This Is My Offering

“This is my offering, dear Lord.  This is my offering to You, God.
And I will give You my life, for it’s all I have to give,
Because You gave Your life for me.”
– Offering by Third Day

Several weeks ago this chorus was running through my head and off my tongue.  I was considering whether I should write a post about it … what is our offering?  I mean, He did give His life for us: what do we give Him in return?

As I was pondering this, my sister called and asked me to do something that, unbeknownst to her, actually frustrated me.  I was about to tell her that what she had asked frustrated me, when someone else started talking to her and in my heart, I felt like the Father whispered, “this is your offering!”

In Matthew chapter five, we read about “going the extra mile”.  I feel like people often mention that, but how often do we actually do it?  How often do we do a little and then walk away thinking we have done enough and leaving everything else (whatever it may be) for someone else?  How often do we selfishly sit back because something is difficult, frustrating or hard to do?

Let me take it a step farther.  How often do we withhold from truly loving someone(s) because that person(s) is so irritating?  How often do we withhold mercy and grace because that person(s) keeps doing the same thing that upsets us over and over again?  How often do we not forgive others because they have really hurt us?

As Believers, we are not given the choice to love or not to love our fellow man.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15

“Yeshua said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

Do we dare withhold mercy and grace … when He has not withheld it from us?

“… Freely you have received, freely give.”  Matthew 10:8b

Forgiveness … it is so easy to say “I forgive you,” but to truly forgive from our hearts can often be more difficult than what we think.  When we forgive others, YHWH is glorified … and Satan hates that!  Satan does not want us to forgive because when we don’t forgive, roots of bitterness start to grow and they grow harder and stronger everyday.  Even though forgiving is hard at times … we must do it!  There is freedom in forgiveness!

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15

So my question for you today is, what is our offering?  Since it was recently Hanukkah, I have been reading through the Maccabees and while many things stood out to me, there was something that specifically caught my attention in the first book, chapter 14.  Many nations had risen up against the Jewish people in an attempt to destroy them, and after these attempts had failed, the Jewish people said, “How can we express our thanks to Simon and his sons?  He, his brothers, and his father’s whole family have been towers of strength for our nation. They have fought off our enemies and set the nation free” – 1 Maccabees 14:25b-26.

And in verse 29, “Often when wars broke out in the country, Simon son of Mattathias, a priest of the Jehoiarib family, and his brothers risked their lives in protecting our nation, our Temple, and our Law against our enemies. They have brought great glory to our nation.”

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

My grandmother was a little girl during World War II.  She was in Poland with her family.  A few times she has told us the story of when the Nazis were bombing their area.  Her family went out into the fields and laid down since they could not stay in their house.  She was only three years old and her older sister was supposed to be taking care of her, but somehow they got separated.  My grandmother, like any other person, was terrified by the planes that were flying so low that you could see the pilots.  She was wearing a red dress and stood up to scream.

There were also Russian soldiers in the field with them and one of them told her to lay down, but she did not understand Russian!  Then and there, a true hero arose, one who loved another more than himself.  The Russian soldier covered my grandmother with his body to save her life.  My grandmother does not know if the soldier was killed or not, but she and the rest of us are indebted to this man and are so thankful for his love sacrifice.  This was true love … this was his offering.

This Is My Offering

We all have different gifts and callings as members of the Body of Messiah, which means we all have different kinds of offerings.  Your offering may look completely different than my offering, but that does not mean that either one is less of an offering!   For some, the offering may be that of a soldier who fights (and dies) in wars for his countrymen … for others, it may be doing a chore for a sibling.  Both are offerings!  In Matthew 25 there is the parable of the master who gives his servants the talents.  In the same way, YHWH gives us each something … what we do with it is what really counts.

We were all given the priceless gift of eternal life when we accepted Yeshua, so why don’t we ask ourselves today what our offering is?  How can we bless others and bring glory to Him?  As this new year unfolds before us, why don’t we seek to go the extra mile … to do the unexpected and step out of our comfort zone when we might want to run and hide?  Let this be our offering!

Pray … About A Lawn Mower???

Pray ... About A Lawn Mower???

Have you ever wondered if the Father REALLY answers prayers?  I mean, in our little everyday life.  Does it really matter if we pray for our future?  Isn’t it already planned out?

We recently moved to a 115 year old  farmhouse with 4-5 times more land then we were previously renting.  It is going to be great … but there is a lot more to keep up with and my brother decided to buy a zero-turn lawnmower for the yards.

He purchased one, only to find out (after an extremely short time) that it was not described accurately.  It had mechanical issues and did not work properly on our hilly terrain.  He tried to contact the guy who sold it to him but the man was not interested in taking back this “wonderful” mower he had just sold the evening before.  The situation was hopeless.  My brother tried to reason with the guy but he would not budge.

Pray ... About A Lawn Mower???

As I stood outside repainting the quarter-round trim (an odd brown shade that provided an amazingly interesting contrast to the pink and green walls of our girl’s bedroom), I felt the urge to pray.

The prayer was not just for the man to be convicted and have a change of heart and to start walking honestly, but also for my brother and that he could accept whatever the Father had for him (even if that meant losing a chunk of the money he had been carefully saving for trucking school … and still be mower-less).

Tommy decided to send one more text, explaining our difficult situation and asking the man to please help him out.  He was even willing to take a $100 loss, if the man would JUST TAKE THE MOWER BACK.

More prayer … a long silence … for him, a battle between hope and despair, frustration and anger … and finally, the man responded.  His whole tone and words were changed and that evening, the mower was returned and Tommy had everything back, minus the time and some gas!!!

The Father moves in mighty ways!  I am praising Him for the change He brought about, and thankful that He does lead us through difficult times to mold us into better tools for His service.

Pray ... About A Lawn Mower???

Sometimes His plans are different from our wishes and it is crucial that we never doubt Him … at the same time though, don’t shrink away from His presence.  Be bold, worship Him, praise Him, sing to Him, dance before Him, rejoice in His mighty works … and lay your burdens at His feet.  Even our Savior encourages us to call out, seek, knock on the door, be persistent … and find!  (Luke 11:5-13)

He is mighty … how about you?

Another angel, who had a gold container for incense, came and stood at the altar.  This one was given a lot of incense to offer with the prayers of the saints on the gold altar in front of the throne.  Then the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up to God from the hand of the angel.  Revelations 8:3-4.

P.S.  Lydia said I should mention that a few days later Tommy was able to get a working lawnmower and this one is a John Deere, so that adds 100 pluses 🙂


P.S. Don’t forget to participate in the Counting Your Blessings Challenge that’s happening right now!!Thankful_Square SMALL

Counting Your Blessings – And A Linkup Party!

counting your blessings

What are you thankful for?

It’s a common topic around this time of year.  There are so many Scripture references to giving thanks and we all know that we have so much to be thankful for.  Even when things seem like they can’t get any worse, we can always find at least one thing for which we can give thanks!

This year we want you to take part in a challenge to see how many things we can be thankful for!  Please leave a comment on this post and list as many things as you would like.  You can always come back and leave another comment if you think of more things!  We just ask one thing – we want to number each “thanksgiving” so that we can see how many we came up with, so please list yours on separate lines like this:

Salvation
Chocolate
Family
Chocolate
Warm Home
More Chocolate …

You get the idea! 🙂

Can we find 1,000 things to be thankful for?  We need your help to do it!   And to make this challenge a little more special, we will be drawing two winners for a little giveaway to say thank you for participating.  Everyone who leaves a comment on this post, sharing what she’s thankful for, will be entered into the drawing!  My sister Abigail will be in charge of choosing the gifts and sending them out … she’s really good at that 🙂

So what are you waiting for?!  Start typing out your “thanksgivings”!

But that’s not the only excitement in this post …

Thankful

We decided to host a linkup party along this same theme and are so blessed and excited to have several other bloggers join us!  Have you ever written a blog post along the lines of giving thanks?  Or even something related to the Thanksgiving holiday?  If so, please link it up below.

After the linkup closes (November 25th) we will be sharing a featured post from one these entries.  I asked my sisters to help me read all the posts and pick out their favorites, and then we would decide together which one to feature.

Did I ever mention we are all quite opinionated? 🙂

I’m not quite sure how we’ll all decide on one post!  Maybe we’ll just have to choose several instead.  One for each of us!  Please check back on Friday November 27th to see which post was featured and who won the giveaway!

One more thing: please visit each of these lovely ladies who are co-hostessing the event and leave a comment on their Thanksgiving post!  They would love for you to connect with them on social media too.

April @ A Simple Life Too

Connect at: Google Plus | Facebook | Pinterest

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Hannah @ Shining Stars Magazine

Connect at: Google Plus

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Joy @ Artful Homemaking

Connect at: Facebook | Google Plus | Pinterest | Twitter

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Joy @ Blog Of Joy

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Leticia @ King Maker Blog

Connect at: Facebook | Pinterest

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Naomi @ What Joy Is Mine

Connect at: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

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The Ladies @ Radical Femininity

Connect at: Facebook | Google Plus | Pinterest | Twitter

We would love for you to participate … whether by sharing a blog post or if you aren’t a blogger, by sharing what you’re thankful for in the comment section.  Please also grab our button and place it on your website/blog so that others can join too.  Let’s be thankful together!

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Read The Bible In A Year – A Special Program!

bible in one year

I love the idea of reading through the Scriptures in one year.  Honestly, I love the idea of reading through the Bible several times in one year but unfortunately some of us have schedules that do not permit this.  But most people can dedicate at least 30-45 minutes of each day to Scripture reading.

There are many different programs and reading schedules available but I decided to create one that suited my preferences and schedule … and today I am sharing it with you!

Most of our readers who are familiar with the Hebraic roots of the faith are aware of the weekly Torah portions.  For anyone who is not aware of them, here is a little explanation:

“Torah” is the Hebrew term for the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy).  Since before the time of our Messiah, the Jewish people have been reading through the Torah each year.  The books are divided into sections, a portion for each week, so that they can all be read in one year.  The cycle begins during Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) which is usually in September/October.

Ezra is traditionally credited with instituting this public reading of the Torah.  We hear of it in the New Testament when Yeshua (Jesus) told his listeners to do what the scribes and Pharisees said when they sat in Moses’ seat (Matthew 23:2,3).  We know from history that the term “Moses’ seat” referred to when the congregational leader would ascend the Bimah (elevated platform) to read from the Torah portion.  He would then come down to expound on the words and give his own interpretations.  So Yeshua’s instructions to His followers were to follow what they heard from the Torah, but not necessarily what the rabbinical leaders added to it.

We also know that the first-century believers practiced this reading cycle because in Acts 15, when the spiritual leaders listed the four things that the new believers from the Gentiles must practice in order to fellowship with the other believers, they added that this was because Moses is preached in the synagogue every Sabbath … in other words, the new believers were to start with the four things and would learn each week from the Torah portion what commandments they were to obey.

Personally, I like the idea of joining the millions of people who are reading through the Torah portions each week and try to do so whenever possible, so I knew that schedule was to form a part of my new reading program.  I then took the remaining 34 books in the Old Testament and calculated how-many-verses-there-are-divided-by-weeks-in-one-year, which is about 314 verses per week, and then split them into weekly portions.  I did the same thing with the New Testament books; they divide into about 144 verses per week.  Of course, some weeks have more verses and some weeks have less, but all are manageable portions to be read in one week.

My preference is definitely weekly portions over daily portions!  I have tried daily portions in the past but it seemed that if I missed a reading, I could never catch up!  With this program, I have listed the chapters to be accomplished within each week but it can be done at your own pace.  I used this method once before and enjoyed it very much, but I did not have the portions calculated evenly.  This time I spent quite some time with an online Bible program, a word document and two calculators … and have it portioned as equally as possible (without splitting up chapters!).

So without further ado, if any of you would like to use this reading schedule, you are more than welcome to it!  Just click on the PDF file below and it will take you to a page where you can download and/or print it.  I am definitely looking forward to going through it again and I’d love to hear if you plan to do it too!

What Are The Fruits Of The Spirit?

 fruit of the spirit

A conversation with Hannah about blogging usually goes something like this:

“Abigail, you should really write something for Radical Femininity.”

“Why?”

“Because you have only written one thing since we started this!”

“You don’t say?”

“Yes. It was a review. You should really start posting.”

“I’m not a blogger.”

“Well you WOULD be if you’d do it! I think you’d make a wonderful blogger.”

“Nope. Don’t know how.”

“Well it usually helps to learn, silly!”

“I’m not silly. I’m really smart sometimes.”

“That’s debatable.”

“That’s an insult.”

“Sorry.”

“Maybe I’ll forgive you.”

“So when are you going to post something?”

“Uhhhh … maybe the second Tuesday of next week?”

“Silly!”

“No, not silly … I’m a busy person. I’ve got places to go and people to see….”  I think you got the idea 🙂


I’ve always thought blogs were great … when you write and I read.  That’s how it has been, and that’s the way I like it! It’s something I don’t really know how to do, so I’ve never given it much thought. I liked the idea of starting this blog, but did’t really think about the fact that maybe I should post on it sometimes! But I’ve always heard that when inspiration hits, you should do something about it, so with that in mind (and maybe a little encouragement from Hannah!), I’m going to share some things I’ve been learning lately! I hope you’ll excuse my straight forward and ever so impolitically-correct way of writing!

If you grew up in a Godly home, then most likely you have read or heard about the fruits of the spirit, right??? I’ve read Galatians 5:22-23 for as long as I can remember, but I think we kind of overlook the more “common” passages more often than we should! Those two little verses got my attention the other day when I was listening to the song “It’s Worth It” by Francesca Battistelli. It talks about love, and how it’s not easy, but is worth it. I got to thinking about love – what it means and how to live it out, and then from there I got to thinking about the different things listed as the fruits of the Spirit. So I’m going to go through each of the “fruits” listed … most of you know it already, but it often helps me to hear things more than once! So I’ll start with love, and go down the list!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Let’s see what defines love.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love seems to be one of the most clearly defined things in the Bible, but the hardest to do!

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Love. A simple, little four-letter word. It sounds so easy, but is so complicated! But love is one of the most important things in the world!

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 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, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Love goes much deeper than the warm, fuzzy kind of romantic thing that today’s world calls love. The fashion magazines and social media present love, but unfortunately they don’t really know what true love is.

  • True love doesn’t run dry or disappear after a few months or years.
  • True love doesn’t quit when life gets messy.
  • True love forgives.
  • True love hopes.
  • True love works through hurt.
  • True love overcomes.
  • True love isn’t always convenient.
  • True love is accountable.
  • True love looks for the good in others.
  • True love waits.
  • True love say “NO” to evil.
  • True love is relentless.
  • True love doesn’t change.
  • True love is invincible!

It goes beyond pain and suffering, beyond heartache and hurt feelings. True love holds together in the hardest situations. And true love ONLY comes from the Creator of it!

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

There are SO many verses that talk about love but I think we’d be here all day if we tried to list them all, so I’ll leave you with this one:

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

I hope you were encouraged and inspired by this … may we all learn to love truly!

With lots of love ~ Abigail

Ain’t You Glad You’re Single?

I’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle,
As I go riding merrily along.
And they sing “oh ain’t you glad you’re single”,
And that song ain’t so very far from wrong.

glad you're single large

It’s an old Western song with a catchy tune and I was singing along with my younger siblings when the meaning of the words struck me.

Ain’t you glad you’re single?

Well no … as a matter of fact, I ain’t!  I’d rather be married, thank you very much!

What a stupid song! was the thought that went through my mind!

Getting married and having a family of my own has been my greatest desire for as long I can remember.  I always wanted to get married young … you know, like at 16 or 17.  And as the years go by and my age nears that quarter of a century, I have to fight impatience and discontent.  I have to keep reminding myself that the Heavenly Father’s timing is perfect and I don’t want to step outside of it one little bit.

But glad to be single???  No way!

Then several thoughts came to mind, thoughts that inspired this post.  I thought of the many Scriptures that command us to be glad and rejoice.  I thought of Pollyanna and her “glad game” … finding something to be glad about in every circumstance.  And I thought of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:34 – There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

To be honest, caring for how I may please my husband sounds pretty good to me right now!  I do believe there is a part of my carnal self that thinks that would be more enjoyable than caring for how to please my Savior.  Perhaps some others can relate!

But I think that’s where many of us miss a lot during this time of life … we’re too busy wishing for what we don’t have, that our focus isn’t on being holy in body and spirit and pleasing our Lord.

So with those thoughts in mind, I wondered to myself … can I really say that I’m glad I’m single?  I’m not quite sure yet but I will admit there are many aspects of singlehood that I can be glad about.  Here are a few:

  • Living at home –  This is huge!  I love my family and our home.  I love the feeling that comes to me when I pull into the driveway after being out and about … that deep sigh of relief … I’m home!  Although I do consider myself an introvert, I cannot even imagine living by myself – that would be so lonely!
  • Caring for the things of the Lord –  Like Paul said, the unmarried years are a period of life in which we have more time to focus on the spiritual things.  That may mean that we can spend a large portion of the day studying the Bible, because we don’t have the responsibilities of a house and family to care for.  Or we can fast and pray for an extended of period of time, without worrying about keeping our families fed, or being so drained that we can’t properly care for them.  This can also take on physical aspect, as we are free to volunteer our time and talents to reach out to others, in ways we may not be able to once we’re married.
  • Traveling as a family –  Several weeks ago we all traveled together to visit some friends who live several hours away, and we had such a wonderful day.  We sang songs together on the drive … we took some time to walk around and play at the Ocoee river … we stopped for ice cream at a quaint shop in Chattanooga … we went into Publix for a few groceries and were stopped by an older gentleman who wanted to know about the way we practice our faith … in short, we talked and simply enjoyed our time together.
  • Running a successful home business –  Our puppy business, Happy Hill Pups, keeps me on my toes 24/6 (I don’t say 24/7 because I do take a break on Sabbath!)  Granted, some times are slower and some are busier but overall, I (and my family members) invest a lot of time in keeping this family business going.  I am thankful for the opportunities, the things I’ve learned through it, the income that I’ve earned … but I know it wouldn’t be practical to continue my role in this business once I’m married.  Of course, I hope to still have my several dogs and raise puppies with them but it cannot be the focus of my day-in day-out life.
  • Sleeping through the night –  Ok, you might laugh at this one but I’m serious!  When I think of marriage, I think of motherhood as being synonymous with that.  I know that for some people this isn’t the case and my heart goes out to them.  It is my prayer though that I will be blessed with many children.  And mothers don’t get to sleep through the night much of the time … at least, that’s what I’ve heard!  So for right now, I can be glad to take advantage of sleep!
  • Shining Stars –  I started the magazine eight years ago to encourage unmarried young ladies.  I have been so blessed and encouraged and strengthened over the years and have met so many wonderful young ladies.  But, similar to the business, the magazine ministry demands a lot of my time.  Being single right now, I can invest that time into it.  Once I’m married, I will need to invest that time into my home and family.
  • Singing in the kitchen –  One night several weeks ago, the kitchen needed to be cleaned up and no one felt much like doing it!  Lydia and I ended up volunteering, a little grudgingly and without the most pleasant attitudes at first.  Things threatened to be kind of unpleasant for a little bit but after we had apologized and made things right with each other, she suggested that we sing while we worked.  We sang song after song and had such an enjoyable time doing it!  Once I’m married, I have a feeling my opportunities for washing dishes and singing with Lydia are going to be few and far between.
  • Writing letters to my husband without knowing who he is –  Do any of you unmarried young ladies write letters to your husband?  I started doing this several years ago, and unfortunately I don’t do it as often as I would like, but one of the things I love about it is being able to write without knowing who he is!  If I knew who he was and what his personality was like, I would tend to taylor my writing to fit what he might expect.  This way, I can express myself honestly, without any hesitations or questions in my mind about his reaction.
  • Traveling to Israel with Abba and Tommy.  When you’re reading this, I will be spending four weeks in Israel with my father and brother.  While I am sorry that the whole family cannot go along on this trip, I am very thankful for this experience.  That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like to travel Israel with my husband, but I am very excited about going with my father and brother … something that wouldn’t have happened if I was already married.

Disclaimer: I wouldn’t want anyone to misunderstand what I have said and take it to mean that being single is better than being married, or that one should wait to get married until one has experienced a long time period as a single.  I believe that being a wife and mother is the absolute best and highest calling a woman can have and it makes me so sad that women refuse to fulfill this role.  However I do see the flip side and recognize that many young ladies cultivate such a longing to get married that it causes damage in their spiritual lives, and that is the group to whom I am writing this post.  As in all things, balance is the key!

What do you think …

If you’re unmarried, what are some reasons that you can be glad about that relationship status?  

If you are married, what are some of the positive aspects of singlehood that you enjoyed, or could look back and appreciate later on?

Raising Children – It’s What They Do Best

Raising Children - It's What They Do Best

Our family enjoys old Western shows and we have recently been watching episodes of The Rifleman on youtube.  In a particular episode, there were some disreputable women who were trying to set up a gambling hall in the local town and after they had been run out, Mark asked his father who those women were and what did they want?  Lucas told him that they were card dealers and wanted to turn North Fork into a gaming town.  Mark replied, “It seems like those women ought to stop playing cards and start raising kids!” and his father answered, “Yep, that’s what they do best!”

Of course, we all started laughing and my father said “can you believe it?!”  Can you imagine if someone made that statement on TV today? I’m not sure what were the motives of the producers for including such a strong statement but it is a truth that few people want to recognize or acknowledge.

So as we prepare for Mother’s Day coming up in just a few days, I want to encourage the mothers out there … you are doing what you can do best!  You may think it strange that an unmarried girl with no children is writing a post like this but I believe this standard is one for which even us unmarried young ladies should be striving and preparing.

I can understand when people who don’t believe in the God of the Bible refuse to follow His standards, but it puzzles me when people who believe in the Bible choose to live a lifestyle that is in direct conflict with its instructions.  The simple fact is that women were created to be wives and mommies.  There is no way to get around that!  Your physical body should remind you of this fact every day.  On the emotional level, women were created to be helpmeets to their husbands and nurturers to their children.

Even women who are so bound by feministic ideology as to reject this usually end up fulfilling their womanly roles, albeit in warped fashion.  They end up being a helpmeet to someone (usually men) and they must nurture something (usually it’s animals).  Even they cannot escape the innate desires that were woven into their DNA by a loving Heavenly Father who wants His creation to have what is best for them.

Women were created for a certain role and that is what they are good at.  When they are “allowed” to truly fulfill that role and are respected for doing it … wow!  It’s beautiful. Unfortunately the world in which we live condemns women who want to fulfill that role by taunting them with condemnation that they aren’t “talented” or “accomplished” or “educated” enough to be anything but a homemaker.  It’s as if being wives and mommies doesn’t take any skill or talent or patience … it’s just something that you do if you aren’t good enough to do anything else!

What foolishness!

Raising Children - It's What They Do Best

From an economical viewpoint, have you seen the calculations that show a stay-at-home mom really ought to earn over $95,000 a year?  If someone else were hired to take over her tasks and responsibilities, this is what they would get paid.  And I believe that is a conservative estimate.  Now I know why my father always said that my mother works harder than him!

But the financial aspect is nothing compared to the opportunity she has to reach the world through the lives of her children.  We have all heard the saying “For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world” but I think many women do not believe it.  They hire someone else to rock the cradle for them so that they can rule the world exclusive of husband and children.  The end result is confusion and misery.

Sometime back I was listening to the Christian radio and there was a discussion between a female caller and the female DJ about how they had dropped their children off at the nursery that morning – I think one of them had a 6 week old baby and the other had a toddler.  They were talking about how hard it was to leave their children and yet they were trying to make the best of it.

And I wanted to yell – You left your precious child in the care of others so that you could come to work … at a Christian radio station???  This is what our world has come to.  Motherhood has lost its value and women are no longer expected to do “what they do best”, on the contrary – they are ridiculed when they do!

I know that raising children isn’t easy – I have observed my mother for 24 years!  I have seen her get frustrated, overwhelmed, angry and hurt … and I have seen her ask forgiveness and start the day all over again.  Raising children is probably the most difficult occupation in the world, because souls are involved.  There are two kingdoms battling for those souls and the mother has the greatest influence on which kingdom will win.  The father has great influence too but I sometimes wonder if the mother doesn’t have more.  There are too many accounts of children who had no ‘count fathers and yet were led to the narrow path through the prayers and examples of their mothers.

But even if it is the most difficult thing to do, it can also be the most rewarding.  Mothers, I encourage you to take joy in doing what you can do best – in raising your children in the fear and admonition of the Almighty and directing them to the Savior who instructed us, “take up your cross and follow me”.  It isn’t a simple task … and it isn’t going to be.  We have an adversary who is going to make it as difficult as he can because he wants your children.

The good news is, you can defeat him!  When you realize that being a wife and mother is the highest and most important calling you could ever fulfill … and that it is what you do best … that no other career could ever fulfill you like this one does … and you pour yourself into your family, filling their lives with love and blessings … and you keep loving … and keep serving … and keep working … and keep praying … and then do it all over again …

… then your children will rise up and call you blessed; your husband also and he will praise you, saying many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel them all.  Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain: but you, a woman who fears YHWH, you shall be praised.  You will be given the fruit of your hands and your own works will praise you in the gates.

Happy Mother’s Day Y’all!!