What’s a Woman to Do?

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What’s a Woman to do?

You never read romantic poems or stories where it mentions anything about  cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning the toilet, or dusting the furniture.  We’ve all heard the term “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  There is an element of truth there.  If we aren’t careful to fix decent meals, then we may find that we are left to ourselves many evenings.  Maybe he’ll decide to go visit Mama.  After all, Mama cooked for him!

If you walked into the home of a woman whose house is so cluttered that you couldn’t walk across the floor without stepping on something, what would be your first impression?  Would it be respect for the lady of the house?  Would you be thinking about how you couldn’t wait to come back for another visit?  I should think not!  You would probably think the same thing that I would:  “GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

Why should our husbands be any different?  Why should he want to walk in a room where there should be a sign posted, with the warning “Enter at Your Own Risk”?

Please don’t think that I’m picking on those ladies who have preschoolers in the home.  I remember how hard it was to keep up with a busy toddler who wanted into everything.  Even with youngsters, you can start training them to pick up the toys about thirty minutes before Daddy is due home.

Keeping the house clean and orderly is a wonderful way to tell your husband that you appreciate and respect him.  Many of us go to great lengths to clean the house when we are expecting company.  Doesn’t the man of the house deserve the same honor?  Should he not be held in high esteem?  After all, he should be seen as much more important than company.  To help keep the home looking as if we are expecting company, we can do a little every day, then on the bigger cleaning days, the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

I met a woman years ago who had piles of clutter everywhere.  I’m talking about piles that were several inches high, and it FILLED the house.  In listening to this woman talk, I found that she was involved in various activities and ministries.  Through her conversation, you could easily tell that she felt that she was quite spiritual with all of her endeavors.  The sad thing is that she was being disobedient in the most important ministry which God gave her – being busy at home!  The one place where she should have concentrated her energies the most is the one that got the least attention!

In Titus 2:3-5, it never mentions that the older women should teach the younger women to be involved in various ministries outside the home.  What it does mention is that they are to train the ladies to love their husbands and children, and to be busy at home.  Don’t misunderstand my point here.  There is nothing wrong with being involved in ministry outside the home.  We should look for opportunities to minister to others, but it must start at home.  Our home is the one place on earth for which we are responsible.  Neglecting it to serve in other capacities may earn us the respect of outsiders, but we may lose the respect and admiration of those within our own household.  We may forfeit ever being able to see our children rise up and call us “blessed.”  We may forfeit ever hearing our husband praise us.  (Prov. 31:28)  I don’t want to risk losing the respect of my loved ones.  How about you?
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

The Waiting Room

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The Waiting Room

I don’t know too many people who enjoy sitting in the waiting room, yet at some point, we will be required to bide our time there.  God has His own waiting room for us.  In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, we find that there are seasons to our lives.  One of those seasons can be God’s waiting room.  For those of us who feel useless, or struggle with a lack of self-worth if we aren’t doing something which we feel is productive, it can be torture to endure.

Let’s take a visit to some of God’s waiting rooms.

First, there is a time to be born. Perhaps God has shown you a ministry He wants to give you.  Before He births it, He has to conceive it in your heart, and then you must go through the ‘pregnancy’ stage where it grows deeply in your spirit.  Finally, you get to experience the birth pangs and ministry is born.

Sometimes God calls us to the waiting room to die. Sometimes dying to our flesh will be a very quick death, similar to one who has had a massive coronary.  Other times, dying to our flesh can be a slow, arduous process, similar to one who is slowly dying of cancer.

We also visit the waiting room for a time to heal.  Whether we’ve been hurt physically or emotionally, sometimes God calls us to the waiting room so that we can experience complete healing.

Other times we may be sent to the waiting room so that God can help us tear down strongholds that are hindering us spiritually.  When we are too busy, we often are unable to see those things which hinder us, so it’s time to visit the waiting room.

There is also a waiting room where we can weep and mourn.  Before we can experience the true laughter and dancing, we may go through devastating times that require us to just sit in the waiting room, soaking up God’s comfort like a sponge.  Eventually, we will find laughter and dancing replacing the depths of our mourning.

There’s also a time to embrace and a time to refrain.  We have seasons in our lives where we will be heavily involved in ministry, but sometimes God calls us to the waiting room and asks us to refrain for a while.

There’s also a time to give up.  If God is calling you to give up something, yet you stubbornly hold on to it, He may call you to the waiting room for some counseling.  He’ll do whatever it takes to get to the root of why you refuse to give it up.

There’s a time to be silent.  Sometimes God calls us to the waiting room just so we will learn to be still.  He wants to teach us to be quiet and listen to Him, and sometimes it’s only a visit to the waiting room where He is finally able to get our attention.

There’s another waiting room that can be an intense waiting, for there is a time for war and time for peace.  When we go through seasons that involve intense warfare over a situation, God may call us to His waiting room.  Once the spiritual battle is won, He may quickly transfer us to the waiting room of peace so that we can take some time to be rejuvenated from the intensity of spiritual battles.

While we may not enjoy the waiting room, God uses it to show us that His power is made perfect in our weakness. (II Corinthians 12:9) Jesus is the one who perfects of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and sometimes the perfecting process requires a visit to the waiting room.

Are you in the waiting room right now?
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Toss it Overboard

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Toss it Overboard

I have noticed that occasionally the Lord will allow us to go through storms of life so that He can bring to the surface things that are hidden.

Do you ever feel like you are a ship, carrying too much cargo, and headed for stormy seas?  Sometimes the cargo we carry may be stored ‘under the deck.’  In other words, it is buried in the deep recesses of our heart.  God can see the rebellious attitudes, our never-ending quest to please man, bitterness, deep hurts that need healing, or even fears.  Whatever we may have hidden, God still sees it, and He wants to bring those things to light so that we can be free from them.

Paul was on a ship during a storm of hurricane proportions.  The ship took such a violent battering that they began to toss things overboard in order to lighten their load and save themselves. (Acts 27:13-44)

When God takes us through storms, He wants us to see those hidden things and toss them overboard.  He wants to help us lighten our load, taking on his yoke. (Matthew 11:28-30) When we learn to toss things overboard during our stormy struggles, God will help us to persevere, growing and maturing in Him. (James 1:2-4)

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

The Quiet Hour

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The Quiet Hour

Quiet?  What’s that?  As moms, we can all relate to the having the feeling that we just don’t have enough time to read the Word and pray.  We mistakenly think that we can make it through the day in our own strength.

For those of us who are stay-at-home moms with young children, we may find that naptime is a good time to get alone with the Lord.  As the children get older and outgrow naptime, we can still institute an afternoon quiet hour (or 1/2 hour, if necessary).  You may find it helpful to have a timer on hand.  You gently instruct the children to find something to do by themselves until the timer goes off.  They are not allowed to play with each other, nor are they allowed to listen to music, play on the computer, or watch TV.  They can read a book, color, or quietly play with some toys, but they must be instructed not to bother Mommy until the timer goes off.  (Of course, a real emergency would supersede the instructions!)

We do our children a great disservice if we fail to teach them how to be alone.  Too often, we fall into the trap of entertaining them ourselves, or with the TV, or numerous other activities.  They need to have times of solitude so that they know how to be alone.  This will help them to be open to hearing God’s still small voice.

We can’t hear God speak above all the clamor and distractions, so we can’t expect our precious children to hear Him speak when they are constantly with other people, are busy, or are being distracted by many things around them.  Recently, my own daughter has come to me on many occasions, expressing her desire to hear God speak.  I wasn’t sure how to answer her beyond telling her that He often speaks to us in a still, small voice, not heard by the ear, but felt in the heart.  I find myself pondering on starting a daily quiet time.  I think my first prayer will be for her to hear her precious Father’s voice speaking to her….
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Solitude

Solitude

Most women will admit that they feel guilty if they try to take some time for themselves.  We get so caught up in our “Martha” role that we forget to do our “Mary” role. (Luke 10:38-42)  Often times, we are so caught up being like Martha that we end up being uncomfortable when we try to switch and be more like Mary.

A precious friend of mine, whose name was Mary, went to be with Jesus recently.  Our pastor paid the ultimate tribute to her when he said that Mary was a marvelous example to us of someone who could be busy like Martha, yet never failed to take time at the feet of our Lord.  Mary certainly knew the importance of those times of solitude with Jesus.

When I first started teaching a Sunday school class, Mary was one of the ladies who faithfully attended.  At first I was rather intimidated, having a lady who was quite a bit older than me in attendance.  I was thinking, “She should be teaching me!”  As time passed, I got to know Mary better and deeply appreciated her wit and wisdom.  The ladies who attended the class really looked forward to coming every Sunday, not because I was some great teacher, but because we couldn’t wait to see what Mary had to say!  She was so much like the Proverbs 31 lady.  When Mary opened her mouth, wisdom and faithful instruction easily flowed from her lips. (Proverbs 31:26)  She will be greatly missed by many in the years to come.

What we must realize about solitude is that it is a MUST for us.  Even Jesus had times of solitude.
He spent forty days alone in the desert. (Matthew 4:1-11)
He spent time alone before choosing the twelve disciples. (Luke 6:12)
After the twelve disciples returned from a preaching and healing mission in Mark 6:31, Jesus called them to a quiet place to rest with Him.
After healing a leper, Jesus went off to be alone. (Luke 5:16)
He took only three disciples with Him to a solitary place for the transfiguration. (Matthew 17:1-9)
He went off by Himself to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane before giving His life for us. (Matthew 26:36-46)

If the Son of God needed times of solitude, how can we possibly think we don’t need it?
Solitude is not selfishness.  Rather, it is vital for us if we hope to accomplish the tasks set before us.  Rest and refuel before you try to meet the needs of your own ‘masses’ of people.

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Shifting Sand

Shifting Sand

When my daughter was a toddler, we frequently sang a song about the wise man and the foolish man.  I had no idea how the truths of that song would affect me I in years to come.

Part of keeping our house on the rock is to make sure that we refrain from choosing the better over the best.  Sometimes I see the need to give up some very good activities so that I am able to grab hold of the best.

In my quest to try and keep my house built on the rock, I frequently assess the activities in my life.  I usually try to do this about every three months.  Occasionally, I may need to do it on a weekly basis during excessively busy times of the year, such as the Christmas season.  There are also some days when our schedule is extremely hectic.  On those mornings, I will often surmise each activity, trying to place the most important ones at the top of my priority list.

For instance, I was looking forward to attending a dinner with our women’s group at church.  It started at 6:30.  That same evening, my daughter had PE class from 5:00-6:00 P.M.  Time did not allow me to do both, so I had to make a choice.  While the women’s dinner would have been fun and uplifting, my daughter is higher on my priority list, so my choice was to give up attending the dinner (the better choice) so that Rachel could still attend PE (the best choice).  By making this choice, I kept my house built firmly on the rock.  It also made a deep impression on my daughter when she realized that I saw her activity as more important than my own.

My normal routine is to attend church on Wednesday evenings.  However, one Wednesday, I could tell that my husband was incredibly stressed.  Since my husband is higher on my list of priorities than my church attendance, I chose to drop off Rachel at church.  I came home to be with my husband while we had the opportunity to be alone for a while.  Dean was very pleased to see that I viewed ministering to him as more important than church attendance. Giving him a chance to vent his frustrations of the day was very therapeutic.  Again, I set aside the better choice (church attendance), in place of the best choice (ministering to my husband).

Another opportunity for making a choice between building on shifting sand or the rock came when a friend discovered that her son had a cyst on the brain.  I had been unable to reach her, so I left a message for her to call me the next day, even if it was during our homeschool hours.  She knows that I am adamant about not being disturbed during those precious schooling hours.  Hearing my message let her know that I saw her need as one of top priority.

I went through a spell where I had not been able to write any devotions.  I simply did not have the time.  While I enjoy writing, and even feel the Lord has gifted me to write, I cannot let it take the place of my own personal time with the Lord.  I must also be careful to not let writing take priority over my family and managing things at home.

During that period of time, it would have been very easy for me to become frustrated over not having any new material to send to those on my mailing list.  Instead, I focused on building on the rock.  I knew that if I kept my priorities in order, daily choosing the best in place of the better, God would honor those decisions.

Eventually, I sat down one evening to write.  It was like a dam that burst forth.  Not only was I was able to write six devotions in a very short amount of time, but I could not seem to write fast enough to get my thoughts on paper.

As I have had to set aside a few of the things that I really wanted to do, in order to choose God’s best for me, I have had no regrets.  God is so faithful in pouring out His peace and granting clarity of mind to me.  The sense of balance I feel in making choices that honored Him has made it easier for me to say “no” to that shifting sand so that I can say “yes” to a firm, strong, and stable rock.

Are you choosing to build on the rock?
© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Power Outage

Power Outage

Early one morning, our power went out.  I had no idea it was out until I opened my eyes and saw the lights flashing on my alarm clock.

Samson had a ‘power outage,’ and he was also unaware that he had lost his power. (Judges 16)  Just like Samson, we can also suffer from a power outage that can be very subtle in sneaking up on us.

Samson thought that he could ‘toy’ with Delilah and the Philistines, yet maintain his power.  He didn’t realize that day by day, as he played with them, he was becoming self-sufficient and even arrogant.  Next, he became less dependent upon God.

We do the same thing.  We play with worldly passions, and when we don’t see an immediate consequence, we continue in that path.  We think we can handle things on our own, so we quit committing our daily work to the Lord.  Finally, we face a power outage, and we never saw it coming.

The power outage may start like this:

A major event takes place, so instead of reading the Word in the morning, we turn on the TV instead.  We only intend to watch it for a few minutes.  Suddenly, we hear the rest of the family arising and we realize that we’ve been engrossed in watching the TV for forty minutes.  Now it’s too late to read the Word.

We manage to go through our day just fine, so we don’t feel too bad about missing out on our quiet time with the Lord.  It makes it easier the next morning for us to sleep in when we’ve had a rough night.  After all, we did just fine yesterday without our quiet time, so what’s one more day?

Since we still have some spiritual oil in our reserve tank, we manage to gracefully get through another day, even if we didn’t read the Word.

The following morning, we decide to quickly check our email before doing our devotions.  Before we know it, we’ve been online for over thirty minutes.  We realize that we still need to jump in the shower before the rest of the family awakens.  Devotions will have to wait again.  Now we feel a little pressured to get our shower finished before the others start yelling, “Mom!  I need the bathroom!”  The pressure builds during the day, making us feel like a pressure cooker that is ready to blow its lid.

The next morning we still remember the stresses of the previous day, so we opt to get a jump-start on our day.  We get our shower done early.  Next, we focus on finishing some chores.

By this time, we are having a severe ‘power outage.’  It manifests itself later when one child is facing a crisis with a friend at school.  With our power gone, we have no mercy to offer this child.  Our youngest child falls and gets hurt, and we lack in compassion.  As if this isn’t enough, another child is struggling with a new math concept and our patience is waning very thin.  For the friend who is in desperate need of a listening ear, we fail to notice that God wanted to use us to minister to her need.  Instead, we ask her if we can return her call later since we are busy.

The only way to defeat the Delilahs and the Philistines in our own life is to guard our time with the Lord.  We must remain connected to the Power Source so that we don’t experience a power outage.

What Delilahs and Philistines are leading you toward a power outage?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

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