Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Matter of Discretion

Titus 2:4,5-- That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

What does it mean for a woman to be discreet? When I read that verse, I always got the picture of a woman sitting correctly with her dress pulled down over her knees, her legs together, and her feet crossed at the ankles just so. In my mind, to be discreet was to be modest and careful in one's appearance. Whatever it meant, it's obviously pretty important that we be so, since Titus included in his "a godly wife should be" list.

I recently dug in and did a little study on the subject and it was interesting to learn that although I was close, there is a lot more to being discreet than being prim and proper (thus, the importance of study).

First, a few definitions:
Good Ole' Mr. Webster-- judicious in one's conduct or speech, esp. with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect.
My Bible's Hebrew Dictionary: safe, sound in mind, self-controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion):--discreet, sober, temperate.

Then I noticed the next verse down, Titus 2:6 states, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded." On checking the reference to "sober minded" in the middle margin or my Bible, it said, "or, discreet". Further cross-reference studying revealed that "sober" and "discreet" are pretty much synonymous, and their roots are very close to the same roots used for "sound mind".

Hmm...let's look at "sober" (Webster): showing self-control, quiet or sedate in demeanor, as persons. My Bible dictionary said that "sober" as used in the first part of Titus 2:4 actually means "to discipline or correct, to make of sound mind, and to teach to be sober." This is a different form, which I believe means we should be continuously evaluating ourselves and training our self-control. Of course, that's just an opinion.

Here are some interesting cross-references:
2 Tim 1:7--For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

1 Tim 3:2--A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

2 Time 2:9--In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

Proverbs 5:3--That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

OK, so about here I began to realize...I've lead a life of indiscretion. I mean, I'm from the South. I come from a family of loud, opinionated, no shame women. Sadly, in my social circle growing up, the more shocking your conversation, the more fun you were perceived to be! But, ladies, this is NOT pleasing to God. I believe it is shameful to Him, and shameful to our husbands and families. Now, don't get me wrong, I love to laugh and have a good time, but there is a point where we just have to use good sense. That's what "sober" means, actually--have the good sense to know when something should not be said or told. I am SO preaching to myself here, now. I am an impulsive person and tend to pop out of my mouth whatever comes to mind. That's why this study has been so convicting and eye-opening for me.

Where else can we apply this teaching? Let's see--you're in church, and you've told your four year old five times to turn around and stop staring at the person sitting behind you. Finally, you jerk him/her up by their arm and drag them out, with a scowl on your face. Or, you put them over your knee right then and there and give them a good spanking. NOT very discreet or sober. This would be the time to exercise that self-control. Calmly, take your child's hand and lead them outside, where you administer discipline in a calm, but effective manner. And it would probably be a good idea to take them out the first time they disobeyed instead of the fifth. Yep. That's me--the before and after :).

OK, ladies, let's admit it. We like to talk. We love a good story. We are detail-oriented and love to share. Ahem. But let's be discreet. Let's use good, common sense about what, and how much, we share with others. Now, those of you who know me personally are probably saying, "She's really got a lot of room to talk." But let me tell you, God has used this study to convict me of my indiscretion. I am ashamed and repentant of how deeply indiscreet I have been in the past. With God's help, I am working on changing myself on this matter. What's the old song say? "He's Still Working On Me".

I have seen so many women hurt because someone "shared" something about another sister in the church. A ripple effect is created: The Sharer mars her own testimony and causes the Sharee to lose confidence in her experience. The Shared (the one told on) is hurt because others are talking about her behind her back. The Sharee (the one listening) loses confidence in everyone and decides they are all just hypocrites talking about one another anyway so what the use? It's so important that we use discretion in our conversation and be sensitive when the Holy Ghost says, "Ah-ah, don't say that."

This study has shined the flashlight of the Holy Ghost on a dark corner of my heart that needed to be swept out. I'm working on spring cleaning my corner of indiscretion. Search your heart. Ask Him to show you where you have been indiscreet, and He will show you. WARNING: It might not be pretty!

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Weekend Revealed

Does it seem to you that our grown-up weekends are somewhat less glamorous than our childhood ones? Oh, the excitement that Friday brings to the youth! My weekends do not hold the same carefree attraction as they once did, for motherhood and maturity have revealed responsibilities that must be fulfilled. But every now and then, I shake off the burden of all that must be done and let my hair down! So this Saturday, my MIL, the girls and I packed up and went to GOODWILL!! For two blessed, wondrous hours I scouredtshe shelves and racks, delighted when my hunt was rewarded with some awesome finds!! Here's what I got for $20.00:

Three adorable, fancy dresses for Peanut--.99 each!
A pair of like-new, Children's Place jeans for the Elijahnator--$1.99
A baby doll for Tator Tot (which she will pay for out of her piggy bank)--.99
A big, deep, sturdy basket (to use for our hospital waiting room snack ministry)--$3.99
A pair of NICE sheets--unbelievably soft and CUTELY printed--$3.99
A pair of footed jammies for Tator Tot (not pictured)--$1.99
Six bibs--.99

And that does not add up to $20 but I can't remember what else I got.

Peanut modeling the 3rd dress (not pictured above). Cute, cute!

Whilst we were blissfully stealing steals from the GW, Dh and Elijahnator were on a little fishing excursion--Elijah caught his first fish! We also discovered a really nice park that we didn't know about! We'll be visiting there frequently, I imagine.

Yes, he is waaaaay past due a haircut. But still the cutest thing around!

Having my MIL staying with us has given DH and I a lot more opportunity for Mommy/Daddy time. After our fishing and shopping, the kids and Beamie napped while John and I visited our bus route kids and did some grocery shopping. Childless. It felt really strange, and I sorta missed them. Saturday evening, DH cleaned the fish and then grilled chicken quarters! My fave!

Time spent with family, some good bargains, and good food! All in all, it was a great weekend! As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't get much better than that! How was yours?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hint, Hint

There's a certain something I've longed for, since we moved into this house. I've mentioned it (in very un-nag-like fashion) to my dearest love a few times. Just here and there.

It had kind of left my mind in the last few months, it being winter and all.

But, with the rather odd, unseasonably warm weather(for January) we've had around here this week, I've been reminded.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Here It Comes...

For the six months or so, my husband and I have been seriously seeking God for direction. Six years ago, the Lord called my DH to preach. He accepted. It is quite amazing how God works. As a teenager attending a Christian school, one of my teachers would often tell me, "You're going to marry a preacher." My first reaction was, "No way!" Although I felt that God was calling me into some form of the ministry, I wasn't readily accepting of that call. Nor was I sure which area of the ministry He wanted me in. I thought I felt a strong pull to missions, but was really scared to openly admit this, for fear it was my own desire and not God's. I felt so inadequate to step out and say, "God's called me to be a missionary." Looking back now, I can see that God was calling me to come up higher, and maybe if I had "surrendered all" and sold out to His will, he would've used me in that avenue. I will always wonder.

But here I am, 15 years later, and what a journey it has been. My husband and I met under rather unconventional circumstances (long story), but God had a plan all along. I never dreamed DH would be called to preach! He is quiet, reserved, scared to death of crowds and attention. So much that he completely forgot to comb his hair at our wedding! Ha! But God does not call the equipped; he equips the called.

So, as I was saying, about 6 months ago we sat down and analyzed our spiritual, ministerial progress and realized we have been rather stuck. We haven't grown into the potential that God has clearly communicated He sees in us. We've been fasting and praying for His perfect will in our present and future, and it seems to be getting his attention. Not that we think we are anybody. We know we are nobodies--perhaps that is what has held us back for so long. But God is opening doors, nonetheless, and we are finding our hearts are willing and eager to walk through them.

I'm not sharing this to brag or get pats on the back. I am awed and humbled that God would want to use us. It's amazing how God moves. If you are truly, sincerely seeking His direction, He will give it. Are you willing to dig deeper, go that extra mile to show Him you are serious? And then have that faith to believe He will hear and answer. You'll find yourself climbing out of your rut and making progress once more. It just takes a little bit of faith, hope, and determination.

It's exciting! What door will He open next?

5 years ago........

How time has flown...my baby turned 5 years old Saturday...he is such a blessing--always smiling and full of energy. He is the most loving little boy I've ever known! I don't know what I would do without Him! Thank you, Lord, for my little (getting BIG) boy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Outlook (and a challenge)

For those of you who still read my blog, you may have noticed it's been kind of quiet lately. Other than reading my fave blogs, I just haven't had much interest in blogging in the last little while. I've been reassessing my priorities, and blogging is at the bottom of that list. This year, I purpose to challenge myself to reach for higher things, to tighten the belt so to speak, and strengthen my self-discipline. Computer time has been one of the first challenges I've tackled. First and foremost, I've renewed my morning prayer/Bible reading sessions. It's been hit and miss for a while, but I am determined to make this a habit, no matter how long it takes. I've also determined to take better care of myself. This includes eating healthier, spending more time being active outdoors, and also taking care of physical needs by going to the dentist and keeping my contacts fresh (I tend to wear them for months at time). I have not been to the dentist in 7 1/2 years! Shame!

We have also really started cracking down on preschool activities this year. We spend about 2 hours a day working on the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and pre-writing skills. The kids are advancing so quickly I am ashamed that I waited so long to spend this amount of time doing school with them. I really do have some sharp kids!

This week, I decided to challenge myself and see how much I could cook from what I have on hand already. We don't usually have a big stock of stuff in the pantry, because I make a menu plan and shop for the specifics on that menu. But, my husband likes to shop the sales and has got us a really good stock of stuff here lately. It was actually fun to look around and be creative with what I had! It's really surprising how far you can make it if you really want to. So, here's my menu for the week:

Breakfast: We usually have grits, eggs, toast, (or a combo of all three) with the occasional pancake or biscuit addition. I do not give my kids cold cereal for breakfast because it never sticks with them. Plus, I want them to have something warm to eat on these cold mornings.

Lunch--Me--Lean Pocket
Kids--Chicken nuggets & sweet potatoes
Supper--Crock pot deer steak with potatoes and onions, steamed veggies on the side

Lunch--Me--chicken strip/salad wrap
Kids--Turkey hot dog, baked french fries, fresh fruit

Lunch--Me--Boca Burger
Kids--Grilled cheese, fruit
Supper--Baked chicken strips, potato salad and baked beans

Kids--PB & J, fruit and yogurt

Lunch: Me--Soup & Sandwich
Kids--homemade pizzas (sliced french bread with pizza sauce, cheese, & pepperonis)

Lunch: Potato Soup (we have late lunch on Sunday, so we'll eat rest of soup after church Sunday night).

The few things I needed for this menu cost me $42.08. I'd say that's pretty good compared to the $75-$100 I usually spend on groceries each week. As hard as I've tried, I just can't seem to get it less than that. Another challenge for the year!

Looking back on 2009, I am proud of the goals that I reached. I really turned over some new leaves, so to speak, things that will stick with me for the rest of my life, hopefully. I'm so thankful for the Lord's mercy, that it's new every day, and when we fail we can start over again.

I would like to create a reading list for 2010. Please, share any books you can recommend on homemaking, mothering, wifeing {new word :)}, etc. I love historical, Christian fiction but I want to expand my horizons beyond this. Any suggestions?