The Freedom To Form Standards, The Grace To Walk Away

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Do you ever feel insecure and wonder what people think about you? I sure do! And it’s not just because I have an online presence and hope people online don’t think I’m crazy. I don’t worry so much about that anymore – I learned a long time ago that I can’t please everyone!

We were at the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention this past week, and every time I share online that we are headed to another convention there is a little part of me that cringes. People think we are on the road a lot, but we only did 2 conventions with our businesses this year and attended another one as a couple.

For years I had a stance to not attend shows or do parties with my businesses. I felt like I worked enough from home and I wasn’t going to leave my babies. And then we started doing conventions. What changed is that suddenly my husband had a product to bring along, and so it wasn’t all about me. We were in this as a family, and it has been worth it to travel. But it means leaving my younger children home with Nana or Aunt, and I always feel so guilty! It’s honestly not so much about feeling guilty for myself. I know they love spending time on the farm with Nana and she takes great care of them. It comes down to the age old question, “what must people think of me that I’ll leave my young children at home for the weekend?

Can you relate? Women crave to be accepted, and even though we stand firm as homeschooling mothers in stances that are not popular in the culture, we don’t want our friends around us to judge. For the record, I’ve never felt judged by my friends for leaving on business trips. I think it’s all in my head!

I think part of this feeling is just pride. We don’t want others to look down on us. Sean and I have changed our opinions on a number of issues over the years. We have deeply regretted how ultra conservative we were in our early years of marriage, because it led to us being critical and prideful.

We once used to be 100% quiverful. I even wrote a blog post about it years ago. Now we have a heart to have children for the Lord, but have seen the wisdom in spacing out my pregnancies so my health doesn’t totally collapse.  Do you know how controversial this is, especially online? To be truly committed to the Lord surely means to be 100% quiverful, right?

We used to be committed to the integrated family church model. Now we don’t have a problem with sending our children to a Sunday School class, provided we trust the teachers and feel it’s a safe environment.

I could go on and on about all the things we’ve had to admit we were wrong about. It’s humbling to admit that you have changed your mind. It’s easy to share all the super conservative standards you have among friends, because those are viewed as making you a godly family. It’s not as easy to change in ways that people feel like you must be going soft.

I’ve felt such freedom in letting go of some standards that I feel are more man made. There has to be a balance. Follow the straight and narrow path when it comes to true commandments from God. There are many standards that are black and white with no grey in between. But is the Bible truly definitive in its stance for or against Sunday Schools or even wearing skirts only? I know some of you believe that it is, but the case is difficult to make. Sometimes it comes down to every family deciding what is best for them, and then leaving it at that.

So with that being said, I’m not going to try to convince you to follow my lead and not be 100% quiverful. Your body might handle it just fine. I’m not going to try to convince you that it’s ok to wear jeans with a tunic shirt. That’s my own personal opinion as of the year 2017 with my husband giving me his input.

Let’s give each other that freedom. Hold each other accountable for the true standards found in the Bible, and give grace to each other for all of those gray areas. Makeup, modesty, dating/courtship, eating standards…we look to God for wisdom in all of these areas and try to follow how the Holy Spirit is leading us. But don’t try to pull one or two vague sentences out of the Bible and make it a gospel principle.

Hold yourself accountable before God, but also be open to changing. We have had to change our stance over the years. We used to not celebrate Christmas. Now we LOVE celebrating Christmas! Don’t fall into a rut where you never examine your convictions for years on end. But make sure you examine your convictions with the Lord right beside you, because it can be easy to get weary and you start giving up convictions out of fatigue.

Don’t give up! Keep pressing forward. Reject the man made labels and create a family environment that is full of God’s spirit.

 

 

On Charity, 1 Corinthians 13 and Mothering

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1 Corinthians 13 is one of those famous chapters in the Bible. Sometimes the chapters that are so popular tend to get glossed over. We read the verses and can almost quote them and we don’t let them sink into our hearts.

I read through these verses this morning and wanted to share them with you, in the hopes that it would encourage your day. Some thoughts stood out to me, so I’ll share them under each verse.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 

It’s easy to sound spiritual. We can expound on great spiritual truths and feel like we are speaking words of importance, but if we don’t have charity in our hearts then it just ends up being loud, obnoxious noise.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 

This is a pretty humbling verse to think through. We could have such faith in God’s word to even move mountains, but it could all count for nothing if we don’t have charity in our heart! It’s a reminder that we can’t focus on only one aspect of our Christian walk. We shouldn’t desire to have this immense faith in God if we forget about all the other important parts of our Christian walk.

And though I bestow all goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 

Charity sufferers long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. 

Do we suffer long with our children? How about our husband? Do we envy our friends when they get that shiny new car, or the brand new house, or they always look put together when we can barely get dressed in the morning?

Do we walk around confident in our abilities, and puff ourselves up thinking we are something great?

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seekers not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.;

This is a hard one! I know I can get easily provoked, multiple times a day! I shared in a women’s study I’m going to once a month for the Life Giving Home book (a must read book!) that I found myself getting very irritated with my children and would occasionally just get so frustrated that I would tell a child to shut up. Growing up as a child, that was a like a curse word in our home. I know better, and have no excuse besides the fact that I was letting myself get easily provoked.

As mothers we need to think through how we get easily provoked and deal with it. Put scripture verses up around the home to remind yourself of how you want to respond. Take a deep breath before responding to your children, or even walk away for a minute before you correct your children, to just give yourself a minute to calm down.

I need to not seek my own agenda, my own plan for the day, my own desire for XY and Z to happen. Instead I need to seek God’s plan for the day and be a servant to my children and husband. I think we all know this in our heads, it’s just so much harder to live out in real life!

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 

Do we endure long? Do we still hope, or have we given up after having endured hard trials?

Charity never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease, whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 

For when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

This is a good verse to teach your young teenagers! I remember reading that verse over and over again as I struggled through the difficult stage of becoming a young lady and leaving my childhood behind.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, the three, but the greatest of these is charity. 

Love. We need to have great faith in God, we need to always have hope (as Christians we have a lot to hope for!), but even greater than that is love.

My prayer for all of us today is that we will be able to extend charity and love to our families as we serve in our homes!

 

 

 

When You Have To Just Say No

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Just say no.

The world is screaming for our children. All around us, within churches and without, there are influences that try to grab ahold of our families.

Just say no.

Just say No. It's hard to do, but oh so necessary.

When everyone around you is culturally engaged and you feel like the only who doesn’t watch that show, or that movie (you know, the one that has everyone talking), don’t give in.

Just say no.

When your children come begging for video games, and the latest and greatest toy that you don’t feel comfortable with, it’s ok to stand against the crowd.

No is not always the bad word our children like to make it out that it is. It can be a blessed thing.

If your family feels alone, like you are the only one who cares about the influences of the world, dressing modestly, and not letting your children date at 13, don’t feel bad.

You are not alone. It’s ok to stand against the crowd and just say no.

We recently have had to say no to several different situations that have come up. It’s not always been easy. Our children have been disappointed, but we knew it was for the best. I realized there might be other families out there who feel like they are the only ones standing against the crowd, and just wanted to send you a word of encouragement.

You are not the only one with the finger stuck in the wall, holding back the water. Let the floods pour, but they won’t enter our home!

“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honor. ” Psalm 21:22

Sometimes we read these scriptures and don’t take the time to truly ponder on the magnitude of them. If we seek righteousness, we find life! That is a huge promise!

Let’s continue to seek after the kingdom of God together. Even if you don’t have a friend that you can physically link arms with as you walk this path together, just remember you have some online!

 

 

Stop Running On Empty: An Amazing Resource To Help Busy Women!

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Physical and mental exhaustion is something I am far too familiar with. Trying to juggle being a wife, a mom of six children, homeschooling, homemaking, running a business, support my husband as he currently is the pastor at our church, and be a sister and friend as well, can be a bit overwhelming!

Now, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I am so blessed and thankful for my amazing family…but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve had to learn a thing or two these last few years about taking care of myself. 

You see, I stink at it. I don’t often get enough sleep, I struggle to drink enough water, I struggle to get in my exercise routine (even though I know I desperately need it), and tend to just push myself to do more and be more.

Does this sound familiar? 

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone in this. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most women stink at really taking care of themselves and investing in themselves.

But the thing is – it’s vitally important to stop every once in a while, even for 5-15 minutes, to refresh ourselves, fill ourselves up, and maybe even spend a few minutes reading a book or sitting outside in the sun. As women, we have to stop and refuel. To pour back into ourselves so that we have the energy and the JOY to pour back into serving our families and the Lord. 

And that’s why I’m so excited to share with you about this brand new 7 part audio series all about investing in yourself…all for God’s Glory! (Find out how to get it for FREE below)

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Taking the time to invest in myself, to care for my body, and invest in my spiritual life are all vital parts of being a homemaker. I need to take a little bit of time each time to invest in myself so that I have the energy and joy to pour back into my family…otherwise I might just face some severe burn out and face my days with a begrudging attitude instead of joy in the Lord!

Do you crave a little more energy, joy, and enthusiasm when facing your day? Do you wish that when you hear the kids stirring after their nap time, that you had the energy and focus to greet that sound with joy and energy to tackle the rest of your day instead of the dreaded 3 o’clock exhaustion?

This all starts with taking just a little bit of time to invest in yourself. I have learned this the hard way after years of running around like a mad woman trying to get everything done…and then hitting a wall of fatigue and despair. I want to greet my day with joy and energy! 

Throughout this 7 part audio series, Jami Balmet (a dear blogging friend!) will be diving into all the aspects of taking care of ourselves (and why this truly matters if we want to have a thriving home and relationship with the Lord). In the series she will talk about:

  • Avoiding burn out and letting go of GUILT when we do invest a little in ourselves
  • Making time for what you love (in 15 minutes a day)
  • Taking care of yourself – exercise and eating well
  • Investing in your Spiritual Life
  • Giving yourself GRACE…especially when life falls apart
  • Wrapping it all together for God’s Glory!

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When it officially launches next week, you can purchase it for $25 and get access right away to go through it. BUT when you purchase a premium ticket to this year’s Homemaking Ministries Online Conference through October 20th, you will get FREE access to the audio series! 

The conference officially kicks off next week (October 25th-28th) and when you register by Thursday for a premium ticket not only will you get free access to this audio series but you will also get a full ticket to the conference (you can listen to the sessions anytime…you get to keep them forever!) and a brand new goal setting course (which you get immediate access to).

Find out more & sign up today! >>

This year’s conference is shaping up to be incredible!! We’ve got 17 amazing speakers lined up to deliver 20 conference sessions throughout the four days. The theme for this year is Finding Balance in Your Home and each session addresses various aspects of how to find and achieve balance in your home…all for God’s Glory!

Here’s the incredible line up we’ve got:

Session #1: Achieving Balance in Our Lives (A Definition) – Jami Balmet
Session #2: Cultivating the Lovely in the Everyday – MacKenzie Monroe from Bold Turqious
Session #3: How to Create a Lasting & Loving Marriage – Jolene Engle from Joleneengle.com
Session #4: Balance in Spending Time Online – Mandy Hoffman from mandyhoffman.com
Session #5: Balance in Housekeeping – Hilary Bernstein from No Place Like Home
Session #6: Finding Balance in Spiritual Disciplines (What’s Really Important) – Jami Balmet
Session #7: Balance in Meal Planning (So You Won’t Go Crazy) – Stacy Myers from Humorous Homemaking
Session #8: Finding Balance in Healthy Living (Or, how to be crunchy without being a nut) – Trisha Gilkerson from Intoxicated on Life
Session #9: Balancing Priorities for Greater Joy in Your Home – Jennifer Ross from The Focused Homemaker
Session #10: Balancing Homemaking and Homeschooling – Tauna Meyer from The Proverbial Homemaker
Session #11: Focusing on the Gospel Throughout the Week – Jami Balmet
Session #12: Balance in Motherhood – Christy Fitzwater from christyfitzwater.com
Session #13: Creating Balance for the Working Homemaker – Caroline Allen from The Modest Mom (Me!)
Session #14: Finding Balance in Relationships – Angie Tolpin from Courageous Mom
Session #15: Living a Life of Ministry (Even When You Can’t Leave the House) – Katie Bennett from Embracing a Simpler Life
Session #16: Making Scripture Memory a priority in your day – Carlie Kervechal from Today’s Frugal Mom and Fulfilling Your Vows
Session #17: Balance in Planning – Marlene Griffith from A Diligent Heart
Session #18: Balance in Healthy Eating – Kelly Smith from The Nourishing Home
Session #19: A Startup Guide to Simplifying Your Stuff – Elsie Callendar from Richly Rooted
Session #20: Finding Purpose and Cultivating Joy in Your Home – Jami Balmet

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Bonus #2: Goal Setting Course and Workbook

Do you still need another reason to sign up for the conference? When you purchase a premium ticket you also get access to our brand new Goal Setting Course and Workbook all about setting priorities for you day, effectively planning, creating a family mission statement, and more!

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