What Does Being More Like the Proverbs 31 Woman Really Mean?

Tracie Miles at Proverbs 31 Ministries has a little different point of view that is interesting.  Go here to see what I mean... than come back let me know what you think:)

Another Chance with CSN!

You guys know I enjoy working with CSN.  I mean seriously, I cannot think of anything you may want that they wouldn't have.  With over 200 stores to choose from, you can find everything from a matching bar stool to new mattress, and anything in between.  I have always had GREAT experiences with their stores.  Can't wait to see what I get to review this time!


"I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor."
2 Samuel 6:22

I am one of those.  You know, the ones that get the weird looks in Church because they are waving their hands, or jumping around, or whatever, during worship?  Really I'm not, but I wish I was.  I am not like that in Church.  I mean, I have been known to raise my hands, or lift my head and close my eyes.  Things that would have created quite a stir in my little 40 member congregation in my home church where I grew up.  Things I never knew were OKAY, let alone desired by God in the right context.  When I did see it at other Churches, boy was it WEIRD!  (Please know I am talking about God prompted worship, not putting on a show for the benefit of others or yourself.)  But that is not the point of today's post.  Public worship is for another time.  I love public worship, but today, I want to talk about private worship, between you and God, and what your family sees of it.

In my alone times with God, I have been know to lay face down on the floor and sing, weep, whatever.  I have been know to dance, raise my hands, sing, or weep, or both!  I have cried out, and I have simply sat and listened.  When it is just me and my Father, I praise Him however He leads me in the moment.  I truly believe this is how it should be.  He speaks to me during these times.  Sometimes I speak back audibly, sometimes in my mind, and sometimes not at all.  Although, since it is impossible to not have a single thought, and He hears all thoughts, I suppose I am always speaking back really.

But say you hear the pitter patter of little feet coming down the hall, or hear the door to the bathroom signaling your spouse is awake.  How do you react?  Typically, in the past, I have jumped up.  I'll grab my Bible and devotional book, pen, and notebook, and assume "the position" in the recliner.  There, I am a dignified lady doing a dignified quiet time.  Now, don't get me wrong.  There is NOTHING wrong with sitting in the recliner for quiet time. I do not spend every minute of every quiet time dancing or rolling on the floor.  There is a time and place for each, which should be determined by God at His prompting,  not man.

Why do I jump up?  I've been thinking about his lately.  I've noticed in my son's bedtime prayers he is using some of the same phrasing he hears me use when we pray on the way to school.  Things like "protect our minds from the evil one" and "protect us from all illness and injury."  My five year old did not come up with that on his own, and he may not even understand what he is praying.  But what struck me is that his early relationship with the Lord is being modeled after my own.  Hmmmm.... so what kind of relationship do I pray for him to have with the Lord?  It took me a LONG time to get to the point where I was comfortable with God led worship.  Where I could get over my pride and lay face down before my God and not feel silly, but connected.  I want my children to come to that place sooner.  I am not sure you can teach it, but a good start might be not jumping up.  Let them see you, let them giggle and ask questions.  Then tell them.  Tell them you were on your face because you were bowing at God's throne.  Tell them you were dancing because you were soooooooo excited about God.  Tell them you were crying because you broke God's heart, and you were telling Him how sorry you were.  Even if they do not understand it, it will begin to build a foundation.  A foundation for their own budding relationship with the Lord, our God and Savior.  Hopefully, when they start to hear His promptings in worship, they will be more quick to obey and act, and not be ashamed! :)

Her Arms Are Strong for Her Tasks

"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."  Proverbs 31:17

I will not lie.  I do NOT excercise.  I do not get up early and do a DVD.  I don't walk on our treadmill, but my husband does:)  I do not leave the house early and walk.  Occassionally I take my kids for a walk around the neighborhood, but not consistently.

Several years ago I read the verse above and was very, very convicted about my lack of excercise.  Until  I really thought about what it says.  "Her arms are strong FOR HER TASKS."  Our phenomenal lady was in shape, but it doesn't appear that she spent significant time working on this.  Of course, we aren't told one way or the other, so she very well may have, but in light of what we are told, it doesn't look like it.  She was simply strong because of the work she did everyday.  Please, please do not think that I am say to not excercise.  If you have the time to do that, then by all means, enjoy.  I would love too, and in another season of life I very well may.  It is not for this season, however. 

So what does this look like in our daily lives?  Consider the following daily choices that could add up to big changes over time.
  • Park as far away as reasonable and possible.  (Crazy, I know, but I promise it works!)  Choose the space that is the fartherist away at work, the market, wherever.  If you have to carry a toddler, you are burning even more calories!
  • Take the stairs!  Skip the elevator, unless it's a hundred flights or something.  If it is too far, consider taking the stairs to another floor and getting on the elevator there.
  • Work one handed whenever you can.  Carry a small child in the other and you will burn extra calories.
  • Get active.  If your are playing with your kids, play chase, wrestle, whatever. 
  • Remember that vaccuming, dusting, and other household duties burn calories!
  • Make multiple trips.  Sure, it is more effecient to print everything at once and go get it all at once, but if you have the time, and you share a printer that is away from your desk, print things in batches and make more trips. This works for putting away laundry, groceries, etc. as well! Every little bit counts:)
So, if you are like me and have trouble fitting in "formal" excercise, consider looking for ways to become strong from your everyday tasks:)

Blessings and have a great weekend!

A Practical Tip for Me Time

I have to be honest, I did not come up with this tip on my own.  It is, however, a great tip!  I know it came from Lysa Terkeurst, and I THINK it was from her book "The Bathtub is Overflowing But I Feel Drained."  (Recently updated and re-released under the name "Am I Messing Up My Kids.")  You should read all of her books however, she is an awesome lady with an awesome testimony and desire to show women how to REALLY live for Christ. 

The two main issues I have seen come up with the "me time" discussions are time and money.  So, here is tip that can help take advantage of what precious little time you have for yourself with very little or as much money as you want to put into it.  It is called a "me time box."  It can be a shoe box, a tote, whatever.  It might include your current devo book and Bible, or an extra Bible if your regular one is too large.  It might have a favorite magazine that can be changed out as needed, or a novel your are currently working on.  I haven't made mine yet, but I think I will soon, and here is what I have planned for it:

1. A small copy of the Bible
2. A devotional book with a selection of short devotionals
2. Whatever magazine I currently have that I haven't finished
3. A small bag of almond M&Ms
5. A cute, small note book
6. A fun ink pen
7. A yummy scented hand lotion
8. A trial size pack of flavored coffee
9. A small timer

Do you see the beauty of this?  I think I will use a bag I got at a recent health fair until I want to let go of the money to spend on something new... you could keep it in your car in case you have a few minutes waiting to pick up kiddos or something.  A lot of the stuff I included I get often from signing up for freebies online.  For example, I recently signed up for a zebra ink pen and some intensive hand lotion that should be arriving soon.  Those are NO COST items that I do not have to feel guilty about.  The M&Ms might be $1.  The coffee is $1.50, $.75 on sale... it will make 2-4 cup pots, so I will get a couple of uses out of 1 pack.  I have a couple of magazine subscriptions using Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks, so that is free also:)  Now for the time issue.. what good is this if you don't get time to use it.  That is the best part.  This set up allows you to make the most of short spurts of "dead time" so you can pamper yourself, in small ways, during these rare moments.  Say I pull up to work after lunch with 5 minutes before I have to be back at my desk.  Out comes my magazine and a handful of M&Ms:)  Or, say I am especially drained and just HAVE to have a minute to myself.  After I put the kids to bed, I brew a cup of my coffee while I put some clothes in the washer, I then proceed to pour my coffee, ignoring the clothes that need to be folded, take out my Bible, notebook, pen, and another handful of M&Ms and set my timer for 10 minutes (or however long fits for you).  I pray, journal, study, meditate, and enjoy my coffee until the timer goes off and then I go fold the clothes:)

There, you have a practical way to make the most of whatever "you" time you might be able to scratch up, that can be virtually guilt free.  I know, I know, it's not much, but hey, I will take what I can get!  Be creative with what you might put in your box/ bag... leave a comment and let us know.... I think it would be so fun to see what we all might use to make the most of our "me" time and get some ideas from each other.

One last thing, let's say a prayer over our boxes as we prepare them.  Let's pray that God helps us to recognize the moments He might give us to use it, and that he will bless those moments so that we come out of them being better mother, wives, emplyees, and more than any of that, better daughters of Christ.  Let's pray that we come out of those moments knowing Him better and loving Him more.

How far do you go, either way?

I have been mulling over the question I posed a couple of days ago about what, exactly, a woman should do for herself.  If you missed it, you can read that post here.  I know when you blog about something you are supposed to be the one with the "advice", but I am reaching out here.  I am really confused about this subject... am I the only one?  I am hoping someone out there has a logical, practical solution to this. 

Normally I would read something about "me" time, or spending money on yourself, or something similar and just dismiss it as insane and impractical.  I mean, honestly, how do you buy yourself anything, even a facial moisturizer, when you child could have a new outfit with that, or might need new shoes next month, or that $10 or whatever could go in savings for a family vacation, or even an emergency fund.    How do you take a bubble bath when there is laundry that needs to be done, dishes in the sink, and food on the floor, and you JUST got both kids down for the night. How do I, in good conscience, sit here and type this post while all of that needs to be done?  Even if it is late, how do you go to sleep then knowing all of that needs to be done.  Now, granted, I work outside of the home, and that is a different issue all together, not for this post.  Right, wrong, or indifferent, that is the situation I am in and I can't believe I am the only one.  Just because I work doesn't mean I have extra money.  I work to pay the bills, and I know many of you do to.  My children are little and demand a lot of attention, especially after a day at daycare.  I know too many women who have way more, and much younger children than I do and do much better at housekeeping that I do to believe I am the only one who thinks "me" time is just plain crazy.  You really can't do it all, and if something has to go, what mother isn't going to throw things for herself out the window first. 

And don't even get me started on more sleep.  The same books that tell you to take better care of yourself, get plenty of sleep, blah, blah, blah... tell you to get up early or stay up late for quiet time ( not knocking it, I totally agree), they point out verses about the Proverbs 31 Woman that say she got up early and stayed up late, and they reinforce that your home should be put together AND you should look good for your husband:)   Ever try looking good on little sleep?  Doesn't last long...

Here is the part about the post that I linked too (here), that got to me.  The part where she says that how we treat ourselves is how our daughters will treat themselves, and how our sons will think women should treat themselves.  Ouch!  I want my daughter to take care of herself.  I want my son to let his wife take care of herself.  Hmmm... you see my dilemma and confusion?   I know the part about daughters and mothers is true.  My mother sacrificed and rarely spent a penny on anything that wasn't necessary for herself.  Fast forward to now, and she is constantly telling me I HAVE to let go of some money and buy some good moisturizer for my face (which she does now but didn't when she had children at home.)  She tells me I will be sorry if I don't... my argument?  But mom, you didn't do it when you had small kids at home.  You see, I know what that means.  (Oh, and can you tell I have facial moisturizer issues? lol!) 

So, what I am hoping for here is that someone out there in bloggy land will come across this and will have some practical advice for HOW to do this.  In light of the post linked above dealing with looks and buying clothes, make-up, etc., as well as time and sleep.  How are you supposed to both get the things done that must get done and make time for yourself?  Honestly, how? 

I do NOT want anyone to think I am saying these things shouldn't be done, they all should, I am just looking for someone that might have some advice on how.... and hoping and praying I'm not the ONLY one that doesn't get it!

What exactly should we do for ourselves?

I can honestly see each of us struggling with guilt over spending money or time on ourselves.  I am still struggling with this, and I still have some questions after reading the post I am linking too, but I think it is an excellent start... check out Shari Braendel's post today, here.  If you have some time, and you aren't familiar with her, stick around her blog awhile... she is one of the Proverbs 31 Ministries gals and it is an awesome blog:)  I would LOVE it if  you would come back here and comment on what you think about this whole issue, or check out the new More Than Rubies facebook page and comment there, or better yet, both!

Facebook Page

I finally created a facebook page for More than Rubies...check it out;)  Maybe we can get some good discussions going!

Why Do You Do It?

Why do you do the things you do? Why do you strive to keep a peaceful, clean home with towels in the linen closet and clean clothes folded and put away? Why do you light candles, bake goodies, and try to have a yummy, nutritious meal on the table? I'll tell you, I do these things to serve and honor God. I learned a long time ago that one way to do this is by serving and honoring others. I do it because it is part of my God given role in the home. I do it because I strive to be like the Proverbs 31 Woman, who did these things and more.

I have taken to heart Proverbs 31:11 which says "Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” This is SO NOT the case at my house. My husband cannot possibly have full confidence in me as I am an absolute airhead that is clumsy to boot. He also lacks LOTS of value when it comes to having me as a wife, lol! However, this verse encourages me to keep trying. I make lists on top of lists and become more mindful of what I need to do when time allows, etc. I WANT to be this wife.

Here is where I messed up. How do you measure this? Well, I began measuring by my husband's actions and reactions. If he was displeased, I was convinced I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing. If he assumed I would forget something, I began to quietly tell myself that why shouldn't he? I have never done anything right before... ever been there? Am I the only one? When my husband is happy with me, all is good, when he isn't, I sink to the depths. Even to the point that even when he didn't mean it personally, I took it personally. How else am I supposed to take it? Here is the point I had gotten to...

“I have done my best but I just cannot do everything that needs to be in the house today. I'll put the dishes in the dishwasher so there isn't food left out to attract bugs. The baby needs some extra attention, and supper HAS to be cooked. I have honestly done my absolute best, so now it is time for bed, and I want to spend some time with my husband (an important part of being a good wife that cannot be ignored!). I will get the towels out of the dryer and put them on the couch to be folded tomorrow night, and start another load before bed.”

Fast forward to the next morning, and say that morning my husband gets frustrated that there are no towels in the cabinet, and he has to go get them off the couch. I am devastated. He is unhappy; I have not been the helpmate I was meant to be. I have failed God. Seriously, that was my logic. I might just cry or be silently upset, or I might start screaming about doing my best… which invokes first confusion, then anger on my poor husband’s part. I based my success in what God has for me to do on my husband's, a human, reaction. Therein lies the fallacy. We CANNOT base our Christian walk on human nature. My husband is a great, Godly man and I love him dearly, but he is human. Generally he is very understanding, helpful, and supportive, but he is human.

God showed me that in these situations, when they arise, I should asses whether I really and truly did the best I could, and if so, then I am good with God. He knows all I did, He knows what kept me from doing what wasn’t done, and He knows where my heart was during it all. If, however, I asses, bring the situation before God, and realize I did not do all I could do, like maybe I spent too much time online, or went to bed a little earlier than I needed to, then I should apologize to anyone who was put out because of it and do better next time. Move on... after all, mom's and wives are only human also....and we cannot do it all