful?  Doesn’t it sound like an outstanding woman?  Does it sound at all like your husband’s wife?

Now what comes to mind as you consider rottenness in the bones?  My mind immediately went to my husband’s uncle who died of bone cancer.  The cancer started in his leg bones and was slowly ‘eating’ away at them.  No one could actually see it happening, but watching the symptoms, no one doubted that it was true.  One day the bones became too weak to support the rest of his body’s weight and the bones broke.  With the condition his body was in, the bones could no longer repair themselves, as a normal, healthy body does.  What a likeness for the husband-wfie relationship! I believe if we could see behind many scenes, we would see this happening over and over again.  There are many, many wives who are ‘eating away’ at their husbands and finally one day the husband is so weak that he ‘breaks.’  Thhe damage that is done is irreparable outside of Jesus Christ.

Are you a shining crown to your husband, or are you a rottenness that is slowly eating away at his very life?  The Bible doesn’t give any middle ground.  Now we are going to dig into a few of the ways that you are either honoring your husband or destroying him.

The Heart of Her Husband Doth Safely Trust in Her

We all want to be trusted, especially by those closest to us, and just now we will focus on our husbands.  Trust is at the very heart of a marriage relationship.  Our love and affections are built on how much we trust each other.  A wise person does not naively bestow his trust on just anyone.  If your husband does not trust you, don’t blame him; it is most likely your own fault.  You have, in one way or another, given him reasons to believe that you are not trustworthy.

As I was meditating on this, the Lord gave me a very profound, yet simple thought: “How much your husband trusts you is a good gauge of how submissive you are to him.”  Selah.  (Stop and think about that for a little!)  If your husband can count on you, and knows that you will subjit to him “as unto the Lord,” I guearantee that “his heart will safely trust in you.” 

Now, what is submission?  A close look at it would say that it is an attitude, not simply an action.  Submission knows what her husband’s heart is and uses it as her guide.  Submission will never try to see what she can get away with or how far she can stretch the limits.  That is not submission at all; that is rebellion!  Submission also allows her husband to make mistakes and never comes back with “Didn’t I tell you?”.  Submission at times may need to say, “I don’t understand and I think we ought to do this instead, but if you choose to go ahead anyhow, I will be cheerfully by your side helping you.”

I recently observed a woman ask her husband his opinion on something.  His opinion did not correspond with the way she was leaning, so she fussed and stewed about it until she finally made up her mind which way to do this certain thing.  The whole scene didn’t last more than 10 minutes; it was not an important issue, but it told me something about their relationship and who has the last word in their home.

Your husband knows whether or not you are submissive.  He knows how highly you value his opinions and whether nor not you will follow his heart’s wishes if it conflicts with yours.  Stop and consider for a few moments – are there certain areas that your husband cannot trust you in?  Do you give him good reason to worry about what you might do?  Is his heart at rest while you are out shopping, equipped with the checkbook and credit cards?  Does he wish you wouldn’t spend so much of his hard-earned money?  Does his heart safely trust you while he is off at work and you are home with the children?  Are you training them in the way his heart desires or does he groan to think of all the ‘catch-up’ work he’ll have to do again tonight?  Can your husband safely trust you with confidential information or is he reserved for fear that the whole town will know it by the end of the week?

There are many little areas that either build up or tear down his trust in you.  You are daily showing, in the little things, whether or not you are working to please your husband.  Thinks like the food you fix for him, the way you treat his personal items, the remakes you make to your children, if you say his name with a groan and a sigh, or the looks you give him that he never sees.

Work hard to please your husband; the results are sweet: “His heart will safely trust in you!” 

And Let the Wife See That She Reverence Her Husband

Let me repeat that verse again as the Amplified Version gives it:

“And let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband (that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, loves and admires him exceedingly).”  (Ephesians 5:33).

And also 1 Peter 3:2 “… your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer, to revere him – to honor, esteem, prize, and in the human sense, adore him, that is to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].”

Wow!  What a big order!  But what husband wouldn’t shine if he was treated that way?! To sum it all up briefly we could say, “Make your husband feel like the most worthwhile, most important person in the world!”

How do you treat something that you esteem, prize, honor, prefer, etc? Watch your children, they will show you.  If they ‘prize’ their bicycle, will they leave it lying in the middle of the driveway?  If they ‘prefer’ that piece of candy, will you find it smashed on the floor somewhere?  Just how do you take care of your husband?  Some women can do the right things, but since it was not done in a heart of love, their time and efforts were wasted.  You are constantly sending signals to him about how highly you esteem him.  If in your heart you do not highly regard your husband, he will know it and so will your children.  If you treat him as though he is a detriment to your family’s spiritual progress, you are tearing down any desire he has to make any progress at all.

Did you notice that there are no ‘if’s’ included in the above verses?  You are not supposed to wait until your husband becomes Mr. Perfect to reverence him, you are to praise, love and admire him whether he deserves it or not.  That is what God requires and expects of you.

Now let us think a bit about the opposite of reverence.  She is known in the Bible as a contentious woman.  The meaning of contentious is this: “an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes.”  Synonyms to the root word, contention, are rivalry, competition, and discord.

Howe does a woman like this effect her home?  Many men hate all the fighting and allow their wife to ‘grab the reins’ hand have her own way.  Then the wife wonders why she has a weak-kneed husband who stays aloof from the affairs of the home.  She lays the blame on him and little suspects that she herself is at the very root of the problem.

Here is what God’s Word says about a contentious woman: (from the Amplified Bible) “… The contentions of a wife are like a continual dripping [of water through a chink in the roof].” (Proverbs 19:13b).

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome and faultfinding woman.” (Proverbs 21:9).

“Whoever attempts to restrain [a contentious woman] might as well try to stop the wind – his right hand encounters oil [and she slips through his fingers].” (Proverbs 27:16).

Have you ever observed a contentious woman?  Do you know she can dress in modest clothes?  She can go to church, put on a smile and act like a wonderful person.  A peek behind this nice mask would show you quite another person.

Sit back and observe yourself for awhile.  How do you act and react to those around you – your husband in particular?  If you were another person, would you like to live with some one just like you?  (Maybe you can sympathize a bit with your husband!)  By God’s grace, the testimony of your life can be that of Proverbs 31:12 “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

She Girdeth Herself With Strength

Strength?  I thought that is a masculine trait!  Does my husband care if I’m strong or not?!  Well, maybe not in muscle power, but I’m sure he wants an emotionally and spiritually strong wife.  A weak wife, in that aspect, is a drain to any man!

Here are a few characteristics of an emotionally weak person:  First and foremost, she is a very self-centered person.  This is the root of most of her other problems.  Her life rotates around “me and my feelings”.  She is very moody, easily discouraged, and her life shows a lack of consistent joy.  When a challenge comes her way, she is full of fear and doubt, rather than take the challenge and allow it to mature her.  It is very hard for an emotionally weak person to accept criticism or advice that goes against her will without becoming personally wounded.

An emotionally weak mother is tearing down her home faster than dad can build it.  He’s trying to lead the family in ways of holiness.  He’s trying to bring the children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but mom’s tender feelings are working hard against him.  After a spanking, the child knows mom will have a pity-party with him.  If dad won’t let him have his way, he knows mom will.  (It won’t take long until he’s smart enough to ask her first!)  A weak mother tries to sweet-talk or manipulate her children into obeying, rater than applying the ‘rod of correction.’

I recently heard a story of a woman who was praying for her son who had become careless and indifferent.  Of specific concerns to his mother were his driving habits.  This praying mother began entreating God for her son to have a wreck with his car.  God arranged circumstances to answer her prayers.  One day her son was involved in a bad accident.  No one was killed, but it was enough to turn the boy’s heart towards God.

Wow!  What a strong woman!  Her goals were set on eternity.  She was not overly concerned about the monetary value of the car.  She knew it would be painful to her, seeing her son badly hurt.  Perhaps it would mean several weeks in the hospital – and that would have had a big effect on her, too.  But she managed to look past the earthly, temporal things and desired for her son to be saved at any cost!

Are you an emotionally weak person?  The next prediction is that you are also spiritually weak.  It is nearly impossible to be emotionally weak and spiritually strong.  There is a vast difference between a spiritual baby and a spiritual weakling.  A baby simply has not had time to mature yet; a weakling is refusing the maturing process.  They find it much easier to be spoon-fed than to go find their own food.  They love the attention of sitting down with the preacher and mulling over their problems.  They are continually struggling with the same basic problems, although they come with a new face on now and then.

Have you ever considered what Proverbs 31:18 could mean when it says, “her candle goeth not out by night?”  Here’s how the Amplified Version says it: “Her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].”  Doesn’t that sound like a strong woman?  Someone you can count on ‘through thick and thin.’

A weak person reminds me of the story of Peter in Matthew 14.  Yes, you have bravely gotten out of the boat and started towards Jesus.  Or in today’s terms, you may have left behind everything that was once dear to you to follow Christ’s call to “Come”.  It was a very brave, strong and courageous thing to do.  But as time goes on, somehow, just like Peter, you have taken your eyes off of Christ.  You are now focusing on the wave and turbulence around you.  You may not even realize it, but you are sinking, just as surely as Peter was.  You need to, as Peter did, get your eyes back on Jesus and cry out, “Lord, save me!”  You need to recognize this ‘weakness’ as sin.  There is a master deceiver behind all these ‘waves’ and his only inent is to get your eyes off of Jesus , for then surely one day you will become his prey.

Who Serves Who?

“But for Adam there was not an help meet found for him.” (Genesis 2:20)

After Adam realized he was not complete alone, God made Eve.  When God made the woman, he made her for the man.  She was to be a helper who was suitable and complimentary (meet) for him.  This was God’s original plan and He hasn’t altered it in the several thousand years that have elapsed since then.

Dear sister, this is your first and highest calling – to be a complimentary counterpart for your husband.  Yes, I know God also wants you to bear children and guide the house (1 Timothy 5:14), but how can you do these effectively if the very foundation is not solid?  If your husband’s personal life is not bettered because of you, one of the basic stones in the foundation of your home is missing.  Notice I said, ‘personal life’; I mean something more than washing clothes and cooking food.  I am referring to his own personal character qualities.

There are women around, and you may be one of them, who seem to have God’s idea all turned around.  They seem to think their husband is there to make life easier for them.  They treat him like he is their servant boy.  There are things which they are perfectly capable of doing themselves, but they whine and beg for their husband’s help.  He was not made to serve you – you were made for him!  ONe of the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman is that ‘she worketh willingly with her hands”.  It doesn’t say anything about whether she enjoys the job or not, or whether the job is easy or difficult, or whether she is well rested or tired. It simply says she works willingly.

There are things that we need our husband’s help with and these things can be presented to him in a sweet and submissive manner.  Pick your time and place carefully.  Unless the need is urgent, wait for a time when he is not pressured with other things (his job, church work, etc.)  and also wait for a time when he is not overly tired or hungry.  Eccl. 8:5 says, “A wise man’s mind will know both when and waht to do.” (Amplified Version).  Women, be wise!

Do you wish your husband would help out a bit more around the house?  Consider several things.  First of all, who feels like helping a whining, nagging wife?!  Of course she does it in a bit more of a grown-up way than a 4-year old does, but it is just as wearisome and disgusting.  If your husband’s wife does this, by the grace of God, make her stop it right away.  Your husband is to be the leader of the home and it is not your place to manipulate him into doing things.  If he chooses not to help you at all, you need to silently, sweetly submit to this and get along the best you can.

The second thing to consider is that your husband probably has just as much or more pressure at his job than you do around the house.  Perhaps it would open your eyes a bit if you’d spend a day with him at work.  Then you could see first hand how hard he works and how much stress he is under.  When he gets home he wants to relax and enjoy the family – not simply change bosses for a few hours.

The third thing I have for you to consider, figure out how your husband shows you love.  Just because so-and-so’s husband washes dishes for her at least once a week does not make their marriage any better or worse than yours.  There’s a good chance your husband does other things for you and you just aren’t appreciating them.  Perhaps he gives you back rubs frequently.  Maybe he puts the children to bed every night and lets you enjoy a bit of time to yourself.  There are hundreds of possibilities.  Stop wishing he’d do certain things for you and start appreciating the things he is already doing!

If you were not raised in a Christian setting, what I have written may be hard for you to digest.  The world is so geared to trying to ‘equalize’ everything; they know nothing about the joys of servanthood.  Women selfishly pursue what they think will make them the happiest.  In the process, men are being torn down and women are still lacking the satisfaction they long for.  God did not make women inferior to men, just different from them.  He wants to give them a special place of protection – under man!  We find peace, joy fulfillment and satisfaction only as we live out our God-ordained roles.  If you choose to take the world’s path, you will doubtlessly live with their results: fighting, bickering, broken marriages, wrecked homes and juvenile delinquents.

The Only Hope of Winning an Unbelieving Husband

If you are the wife of an unbeliever, 1 Peter 3 was written for you.  Read it carefully.  According to this chapter, God wants to use you to reach your husband.  Your life needs to represent the power of a living Christ.  Your husband needs to feel respect from you, he needs to see that you are sweetly submitting to him.  He needs to sense that you are teaching the children to respect and obey him.  As he observes your Godly life, this will speak volumes to him about Jesus.  There may be times you absolutely must go against your husband’s wishes, simply because you need to obey your higher authority, which  is God.  This can be done in a submissive spirit and not a rebellious, “I know-better-than-you” attitude.  Never use obeying God as a religious cover-up for things in which you just do not feel like obeying your husband.

If you have your own ideas about how to change your husband, you may as well forget them.  They won’t work; they will only make him bitter.  Only God’s methods can bring about a genuine change in him.  There are two things you can do for him.  Only two:  1.  Give him a sweet and Godly (God-like) wife.  2.  Pray and fast for him.  Here is the source of all power.  And remember this one thing: God has higher aspirations for your husband than you do.

If your husband is a believer, but a very weak one, these things are for you, too.  These are the only ways of strengthening your husband.  No amount of pleading or condemning will change him.  At best, they could bring about a reform for awhile, but unless God works the changes in his heart, they are bound to fail.

A Few Closing Thoughts

Although this article is far from being all-inclusive, I trust it has stimulated your thinking enough to examine what kind of effect you are having on your husband.  I encourage you to study the personality of the Proverbs 31 woman.  If you find you are not measuring up, do not simply determine to do better.  Don’t make out a list of things and resolve to do them.  If the mirror (the Bible) has shown that your face is dirty, determining to stay out of the mud is not good enough.  You need to start by hating the mud and then allowing yourself to get a good wash job.

This chapter, Proverbs 31, is so wonderful in that it not only sets for the ideal, but it gives us the secret of how to accomplish it!  Today’s business world hurriedly puts a patent on any good ideas os that no one else can copy them, but our gracious Heavenly Father discloses His secrets to all who search for them.  The secret lies in verse 30: “A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Why praised?  Because she has been this virtuous woman.  And how has she accomplished it?  By fearing the Lord!

On the other hand, if you are not that crown to your husband, by default you are a rottenness to his bones.  It only takes one rotten apple to eventually spoil the whole basketful.  No, it won’t happen in a day or a week, but it is a steady, sure process.  You are working against God, your husband and yourself, not to mention the effects it iwll have on your children.  The Bible states this simply as “Blaspheming the Word of God.” (Titus 2:5)

If you want to be that virtuous woman, that woman who is a crown of honor to her husband, the whole matter lies in learning to know your Lord Jesus.  Others may be able to do a fairly good job, but this virtuous woman “excellest them all”! (Proverbs 31:29).

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power at worketh in us.”  (Ephesians 3:20) May He receive all the glory forever!

The Heart of the Home

by Kary Martin

The Heartbeat of the Remnant, December 1998

Christian women readily admit that it is not God’s will for them to be the head of the home.  Does that mean that their lives have little impact on their families because they aren’t in the ‘driver’s seat’?  What is the role of a woman in her home?

I once heard a preacher give this quote and it really set me to thinking:  “There can only be one head in the home and God has already appointed who that is: the man.  In every Christian home that matter is settled.  This does not mean that the woman is of lesser value, for there is also a very important role for her to fill. That role is to be the HEART of the home.”

In the physical sense, the heart is the most essential or vital part of our bodies.  Once the heart stops working, nothing else can function either.  If the heart is functioning poorly, the rest of the body suffers.

Recently I had a first-hand experience how THAT applied to our home!  I caught the latest bugs that were going around and for several days I did nothing more than I absolutely had to.  The rest of the time was spent lying on the sofa.  What happened in our home? — I’m sure you can guess!  In a very short time everything became disorganized and in a state of chaos.  Dirty dishes piled up around the sink, clothes were not hung up or put in the hamper, toys were left scattered throughout the house, and Baby empties the contents of a drawer on the floor.  And where’s mom?  She’s lying on the sofa, feeling sicker than ever because everything is in such disorder.

That got me thinking jut how many things hinge on a mother.  There seems to be 101 things that we as mothers need to look after.  Our work is never done, we can always find something more to do!  There are meals to prepare, groceries to shop for, clothes to wash, iron and mend, clothes to buy or sew, dishes to wash, windows to clean, spider webs to sweep out of the corners, the garden needs weeded, the lawn mowed, and ho, the baby needs changed again!  There is freezing and canning and home-schooling.  It also takes time to teach our children to pick up their toys, put their own clothes away, play nicely together, and THAT list never seems to have an end!  Do you get the picture of this ‘super woman’ called Mom?!  And amid all these things we need to look after, our attitudes and our orderliness and organization (or lack of it!) are are shining through bright and clear.  It is amazing to watch how disorder in the home and negative attitudes feed each other.  When my house is in a  ‘state of disaster’, I start feeling discouraged and give in to other negative thoughts.  Because of my negative, self-centered feelings, my heart is not into my duties and responsibilities.  Then my children pick up on my attitudes and their actions are enough to drain any energy and ambition that I did have.  And so the snowball grows ….

I have visited in a home already where the mother is a very disorganized person.  She gives me the picture of a man who is drowning, but he can just manage to keep his head above water.  It looks very doubtful that he’ll ever make it to shore.  It takes all his strength just to keep his head above water, and he keeps paddling away.  this poor, disorganized woman can just barely keep up with her workload.  She is always finishing yesterday’s wearisome duties.  Today’s work is piling up.  She is so pressured from the busy-ness of the day that her interaction with the children is far from constructive.  She gets the bare necessities done, but it is doubtful that she will ever have time to make a positive influence on her church, neighbors, children, or husband.  Being in her home for an hour is exhausting.

On the other hand, I have observed homes where there is a whole row of children.  Everyone is neat and clean, the children are happy, content, and well mannered, The atmosphere of the home is relaxed, cheerful and inviting.  We have a pleasant evening visiting and leave their home feeling physically and spiritually refreshed.  To me, this speaks volumes about the lady of the house.  A lot of planning and work was done behind the scenes.  A lot of things happened which only God saw.

And now, mother, perhaps it’s time to take a look at yourself.  Study yourself in the mirror for awhile.  I have 3 precious, little mirrors at my house who are constantly reflecting who I am and what I am doing.  Are your children fighting and whining all day?  I very much doubt that their mother is singing as she goes about her work.  Are your children criticizing and finding fault with everyone and everything?  Perhaps they have heard you doing the same.  If you as a mother are moody, disrespectful, and self-centered, your children are likely to be much worse.

On the other hand, if your children are sweet, cheerful, and obedient, if your home is relaxed, peaceful and inviting, then praise God for His overwhelming grace and blessing on your life!

Dear sister, if you know in your heart that your home needs a major overhaul, or maybe you just need to ‘push the reset button,’ start in your own heart.  Don’t try to straighten out your children before they can see those godly traits portrayed in your life.  Take your ugly attitudes to Christ and allow Him to cleanse you.  Beg Him to teach you how to be a virtuous, godly, orderly woman.  Humbly open your heart to your husband; get his advice and suggestions.  Get advice from older sisters, if possible.

Once your attitudes have been cleansed and changed by Jesus’ power and blood, then set about to bring order to your house.  By God’s grace, keep your home in neatness and in order.  Create a cheerful, pleasant atmosphere.  Here are a few practical suggestions to get you started ….

1.  First of all, maybe you just plain need to get rid of some things.  The more stuff you have, the more potential there is for a cluttered house.

2.  Do your work, let the children play, let the house get all messed up, but when evening comes around, always tidy up the house before going to bed.  To me, it is a very discouraging way to start the day by waking up to a messy house.  When I have to start the day doing yesterday’s dishes, folding yesterday’s wash, and cleaning up yesterday’s messes, I feel on behind all day.  A little time spent in the evening will pay in rich dividends tomorrow morning!

3.  Write things down so you can remember them.  I have a calendar hanging by the phone where I write down doctor and dentist appointments, when the car needs to go to the garage, which day I signed up to take a meal to so-and-so, and the list goes on and on.  I would be lost if I never marked things on my calendar.  Also, keep a shopping list.  Mark things down when you need to replenish your supply of this or that.  This will have you a second or third trip to the store.  Write notes to yourself and tape them in a place where you will see and remember to do a certain thing.

4.  Teach your children to take care of their own personal items.  Even a one-year-old can put his clothes in the hamper, his nightie on the hook, and his shoes on the shelf, if only his mother takes a few minutes each day to teach him.  There is a secret at work for you here: when the oldest child has learned this well, he will help teach the younger ones.  The younger ones love to follow the examples of big brother and sister.

5.  Plan ahead, especially when you know you are facing a busy time.  When company is coming and staying several days, I plan ahead by writing out menus for the duration of their stay.  I make sure all necessary ingredients are on hand and then prepare on ahead as much of it as possible.  This gives me peace of mind and allows me to enjoy more time with my company!

These are just a few ‘starters’ for you.  I’m sure you will soon find other creative ways for an orderly home.  It would be interesting to hear what you come up with!

In closing, here are a few verses for you to meditate on:

“Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” (Proverbs 14:1).

(Speaking about the virtuous woman) “Her children shall rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:28).

God bless each of you busy mothers out there.  I know your job is not easy.  I know that most of the things you do go unnoticed and unthanked, but continue to build your home for the honor and glory of God.  “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9).