The day I said, “I do!” I had no idea what the future would look like. I was in love and all would be right with my world. I didn’t know I would have to wait eight years before motherhood finally began. I had no idea that it would begin so many other things as well, like 17 years of child bearing, seven more children, and something called homeschooling. And then there were the 20 years of nursing, diaper changing, and potty training. I didn’t know that in my mid-50s I would still be continuing in the disciplining and training of young children. I didn’t know that I would someday be looking back at 33 years of marriage and family with its ups and downs, emergencies, fearful situations, deaths, and disagreements. Had I known all this on my wedding day, I may have just turned and run back down that aisle. Sometimes, limited vision is a good thing. Always, we need a daily faith to step forward into the future.
This year marks 22 years of homeschooling with two college graduates, one trade school graduate, one high school graduate, and another senior this year. Four school-aged children and ten years more of homeschooling to go! Ten years used to seem like a lifetime; now it is just a backward blink. Why all the numbers? Because the older I get, the more I realize the brevity of my days, and the importance of what is in each day—I have a wider and clearer vision.
Expectations or Vision?
What were your expectations for life? Are you living the life you expected? I was expecting a nice little house with a nice little yard and nice, happy, children around the well-prepared dinner table; a dog and cat near the nice fireplace, and a close, perfectly suited, marriage to an understanding spouse. High expectations indeed! The difference between expectations and vision is that our expectations are so very earth bound and temporary compared to the vision God has for our lives and our eternity. Our expectations don’t equate to God’s vision for us. His ways are so much higher than our ways.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).
If expectations are earthly and perishable, we should spend more time on the vision of something more solid. Do we have a long-range vision that incorporates eternity? Or are we still expecting something to make us happy or content right now? Do our daily, weekly, and yearly goals revolve around being a disciple of Christ or around earthly things that can change in an instant? Temporal or eternal? We need a higher perspective for our days, as they turn into our years.
The fact that things don’t turn out the way we expected is why we need guidance from a source outside of us. It is because we don’t know what the next day will bring, that we need to follow Someone Who has gone before us. It is because of the fact that each new day is the only day we are assigned to live in, as yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come … that we need to commit this one day to the Maker of it and follow Him where He goes.
So, what does He require of us in this day that will affect the eternal, lasting vision of tomorrow?
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).
What does that look like in practicality? To do justly looks like waking up each day with the purpose of not just doing what is right in our own eyes, but what is right in God’s eyes. It looks like loving mercy rather than justice in our relationships, lovingkindness rather than a sharp tongue, pardon rather than condemnation; true sacrificial love rather than just a martyr-syndrome attitude. It is a humble walk with your God. Step where He steps, how He steps, and when He steps, and you will be doing what the LORD requires of you.
After all, whose day is it anyway? Is it ours to do with as we please? And whose house is it that we live in? All good things come from the Father.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
Whose House Is It?
Often, and understandably, our life consists of thinking about the house we live in and all that entails, including who is living there with us, and the physical circumstances that surround us. But let’s change that perspective from the house we live in to the house God lives in. If we are His house, I venture to say that He is thinking about all things pertaining to this house. His house should be a house of prayer. Are we houses of prayer? Is prayer even important to us? Why would He want that for His house? Because He knows we desperately need it. We can be like stubborn two-year-olds who say, “I do it myself!” rather than leaning on the help He so readily wants to give. Speaking to an unseen God, knowing that He hears, is an act of faith. Prayer demonstrates faith in a God we do not see. Where is your faith? In your plans, in your expectations for your life, or in the God Who dwells in your house?
As a bride says “I do” she takes on her husband’s desires and plans and they become one in purpose. The bride follows her groom. A wedding involves commitment, preparation, purpose, and effort to see her vision come to life. Do we have that kind of commitment, preparation, and purpose to be the women God has called us to be? Are we partnering with Him for His purposes in every area of our lives, including the raising of His children? And how do we build our house (spiritual and physical)? Proverbs 24 tells us how we are to build, establish, and fill our houses. This is doubtless important since this is one of our main jobs as women.
“Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established. By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Proverbs 24:3, 4 ESV).1
How a House is Built: by Wisdom
“Through wisdom a house is built …” Any other foundation is shaky ground or sinking sand. If we build our house on the Rock of Christ then that house is immoveable, unchangeable, and able to withstand every storm. If we build our house with our own wisdom, we will not weather the storms. We are to build with God’s wisdom—every Word of God—which is profitable for every area of your life, every decision you make, every time of confusion or uncertainty. Build your house with purpose and passion based on wisdom. Don’t use lesser tools. Know what you are building. You are building a place of security and comfort for your family that will withstand every storm. And again, that has to do with having your own spiritual house occupied with the Giver of Wisdom, Himself.
How a House is Established: by Understanding
“… and by understanding it is established.” We tend to lean hard on our own understanding because we believe we are right. How to get out of that rut is to cry out for understanding beyond ourselves, and acknowledge Him, and He promises to direct our path (Proverbs 3:5, 6). It is not so much how right we are, but it is whose understanding we are establishing our house on.
“Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:73).
Establish your house in understanding: acknowledging God in every aspect of your life, leaning on and obeying His commands—what He wants for you and your home, not necessarily what you think it needs.
How a House is Filled: by Knowledge
“By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” Knowledge of God and His Word fills your home with more eternal riches than you could possibly create with your own knowledge. Fill your heart and home with God Himself. Let the children see the jewels of a humble heart in love with her Maker. Fear Him, and you will find all the riches you need.
“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life” (Proverbs 22:4).
This shows us that the right kind of fear is the fear of the LORD. Let’s talk about one of our biggest enemies as women: the wrong kind of fear. This enemy threatens to tear the house down.
Our Enemy: Fear!
As women, we are prone to fear. There are two kinds of fear:
Earthly fear runs the gamut of the fear of man, fear for our children’s physical health and well-being, fear for our husbands, our parents, our provision, our protection, our marriage, our security, and our future. Although we tend towards these kinds of fears, we must remember that it is not God that has given us a spirit of fear, but He has given to us a spirit of power, a spirit of love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Godly fear, on the other hand, is the fear of the Lord.
How do we trade those earthly fears for that heavenly fear? I think it has to do with vision. What are we looking at? When we magnify the Lord, or make Him big in our eyes, and not our problems, we realize how capable He is of handling all of our affairs. Looking at Him makes everything else look so small. There will be times of intense earthly fear in our lives; so if we don’t know how to access a Godly fear by looking up instead of looking around, we will be overcome by this earthly, deathly fear. We overcome the fears of this world by the fear of the LORD.
I don’t want to tear down my own house by fear or by folly, or be known as someone who despises the LORD by putting my trust in my own devious ways. Because, when I have strong confidence in the LORD, even my children will have refuge. They will learn Who to run to by watching where I go in fearful situations. I want my children to be turned away from the snares of this fearful culture of death, and find a fountain of life. The fear of the LORD provides all of that:
“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him … In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge … The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:1, 2, 26, 27 ESV).2
Our focus, our vision, our personal walk with God today will prepare us for future trials and triumphs. No matter what comes in our life that causes us fear, we must cling to the LORD and fear Him instead. We will always find Him Faithful.
What I have learned over these years is that this family unit is nothing and can do nothing without the LORD. I have also learned: God is my strength; God is my help; God hears and answers my prayer; God is close to me in the chaos when I am humble and brokenhearted before Him.
Whatever my day brings, I can make simple choices to put aside my agenda and see the teachable moments. I can put aside what I think is right and learn to love God by loving my husband, my children, my neighbors and friends, and even strangers. God has given me everything I need for life and Godliness—through every season of my life—through my knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3). God’s Word is my go-to resource, and will thoroughly equip me and my children for the future: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Motherhood and Discipleship
Starting as infants, children watch us and follow us and copy us throughout their years. We must think about who it is we have to be as women in order to raise these children. Where are we leading them? We have to know where we are going. This is where motherhood and discipleship fit together.
In order to be a woman of Godly character and Godly qualities that our children would want to follow, we must first be a disciple or follower of God Himself. How will we lead them to life if we don’t know where to go? Where else can we go? There is only One Who has the words of eternal life. “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
What does being a follower of God look like for a woman today? Do we have a vision for this kind of life? We desperately need wisdom because as we go, so goes the next generation. We will not find that kind of wisdom in books, blogs, or Facebook walls. Instead of going from phone to blog to Facebook, we need to be grounded in the Word of God with a vision for the future.
“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20).
Friends are great for advice if they are grounded in the Word, but there is a Friend that is greater. He is our Counselor. This is too important to miss for our short lifespan as women, wives, and mothers to give the job of counselor to anyone else but God. May we gain His vision as we keep His children Home Where They Belong.
- The ESV ®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles ( https:// www . crossway.org / bibles/), a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2017-2018 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.