Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Keepers At Home

"That they may teach the young women to be sober, 
to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, 

good, obedient to their own husbands, 
that the word of God be not blasphemed."
Titus 2:4,5
(KJV)

I love this verse.

To me, it is the recipe for real joy...
it is the lifelong dream of my life...
a sweet and genuine aspiration fulfilled...
for which I give much praise and glory to God every day.
To live life sober,
loving my husband and child,
in discreet chastity,
a keeper at home who is good and obedient to my own husband....
brings unspeakable joy to me.

Do I always get it right?
Absolutely not.
But, I am trying.
Giving it my utmost.
Reaching towards the goal.



It fills my heart with joy to decorate and try to make our home comfortable and inviting.
Primitives, antiques, and old things are the best in my book.
The rustier and more-beat-up something is, the better I like it!

I really, truly love every, single thing about being a wife and mother.
There is nothing in this world I would rather do....
than to serve and care for the precious ones God has placed within our little home.
It means so much to me.
Every part of it.

I am so thankful for this season of life....
while Zachary is still small and at home with Kevin and me.
I cry when I think of how quickly it is going by and
how fast the years have flown since God sent him to us,
I truly cherish every second of now.

Being completely at peace with living the life of a contented homemaker,

I love and am drawn to the Amish way of life.
I love their modest dress...their plainness....their adherence to a Biblical lifestyle.
I admire them very much.
They have fascinated me ever since I was a little girl,
 and we would pass their neat and tidy farms
along the country roads in Ohio where I grew up.

Once, Mom, Dad, and I rented a small cottage from an Amish family.

They are good people.

I think it is the simplicity of their lifestyle that intrigues me the most.

I crave that slow pace...the peaceful way they work through life.

Kevin and I have often joked that we feel we could easily become Amish,

and there would be very little we would miss about modern conveniences
or the outside world. :~)

I think it would be the neatest thing to live like they do...
even though their resistance to electricity creates a much harder way of life, work-wise.

The other night I was checking out some other Christian women's blogs,
and I found the best documentary video about David and Miriam Lapp and their children,
an Amish family who live near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
I thought some of you might be interested in seeing it, also.
(If this doesn't come through to email subscribers,
you can view the video by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the screen.)



I love seeing the sweetness and humility of Miriam's spirit
and how she so capably answers the reporter's questions about
the Biblical explanation of being submissive to her husband.

This woman really understands the mindset of a wife who pleases God.
One of my favorite parts was when the reporter asked Miriam why she cooks 
for her husband every morning and why he can't cook for himself.

Miriam seemed to find the question far-fetched, strange, even outrageous,

 as she let the reporter know that cooking for her husband is her job.
She said it with pride, like it was the delight of her life...
as if she couldn't imagine it any other way.

Hearing her straightforward answers and the questions she was being asked

made me realize how far from the mainstream worldview we, as Christian wives, really are.
We still believe that our husbands are the heads of our households.
We still find the greatest delight in serving our husbands and children
and in being keepers at home.
That must appear so absurd to those of a liberal mentality.
What gives us the most joy and the most deep-seated satisfaction
must come across as strange, abnormal, and old-fashioned to the modern-minded women of today.

I can't help but believe that God created us all with the same needs....
that we still have the same inward cravings as those of women long ago.
We all long for a fulfilling, satisfying life.
We all crave the peace that comes from being exactly where we are meant to be.



Down deep inside the spirit of every woman,
surely there must be the craving for family and hearth and home.
I can't imagine how it could be otherwise.

When I was in my 7th month of pregnancy,
I resigned from my long-term position in banking.
And while I realize it is not always possible for every woman to be a stay-at-home Mom,
nor is it my intention to inflict guilt or shame on anyone who can't,
nor is it the decision of choice for all,
it was one of the wisest moves I personally have ever made.

I am not going to say it has been easy, financially.
In the first 12 years of our marriage,
Kevin and I had become accustomed to being a two-income couple.
It was somewhat of a shock,
when everything changed to us receiving only one.
We have learned, over the years,
to deny ourselves things we do not necessarily have to have,
to sort through and decipher what is most important,
and to make necessary adjustments.

For years, we survived with having one vehicle.
It was challenging, at times, but it always worked out.
We cut back in many ways, and it has always been interesting to watch God supply our needs,
as we faithfully tithe and seek His Kingdom first.
He has never failed.

A woman's home is her mission field.
Mom used to say that if you can't successfully live right in the home,
there's no point in going out and trying to live that way on the outside.

The phrase "keepers at home" in Titus 2:5 literally means,
"caring for the house, working at home,
taking care of household & domestic affairs,
the watch of a house,
domestically inclined,
a stayer at home,
a guard."

There is more to being a keeper at home than first meets the eye.
Keeping a clean house is very important to me.
It should be.
I want to know that things are neat and orderly and clean.
They aren't always that way.
I have my days of struggle.
I don't claim to be everything I wish I was.

Keeping a clean house is just part of our commission.
Being a keeper at home also means that we are "the watch of a house"...
"a guard".
A guard over our physical houses (our bodies),
and a guard over the home in which we live with our families.

A guard.
What a sacred trust!
What a noble calling, ladies!

God has called us to guard our homes.
Not from burglars and swindlers, so much,
but from influences that have the potential of bringing sin into our homes,
and setting traps for our husbands and children.



Kevin and I learned early on that we were going to exercise extreme caution
in what we would allow Zachary to watch and read.
In our 25 years of marriage, we have never owned a television,
so that wasn't really an issue.
But, what about books?
And videos?
And games?
And the computer?
And other influences?

How much entertainment should we allow?

God is faithful.
He leads down a balanced path.
It is my conviction that children should be permitted to enjoy a healthy
dose of care-free childhood.
In fact, I believe it is very important.
I believe a lot of issues are truly based on personal conviction,
and the most reliable of all Guides is the precious Holy Spirit.
I speak only from a position of a flawed, imperfect, professional mistake-maker,
who desperately wants to get this right.

We are given such a few, short, quickly-passing years,
to train our children in the way in which they should go.
After that, they are gone from our grasp...out into this cold, cruel world to face life.
How will they leave our homes?
Will they know right from wrong?
Will they understand living a life of balance?

Such an overwhelming responsibility to cram Biblical values into such a short time of living.

I have watched as others have held their children in such a stranglehold of fanaticism
that their children have burst wide open at the seams
as soon as they were given their first taste of freedom.
They weren't allowed to experience so many things while growing up,
they were kind of like caged animals.
As soon as the door to the cage opened the slightest crack,
they were out of there...and they are still bringing grief to their parents' hearts to this day,
as they pursue the total opposite of their upbringing.

It is absolutely possible to hold our children too tightly.
To force spirituality upon them...when they are not ready.
To burn them so completely out on "religion" that they will want
nothing to do with a true relationship with Jesus later on.

Again, I am far from an expert.
The jury is still out on the kind of adult our child will grow up to be.
He is only 12.

I am only stating observances I have made in the lives of others.
On the flip side of the coin, I have seen parents set no boundaries at all,
to the degree that the children were left to nearly raise themselves.
Anything went...whatever they wanted....however much they wanted of it.
These children have grown into aimless, undisciplined adults with no moral compass.

It is possible to lean too far to either side, my friend.
Strangling our children with fanaticism will make them rebel at the first opportunity.
Letting them run loose will make them grow up to be aimless wanderers.

Either side of the coin is unhealthy and unbalanced.

How to find the middle of the road?
How to find balance in this immoral, sex-obsessed, promiscuous, idol-driven world?

I believe it starts with you and me.
We are commissioned to be "keepers"..."guards" over
what comes into the precious realm over which we have been appointed.

There is no "one-size-fits-all" method of successful child-rearing.
Our only hope is to bow low before our God,
seek Him diligently for wisdom and understanding,
walk in the light He is faithful to shine,
draw the hard lines He requires us to draw, no matter how much our children beg and plead and object,
and loosen the reins, when He says it is okay to do so.

Raising a pure-minded son, in this day and age,
is quite the challenge.
Sometimes it takes tearing pages out of catalogs before he looks at them,
and making sure mine are the first eyes to examine the daily mail.

I have never seen or heard of a time when there was more immodesty on display.
Pardon my bluntness and forgive me for being so candid,
but I am so sick of seeing cleavage every time I leave the house.
I am weary of telling Zach to look the other way.
Can anyone relate to my frustration?

I am continually astonished at the number of women who cause men and boys to commit mental adultery and fornication because of flaunting their scantily-clad, in-your-face-whether-you-like-it-or-not bodies.

What in the world ever happened to such a thing as modesty??

I know this is a touchy subject, but to me, it is vitally important that we hear and know the truth...
not sugar-coated,
not watered down,
but plain, untainted, straight truth.
The only place to find absolute truth...is in the Word of God.
Jesus is the truth.
There are gray areas in certain spiritual applications,
but modesty of dress is not one of them, my friend.
On this subject, the Bible is plain and clear and precise.
There are no loopholes.
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel,
with shamefacedness and sobriety..."
1 Timothy 2:9

Being modest is an important part of keeping our home safe.
"Modesty is the moat around the castle of chastity."
Author Unknown

The word modest here means,

"a sense of shame, reverence, restrain a good man from an unworthy act, awe."

It is not the intention of this post to broach the subject of man-made traditions,
and I do not feel led to split hairs on the many differing opinions of what people consider "modest".
What I really want to explore, as in all posts, is what God thinks 
and what the Bible demands concerning the way we, as Christian women, should dress.

I am speaking of self-respect..and being covered.

Whatever happened to being ashamed of indecently exposing our bodies?
When did we lose the reverence for physical intimacy?
When did it become so cheapened?
How did we convince ourselves that it is okay in God's sight to publicly display what should be kept private?

If we, as women professing Godliness,
dress in a way to entice a man to stare at our breasts or other sexual body parts,
are we not placing temptation in his path?
To commit mental....or physical....adultery or fornication?
Is this Godly?

I tell you the truth....in much love...from a heavily-burdened heart.

  I promise.
I didn't write the message, I am only the messenger.  :)

God, in His infinite wisdom, set perimeters as guard rails.
As long as we stay inside His boundaries, we are safe.
Venturing beyond them, pushing the envelope too close to the edge,
will place us...and others...in a place of moral danger and spiritual jeopardy.

Jesus said,
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her 
hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Matthew 5:27-28

We cannot control the thought pattern of others.

We can dress ever so modestly and covered,
and still not change anything about the way others think.
I am not saying that we are solely responsible anytime a man looks upon us in an inappropriate way...
not by a long stretch.
But, I do believe we should do our part and our utmost to keep stumbling blocks 
out of our brothers' way....to not place them there, unnecessarily, and especially not on purpose.

So, where does our responsibility come in, as women professing Godliness?
Can we honestly look at ourselves in the mirror after getting dressed
and say that we are creating a holy atmosphere,
when those parts of us that are precious...sacred....reserved for our husbands...
are exposed, flaunted, and vulgarly displayed
to any and every man and boy with whom we come in contact?

My father-in-law has talked to me about this.
He is from the old school, and certain things about today's world really trouble him.
He has been in church services in which he had to fight this very thing.
Once it was because a fellow-church-goer was scantily-clad...
and determined to bend over in front of him.

In church, mind you.

I've been seeing it, too...way too often....in unexpected places....among "Christian" circles.
It alarms me.
Men face it enough on the outside.
Should they have to deal with fighting lust...inside the sanctuary?
Should they really have to deal with it surrounded by women
professing to be living lives that are pleasing to a holy God?

If the neckline doesn't plunge too low, sometimes, it is so loose and wide
that everything is still exposed when we bend over.
It is becoming more and more prevalent...because we don't hear this preached about anymore.
We have dropped the ball.
We have become permissive...and tolerant...and our society is crumbling because of our apathy.

Where are the watchmen on the wall?
Does Ezekiel 33 not apply to the modern-day ministry?
Could this be why the wall is so broken down....
so badly in need of repair?
Shouldn't we re-build...what has been broken?



Yesterday, our dinner table conversation somehow turned to a particular actress
who was extremely popular when Kevin and I were growing up.
She was beautiful.
Successful.
Married to an actor of equal fame and popularity.

Do you know what Kevin and I remembered most about her?
It wasn't her talent...or abilities...or even her beauty.
It was the poster....of her.
Scantily-clad...seductive...sexually-provocative...
suggestively-posed....obscene.
It hung in my nephews' bedroom...near their bed.
It hung in Kevin's friend, Joel's bedroom.
It hung in his friend's brother's bedroom.
And probably thousands, maybe more, bedroom walls...
of boys and men across the country...maybe the world.

How many minds did she corrupt...by that infamous poster?
How many men and boys did she entice to lust?
How many married men committed mental adultery with her?
Of what was she responsible and accountable when she stood before God
after she breathed her last breath of life?
How will the Judgment Day find her?

I am not the judge.
Thankfully.
A mixture of disdain...and pity for her eternal plight...would cause me to not know what to do...
with someone like her.

Maybe she repented...before she died.

But, could she ever go back and undo the damage?
Could she ever retract every, single poster?
Could she go back and dig up every, single seed of lust...that had grown into full-blown sin?
Could she ever give back the gift of childhood innocence she had robbed from countless little boys?

How many men and boys are you and I causing to sin by our immodesty?
Who have we robbed or permanently altered by placing a stumbling block in their path?

How we dress and carry ourselves absolutely matters.
God cares about it.
We should, too.

I think I was born way after my time. :~)
I would have loved living life back when dressing modestly was "the norm".
When women wouldn't have even entertained the thought of leaving home with exposed breasts..
When physical intimacy was deemed sacred....never to be flaunted outside the bedroom walls.
When men actually respected women, because they were shamefaced and respectful in their dress.

I, oftentimes, feel very out of place in this modern society.
But, I have become accustomed to the curious stares that result from
me sticking to my own convictions regarding modesty.
The stares really don't bother me anymore.
I got over all of that years ago.

Because I know that at the end of the day, I will face two people....
God and my husband.
They are who matter to me.
It is their houses I am responsible to keep....
both our home and my physical body, 
which is the temple in which God dwells.
Their opinions are truly the only ones I care about.
I want to be able to look both of them in the eye and know that I have done my best....
to maintain purity,
to prevent others from stumbling,
and to live a holy life, without sin.
God help me!

Back to frugality and on a much lighter note,
one of my favorite ways of saving money in the kitchen is
to make meals that will last for more than one setting
and to re-use, recycle, and re-purpose our left-overs in creative ways.

Today, I made another version of "Must-Go Soup" that I wanted to share.  
The first basics are the same, but I added other things I had on hand
to make it unique and original.

"Creamy Veggie-Must-Go Soup"
Version #2

1 pound of ground beef, browned with 1 diced onion
6 potatoes
2 carrots
1 onion
1/2 head of cabbage
1 can of sweet corn
1 can of cream of cream of chicken soup
1 soup can full of milk
Leftover Swiss Steak gravy (I made for Sunday dinner, recipe below)
Leftover Chili Sauce (I made for Saturday's dinner, recipe below)
Heaping Tbsp. Smart Balance margarine
4 beef bouillon cubes
Garlic Powder, to taste
Salt, to taste (I ran out of seasoned salt, so used plain salt)
Pepper, to taste
Italian Seasoning, to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Brown hamburger and onion.
While meat and onion is browning, peel and dice potatoes, carrots, onion, and cabbage.
Add margarine and beef bouillon cubes to large kettle.
Place veggies in kettle, and sprinkle olive oil over them.
Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
Cover with lid, and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When cabbage is reduced, and veggies are somewhat tender,
add browned and drained hamburger and onion mixture, can of corn, cream of chicken soup, milk, 
leftover Swiss steak gravy, and leftover chili sauce.
Cover again, and let simmer on low-medium for 20 minutes or so.

Delicious!!


Saturday, we had sausage/cheese dogs on butter-toasted buns 
with homemade cole slaw and homemade chili sauce.

Here's how I made the Chili Sauce:
1 pound of hamburger, browned and drained
1 jar of chili sauce 
(you can use Heinz, or I used the IGA brand, because it is cheaper
and tastes great!)

That's it!  Nothing more.  Just mix and enjoy.

Sunday, I made homemade Swiss Steak.
Here's how I make it:
Cut up cubed steaks in squares (however big you want them)
Wet with water
Dip in mixture of flour, seasoned salt, and pepper
As you are turning the steak in the flour mixture, make sure it is evenly coated,
and pound with your fingers to make the steak more tender.
Fry in oil until both sides are brown and very crusty.

Here's how I make the Swiss Steak Gravy:
1 Onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 Green pepper, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 can of tomato sauce OR 1 whole can of tomato soup
1 cup of milk

Saute' the onion and pepper in margarine, until tender.

Salt and pepper it, while it is cooking.
When it is very tender, pour in tomato sauce or soup, and milk.
Let it simmer, until it thickens a bit.

Pour this over your crusty cubed steak.


This is SO good!


Also, if you want it to have a little kick, 

dump in some Rotel Original Tomatoes and Peppers.
Or you can also add a can of stewed tomatoes, in place of or in addition to the sauce or soup.

Today when I made the "Must-Go Soup", I dumped in the leftover chili sauce

and the rest of our Swiss Steak gravy.
I know it must sound questionable, but, believe me, it all blended really well. :~)

The ideas for "Must-Go Soup" additives are endless!

Throw together a batch of homemade cornbread muffins to serve alongside the soup,
and you have a great, easy-to-cook meal.

I don't like to waste anything.

Sometimes I tend to go to extremes to rescue things I don't want to throw away!

Must-Go Soup is a wonderful way to clean out the refrigerator 

AND 
be resourceful and a good steward all at the same time.

My family loves this soup....

with love as the main ingredient, it is a no-fail recipe!

May you  find joy today in keeping your home!

6 comments:

  1. I quit work after my first child was born. One of my work friends told me that the boss told her that I would regret it for the rest of my life, because of all the money I'd be losing.

    I told my friend that I didn't regret it and would NEVER regret it,m and I never have. How could I regret more time with my children? I said I could always make money later but never get that time back.

    After my last child graduated from high school and I was done with 16 years of homeschooling, I had some people ask me if I was going to get a full-time job. I was sort of surprised.

    I said no. I am still a wife and still a homemaker even though my children are young adults.

    I do, however, have a part-time job now taking care of my friend's developmentally challenged teenager. She is mentally about two years old and I take care of her every day after school until her mom gets home from work. Well, I do during the school year, anyway.

    That soup recipe looks yummy and I did watch the Amish documentary a bit and enjoyed what I saw. I will have to come back later and finish up as I can't sit and watch a whole hour of it right now, lol!

    Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much for stopping by! I know you will never regret any moment you have been blessed to spend with your dear children. I so enjoyed reading your comments and trust God will richly bless you as you continue to serve Him as a servant to your precious family. Love, Cheryl

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Amish can be admired in many ways. They clearly put most to shame when it comes to their work ethic. Sadly, their children often go completely wild when given the chance to experience living in "the world". The Amish are short on grace, if they even know the meaning. In that way they miss the mark. I know a woman raised in a strict Mennonite family. She said for many, they actually do not know the salvation story. They are so entrenched in their religious traditions that they miss Christ completely. They are strict legalists.

    I enjoyed reading your post. I work a bit outside the home, but have always felt happiest being at home with my family, do housework.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Legalism is so damaging to the true cause of Christ. Thank God for His amazing grace and for the freedom it brings when we experience it in its fullness! God's peace be with you always, Cheryl

      Delete
  4. I just found your blog, what a blessing for my day. I went to work so my son could go to another school in an other town, ended up working for 17 yrs. because we thought we could not make it without my check. My husband is now on disability because of alzhiemers and he is just 50 now he was 47 when we found out. We had a lot to deal with along with him also being bipolar I took all I could take and just went in and quit and a "friend" (haha) the asked how we would pay ours bills and I said "sometimes you have to put your family first and let God take care of the rest". My husband needed me his wife and we have made it just fine not without a few scary times but I stand FIRM that God will never leave us nor forsake us. Now get to be a stay at home wife and mom to my wonderful husband and son and I wont have it ant other way. Thank you for letting me share our story. BLESSINGS TO YOU. Sandy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Sandy, Thank you so much for sharing your heart with me. My heart truly goes out to you & all you are going through. God is so faithful, and as long as we follow Him wholeheartedly, He will keep us steadfast and unmovable in Him! I am SO thankful to have "met" you, and I hope you will come back often. May God bless you, meet your every need, & fulfill His perfect will in your life. Please keep in touch. Love in Christ, Cheryl

      Delete