Intentional Mothering

Our Big Homeschool Achievement {I’m Doing a Happy Mama Dance!}

By on June 21, 2017

This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure here.

As you all know, we’re doing homeschool preschool with our two kidlets. It’s going so well. I really should do an update, but that can wait. I just have some super exciting, I’m-so-proud news to share with you!

We just finished our first chapter book read-aloud!

*Insert happy music and celebrations*

I know, I know. It’s not like a super, massive, crazy, big thing that we’ve done. But still, this is such a big moment for my four-year-old, Josiah – and for me!

Last week when we went to the library, as I was browsing through the picture books, Josiah came up to me with a copy of The Iron Man by Ted Hughes in his hand. He had seen some of the movie, The Iron Giant, and was so excited to see this book. He asked if we could take it home. I didn’t think we would get round to reading it, but I said, “Sure, let’s take it home”.

Well, little did I know!

After lunch that very day, I sat down with the both of them and started to read. Rosalie {who is almost three} wandered away pretty quickly. But our smart little man?

He was enraptured.

Infact, after the first chapter {which took me about ten minutes to read}, he asked for another chapter. So we read another!

It is not a very long chapter book – only five chapters – but is still over 120 pages long. Each sitting was, like I said, about ten minutes. After that first sitting, the other three times we read a chapter, we did so after his sister had gone to bed and we did it in Mummy and Daddy’s bed.

It was very exciting and I absolutely loved having that cuddly time with my growing boy.

The story was interesting, gripping, a little sad, a little scary, and with a great big contest at the end between the Iron Man and a space dragon. All those things appealed to my little boy who loves anything to do with heroes, knights, Star Wars, and being brave.

Being a very active, busy boy I was so surprised how still he sat. And even when there were moments of fidgeting, I knew he was still listening because his eyes had that faraway, concentrating look in them.

When we began the last chapter, he turned to me, his eyes bright and a big smile on his face, “This is it! The last one!” 

And you know what? He was just as proud of himself as his Mummy and Daddy were of him. He knew it was an achievement reading a “big boy” book. And we talked about how he could see the pictures in his mind. He loved that.

Another book I finished with both kids this week was The Babar Collection by Jean de Brunhoff. Both kids love the Babar books {and the TV series}, but especially Rosalie. She calls all elephants Babar now 🙂

There are five stories in this collection, each story read at a sitting of around 15 minutes. We read them at each bedtime reading this week.

Babar is a wonderful series of books which have been around for a long time {my brother loved them in the early ’90’s}. There are adventures, accidents, loss, family, friendship – all centred around Babar, the King of the Elephants, with his wife, Queen Celeste.

{As a sidenote, if you read the first Babar book with your children, just be prepared that it starts with Babar as a little baby elephant and his mother is shot by a hunter. He then runs away to a city where he meets the Old Lady and becomes a “civilised” elephant. The scene of his mother’s death is very quick, but she does die. In the show, it is quite a scary scene for young viewers. Both my kids were sad and fascinated, but it didn’t upset them in a way I would stop reading the story.}

So there you have it, our big homeschooling achievement! We’re still in the early days, but reading is one of the best things I can give my children in their education of life. Getting into a chapter book is the beginning of a wonderful journey for my son!

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Book Review: Home Sweet Homeschool by Sue Maakstad

By on May 5, 2017

This post contains affiliate links.

Ever since we decided to educate our children at home I have been reading and reading almost anything that I can get my hands on {see this post on some other home education books}. Now our eldest is four and heading towards the “officially homeschooling” mark {though, really, we’ve been homeschooling since his birth – but that’s a different post altogether 😉 }, I’m diving into as many as I can.

Here’s the latest.

I randomly {or, I thought it was random!} came across this on a second-hand online shop and bought it on the spot. I had never heard of it in all my homeschooling rabbit trails, nor the author, but it was being sold here in NZ {rare}, so I thought, “Why not?”

I’m so glad I did!

Written by a homeschooling veteran when such a thing was, as Sue Maakstad says, “in the Dark Ages”, she raised and taught eight children right through even though she never even finished high school herself. How did they get into homeschooling when a) no-one else was doing it, and b) she was “uneducated” herself?

“God’s so smart. He knows that if he told us this kind of stuff up front, we’d certainly opt out early. But he also knows that if we just stick with him and do what he sets before us because we know it’s a rough job but somebody’s gotta do it – and because we know he’s able even if we aren’t – he’ll always pull off great things in spite of us.” p.21

Sue is humble, wise, straight-forward, and very funny. She has a way with words and creating the chaotic scenes of homeschooling days with a tonne of kids. I loved it how much she made me smile, and not just challenged and encouraged.

“I pile the kids in the van and the dog [whose had an accident] in the car. Now I notice the puddle of soft vulcanized rubber under the wheel rim. The tire passed away last night and has awaited me with expectant glee ever since. The lug nuts haven’t been budged since the Revolutionary War. This provides relevant material for history class. I empty two cans of Liquid Wrench over them while the kids call our tearful reminders that Fido may expire any second…

Days like these make me wonder if I can muster enough collective brain cells and achieve sufficient level of peace amid the pandemonium to conduct some sort of teaching, let alone impart pedagogical wisdom.” p.30

She is very realistic about homeschooling. She doesn’t paint it all rainbows and butterflies. She’s clear that it is hard, that you’ll want to quit, but that you can’t. And that is what I love about this book: it is full to the brim with inspiration and thought-provoking wisdom to keep your feet one step ahead of the other on the homeschooling journey. For a newbie, it’s refreshing and encouraging.

Though I have read many arguments for homeschooling, particularly biblical ones, I found Sue’s to be the most theologically-balanced ones. Obviously, Sue is very pro-homeschooling and believes that Christian parents should educate their own children, but she isn’t condemning or judgemental towards those who do not. I don’t think {though I can’t confirm} she believes homeschooling is a biblical mandate, like other author’s such as R C Sproul Jr. I found this great and added to the gentle-but-affirming tone of the book.

Here are some of the topics Sue discusses in her book:

  • Their story: evidence that God’s strength is perfected in our weakness
  • Recalling the readily visible as well as often hidden advantages of home education
  • Your parental calling: to educate, train, and disciple men and women of God
  • Family, the extracurricular curriculum that impacts a lifetime and builds a heritage
  • Discipline and motivation: foundations to survive the hard times and achieve the results
  • Everything is clearer in retrospect. There is light at the end of the tunnel!

Some favourite quotes

“Our kids have been given to us so we can present them back to their heavenly Father. His image is stamped upon them, and it’s up to us at home to teach them from His Word about their godly heritage and calling – to birth in them a love of him and show them the more excellent way.” pg.102

“The conventional ‘wisdom’ must be discarded on the faith that higher and more reliable wisdom will carry us across the chasm. When we step outside the realm of the familiar, the boundaries disappear. Homeschool parents know the secret effectiveness of alternative fuel: The grace of God will guide unique individuals through individually tailored plans that help each learn best, and thereby broaden their horizons. When we careen off that cliff into the unknown, we ind our kids’ Creator has a bridge in place to take them safely across the chasm to the future he’s prepared for them.” pg.89

“And the real truth is, nobody ranks higher than you as the expert of your own children. The real truth is, you have the goods – the wisdom and power of God, not the deficient methodology of man. The real truth is, you are duty and honor bound to answer the William Tell calling given to you by God in Psalm 127:4: ‘Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth’…Those little arrows are your unique area of expertise. They’re placed in your quiver at birth. You get the first shot.” p.79

“I know in whom I believed, and I know that I’m able because he is able. As parents, we’re partners with God in our greatest earthly endeavor – raising kids.” pg.44

“[I know that I do homeschooling] to save myself from myself via my children. Because it’s not really about me anymore, which is the best way to find out whom he has created me to be.” pg.160

I really recommend this book. Have you read it?

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My Favourite Reads of 2016.

By on December 10, 2016

My Favourite Reads of 2016.

I love reading and think I have read about 50 books this year. I feel like that is a good accomplishment, but nothing compared to others. I read a blogger the other day who said that she has read more than 300 books this year {and that doesn’t include all the read-aloud’s she does with her kids}.

300 books. I mean, wow. That is an amazing accomplishment. A few of mine have been close to, or over, 1000 pages – does that count?? 🙂

Anyhoo, I’ll get straight into it so you can have a quick nosey and add any of my recommendations for your reading list for 2017. {And all links are affiliate links.}

Coming Home, by Rosamund Pilcher

Coming Home

I literally finished this book two nights ago. I have read it before and loved it then. Several years later, I’ve read it again and I’ve love it even more. Friends, this is a beautiful, beautiful book. It is a coming-of-age novel, centred around Judith and her connections with the Carey-Lewis family of Nancherrow. It spans ten years of Judith’s life, from when she is 14 and living in a Cornwall boarding school; through the years of WWII to the beginning of her new, settled life back in Cornwall. It’s about a girl learning about loss, and love, and understanding the need for roots and a place to call home. The Carey-Lewis family are rich characters that add fascination and warmth, as well as adding the twists and turns this novel takes. It’s lengthy {the said 1000 pages!} but so worth it. It has been my favourite novel for years and it would take something incredibly special to replace it at the top.

North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskill

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I read Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskill at university and, after forcing myself into it, ended up really enjoying Gaskill’s passion for the Industrial era of the mid-1800’s. When I read North and South, I was not disappointed. This is a passionate and endearing story with, I believe, parallels to Pride and Prejudice. There is prejudice and judgement between Margaret Hale, a vicar’s daughter from the “enlightened” south, and John Thornton, a cotton mill manufacturer of the north. The feisty and clashing conversations were a great read, as well as the growing love John has for Margaret. The novel faces the grim truths of the cotton mill industry of the era, from both the hard position of the manufacturer, as well as the hard-working and poor employees. I love how Gaskill was a really intelligent woman and wrote with passion, insight, yet tenderness. The BBC’s version of this is exceptional.

Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior, by Kimberly Wagner

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This is the book that defined my Christian reading this year. It was a book that God gave me because I really needed it then, and I still do. Kimberly’s testimony is about how God took her broken marriage, mostly due to her destructively hardness and manipulation {her so-called “womanly strength”}, and made it into something beautiful that reflected God’s design. The Lord humbled Kimberly deeply and changed her hardened heart into one that was soft. He helped her see her husband for the man that he is and how her behaviour had been so emasculating for him. Now, they both have a challenging and very encouraging ministry around the world. This book came at the right time for me and God has used it to challenge parts of me that ain’t so pretty. I have loved it so much I have lent it to many other wives and have done a bible study on it at church. Kimberly and her husband, LeRoy, have also done a follow up: Men Who Love Fierce Women: The Power of Servant Leadership in Your Marriage.

Can Any Mother Help Me? by Jenna Bailey

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This book was such a find in my local library: the title caught my eye and, just loving history and motherhood and true stories, I couldn’t help myself. This is a biography of sorts on a secret motherhood society that spanned almost the entire twentieth-century in Britain. In 1935, a young woman wrote to a woman’s magazine in desperate need of company and help. The replies to her letter were so enormous that a circular letter magazine was created, called “The Cooperative Correspondence Club”. Many, many wives and mothers joined over the years, sharing their lives and loves and losses. It is a fascinating and endearing read. Jenna Bailey’s research on these women gave such insight to how all women, in all ages, struggle and love and fight for their marriages and their families. It shows how women need other women to be encouraged and helped and understood. And, despite being set during all the war years and further, I feel like these women were the bloggers of their days – the community they built in their writing and letters is inspiring.

By Design: God’s Distinctive Calling for Women by Susan Hunt

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What I really appreciated about this book is that, rather than being another “this is what the biblical design for men and women looks like”, Susan Hunt assumes that the reader already understands and accepts biblical womanhood and, instead, shows women what this means for the real, broken, hurting, and searching women of our Church. This book both convicted and challenged me. It opened my eyes to true stories of women utterly in need of healing and help sitting in the pew next to me. It forced me to ask myself, am I a woman other broken women can come to for help, comfort, and direction? I shared this book at our women’s bible study and we were all challenged by it. Less than a month later, God brought to me a woman in desperate need of friendship, prayer, encouragement and practical help. Biblical womanhood in the church looks like women helping women as women, and supporting and encouraging, and even mediating with, the male leadership in your personal church. I highly recommend Susan Hunt, and she has other books on female mentoring and biblical womanhood.

*

 Well, I think I’ll leave it at that. I’ve obviously read many more books but these are the ones that really stood out to me. They all left their mark on me, prompted me to examine myself, encouraged me to look outwards, drew me to love better and more affectionately, deepened my understanding of history {and of women in history}, and basically, helped me love reading more and more. {Can that even be possible when you’ve loved reading for, well, ever? :)}

Tell me, have you read any of these books? Do any of them catch your eye? What was your favourite read of 2016?

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Christmas Peace for Busy Moms :: Interview @ SarahGeringer.com

By on November 23, 2016

Do you need some peace this Christmas? Would you like some help that loving leads you to the feet of Jesus as you prepare for all the Christmas crazy?

When blogger and now author, Sarah Geringer, contacted me to ask if I would be interviewed for her blog and her new Christmas devotional, Christmas Peace for Busy Moms, I jumped at the chance! Christmas is a big part of my journey to Christ, but not why you might immediately think of.

Peace at Christmas for Busy Moms

Here is a snippet of my interview:

Q: How have you found peace in your faith journey? Share part of your story with us.

My parents separated on Christmas Day when I was 15-years-old. It absolutely devastated my life and changed the direction of my young heart. Because of the circumstances, I felt deeply betrayed by my father yet also, because of her own pain, deeply hurt by my mother.

For the next four years, I struggled to cope with the revelations, experiences, and the pain I felt. I thought I had been a Christian since a child as my faith had always been so strong, but now God felt so far away. The emotions and hurt were much more real and ruling over me that I willingly followed what I thought I needed to make it all go away.

I had boyfriends, gave myself away, used boys – all in the hope of feeling good about myself, but also protecting myself from being hurt by another man by being “in control” of my body and the relationships. I went from disaster to disaster.

Please head over to Sarah’s blog to not only read my interview, but also check out her amazing new devotional for all mothers this Christmas. I have read it and it is amazing. It resonated so much with me.

Christmas Peace for Busy Moms

While you’re over there, make sure you say ‘hi’ to Sarah. Writing a book like she has is a massive undertaking and, as a busy mom herself, it’s such a big accomplishment. As her sisters in Christ, let’s encourage her love for Christ and her ministry of sharing peace this Christmas.

Head to Sarah’s devotional series and book launch here.

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Thinking About Homeschooling? Books to Inspire.

By on May 13, 2016
Over the last two years, I have read about home education in any form I could find it. Blogs, articles, research papers {yes, even some of a PHD thesis} – anything. Once God lays something on my heart, all I want to do is learn and grow and read as much as I can get my hands on. Because of our awesome libraries in my town {over fifteen of them!}, I have been able to read quite a number of homeschooling books. This has been so helpful and inspiring. From reasons to experiences to philosophies, my passion for educating children at home has just grown.
I’m part way through another book at the moment and, as I have been reading it, I thought: I need to share all the amazing books I have been reading. I am sure there are some mother’s out there who, like me, want to learn but don’t know where to start. This list {though not comprehensive} is for you.

 

 This post contains affiliate links.

 

Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson
This was the first book on homeschooling I read and it definitely opened my eyes to a whole new world. The Clarkson’s are quite famous for homeschooling and have their own ministry. All their children are older now and successful in their own right. But that isn’t what homeschooling is about for the Clarkson’s – it’s about creating a home that brings life and learning naturally, part of the whole child, and not just their minds. It is a Christian-based book and really encouraging {and weighty}.

 

What is a Family? by Edith Schaffer
I have written about this book so many times because, just, oh. I love it. It isn’t a book on homeschooling specifically, but Edith’s whole message about the importance of family and home and relationships deepened my growing conviction that God really cares about families, how much He wants mother’s to invest in their family’s lives, how much a home atmosphere affects a child’s life. My desire to homeschool deepened after reading this book because my passion for the kind of life I wanted for my children doubled.

The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
Again, this isn’t a homeschooling book per se, but Sally’s message is clear: children need mother’s and it is vitally important that mother’s invest their all into their children for the season of life when they are directly under our influence and in our homes. Conviction, inspiration, encouragement, soul-warming – this book is for all Christian mothers, even if homeschooling isn’t on your radar. But if it is, this book will inspire you with a new vision for how you want to teach your children {educationally, spiritually, relationally etc}.

 

This book. It was hilarious and I loved it. It isn’t Christian at all, but that was really nice for a change. There are so many resources out there from a Christian perspective that it was a breath of fresh air to see why a non-Christian would homeschool. It was a one-year experiment for Quinn and her daughter, and each chapter follows Quinn as she researches, meets other homeschoolers, figures out what works for her daughter, goes to a conference. Her sense of humour made me giggle and I just really enjoyed following her along this journey.

The Well-Adjusted Child by Rachel Gathercole
I am currently re-reading this book and am enjoying it. It approaches that question all homeschoolers are asked, “What about socialisation?” This was a question for me at the start {because of my own naievity}, but I don’t have any qualms about it anymore. The question is no longer “Are homeschoolers socialised?” but rather, “What actually is socialisation?” The answer is not simple as people assume. A great book.

I was excited to read this book on many levels and I am surprised by my response to it. Being a Sproul, I knew it would be biblically-based and it is – but I wasn’t actually convinced by his arguments that homeschooling is a biblical mandate. I still love this book, but not for the reasons I think he intended. It made some great points, like, why are we surprised when our children turn out like Romans when we sent them to Caesar? This is a top recommendation from me, but with the sidenote that I don’t fully agree with it theologically.

 

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

My father is a Professor in Children’s Literature, so by nurture, I am a reader. He gave me this book since he knows I am looking into homeschooling and, though it isn’t about homeschooling, I think it ought to be a vital resource for all parents – especially homeschoolers. Reading is so, so, so important for a child’s learning and for their well-being. Reading today in schools isn’t reading – it’s about quizes and comprehension. We need to go back to the belief that reading creates a love of learning, for life. One of my favourite schooling memories is when, at ten, our teacher read us aloud Watership Down. 

 

In my growing knowledge of how children learn, self-directed {or delight-directed} learning has really interested me. Allowing children to direct their learning by parents following their lead and providing outlines and lessons that fit into the child’s interests of the moment. Some call this unschooling, but I feel there is more parental guidance needed. This book studied the lives of famous homeschoolers and how they were educated impacted their pursuit of excellence {like Einstein, Teddy Roosevelt etc.}. Really interesting.

 

So there you have it. Have you read any of these? Would love your own recommendations!

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How to Recognise True Manhood.

By on March 9, 2016

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” ~ Proverbs 31:10

I know this is written by a mother to her son, but I believe we can ask the same about manhood: An excellent man who can find? What makes an excellent man? What is true manhood? I think it is nothing like what our world manipulates men to be today. I think a true man is as precious as gold in our day and age. 

This week a New Zealand Olympian publically admitted to having a pornography addiction. He wasn’t forced to “out” himself {that is known of}; he willingly shared this difficult and very personal struggle by his own free will. He is a Christian, with a beautiful wife and young son.
He is a brave man. 
Is he a perfect man? No. But is he more manly than the men who make, promote and sell the filth that Willis got sucked into? Yes. Undoubtedly, it isn’t good that he has struggled with this sin. But I believe, without knowing him, that his actions of sharing his sins signal a strength of manhood in the very place of weakness.
Because, that is what makes a man. His actions.


I feel as women we think true manhood is perfection.  A man who has a good job, a good income, comes home and cheerfully cares for everyone, who tenderly knows all his wife’s needs’, and leads his family without fail. A man who never sins. A man who never struggles with anger, or lust, or addictions, or laziness.
Sure, that sounds like a great man. But he doesn’t exist. And neither does the perfect woman. {Try turning the tables and imagine how it feels for a man to measure you up to the “perfect” woman he has created.}

For years now, I have shamefully created in my mind what I believed was true manhood. I measured my husband up to that, and have spent much energy {with internal judging, criticism, grumbling} trying to “help” him become “the man” I believed God wanted him to be. It was my job to be his Holy Spirit – that is part of my job as his helper, isn’t it?
I have been so wrong.
Here I have been, trying to manipulate and shape an already amazingly imperfectly true man, into someone he can never be – who he shouldn’t have to be. I have put incredibly high expectations on him. I haven’t loved him for him. I have sought what I thought he ought to be when the man he already is is the man who really is enduringly manly.
Kimberly Wagner, through God’s timely grace and rebuke, has pointed arrows at my carefully constructed facade of “Husband Holy Spirit Helper” in her book Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior. I picked up this book thinking it would help me in one way only to have been absolutely blindsided and floored before God in humble and repentant need.


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There have been many ways this book has challenged me and forced me to face ugly parts of myself. But I do believe the biggest way has been to show me how to really love my husband again – like I did at the start, when I loved him for him. Yes, this was before life happened and hurt happened and the up’s and down’s of married life happened. Along the way I have grown in my understanding and appreciation of God’s design for men and women in marriage,but I have lost what it means to flesh out the gospel in marriage: to accept, to step down, to come alongside, to be kind-hearted when faced with faults and sin and hurt, to believe in the best.
And I have lost sight of what God thinks a true man is. 
For those who are lost too, who are searching for a way back to loving their husbands well again, purchase this book and be amazed. But before you do, read this passage and have a fresh vision of who your husband is and what a true man he really is:

“True manhood shows up in daily choices that require character qualities like courage, integrity, perseverance, and self-sacrifice. It’s being a man of honor – taking personal responsibility, fulfilling duties, demonstrating valor, and showing willingness to sacrifice and lead for the greater good.
  It is rock-solid strength that forges ahead with the determination to make it through the storm. True manhood stands guard over loved ones with protective eyes. It manifests the tenderness of a benevolent heart that seeks to provide for those in need. But, most importantly, knowing his strength is not derived from himself, a true man walks in humble dependence on the One whose image he bears. He lives out the gospel by fleshing out the character of his Warrior-Savior.”
 

Fierce Women, pg.179

Can you see your husband in this description? In many of these traits, some, or just a few? It doesn’t matter if you can only see one quality in your man. The fact that he is trying makes him a man.

What we, as their wives, have to control in ourselves is the expectation that he be these Christ-like qualities now, all at once, perfectly. Just as we will take many years to mature into feminine Christ-like characteristics, so we should not expect – nor demand – these things of our husbands.

Accept our men now, as they are, extending grace and compassion. As they see that they are safe with us, that we aren’t like dripping taps {Proverbs 27:15}, then they will – God-willing – desire more and more true manhood. Like Kimberly Wagner said, real men need real women.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32

Thoughts: What is one way you can affirm your husband’s masculinity today? Can you think of one quality from the description above that you can thank the Lord {and your husband} for?

This post contains an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting me.

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More Thoughts on the Proverbs 31 Wife.

By on December 14, 2015

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This is another installment in my on-going series Beautiful Examples of a Proverbs 31 Wife. My first post can be found here.

The incredibly high standard of the Proverbs 31 wife often has women grinding their teeth in insecurity, rebellion and a stubborn refusal to accept that this portion of Scripture may be someone God wants us to emulate. I am at the front of that line! I have battled MANY feelings about this woman, but over the years, as God has brought me closer to him, my heart has softened towards her. I now have a desire to actually work at becoming this amazing woman of God.

In several of my readings today, I came across some commentary on this passage that encouraged and challenged my heart. I would love to share them with you.

From What Is A Family?  {yes, I talk about this book a lot, it is that good}, Edith Schaeffer says that, among the many others, there are two vitally important points to remember about this virtuous wife. 

First, her husband trusts her to manage their home, physically and financially.

…{{silence}}…

These two areas are my biggest struggles as a wife. Lack of organisation and understanding finances have been sources of contention between my husband and I. I have already talked about my growth in this first struggle, but I have never talked about my weakness in math and money.

I won’t go into my history of math, but let’s say it is infamous and that there is a wall in my mind that I cannot climb over. Furthermore, in the small area of money I do overlook in our cash system, I regularly lose money. To me, I cannot think where it has gone or how it has been spent. To my husband, there is much slow breathing and patience!!! Tim does organise most of our money, but the physical money we use on a daily basis {grocery shopping, petrol, birthdays etc} is my responsibility – and I have sadly failed in this area many times.

I know I am at fault because I know my heart. I know I have let Tim down and this area of the Proverbs 31 woman is a big mountain for me to climb.

But, Edith is very encouraging, she says,

“If a woman has ability to be a good manager, she ought to have some scope in which to show forth this ability and have it be a practical help to the family. Always remember that trust needs a very real place to be demonstrated, and ability needs an opportunity to develop.”

I can grow, I can get better, and I can honour my husband in this area. I’ve already talked about how managing our homes honours our husbands — handling the money they earn and managing that well is something that they really need us to do.

Second, there is no competition with the husband.

In the context of this point, Edith is writing a chapter on the economic unit of the family. And, as part of her thoughts on the Proverbs 31 wife, she is speaking of the role of the husband to earn the money to provide for the family {as part of Genesis 3} and the work the wife does within the home to contribute. Edith is quite clear that she believes women are not to be bread winners at the expense of the family. If there are children home, the mother is to be as well.

She says,

“Whatever this wife, this virtuous woman, does, it enhances her husband’s leadership and his place ‘in the gates and among the elders of the land’ [vs.23]. She does not compete with him. She does not put her work before his and cause his place to be diminished.”

Whatever she does…it enhances her husband’s leadership. His work is her work. 

This is so contradictory to every single message girls growing up in our society hear. The main message is this: Do your own thing. Get what you want. Follow your path. You can be whatever you want to be. Girl power.

…But, many times, at the expense of the person you love the most. We cannot have the marriage we deeply desire and pursue a career with everything we have. Something has to give. Career’s will always eat up time, money, energy, focus, priority, emotions and drive.

“Two people with two separate careers and living in one house, but infrequently together – with children who are more frequently cared for by other people than by their parents – have not really formed a family, and the economic things have become a kind of people-eating monster taking all the humanness out of relationships….

If affluence is the goal – no matter what – it can only be the result, with the family completely lost.”

Though I don’t work outside the home, that doesn’t mean I cannot be distracted away from my family. Am I competing against my husband in other areas? Am I jealous of — his fitness, his relationship with the Lord, his friendships, his gifts, and, his position in the family? Our mother Eve knew what it was like to covet Adam’s position.

Our main goal, as we pursue the Proverbs 31 wife, is to deeply and wholeheartedly love our families before ourselves. We’re industrious, we work hard, we may earn money, we have many gifts and talents. But they are to be invested in the service of the Lord towards our families. 

To finish, Edith says that, in all her busyness and hard work,

“Her children have enough of her time, however, and know her well enough and are happy enough with her as their mother to ‘arise up, and call her blessed’, so this speaks of a family life of some very definite kind, as well as a good relationship with her husband who ‘praiseth her’.”

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