Character of the Titus 2 Woman (Part 1)   1 comment

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian DOES make me a different kind of woman.  For I have accepted God’s idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am and all that He wants me to be.” 

So…who does He want us to be?

In Titus 2:4-5, we see that we are to be discreet, chaste, and good.  Another translation reads sensible, pure, and kind. 

GOOD = kind.  And kindness = steadfast love expressed in actions.

Galatians 5:22 speaks of the fruits of the spirit–and two are goodness and kindness

Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”

1 Corinthians 13:4 – “Love suffers long and is kind

Proverbs 19:22 – “What is desired in a man is kindness

So…why do we want to be good?

2 Peter 1:5-11 = “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.  Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 

And isn’t THAT what it is all about???  YES!!!

Sometimes, it seems hard to be good!  You know, when I’m stuck in traffic, dealing with noisy neighbors, frustrated with my small children… 

But no matter what happens to us here on this earth, we are to be as God tells us–kind to everyone!

The Lord says, “Vengeance is MINE–I will repay” for what others do to us, for He says “whatsoever you do to the lease of these, you have done to Me”…and that is for how we treat others, and for how those others treat us. 

He goes on to say, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

He tells us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”…and here is what that goodness/kindness brings:  repentance!  (Romans 2:4)

And this passage follows up with “be doers of the Word, not just hearers of the Word”…so be kind and good! 

DISCREET

= sensible, sober-minded, self-controlled, use good judgment

Proverbs 2:10-13 – “When Wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you”

Romans 12:3 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

The dictionary definition is “having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech”.

As I was studying this topic, I found that the word described speech and behavior mostly–particularly referencing behaviors that draw attention to ourselves and speech that doesn’t keep private matters private. 

CHASTE

= Pure (specifically regarding sexual purity)

But also–purity of heart–2nd Corinthians 11:2 – “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.  For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

Remember–God wants to be FIRST.  (He is a God of order, not balance…more on this later.)

Chastity means abstention from sexual activity outside of marriage and is a Christian obligation.  For the Christian–there are two rules–(1) Total abstention prior to marriage and (2) Total faithfulness once you are married.  (1 Cor. 7:1-9)

Romans 12:1-3 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 – “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.  Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them.  Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.  Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute?  May it never be!  Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her?  For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  Flee immorality.  Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”

***Just a side-thought:  I’m not writing any of this to judge you, dear readers.  But if this lifestyle of chastity does not describe your life as of this moment, know that there is a new birth, a new beginning, a new creation available through the blood of Jesus!  (2 Cor. 5:17)  And if your life has not been a life of chastity, make that choice right now!  Your past can be forgiven, your flesh washed clean!  All you have to do is ask Him for that forgiveness and accept the price being paid for you!  Confess Him as your savior, repent from these ways, and then find a local church to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the remission of your sins.  Then remember what Jesus said to the adulterous woman–“Neither do I condemn you (in other words, your sins are forgiven”…and He also said to her, “Go and sin no more.”  And He said to the man healed at the pool at Bethesda (John 5:14)…”See, you have been made well.  Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”  You have the ability through the blood of the Lamb to “go and sin no more”!***

So that’s the character of the Titus 2 (younger) woman.  I’ll continue my study with the topic of MODESTY, which I found was referenced many times as I studied chastity. 

I challenge you today to find ways to be more KIND, DISCREET, and CHASTE.  Share with me your ideas in the comments!  I look forward to reading them and getting to know you!

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Posted February 8, 2012 by whohearsahorton in Uncategorized

Where are all the “older women”???   4 comments

So…my last post shared about how we younger women need to stick together and encourage each other in the truth about the roles we are fulfilling as wife, mommy, homemaker.  I can honestly say I don’t want encouragement toward my fleshly desires–I want encouragement in the truth that my children are blessings and that I CAN manage my home well (or better, if I’m not doing so well).  Don’t tell me how great it will be when my kids are out of my hair, or how clean I can keep my house in a few years because they are in school and not making it dirty, or how long a nap I can take because they are gone.  Tell me that the work I’m doing is eternal.  Tell me that they won’t be little for long and to savor every moment.  Tell me that it’s okay if there are crumbs on the floor–but also challenge me to serve my husband and my children by getting those crumbs under control.

So let me dig in to the truth right off the bat.  Titus 2:3-5 reads:

“3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

Do you hear the gravity of that text?  Let’s look at it backwards.  Young women, we are to love our husbands, love our children, be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to our own husbands.  Why?  So that the word of God may not be blasphemed!

Okaaayyy…what does THAT mean?  Well, “blaspheme” means to speak irreverently of, to slander.  Some synonyms of the word are: contaminate, defile, pervert, spoil.  It kinda sounds like it means some would LIE about the word of God.  And we know that the opposite of truth is a lie! We see from this text that the word of God will be blasphemed if we do not do these things!

What things?  Well–they are listed in Titus 2–but be on the lookout in the near future for a post on them!

AnyWHO…Do you feel the weight on your shoulders yet?  I do!

So let’s keep going…

Titus says that the older women are to ADMONISH us younger women to do these things.  Some translations read that they are to “encourage” us.  And I would say that older women DO encourage us.  But here is what I see–they encourage us to do what we are already doing.  You know, like I tell an older woman, “I’m a stay-at-home-mom” and she says “Oh that is wonderful!  What a special season! You are right where the Lord wants you to be!”

So what about a mom who is NOT a stay-at-home-mom?  What do they say to her?  Do they say the same things to her?

Here’s the thing…

When I look up the word “admonish”–I don’t see it as a light encouragement!  Admonish means “to caution, to warn” also “to urge to duty, to remind”.

I want to repeat that–it means “to urge to duty, to remind”!  It means they are to URGE us to do our duty!  REMIND us what those duties are!  WARN us what will happen if we don’t do them! 

Older women, this is YOUR job!  And…we NEED you to do this!  If not for our sake, for the sake of the word of God!

But here is the question that I’ve had stirring in my heart for quite some time, and this is the question I read this morning on a Facebook status of a friend-of-a-friend:

“All we want is a few older women to teach us how to love our husbands, love our children . A few to teach us how to be sensible, & submissive to our own husbands, encouraging us to be workers at home. It SEEMS “older women”( Titus2) are becoming more and more extinct. I wonder why?!?!?”

Well, I can’t answer this question for every older woman, but here are a few possible answers to that question.

Logically, I can say that one of two things is the case for all older women.

(1) They know they are to do this and just choose not to. OR…

(2) They don’t know they are supposed to teach and admonish us in these things.

Let’s look at #2 first…

If this is the case, and it may be for many older women–then this truth rests in the hands of their pastor.  You see, Titus was a pastor–and this text was Paul telling “Pastor T” what to teach as sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).  So it is up to Pastor T to tell the older women that they are responsible for teaching/admonishing the younger women to do these things.  Pastor T’s message to the older women is sound doctrine–as is the teaching and admonition of the older women to the younger women.

OK–so let’s assume your pastor HAS taught the older women that this is their role.  Then why aren’t they doing it???  This goes to reason #1 from above…

Are they really just choosing not to?  Not to obey the word of the Lord?  Surely not!

Well…yeah.  BUT–before I sound like I’m just saying they are simply disobeying the Lord’s command–let me explain what I think has happened.

I’m gonna make a long story short here, for sake of not making this post too long, but I’ll fill in any gaps with another post one day.  And this story was told to me by an older woman who remembers this turning point…

In the 1940’s, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, all the men left to fight the war, leaving their women behind–wives, sisters, daughters.  These women, out of necessity, took on their roles–working in the fields and factories–to keep things going in their absence.  When the war was over and the survivors returned, the men expected everything to go back to the way it had been–where he was the head of their home and the breadwinner, and she was at home caring for the house and the children.  But some of those women decided to rebel against that.

Some of those women put their foot down and said, “We don’t need you men to get along.  We want to work jobs.  We want to ‘wear the pants in the family now’.  We can do this ourselves!”  So…women started to work jobs instead of being at home.  Started bucking the headship of their husbands.  Started wearing the pants…both literally and figuratively.  It was a “movement”, if you will, to get more “rights” for women to do the things that were, until that time, considered a man’s role….instead of doing the things that had been considered a woman’s role.

These two roles were defined by Scripture.  It was said to Adam that he would till the ground (Genesis 3:23)–he would work.  It is said that a man is to provide for his own household, and to not do so is to deny the faith and is worse than an unbeliever!  (1 Timothy 5:8) STRONG STUFF!

And for a woman, her role is clearly defined in Titus 2–her relationship with her husband and children, and to be a homemaker (other translations read worker at home, keeper at home, busy at home).

I heard it said this way by a friend who is a pastor’s wife:  “When God breathed life into Adam, he woke up with a job to do.  When He breathed life in to Eve, she woke up a wife.”  I’ll save this for another post as well–but we are different physically and emotionally, and according to the Lord, our purposes are different. (Don’t read here that I think we are valued any less…just that our roles are different.)

OK–back to the story.  So it was in the 1940’s that things in our culture began to change…and specifically when the role that women fulfill began to shift from what God created her for, to what her fleshly desires wanted…much like Eve in the garden.  (Yeah…that’ll be another post, too.)

Well…looking at the dates, that would make any woman who was born after about 1920 part of this shift.  Those born around 1920 were the ones who were adult women when this war took place and were the ones who made this shift begin.  (No, not all of them did…some of them stuck to their roles as wife, mother, homemaker…but this is the generation that got it all started.)  And their children, who were born in the 40’s and 50’s, are the first generation growing up seeing this.  And that makes MY generation (I was born in 1979) the generation that has only ever seen life after the shift.  So all we know is moms going off to work, rather than being home.  All we know is mom being the head of the home, rather than dad.

So, what does that have to do with the older Titus 2 women, who seem to be missing?

I’m not pointing fingers and saying that they are simply disobeying the Lord by not teaching and admonishing us young women in these things.  I think many of them, because they didn’t grow up learning these things, and because our culture teaches something totally different, just don’t know what to teach us–so they don’t teach us anything.

But, also, I think it is because many of them are at work!  They are literally working jobs–like they were taught to do as young women–so as older women, they are doing only what they know to do.  And I don’t believe those women feel comfortable telling us we should be at home if they aren’t at home themselves.  And…because they are at work, they aren’t available to teach us.

But the truth is…at least as far as I can tell from the Word itself…God created us to fulfill the things listed in Titus 2.  I read it as my priority list in life as a Christian woman.

I read an article recently that helped make my thoughts concrete and find words to explain them.  Here is my summary:

In our culture, and in churches, it is generally “encouraged” that it is okay to work outside of her home, so long as she can still do the tasks needed at home, like the cooking and cleaning.  But in Titus 2, it reads with far more stress of importance that the home and family IS a young woman’s calling!  That old saying “a woman’s place is in the home” didn’t come from a chauvinist man…it came from Scriptures!  And that is just ONE part of the Titus 2 passage!

So, older women, as you can see from my words here–and also the words I shared above from another young woman–we NEED you!  And we need you telling us the TRUTH in love. Remember, we have the power to influence toward salvation (1 Peter 3:1) and to impact whether the word of God will or will not be blasphemed (Titus 2:5)!

Comment below…have YOU found an older woman who can truly mentor you?  Do you get time with her or just an email here and there?  Does she simply encourage you or does she admonish–warn, remind, urge–you in your duties?

I definitely want to hear from you!  And here is the article I referred to, in case you want to read it in full: http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/family/exegetical_defense_of_the_woma.aspx.  But comment below first!  🙂  Thanks for reading!

Posted February 4, 2012 by whohearsahorton in Uncategorized

Just keep swimming… (a rant)   3 comments

So, I promised a rant…and here it is.  🙂

I shared in an earlier post about how I manage my days to give me the time I need to myself, but without forsaking my role as a mother.  Well, this week, my eyes have been truly opened–and it has made my heart so sad.  Let me go back in my story a bit before I explain.

Papa Bear and I have been married for almost 12 years.  We had our first child just 5 years ago, a son, Brother Bear.  When he was only 7 months old, we found out we were having another baby!  Surprise!  Sister Bear was born when Brother Bear was only 15 months old.  Super close together–but it was awesome having two babies!  In fact, I remember saying to my hubby one day when our oldest was only about 6 months old that it was kinda boring with just one child!  And I thought that maybe we’d have a second child sooner than we had thought (you know…the typical 2 years apart) or that I just needed to get out of the house more!  🙂

Somehow, I managed life with two kids so close together, we got out of the house (with the help of babywearing), and I was able to keep my home relatively clean and picked up (most days, anyway).  But the truth is, life at that time was HARD.  My hubby was working those TWO full-time jobs and I was home (many days and nights alone) doing all of that myself.  Oh…and I cooked all our meals too, sometimes WHILE nursing the baby.  But I knew I was doing what the Lord had created me to do!  Just as much as I knew that my husband was doing what the Lord had created HIM to do–which is to be the breadwinner and provider for our family. 

I remember reaching out during that time to friends and a mentor or two.  One mentor, let’s call her “Mrs. Cole”, encouraged me in that truth–that he was meant for work and that he could shoulder it.  I knew she was right–and that it also meant that I could shoulder my responsibilities at home.  I am SO thankful that “Mrs. Cole” spoke truth into my life at that time.  It kept me going.

Just shy of two years later, the Lord surprised us again with our sweet little Baby Bear.  (Yeah…who am I kidding?  He’s almost two years old now…but he IS sweet!)  It was unplanned and we were unprepared for another baby.  I mean, adding a baby was easy, but hubby was still working two jobs–and actually, at that time, I was also working full-time.  (I’ll save that for another blog post that I have on my heart.)

So we were basically bogged down in life–never saw each other (except one time…otherwise, how would we have had another baby?)  🙂  We never had time or money to spend as a family.  I was not doing a very good job of maintaining my home AND working AND raising our kids alone.  I was MORE than overwhelmed.  And when our Baby Bear was born, he had a lung infection which required a week’s stay in the NICU…and I had to go home without him.  Having to leave your baby behind in the NICU can send a mama over the edge by itself.  But add that to the stress I was already feeling, and it is only by the grace and protection of the Lord that I didn’t totally lose my mind at that time.

Postpartum.  Recovering from a cesarean.  Hubby working two jobs.  Three year old son.  Two year old daughter. One-week-old baby boy.  Meals to cook.  House to clean.  Toys to pick up.  Groceries to get.  No family nearby.  No sleep.  All by myself.

Add up those factors and the solution doesn’t look pretty.  At all.  BUT…what’s a mama to do?  In the words of my favorite blue fish, “just keep swimming…just keep swimming…”  (Thanks, Dory!)  I just kept on going.  I had to keep going–or I would have drowned in this thing called life.  I have said before that I was on the brink of depression–and it is true–had I stopped and looked around me at this wide empty ocean my life FELT like at the time, I might have just resolved to stop swimming.  But, again, God kept me afloat!

AnyWHO…

So you are wondering by now what my rant is all about. 

This week, I had a great opportunity to be around other Christian mommy friends while our children played together.  This was great fun for all!  The kids all played so well together and it was great to get time for adult conversation with other mommies right there “in it” with me.

Now, I am no wallflower–I can work a room in conversation with the best of them–but this time, I wanted to observe a little to get to know the group of ladies there.  I learned about several of them–you know, their “stats”–married x years, have x children, ages x, x, and x…live in x–you get it.  All the basic stuff. That part was fun!  I like getting to know new friends!  And these are some great ladies!

But there was just one thing that I heard over and over in conversation that literally makes me want to cry just thinking about it.  I heard moms say things like, “I can’t WAIT for him to start school!” and “my life is going to be so quieter/different/better in a few years when they are ALL in school!” and such as that.  It truly does break my heart to hear those things said–and to think that they were being said with little listening ears at our feet.  I know that MY 5 year old and almost 4 year old hear every word I say about them. 

But to keep from sounding like I’m judging these ladies/mommies…please know that my rant is not about their comments.  Sure, it breaks my heart to hear it!  And I don’t understand how anyone could look on with eager anticipation for the day that her blessings would no longer be in her care.  You see, our children are a gift from God!  (Psalms 127:3)  They are a blessing…an heritage!  WHY would anyone look forward to the day that they are no longer ours?  I mean, if you had a brand new car, would you daydream out your window saying to all your friends, “I am just so excited for the day that the transmission blows and I can leave it at the shop for a while!”  Or…”My life will be SO much quieter/different/better when someone steals my car; gets it off my hands for a while.” 

Or–if you aren’t a car person (I’m not…had to ask my hubby for those!)…we don’t buy our dream home and then long for the day we move out.  We don’t wish away our possessions…so why does it seem that many moms dream about the day they no longer “have to” have their children, the Lord’s greatest gifts to us here on earth, under foot?  No more changing diapers or disciplining or (fill in your least favorite mommy task here).  Quiet.  No questions that demand answers.  No messes to clean.  Or at least for a period of time–typically while the children go to school. 

Now…before you think I’m judging these ladies…please know that my heart hurts about these things because I USED TO SAY THEM.  I used to just long for the day that Brother Bear would go to preschool so I’d have “only” two kids to do for.  Then, thinking ahead a year–when Sister Bear joined him–wow!  Then I’d only have to take care of ONE kid.  Yep.  Sign me up!  I would have signed it in blood at one time.  I was in a dark place and it was the only way I could see any hope getting out. 

But, again, my rant isn’t about what these mommies were saying.  It was a realization I had after thinking (I do that a lot, in case you couldn’t tell).  I remembered “Mrs. Cole” encouraging me during my darkest time–and I realized that other than her, not one other person has ever encouraged me in the role I was created for.  At least not to me directly.  I’ve been in groups where an older woman shared–and those are great also–but not one other friend encouraged me that I was doing what I should be, that it was the Lord’s calling on my life as a mother, that my reward is eternal for wiping snotty noses, changing dirty diapers, fixing ANOTHER cup of milk…not ONE other person encouraged me by reminding me that my children are BLESSINGS, not curses.  Just like my last post, all I’ve ever heard is “you need a break” and “it’ll all be better when they go to school”.

And THAT is what has me fired up tonight.  I heard these moms sharing their hearts openly–and I don’t fault them at all for that!  But what I heard in the replies were things like, “oh you are gonna LOVE it when the house is quiet!” and “Oh wow–only 2 more years of this!”  and “Awesome–you can make it that long!”  And even “oh girl, you can come home and take a nap while they are gone!”  Again–not ONE person encouraged these mommies to “just keep swimming” because her reward is coming and it is SO GREAT!  No one is reminding us that our children are our blessings from the Lord and that we are called to do this thing called mothering if we choose to have children. 

I have thoughts still stirring for a post on the OLDER Titus 2 woman…but as a younger Titus 2 woman, I need and want encouragement!  I want someone to be honest with me, with truth from God’s Word, that raising children is HARD work–but that I was created for it!  That homemaking is hard work, but that I was made to do it!  And it sure would be nice to know that I have a mommy friend who will tell me, “Don’t say that!  Especially around your children!” 

So there.  That’s my rant.  So…do you have someone in your life who will encourage you in the truth?  I hope you all have a “Mrs. Cole” in your life…but pay attention to what your friends say…and be sure to encourage her, too.  🙂

Posted February 2, 2012 by whohearsahorton in Uncategorized

Moms deserve a break! …or do we??   5 comments

***This post includes my thoughts after reading another blog that asked the question, “Do moms deserve a break?”***

I am a wife, mom of three little ones (ages 5 yrs, 3.5 yrs, and 21 months old), a homeschooler, and homemaker.  I do not work a job at all (although I do occasionally–usually seasonally–make fudge and scarves to sell at Christmas time).  I also have experienced depression in my role as a SAHM and homemaker.  I once was the one who said “I deserve a break!”

But as I contemplate the word “deserved”, I can think back and say that I felt I was “entitled” to that break.  Why was I entitled to it?  Dunno.  Maybe because I saw everyone around me getting a break (like a lunch break from a job or grandma next door).  Maybe because I had well-meaning friends tell me I deserved one.  Maybe because I NEEDED one.  But to NEED and to DESERVE have two VERY different meanings.

Did I NEED some “me” time?  ABSOLUTELY.  When my kids were ages 3, almost 2, and newborn–my husband was working not one, but TWO, full-time jobs.  He was gone from home ALL.THE.TIME.  I was tired.  I was alone.  I was in NEED of that break.

I am a Christian, so several Scriptures come to mind to direct my thoughts.  Such as Titus 2:4-5, which gives me my list of priorities as a young woman (“love my husband, love my children, be discreet, chaste, a homemaker, good, obedient to my husband”), and Proverbs 31:27 (“She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness”).  And then there’s Phillipians 2:14, which reads, “Do all things without complaining and disputing”.  (Ya’ll remember how long the Israelites had to stay in the desert because of their complaining???)

Those passages tell me that I AM doing a job.  And even more–they tell me it isn’t a job I’ll get a paycheck for in this life, but that it will reap eternal rewards!  They tell me not to complain about what I’m doing in that job–including the amount of snot, vomit, and dirty diapers I may have to clean up (or wear on my own clothes).  And I take from those passages that I’m doing that job for the Lord–not for my husband…and not for myself.

Anywho…

My hubby is still working two jobs, although not nearly as many hours now as before.  I still have three kiddos, still have no family nearby, still have a home to keep, and still NEED a break sometimes.  But I would be the LAST person to say I “deserve” one.

You see, I chose to be a mother.  I chose to be a homemaker.  I chose to live at a distance from aunts/uncles/grandparents.  I chose to homeschool.  (Note:  all these choices have been made alongside my husband, of course.)

It truly breaks my heart to hear moms say that they do things like go to the gym with a nursery, send their kids to daycare/preschool/school, or hire a regular babysitter JUST for the purpose of getting away from their kids.  Now, don’t hear something here that I didn’t just say.  I’m not saying that I think gym nurseries, preschools, or babysitters are altogether bad or wrong.  I am ONLY saying that it breaks my heart to hear how much moms want to get away from their children.  Those things are just the tool used to do that.  And yes, I know that some of you reading this don’t use those things for those reasons…but some of you do.  And I was almost one of them.  We almost sent our kids to preschool so I would only have to care for one or two of my kids at once.  It was to lighten my load.  I deserved it, right??

Well, then I read the passage in my Bible that tells me that children are a gift…”an heritage from the Lord” in Psalm 127:3!  WHY would I want to get away from my gifts from the Lord?

If you know me well, you know that I carry no measuring stick or gavel.  If you don’t know me well, please trust that I do not have that in my intent here.  (And for goodness sakes, please don’t judge me as being judgmental.)  🙂

I just want to share what I have done to get that much NEEDED break, without having to “get away” from my children and without having to fight for it under the thought of “deserving” it.

FIRST thing–put the Lord first!  Reading His Word and praying and spending time with him before my kids get up in the morning helps me start my day right, gives the first of my day to Him, and sets my mind on the right path for the rest of the day.  I am, without a doubt, a happier mommy and homemaker when I’ve gotten that time with my Creator first thing in my day and without interruption.

SECOND–I get up before my kids almost every day.  Some days it is only 30 minutes earlier–on the days we have no where to go and I don’t need to shower.  I’ll get up and dress, wash my face, brush my teeth and spend time in the Word and in prayer.  Some days I’m up 2+ hours before my kids!  Those are the days I get in my Bible/prayer time, exercise, laundry or cleaning, a shower, and usually eat breakfast in peace before getting them up.  These days are probably my best days!

THIRD–Schedules and routines are my best friend!  I have, for as long as I can think back in my life, always thrived with a schedule/routine in place.  The days that my schedule was filled were my most productive days, and the days that I just woke up and did “whatever” were the days I accomplished NOTHING.  After having my first, Brother Bear, I learned from an amazing resource my friend Lisa loaned me, about how to get him on a routine right from the start–and it made ALL the difference in his days (and nights, I might add).  That book was Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and it is the ONLY book I recommend for that new baby phase.

Brother Bear has only ever known having a routine–and then when Sister Bear was born only 15 months after him, my routine got more detailed, but also got more important in the success of our days.  And you can probably guess that having Baby Bear just shy of 2 years after Sister Bear added more chaos to our days, and our schedule kept us going.

I have a schedule now, too.  I’ll post on that later in specifics, but I got most of my ideas for creating and implementing my schedule from www.Titus2.com and their book called “Managers of Their Homes”.  It is truly amazing and SO helpful in creating an organized day.

So, you are asking, what does scheduling have to do with getting a break???

Well–I have scheduled nap times and now rest times (for my two who no longer nap) during each day at the same time every day.  Baby Bear naps for about 3 hours every day, and during that same block of time, Sister Bear has a rest time on her bed with books, her Leapster game, and maybe a doll and her doctor set–all for quiet play on her bed.  And Brother Bear has his rest time in our basement play room (since he and Sister Bear share a room).  He is allowed to watch a DVD and rest on the couch, or to play with some of the quiet toys down there.  Both Brother Bear and Sister Bear have close to a 2 hour rest time!

Another thing on our daily schedule is scheduled playtimes for the kids–some of the blocks of time are Brother Bear with Sister Bear, or Sister Bear with Baby Bear, or Brother Bear with Baby Bear.  And some of the blocks of time are what I call “alone play time”.  This is where they get a break from each other–and from me–for a SHORT amount of time.  By short, I mean 15-30 minutes, depending on the child’s age and training to spend that time well–and of course, they are in a safe place in their own room when they are alone playing. (Also–I feel I should note here–that scheduled alone time is something we have implemented with our children since they were babies as a means to help foster a bit of independence.  If you have older babies/children, this will take time and patience to implement since they aren’t used to it, but it can be done!)

During both the nap/rest time and the scheduled play times–I have “breaks” worked into my schedule.  During the shorter spurts, I will give myself 15-30 minutes to sit and read, knit, crochet, check email, post a blog post (like this one, which I’m writing during naptime), make a phone call to a friend, or eat lunch–in peace.  🙂  During the longer naptime, I also have scheduled for myself a 1-hour block of time to nap or rest!  Some days I don’t feel I need a nap–but I’ll make myself rest for 30 minutes.  I am getting the breaks that I NEED with this schedule.

Just doing those three things–giving God the first of my day, getting up before my kids, and scheduling the rest of the day ahead of time–allows me to prioritize my day, to get the much needed rest and breaks that I need, and to never feel I am neglecting my priorities.

Some have said before that they feel guilty for wanting some “me” time as a mommy.  I don’t want you to feel guilty!  I’ll say it again–I do believe you may NEED it to be able to give to the Lord, your husband, and your children what they do deserve!  I only want to encourage you to line up what you think your needs are with the Word of God, and don’t let the world encourage you to neglect your God-given purpose in exchange for a fleshly desire.  God will give you the desires of your heart!  Psalm 37:4 reads, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”  I don’t believe, however, that they will contradict what He created you for.  Proverbs 13:4 says “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.”  Be diligent to fulfill the purpose He made you for–and you’ll be blessed, as I have been, with the rest of what you need and desire!

Blessings!

***P.S.  I am absolutely available to help you create or implement a schedule or routine if you need one!  All you have to do is comment here and I can share with you some of the things that I have in my own schedule every day, or to help you see how a schedule could help you with everything from a general daily routine, a housekeeping schedule, a homeschooling schedule (if you homeschool), and anything else!  I look forward to helping you!***

Posted January 14, 2012 by whohearsahorton in Uncategorized

Diastasis Recti…   2 comments

I’m not easily embarrassed AT ALL.  But let me tell you that if you have a severe Diastasis Recti, it can get down right embarrassing.  Maybe I am the one embarrassed when the 128,501,349th person asks me, “When are you due?”  Maybe I choose to be the embarrassed one.  Or maybe, if I’ve heard that dreaded question for the 50th time THAT DAY, I’ll let the one asking be embarrassed.

My youngest, I’ll call him Baby Bear, is now 15 months old.  When he was a tiny baby, I’d just say “I just had a new baby”…but when I started saying just “oh he’s six (muffled word here)…” and they’d assume I had said WEEKS, when he was really 6 MONTHS old, I knew something had to change.  That’s when I started giving them a due date.  I’d always calculate before leaving my house what my due date would be if I were due 3 months from that day.  It was just inevitable that someone would ask the question.  It was just easier and quicker…and less painful…for ALL of us.  But…it was a lie.

So I started saying, “I’m not pregnant”.  When I said that, MOST people would cringe…because they did what they shoulda-woulda-coulda not said if they’d remembered what their mama said.  (I have always heard that if you don’t see crowning, DON’T ASK.)  In saying that, I was embarrassing THEM.  Which (almost) embarrassed me.  Which was just awkward for the both of us.  Then one day, while checking out at my local favorite grocery store, the young lady who was bagging my groceries asked me “when are you due?” and when I replied (in my sweet voice), “Oh, I’m not pregnant” with a smile and half-laugh, she responded with, “Are you SURE???” with that down-up-down again glance toward my belly.  GRRRRRR.  THAT, my friends, was the last straw.

I started searching for anything I could find on the subject.  And to spare you the search engine details…I finally found Lose Your Mummy Tummy by Julie Tupler.  OH.MY.THANKFULNESS.  This is it!  It is the ONLY workout program I could find on my search!  And then…I posted about my D.R. on Facebook, and a friend told me about a blog where the gal was chronicling her journey to correcting her D.R. too!  She even had before/after pics!  And her results were amazing!

AnyWHO…I am now going to start writing about my own journey!  I will post some before and after pics as soon as I can get some made (hubby has to be home to take them, since Brother Bear and Sister Bear don’t know how to get a good straight on shot).  🙂

Tell me if you think you have a diastasis recti!  I want to hear from my readers!  And if you haven’t yet–go NOW to check out Amy’s story!  I sure hope to have similar results from Julie’s program!

And you’ll be happy to know that now, when someone asks me about my due date, I take a moment of their time to educate them on a condition that is not rare, but actually VERY common in both men and women!  I want them to stop asking me…but also to never ask another woman who may be in my shoes.  You’re welcome!  🙂

Posted July 22, 2011 by whohearsahorton in Uncategorized

Pick two…   Leave a comment

I once heard of a retail establishment hanging a sign that read: ”

  1. Quality product.
  2. Fast service.
  3. Low price.

Pick TWO.”

My life right now has a few main priorities, which I have found given to me by the Lord in Titus 2:4-5, which speaks to older women about what they should teach younger women.  (And just to clear things up, I’m still one of the younger!)

AnyWHO…  This Word says I am to “love [my] husband, love [my] children, to be sensible, pure, a homemaker, kind, being subject to [my] own husband, so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (brackets mine).  Husband, children, character, homemaker…not a long list!  WHEW!  But, not the easiest of lists to check off for this list maker and checker!

Lately I have found myself succeeding in maybe TWO areas.  But that means I have also found myself failing in two areas at the same time!  On the days I wake up determined to get all the laundry done (and by “done” I mean at least in the dryer) and to keep my home crumb free…those are the days I feel I’ve done what I need to for my husband regarding his enjoyment of coming home to a clean home, but I’ve let my children run free without the attention they need from me!

Then, there are the days that I scrap the laundry and crumb removal for special moments with my children–those are some very special days, no doubt!!  Those days, I may not even shower–because my priority is to just love on, read to, play with and talk to my children!  And on those days, I forget to make my hubby’s favorite beverage so it’s ready for him when he gets home late one night and is thirsty!  Sure…some would say (and I’ve thought it) that he can make it himself or he can drink water.  Yeah, that’s true.  He is more than capable, and the water is already “fixed”.  But it is so much more a joy to my heart knowing that I’ve done something to help quench his thirst after he has been out working to provide…and working HARD, I might add…so that I am able to be the SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) and homeschooling mom that I feel are parts of my priority list from God!

So in my case, I’m only picking ONE!  I’m not even managing to do two of three things well.  I need to find some way of balancing my life so that it all gets taken care of.  Because God’s sign doesn’t say, “1. Love your husband. 2. Love your children.  3. Take care of your home.  Pick one.”  And I don’t just want to do them–I want to do them WELL!  This comes from my melancholy perfectionist tendencies, but also from the Lord!  He says to run the race so that we may win!  Not just to run!  Who likes to run, anyway?  If I’m running, I better win!

AnyWHO…I wish I could do like I did as a girl and teenager when my room got dirty to the point of not being able to walk in the room (too bad “Clean House” couldn’t come back then!).  I would literally empty every shelf, every drawer, and my entire closet onto my bed and start from scratch.  Sometimes I’d rearrange the furniture first–but what I did with all the “details” of my room was to take it all down or out and put it back in a new place for organization.  Sure…some of it ended up where it had been, because it was in the right place for full functionality and practicality, but most of it needed a new place!  Some of it had to be cleaned before being put back.  Some of it had to be given to someone else who could use it more or better than I had been.  And some of it was simply trash.  Discarded.  Dumped.  Removed.  Gone.  Forever.

I am on a journey right now to not only purge material things that I find unnecessary, but also to purge all the commitments that aren’t part of that priority list (yeah…that means saying “no” to a few things) and also to purge from my heart all the character traits that I don’t want to be!  This is going to require that I first open up my inner closet and empty it all into the middle of the room.  Then, and only then, can I see what’s in there–and if I’m brave enough (and I am) to let someone else see my pile and help me know what needs to go and what needs to stay!  And then…put it all back in an order that I can truly use what’s inside!

Next post…I’ll talk about what I’m doing in my ACTUAL home to get organized.  Purge is the word!  🙂

Posted July 17, 2011 by whohearsahorton in Uncategorized