Using our Gifts as Women of Faith

How has your husband encouraged you

to grow and use your gifts for the kingdom?

My husband sent me this wonderful article today from the Gospel Coalition called Wives Speak Out, and I just had to share it.  I urge you all to take the time to read some of the brief answers from these godly, hard-working women who are not the oppressed, mousey, house-bound wives that the world would sometimes see them as simply because they “submit” to God and their husbands.

These are examples of women who pursue their dreams, ambitions, and gifts as nurses, writers, teachers, musicians, etc., in ways that do not oppose the gospel or compromise their calling as wives and mothers. In fact, their calling as makers of the home and godly wives arguably under-girds these other pursuits and enlivens them.  Indeed, God calls us all to bless the body with our talents and gifts both inside and outside of the home. These women speak out about how their husbands support and encourage them in them in this.

Read and be inspired!

In the article, they all responded to the question “how has your husband you to grow and use your gifts for the kingdom?”

Here’s my answer: My primary love and calling is wife and mom. There is not doubt about that, but I also have an entrepreneurial spirit and feel called to use my other gifts in writing, music, and the occasional theatrical endeavor as well. I can say that Greg has always been encouraging of my desire to pursue these things. He has cheered me on in plays, helped me pursue a degree in creative writing, and supported my musical endeavors countless times, staying home with the baby so I can go to rehearsals, etc. He has never shut down any of my crazy ideas to start an herb business, start a baby music class, or teach a yoga class. However, he has wisely counseled me a number of times to not do too much. He has sought to protect me from overcommitment, which I tend to do so often! I have a hard time saying no, and Greg has gently, lovingly helped me weigh out decisions, and do what is wisest for our family. I trust him and seek is opinion and counsel. I know he wants to see me use my gifts for the kingdom and for my joy and that blesses me immensely.

How do you answer this question? Please comment below!

“Words of Affirmation” Day

In four years of marriage, I’ve learned that Greg often receives love through “words of affirmation.” Of course he knows that I love him and that I am thankful for him, but when I just assume that he knows and fail to verbalize it, I often miss out on opportunities to love him in a way that he receives it most poignantly. I simply melt when I hear him vacuuming upstairs or changing a diaper! It’s not flowers and chocolate (although those are nice too), but it speaks love to me most profoundly sometimes!

In light of this concept of seeking to speak my husbands “love language,” I thought that with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday we could start what I hope will become a family tradition, called the “Thankfulness Box.”

Inside are the names of family and friends who will be around our Thanksgiving table. When a name is drawn, that person shares at least one thing they are thankful for. This provides a fun way to slow down and let that Turkey settle, ponder the things we are thankful for, count some of our blessings, and hopefully bless those around us with words of affirmation.

Will you join me in this tradition? You can do it simply, using a hat and some scraps of paper, or get fancy and bust out the craft glue! I decided to re-purpose this Kleenex box and some old vintage scraps of material from my Grandma’s sewing room.

Either way, lets not let another Thanksgiving come and go without stopping to really give thanks!

At the Edge of the Deep

Have you ever found yourself
at some jagged edge
where earth yawns out into ocean?
In the wake of its frightening beauty
you are breathless.

Dash and fizz of waves against rock,
mangled seaweed tossed in foam,
briny sting of air, you can just taste.

Dizzy, you stand at its great mouth.
The earth is on its toes
tottering at the edge of the deep.

(From, Maineland, by Caitelen Schneeberger)

Though I haven’t physically stood at a coastline like this in years, I still sometimes feel like I’m teetering on the edge of one, struggling to keep my balance.  I know I stand on firm ground, yet it’s hard not to be thrown off by busyness, work, family drama, sickness, worrying about tomorrow, etc. Like the tumultuous depths of the sea, God’s ways are unfathomable. His will is good, yet in the midst of trials, doesn’t it often feel like we’re flopping chaotically and without purpose in a raging sea?

If you’re standing at that coastline, and you raise your gaze toward the horizon, everything suddenly looks calm. A smooth, even line separates the sky from the sea.  You can still hear the fierce rush of everything at your feet, but if you stop trying to follow the chaos of it and focus on the ground beneath you and the still skyline in the distance, it becomes more of a cathartic experience.

I practice yoga now and again for the physical benefits of relaxation, flexibility, and balance, and I’ve learned as I practice that when attempting to hold a balance pose, you must find an unmoving spot on the floor or wall to fix your gaze. If you keep looking down at your feet, or at what your arms are doing, or worse, at someone else who is struggling to find her balance as well, you are bound to lose focus and fall.

When we fix our eyes on things that are fleeting and unstable, we will be swept under the waves of doubt, worry, and sin. We will be caught off guard by tragedy, thrown off track by people who let us down, and embittered by circumstances that are out of our control. We need to raise our eyes and fix our gaze on the unmoving LORD. We need to  stop trying to completely understand the chaos or change it. We need to stop trying to fight against it.

What is chaos to us, is actually God’s perfectly designed plan, and the more we submit to that, the less thrown off we will be by those trials and the more we will begin to see those things as opportunities for our sanctification and growth.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2)

For “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,  who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Cough it up!!

When we get a cough, they are just annoying, and sometimes painful, but we do get them for a reason—usually to bring out all the yucky stuff doesn’t belong. Piggybacking on my last post about making horehound cough syrup, this article from one of my favorite herb blogs was super helpful in giving me a better perspective on the purpose for coughs. Certain herbs are helpful in expectorating the mucous that forms, and John, The Herb Mentor, brings us a wonderful recipe from a well respected herbalist on how to make our own cough drops this winter.

Blessings!