Thursday, February 14, 2013

lacking sense or oxen mess...

encouragement.  mommies need it.  lots of it.  we are in a phase of our life that is unlike anything else we've experienced.  there are tiny tornadoes living under our roof that we have been charged to feed, wash, comfort, encourage, feed again, teach, and above all else, train them up with a realistic (as opposed to the worlds unrealistic) understanding of God and the truths He has given us in His word.  that's a lot of pressure.  and so, we encourage each other that the days are long but the years are short and to remember the things that are really important and let go of the things that are not.  

but in that good meaning encouragement, there is sometime a bit lacking.  mostly, i think, in 2 ways.  

we encourage someone to do what WE feel is important, instead of reminding them to consult the Lord about what is important for their family.   or, the "encouragement" is so forgiving that it becomes an excuse for them to not be working at the things that the Lord would want them to be doing.  

i've been spending a lot of time praying about these and seeking out direction from the Lord.  i want to know what is important to be spending my time on, and i mean more than just the vague answer of "my husband and my children."  i want to know what is important for my family specifically.  i want to know how to find the time to get done the things that i need to get done.  and i want peace about the things that are ok to leave undone.  

and so, i want to share with you what He's been showing me.   it may be a little scattered.  sorry, that's just how my brain works...

Proverb 12:11
"He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense."

let me just say, ouch!

immediately i was stuck by how blunt this verse is.  but maybe you don't quite feel it.  let me share.  

look at the first man.  he tills his land.  now, you have to pay attention and till your land at the right time.  you can't till when the ground is still frozen.  and you don't till when your seedlings are coming up or you will kill them.  no.  this guy pays attention to what needs to be done and does the right work at the right time.  

now look at the second man.  he pursues worthless things.  it doesn't say that he sins.  he may even be a good guy.  but he's spending his time on things that don't matter.  immediately, the worthless things that popped into my head included (but aren't limited too) making outfits on pinterest, reading fictional books, reading recreational blogs about home design or style.  these things aren't bad.  but they don't do me much real good.  not now, when there are real tangible things that i should be doing instead.  

so now look at the effects that their choices have.  the first man has plenty of bread.  obviously he's not lacking in the things that his family needs.  the second man is lacking in sense.  he's just being dumb.  thus the "ouch!"  to put it how i felt it: when i decide that i would rather sit at my computer looking at pinterest instead of drag my bum downstairs and change the laundry, i'm being stupid and my family is going to feel the effects of my choice.  

and this isn't an isolated verse.  

Proverb 28:19 "He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty."

then you have a warning to not be slack or half hearted about your work, because it's nearly as bad at the person who just tears everything down. 

Proverb 18:9 "He who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys."

so i made a list of things i can do to help me stay on task with the right work at the right time and to safe guard against wasting my time on the worthless.
your list will be different than mine, but here's a few i came up with...

-make a to-do list and stay on it
-shut down the computer and put it away so that it will be less tempting 
-set a timer for work and a timer for breaks
-read fun things like books and blogs in the evening, not during my work hours (the day)
-do more homemade projects (in the evenings) that will foster more joy & pleasure in the things we do have and hedge that desire to "look for ideas" too much

next, i could see the plethora of verses throughout the Proverbs that talk about training up your child.  so obviously, that one is a big priority.  bigger than getting the "other things" done that i was hoping to do.  so, i need to be sure that when my child needs instruction, whether that be encouragement or verbal correction or discipline, i have to set aside the housework and make time for that.  ok, priority on the list!

and then i was brought to Proverb 14:4
"Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox."

AMEN!  even as a housewife, my end goal should not be a clean stable/house but to be profitable in my work.  a stable without an ox sure is clean, but there is so much good and profit that comes from having a hard working animal like an ox!  a home that is being profitable is going to be messy!  when i'm spending hours a day homeschooling my boys, there is going to be paper scraps across the floor and pencil marks across the table.  when i'm teaching them about measuring and mixing and how to safely use the stove there are going to be slops and spills in the kitchen.  mess is going to happen.  

and then i'm going to have to take time to clean out the stall once in a while (which i instantly relate to a bathroom used by little boys!).  it's not good for that ox if he's sleeping in a pile of yuck every night.  and it's not good for my boys to wear the same undies again today because i didn't get that load of laundry done.  but i also don't expect my "stall" to be show room worthy every day.  again, living is messy.

even when you read of the Proverb 31 woman, who is so highly esteemed for all that she gets done, never does it mention how clean her house is.  but she is exalted for her hard work!  in the 27th verse it says 

"She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness."

the bread of idleness is the results of laziness.  her family enjoys the results of her hard work and planning.  

all that to say, i still can't give you a list of "godly housework".  i can only encourage you to pray and seek the Lord about what you need to be spending your time on.  if you want some idea's to get you started, here's a few of the things He's been pointing out to me...

-meal planning better so that supper is a relaxing time rather than a stresser or a last minute expense
-taking the time to patch those little jeans so it slows down the wearing out process of those little pants
-getting all the other dishes done before i start supper, so there is less to do afterwards
-starting the washing machine first thing in the morning so that it can work while i get ready for the day

spend time talking to God about what you need to get done.  ask for direction and peace about what would be good for your family.  and find much joy in serving both our great God and your family.

and next time you are sharing some much needed encouragement with a mommy friend, remind her to work hard for the Lord at the things that are best for her family.  :)


  1. This is great stuff Sarah! And it has been on my mind a lot lately (I get to come back and talk about time management with kids in an upcoming Titus Tuesday), and let's just say it causes you to evaluate what you do, why you do it, and when you do it. The messes go with the game, but YES!! on the working hard no matter what our situation (and no two households will look exactly alike).

  2. AMEN! Love all this you said Sarah..these lessons are close to my heart recently too as I've been seeking to do the 'better' things, because there is SO MUCH that CAN be pursued as a mom/wife at home. Love the verses, and may the Lord continue to bless you with wisdom in managing your household. *hugs*


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