Choosing a Direction

DecisionI am amazed at the industriousness of the Proverbs wife. Yes, she has servants, a situation that could easily breed laziness but this isn’t the case for the Virtuous Woman. Her list of accomplishes continues to grow because she rises before dawn and works well into the night.

 

I wonder how she decided where to focus her energy. Sometimes my brain, incapable of absorbing everything I am interested in or need to learn, feels very close to imploding upon itself. Whether the topic is internet marketing or website optimization to further my husband’s business, appropriate homeschool curriculum for my children or online piano lessons for myself, information is alway accessible.

 

Perhaps the Proverbs woman had an easier time without the constant influx of knowledge and lack of Google-centred technology. Unfortunately, all of this access to information can keep us from what is truly important. She likely had fewer options, so she made her choice and asked someone to show her what she needed to know. I’m sure there was very little research, no complicated marketing plans and much relationship development along the way. Although she was strong and independent, I am almost positive that this woman prayed and allowed herself to be led by God and her husband. She knew what she had to do and she got down to business.

 

In time, I am learning to listen. After accomplishing my goals and becoming established in my career, God decided He had a different plan. I am learning more every day about the person He is helping me to become and though she is nothing like I expected, I am truly enjoying the journey.

 

So, am I finding my direction? As I am writing this, I am thinking that I need to find focus in some very specific areas. When I am through here, I am going to make a list to help me establish my short-term priorities. For the next 30 days, I will devote most of my energy to only one goal in each category:

 

1. My Relationship with God

2. My Marriage

3. My Children

4. My Church and Community

5. Myself

 

Where are you in the process of choosing your direction? Are you already settled or have you been tossing ideas around for a long time? How do you prioritize? I know that I will be inspired by your ideas.

Godly Decision-Making

Decision2Our family is faced with a large decision at the moment and the answer isn’t clear to us. We know what we want but we are trying earnestly to seek the Lord; to be objective and walk in his will. We are willing to be obedient even if the answer isn’t the one we hope for. Unfortunately, His will for us isn’t always cut and dried. This is one of those times when we just want to shout out, “Lord, please just tell us what to do!”

 

Some people believe that every action we take is planned out by God, even before we are born. I know that God plans out our lives but I think He leaves some of the details up to us. I believe as long as we make decisions that honour his name, He’s okay with that. I do think He will guide us if we give Him the opportunity though.

 

Sometimes, you can lay your decision out on the table, look at the options and see a pretty clear direction. Other times, talking through the options only serves to bring more questions to mind.

Of course it’s important to look at situations from every angle, examining the pros and cons. We need to consider how our decisions will affect our circumstances and the people around us.

 

The bible tells us to seek wise counsel from other Christians. We are doing that. The bible also tells us to look in the Word for answers. We are doing that too. Doesn’t it also say to be still and to listen to what God has to say? This is the part I have trouble with. I definitely need to learn to wait patiently for his answers.

 

At the top of my list of favourite bible verses are these:

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

I am very thankful for these verses as they have helped me to wait through many similar situations. When I am seeking God, and trusting Him fully, I often find that circumstances will shift and that next steps become more well-defined with time.

 

Are you facing big questions about your future? How do you go about making the tough decisions?

After the Holidays

NativityIt felt a little strange to be in the stores today. The hustle and bustle has died down and the Valentine’s Day displays are going up. At home, the tree is down and the decorations put away and just a little sadness remains. There is always so much build up to Christmas; I guess the let down is somewhat inevitable.

 

As we move into the New Year, wouldn’t it be great if we could keep some of the “Holly Jolly”? Doesn’t everyone just seem a little nicer at Christmastime? Don’t people seem to smile a little more often? We are often more willing to share our time or money with those less fortunate. We make peace with family members with whom we fail to see eye to eye during the year. The music, the candlelight services, the general spirit of Christmas . . . for most folks, these things seem to make the world a little brighter for a month or so.

 

Assuming our focus, through the Christmas season was on Baby Jesus and what God has done for us, wouldn’t it be excellent, if each day continued to begin with thoughts of Him? As the Christmas carols are replaced with worship music and the Nativity stories with other bible readings and daily devotions, I hope He can not just be the “reason for the season” but the “light of my life”.

 

In our family, as we set our goals for 2014, we will be seeking guidance from the Lord and asking His blessing over the year.

How do you avoid tucking Jesus away with the decorations at the end of the season?

Procrastination

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“All we have to do is decide what to do

with the time that is given to us”

Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)

 
 

 I am a planner. I’m great at making lists, creating charts, and designing schedules. I’m not so great at sticking with any of them. Last year, in August, I made a beautiful homeschool schedule, bound and determined to follow it with my children. I filed it in a binder and set it, open, on our schoolroom desk, allowing for easy acess. The first and second week of school came and went before I looked at that schedule again. Don’t get me wrong. We had two very successful weeks. I had our basic direction laid out in my head and the kids learned a great deal.

 

The same is true in my work life. I write out to-do lists regularly. When I follow them, I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to cross items off the lists and I tend to be very productive. When I don’t follow them, distraction becomes an issue. Although I am very busy, I tend to tackle my priorities in an order quite different than expected. I like to call it productive procrastination. When a big project is afoot, you can guarantee that the kids’ toy bins will be uncluttered, old or too-small clothing will be given away and I will have the neatest, tidiest desk you have ever seen.

 

Here’s the thing. I want to be a writer. I read blogs about writing. I research possible markets for articles. I’ve even enrolled in a comprehensive course. The problem? Well, as you can see from my last entry, I haven’t been writing.

 

The Proverb’s 31 woman could not possibly have been a procrastinator. It’s obvious that she did not succumb to the distractions that we have today. Okay, so in her world there were no social networking sites, no email, no cell phones, and very little to read. Instead she worked diligently, reached out to others and earned respect from those whose lives she touched.

 

With God’s help, I am becoming more disciplined in other areas of my life. I hope to do the same with my writing. My short-term goal is to write 15 minutes a day and I’ve set my smartphone alarm to remind me.

 

Do you have an area of your life where procrastination is an issue? What can you do, today, to move forward?

Embracing Chaos

abstractMy life is full of the unexpected. As a young adult, I had all my ducks in a row. I had experienced culture and fast-paced city life. Settling into my career in the suburbs, I anticipated stability in family life. When the man of my dreams whisked me away to a rural community though, I never looked back. Now I am enjoying the serenity of starry nights, clean air and non-existent traffic. Good thing too, because I would have trouble finding peace if I looked for it in my chaotic life. In my youth, I couldn’t wait for stability. Now it turns out my restless spirit is much more powerful.

 

Who am I really? I’ve been a school board teacher, a homeschooling parent, a foster mom, a host mom to foreign exchange students, my husband’s I.T. department/accountant and a freelance writer. Ask me next month and you might hear something totally different.

 

Hosting exchange students was never in the master plan. Neither was providing foster care. Running a business? Nope. Homeschooling? Nada. I was going to be a career mom. Plain and simple. I was going to teach other people’s children and be the perfect wife and mother on evenings and weekends. Of course, the best laid plans always seem to find their own direction.

 

Somewhere along the line, Hubby and I decided that we would like to help others, so we opened our home. Teenage foster kids began to trickle in on weekends. Daytrips, outdoor adventures and games nights became the norm. We were having a blast. When occasional weekends turned into long-term care, entertainment moved over to usher in the daily grind. Homework battles, discipline issues and tied-up telephones reigned. In the midst of the adventure, our own children arrived. Though life was no longer all fun and games, we and our children developed relationships we hope will last a lifetime.

 

As foster children eventually moved on and maternity leaves ended, faith and maternal instincts began to have their way with my mindset. Like many moms, holding that real live baby changed the way I thought about daycare forever. Since staying home was not yet an option, we hired a live-in Filipina nanny to bridge the gap. And so began our family’s interest in other cultures. Intrigued, we were inspired to host  Japanese exchange students. All of these young women have been a delight and they too will always be a part of our family.

 

I have since given up my career in favour of supporting my husband in business. I’ve also revisited an adolescent dream and taken up freelance writing. We have decided to homeschool our children too. We now have a great deal of flexibility in schedules and curriculum along with the time to nurture their spiritual development. The children are thriving. It will soon be time to decide what the next leg of our journey will be. Home education and two work-from-home parents means the options are limitless.

 

We opened our home to bless others. Little did we know that we would be the ones to receive the blessings. I have learned to love change and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Though change can be stressful, I am learning to embrace chaos and find joy in every situation.

 

What’s the most unexpected turn your life has taken? Are you resenting it, embracing it or somewhere in between?

 

Who IS the Proverbs Woman?

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 The Bible lays out for us several goals to strive for. Many may  say these are impossible to meet and ask us why we would      even try? For Christian women, Chapter 31 in the book of  Proverbs is a guide to live by.

Who IS the Proverbs Woman?


The wife of noble character (NIV, NLT)
The virtuous woman (KJVR)
A capable, intelligent and virtuous woman (Amplified)

She is creative and resourceful, hardworking and determined. She is a succesful entrepeuner but never solely for her own interests. Rather, she willingly gives back to her family. The Lord has given her what she needs. Though discovering those talents might be a challenge, she hones them to perfection. She is always ready and prepared to do the Lord’s work. She sacrifices for her family.

 

The virtuous woman ensures that her family and household are well taken care of and she is well kept and presentable. She provides support, respect and encouragement to her husband. The old adage, “behind every successful man is a loving wife” stands true in this woman’s life.

 

Though I am a long way from being the woman described in this chapter, I see only the benefits in striving to become such a strong, capable, giving, productive being.

 

Welcome to my blog. I hope you’ll join me and grow with me as we walk together on this journey to becoming the Proverbs Woman.