Encouragement for “One of Those Days”

One of Those DaysEver have “one of those days”? Lately, I’ve been having them often. Attempting to balance homeschooling, taking care of my family, and now a business, is taking its toll on me some days. Running a business is a full time job in and of itself, but it’s not my primary calling. Some days I feel like a stretched out piece of elastic that has lost it’s elasticity. I can’t bounce back enough to benefit anyone.

How do you possibly do everything on your list when you have more tasks than there are hours in a day? Other than starting your day with The Lord, giving Him control of your day, and prioritizing, I really don’t have the answer. That’s okay…sometimes there isn’t an immediate and tangible answer. Sometimes we just need hope and encouragement to help us persevere.Keep your quiet moment appointments with The Lord. Read and pray on the scriptures below, and rest in their wisdom and promises. Remember God always keeps His promises.

  • I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
  • The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
  • I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  • So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Hebrews 13:6
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
  • Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
  • In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5
  • For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear.  I will help you.” Isaiah 41:14
  • He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Hang in there, my friends! Remember, God is faithful!

Encouragement for Women Warriors

This is a long read, but please hang in there. These are thoughts and enouragement I just had to get out there ASAP:

Women everywhere are offended and discouraged by the results of the election. Believe me, I completely understand. I am not a Trump supporter. He can be offensive, not just to women. No one wants filthy language hurled at them. No one wants to be demeaned and degraded into a piece of meat. No one wants to be treated like they are inferior. No one wants to be treated like their feelings and beliefs don’t mean anything. No one wants to be treated like they are worthless.  No one wants someone trying to usurp their power, trying to conquer them. No one wants to be treated like a trained dog. No one wants to be given a disrespectful nickname. No one wants to be patronized. No one wants the important issues in their life to be treated with a double standard. No one wants to be ignored. No one wants to be regarded as nonexistent. Am I right, ladies? You bet I’m right.

I mean, women are worth more than this. Women are supposed to be worth more than rubies according to the Bible. Women are strong warriors. We are survivors. We take responsibility for our actions. We “man up” (no pun intended). We are the glue that holds everything together, right? We are hard workers. We give more than 100% and we selflessly sacrifice our desires for others. We believe we deserve equality.

So how many of us are willing to admit that we have ogled a muscular guy? How many women are willing to admit they have treated a male like an object of our desires? How many of us have treated the men in their lives like buffoons? How many of us have disregarded the desires and wants of the men in our life, batting our eyes, stomping our feet, slamming a door to get our way, or shed a tear or lowered our neckline to get out of a ticket? How many of us have nagged and complained about what our husband doesn’t do without ever acknowledging what he does do?

How many of us demand that “me time”, forcing our husbands to work all day long and then come home and take care of the kids, fix the broken appliances, clean the dirty house, pretty much take care of everything, because we feel like we are “entitled” to all of that treatment all because we stayed home for eight hours alone watching the children that God gave us? Think about it…Your huband has just worked hard for at least 8 hours, if not more. He comes home and jumps right into rescuing you from your responsibilities. Then He takes on more responsibilities after that. While you get a break for hours, for some women multiple times a week or even repeatedly for weekends. I know many husbands who don’t get a break at all or may get an hour here and there per week, but that is it. I’m not saying husbands don’t need to get involved and help, but it shouldn’t be one-sided. You want equality, then start giving it!

How many of us have made the statement, “I trained him well” or the like, meaning we have our man trained like a dog? How many of us have taken the leadership role away from our man because we think we can do it better? How many of us refer to our husbands with disrespectful nicknames instead of respecting and revering him as the husband and man that he is? How many of us have manipulated our man with the silent treatment? How many of us demand our way on a regular basis disregarding what is best for our man? How many of us are willing to admit that we feel and treat men like we are the superior to them?

Well, respectable, honest, warrior, equal women that say we all are, how many of us have “manned up” and answered “yes” to any or all of these questions? How many of us are willing to admit we have treated men, children, and society in this demeaning, disrespectful manner? How many of us are actually woman enough to admit we hold a double standard?

When it really gets down to it women are supposed to be crusaders, but who are we really championing for? What is our motivation? I’d like to believe that we are striving for equality for all people no matter their age, race, size, or gender. But, for most of us that is not the case. Think about it… If some woman treated our sons, brothers, nephews and grandsons this way we would claw their eyes out.

Yet, we are okay with using our feminine wiles flaunting them to get what we want. Then we say it’s wrong for men to be attracted to us. These disgusting women who walk around flaunting their body parts and actually wearing images of them on their heads…they just don’t get it. What they are championing for is the right to be vulgar and disgusting, yet when a dirty old man treats them with vulgarity then they cry victim. NEITHER behavior is acceptable. We are okay with listening to or using foul language but then we fault a man for doing the same thing.

Unfortunately, feminism has taken a nasty turn so much so that many of us don’t even want to be associated with the movement any more. Where are the women championing for the real victims? Women and children victimized by sex trafficking, rape, and abuse? I’m sorry but your idea of victim is a lot differnt than mine these days. A victim is an innocent person who has been abused or compromised in some way. A victim is not a woman who gets paid $2 less per hour than her male counterpart. A victim isn’t a woman who is being told to keep her sex life private and stop subjecting us to it and making us take responsibility for it. Those of us who are being exposed to the vulgarity–we are the victims. Our children are the victims.

God created us to be selfless, and the women who championed the feminist movement when it first began were selfless. They didn’t want to give up their responsibilities for more power. They didn’t want to do less. They wanted to take on more. They longed to be appreciated and regarded as equal not superior. They still wanted to fulfill their God-given duties. They still wanted men to treat them with kindness, respect, and chivalry, because they truly loved and respected men. They understood that God created men and women differently. Men have shortcomings that women complement with their strengths. Men have strengths that complement the shortcomings of women.

Those powerful women were willing to die for their children, and they took responsibility for the consequences of their actions. They didn’t look for an easy way out. Oh, I’m sure there were some selfish women in the bunch but by and large there were respectable women who were warriors for everyone, not just themselves.

Of course, we still have a connection to a woman of old: Eve. Eve didn’t want equality with Adam. She wanted equality with God. She wanted to be able to play God. She wanted to be like God. That isn’t equality. That is power-hungry selfishness. And that is the platform of the feminist movement today. Those of us who haven’t learned anything from Eve’s destructive hunger for power–we are inferior because we have learned nothing!

There is truly a double standard because if we are open minded and honest as we ask the world all around us to be, then we have to admit that we have committed those same sins in my earlier questions, and those are the same sins we are accusing of Donald Trump.

We have taken it upon ourselves to decide whether or not a child lives or dies. We have taken God’s blessing of healing away from us by making decisions to take a life rather than have the faith to believe God will perform a miracle. We have justified sin rather than taking responsibility for it. We have held men to one standard and manipulated our way into a double standard.

We have decided to take on the role of leadership causing our husbands to feel they have no worth, treating them as if they have no purpose to the point that they just sit around like couch potatoes. Then we complain about how lazy they are. What else do we expect them to do? We have only ourselves to thank for creating that monster. It’s time to take responsibility for it. We won’t let men do any of the things God has called them to do. We can do everything they can do, but better anyway, right? (I HATE THAT OBNOXIOUS SONG!) We have beaten them down, taken away their warrior status, chewed them up and spit them out while we use a double standard to whine and belly ache about the fact that they don’t do anything.

Speaking of whining, how does whining, kicking, and screaming exhibit power? It doesn’t. It’s like a two-year-old who doesn’t get that candy at the store. Why are we whining and crying, tearing our clothes, burning the flag, and basically having a temper tantrum over the election results? I thought we women wanted the world to hear us ROAR. Lately it sounds more like “I am woman; hear me whine”. We are not even outraged about anything but what affects us directly, things that really don’t have an eternal consequence. We are outraged that we don’t make as much as a man. Where is that going to get us in this life? There is always going to be someone who makes more than us or is better than us. This is a power struggle that human nature can NEVER win. So we have made that our life’s mission fighting against the natural order of things. It’s like trying to defy gravity…

Why not fight a battle we can actually win. Champion for those who don’t have a voice? Why not crusade for the unborn women who are killed each and every day? Why not crusade for the women who are being taught to risk their eternal souls for their own comfort and convenience? Why not teach women that they are worth more than a pile of dirty dollar bills, life without purpose, and stressful selfish ambition?

Do we not understand that eternity in hell is a lot worse than any lack of comfort here on this earth? I would much rather be unhappy and not get everything I want here on earth than spend an eternity separated from God because I made choices that sent my soul to hell. And believe me, I’ve sinned plenty in my life, but by God’s grade He has delivered me and forgiven me more times than I deserve.

So, here’s a tribute to Christian women who exhibit Biblical womanhood. They are the ones who crusade and protect every single soul not just their own personal agenda. They are the ones who are the hands and feet of Jesus. They are the ones who give up all of the comforts and luxuries of this blessed country to travel halfway around the world, risking their lives to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and save lost souls, carrying water and supplies and hugs to children and letting them know they are valued not thrown out like yesterday’s garbage. They are the ones who endure parasites, diseases, persecution.

They teach their children academically, spiritually, physically. They don’t shirk their responsibilities as wives, mothers, and daughters. They don’t expect someone else to do it all while they have their me time, rights and freedoms. They don’t feel entitled to have their way. Instead they sacrifice their desires putting others first. They live a life of gratitude acknowledging and counting each and every blessing they have. They spread their joy instead of division.

In return God blesses them beyond any higher paycheck, any life without responsibility, any earthly desire this old world holds. When they slip and fall or make a mistake, they humbly admit their wrongs, ask for forgiveness, and allow God to help them become a better woman. They strive and work their fingers to the bone without selfish gain. They have minds of their own choosing to follow and uphold righteousness instead of blindly following a party or popular culture. They have minds and preferences of their own and no one can sway them because they stand firm. Those are the true warriors and women whom we should emulate and respect.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand you are frustrated and devastated. That is how I felt when obama (not a typo) was elected. However, some of you were quick to point out that I needn’t get so upset and to dust myself off and move on. So let’s practice what you preached.

I know this post is coming off a little harsh. I am a passionate person, so I apologize for abrasive nature. I really do want to encourage you. We want equality, freedom, and someone to take on some of our burdens. There is nothing more freeing than turning your life over to Jesus Christ. When He comes into your life, He takes on all of your cares and burdens and brings you peace and comfort. He makes promises and actually keeps them. You can trust Him with your life, health, and family. He isn’t a magical genie who gives you everything you want, but if you trust Him he works everything out for your good and His glory. He fights for you when you are worn down and burned out. He holds you in His arms. He loves you despite all of your flaws and sins. He accepts you for who you are, and adopts you as His daughter.

I know it seems like all is lost, but it isn’t. Life will go on. When things don’t go our way, we can’t spend our days whining and whimpering. If we choose to be a daughter of the King, then we are choosing to be warriors with Him in this life. We can conquer anything within His will. So allow Jesus to open your mind to truth molding you, shaping you, and being your everything. Your life will be forever changed, and more importantly, you will have the hope for which you long. Let’s show the world how strong, resilient, and open-minded we really are. Let’s stop following a movement, a party, or candidate, and let’s follow God. Let’s stop being Women Whiners and let’s be Women Warriors.

***This post was originally posted prior to the Women’s March on Washington, but I stand by my statements as I have seen little to no reports that real women’s rights issues were represented there, only a select group of women and their own selfish agenda while they excluded other women from participating. And don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about because I have researched. I have also encountered many, many women of all ages who believe following God’s Biblical plan for womanhood is demeaning. Many have been brainwashed into believing that the only thing to live for is their own selfish desires and careers. They look down on me and women like me who choose Biblical womanhood. They believe women’s rights are about their rights to do whatever they want to, whenever they want to in reference to their sexuality. This is not a crusade for the rights of women. This is a crusade for vulgarity–plain and simple.

Women, Women's Movement encouragement ruckusandrubies.com

Why Are Women Their Own Prince Charmings?

knight
Nowadays, everywhere I turn I find a woman who is worn and weary, burned out beyond anything they can possibly bear. We are trying to be everything to everybody and it is just IMPOSSIBLE. Many women these days feel as if they are being thrown to the wolves into this treacherous and despicable world.

In many ways that is true, as women are burdened with carrying the load of more than God intended. We weren’t meant to be the breadwinners. We weren’t really ever meant to put in more hours at our career or job than we do at home. In fact, helping financially was supposed to be an afterthought, something we did after we took care of all of our priorities. Priorities were supposed to be spiritual growth and relationship with God, marriage, children, home, church, community in that order.

Unfortunately, society has pushed the roles of men onto women. Women are just as much to blame as men or society, because many have decided to become present-day Eves. They are hungry for power, hungry to be like God, and they have fallen into satan’s trap.

These women aren’t the only ones suffering, though. All women are suffering whether they have this hunger for power or not. Many women desire to fulfill God’s call in their lives, but they are stuck in the vicious aftermath of this disaster society has pushed upon us.

The world has taken away the responsibility of man, his leadership, his power, his strength, his courage, his ingenuity, his initiative. Society has taken the warrior God created and turned him into a more subservient type of being while women have been forced to become something they were never meant to be: the Prince Charming, the hero, the warrior, the rescuer, the knight in shining armor.

Now that’s not to say that God did not mean women to be warriors. He did, but not in the same way that He planned it for man. Husbands and wives were meant to support one another, to complement the other, to be the strength when the other is weak, to lift each other up spiritually and physically. They are equally important in the eyes of God, but He did not create them to be equal in every way. Women have strengths men do not have, and men have strengths women don’t have.

I’m grateful there are still marriages that model God’s plan. Those are rare and beautiful marriages. Unfortunately, I am seeing in many instances that the wife is the spiritual leader, leading the family in Bible study, worship, and prayer. It’s the wife who spends her nights on her knees before The Lord praying for her family, fighting the enemy for their souls. It’s the wife who is making most of the family decisions. It’s the wife that is picking up the slack.

Married and single women are struggling to balance everything on their plate. I don’t even think we can call it a “plate”, can we? Plates fit neatly in our hands and are usually fairly manageable even when we fill them to overflowing at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Many of us are beyond carrying a couple of plates. We are carrying the plates God has equipped us to carry. Then we are struggling to scoop up boulders God never meant us to carry. And in many cases society is encouraging or even forcing us to do so.

I’m willing to bet this is similar to what your todo list looks like:

todolist

Sometimes I get up earlier too. Notice there’s no exercise or “me time” on the list. And of course the sad thing is that is not everything…

I would just love to say thank you so very much to all of those women who have passed down this idea and this burden, who have emasculated our men, and trained them to be passive and give up their leadership roles to women—EXTREME SARCASM. You are the ones who have buried women in an avalanche of stress, pressure, and burden. Forgive us for not expressing our gratitude…

You have taken away heroes, Prince Charmings, and have trained men to give up their God given roles in the home and in society. In this human world, you have thrown yourselves and your gender to the wolves.

There are a few warriors and Prince Charmings left in this world. I pray they do not grow weary in the roles God has given them, and I pray they will be protected from this destruction.

Thankfully, Christian women have someone bigger than Prince Charming, more powerful than any hero.  God is our refuge, our ever present help in this stressful world. He is our King, who leads, guides, protects, directs, comforts, and rescues. He is the one to which we should ultimately turn.

Do not lose heart, ladies. Turn to The Father. Make a relationship with Him a priority. Let Him rescue and free you. It won’t mean you will not have to balance the busyness of life, but you won’t have to do it alone. You will have someone to walk beside you when you feel like you are on your own.

When I feel overwhelmed, I tend to curl up in a shell. For some reason (probably the work of the enemy), I tend to draw away from encouragement. I don’t always share with my prayer warriors. Sometimes I don’t even draw near to The Lord, but this is what the enemy wants. He desires for me to be so bogged down and overwhelmed that I cannot fulfill my God-given calling and role in this life, which has a ripple effect on my family and those who look up to me.

Don’t make this mistake. This is where God does use you as a warrior. Defeat the enemy by leaning on The Lord and seeking His will before taking on new tasks. Pray and study His Word for the roles of yourself and your husband in your family.

We can’t be surprised that our lives are utter chaos when we our gender has completely disregarded His will. We don’t want to pass these burdens on to our children. Life is hectic enough without messing with God’s natural plan for things. Our daughters and sons deserve better. Give our sons back their warrior status, and give our daughters back their Prince Charmings. Let’s turn things around by prioritizing, leaning on God and our sisters in The Lord, praying for our families, and teaching future generations to turn back to God and His plan for our roles in this life.

10 Tips for Making Your Home a Sanctuary

10 Tips for Making Your Home a Sanctuary #homemaking #sanctuary #faith www.ruckusandrubies.com #raisinghomemakers

Sanctuary…

The simple utterance of that very word makes your eyes close, your head lift, and your lungs take in a deep breath of air. A sense of tranquility and peace washes over you.

Today I’m sharing 10 tips for making your home a sanctuary over on the Raising Homemakers blog. Take a minute and stop by for a visit: 10 tips for Making Your Home a Sanctuary – Raising Homemakers.

Overwhelmed by Homeschooling?

Overwhelmed by Homeschooling? Tips and advice for overwhelming the enemy instead of yourself. www.ruckusandrubies.com #homeschooling #faith

I wish I could say that after you homeschool for a while, you no longer feel overwhelmed. Many aspects of the journey do get easier, better, less stressful, but there are always going to be aspects of homeschooling that overwhelm us.

Whether it is Algebra, the science experiment gone awry, meltdowns over writing assignments, the phone ringing off the hook, non-supportive family members and friends, broken appliances, there will always be something that tries to ruin your homeschool journey.

We must remember: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12.

The enemy, satan, wants to steal, kill, and destroy our homeschools. He wants us to throw in the towel. Knowing this gives me a whole new perspective on my struggles. It makes me angry, but most of all motivated. It makes me want to “man up”, stop whining, and fight for my children and our homeschool.

When you feel overwhelmed, use these tips as ammunition against the enemy:

  1. Get into your prayer closet. Encourage your children to pray with you. I know it is an interruption to your homeschool schedule, but math problems can wait. Protecting your home from the enemy cannot!
  2. Reach out to your prayer warriors. Nothing bothers satan more than to hear the prayers of many saints fighting against him.
  3. Seek advice from your homeschool support group, accountability association, or fellow homeschoolers.
  4. Take a break from the overwhelming tasks, pray over them, and do something fun instead. You could take a field trip, go to the library, have a game day, volunteer, perform random acts of kindness in the community, or just take the day off and spend it cuddling and basking in His light.
  5. Speak to the enemy. Bind him in the name of Jesus. Grab your Bible and study scripture. Claim it against the enemy just as Jesus did. Include your children in this maneuver, because they need to know how to recognize who they are battling and how to defeat him.
  • And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Genesis 33:5
  • And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Hebrews 2:13
  • Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
  • Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The truth is that whether or not you homeschool, there are times of trial for everyone in this life. Hang in there! Remember God’s faithfulness. Seek Him first, and He has promised He will take care of the rest. God never breaks His promises!

5 Tips to Help Moms Juggle Everything

juggle

Ever feel like you are in a juggling act? I know I do–and my house is the three ring circus. Circuses are fun, but your home is no place for a circus. I have not be trained to nor do I even want to jump through rings of fire or walk a tightrope hundreds of feet in the air or juggle a dozen balls. Fire dangerously spreads. I’m afraid of heights. Oh, and did I mention I have carpal tunnel and arthritis. No way I can juggle!

The circus wasn’t even my calling. I was called to be a wife and a mother. That means using Proverbs 31 as my guide to serving God and my family. I am to love and support my husband by being a good steward of all of his hard work. We are a team so while he is working hard all day, I am caring for everything on the home front.

I am to love, nurture and teach my children spiritually, academically, physically. I am also to care for myself in a way that keeps me spiritually and physically healthy so I can serve God and my family to the utmost of my ability.

So how come I find myself feeling like an act for Ringling Brothers? How did I end up here? How do I get back on track?

I’ve been studying scripture and The Lord has really been speaking to me. He pointed out the fact that as a wife and mommy, I wear at least 50 different hats every day. Have you ever seen one of those mom job descriptions that is a mile long list of duties? It’s true. At some point I do have to multitask or adjust tasks which means I may need to do a little juggling. But in His faithfulness He reminded me that if I seek Him first, He will help me do so with grace, joy, peace, and a servant’s heart instead of looking like a fumbling clown.

He also pointed out that sometimes in my quest, I get too busy trying to meet the world’s standard of a woman rather than God’s standard. That’s when I start feeling like a Bozo, because my priorities have gotten so mixed up.

Below are 5 tips to help moms juggle everything:

  1. Tend your garden. I’m not talking about the one out in the backyard. It’s the garden of our heart that needs attention. We need to surrender and give Jesus our hearts. We need to tend our garden by studying His Word, communicating with God in prayer, and regular worship in His house. Through these things, He can change the condition of the soil of our hearts so that the seeds of His Word will take root, grow, and bear fruit. Luke 18:14-15–The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.                                    
  2. Relinquish control. If we are ever going to find balance, we’ve got to “let go and let God”. He will guide us to what should remain in our hands. When we seek Him, we’ll have the freedom to stop juggling some of the balls, but don’t worry–they won’t drop. When we give them to God, they float upward to His mighty hands. The hands that control everything. Let’s face it–we aren’t Superwoman. We cannot do EVERYTHING. Why not let your loving Heavenly Father carry the burden? He desires to do this for us. 1 Peter 5:7–Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
  3. Stop chasing the wrong dream. We’ve got to get our priorities straight. We’ve got to stop worrying about how the world tells us school, sports, and other activities are the top priorities in life. Don’t get me wrong–they are important to a degree. However, they won’t get your children into Heaven. They have little to no eternal value. Our relationships with God, His church, and our family should be the top priority. Everything else will fall into place once that is established. What good is it going to do if little Johnny can hit a home run, if he thinks baseball is more important than his relationship with God and The Church? What good is it if we have all of the material possessions in the world, can eat out every night, and have a huge savings account, but our family is worshiping at the idols of television, iPads, and sports cars? Physical health is so important to serving God and our families, but not to the extent that we spend more time exercising and counting calories than we do in His Word. Those things become our gods.  Exodus 20:3–“You must not have any other god but me.  If you need help prioritizing your schedule, these books are extremely helpful:                      
  4. Don’t worrying about your needs & just be grateful. There are people who spend hours worrying about money, planning how to pinch and squeeze every penny they have. It is important to be good stewards of God’s blessings, but it they not ours to hoard and obsess over. Money is a tool God gives us to use for His glory. Many parents preach to their children to be grateful, yet they don’t exhibit that themselves. They are hoarding every dime. The children see them using and abusing others for what they have instead of working hard and buying their own. People lie on their taxes, cheat others so that they can save money, and they develop an entitlement attitude. They expect people to cater to their needs. That’s not a life of gratitude. If we get our spiritual life on track, then we won’t have to worry about meeting our physical needs. We will trust God to take care of them. He will change our hearts, shape our attitudes about money, and we’ll stop struggling to juggle those pesky finances. We will live as God as our Provider. He will pour out His blessings. We will use it for His glory and share it along the way. Luke 12:22-31–And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”                                             
  5. Glorify the Lord. Our lives are not about us. We need to realize that the meaning of life is to glorify The Lord not to live for self. That is why we need balance and why we drop the ball. We have a God-given purpose. If we live that out, then we will bear fruit for The Lord. Are your hands too full and too busy juggling balls?  Ask yourself what fruit you are bearing. Your hands weren’t meant to juggle, but they were created to be branches that bear much fruit. We are to be the hands and feet of Christ and bring glory to The Father. You can’t do that when you have your hands full of a million different things. John 15:8–When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.  I would encourage you to hang a note or a sign up as a daily reminder of God’s purpose for you.

Juggling takes a lot of hard work. There will be times when we will drop a ball or two, but I am so thankful that I don’t have to juggle all of the balls alone. I’m grateful I have a Father who turns my chaotic circus into an amazing work of art.

20 Valentine’s Day Dates and Gifts on a Budget

Valentine's Day Dates on a Budget #budget #datenight #valentinesday www.ruckusandrubies.com

Your loved one is so very special to you, and you want to make Valentine’s Day special. Unfortunately, we just had Christmas and your wallet is empty. I know exactly how you feel. My sweet husband and I have had our share broken budgets on Valentine’s Days over the past 23 years that we’ve been together.

Over the years, we’ve come up with some sweet, budget-friendly dates for Valentine’s Day or any date night. Basically, you just need to think of things you enjoy doing together and plan accordingly. Sometimes it’s even better not to plan. Spontaneity is very romantic!

20 Valentine’s Day Dates and Gifts on a Budget

  • Pack your favorite picnic foods. Take your sweetheart to a quiet local park, hillside, mountain, beach, and arrive just before sunset. Enjoy your picnic dinner and watch the sunset together.
  • Plan a romantic dinner for two at home by asking the grandparents or friends to watch the children. Cook dinner together and enjoy your dinner by candlelight.
  • Go back in time and recreate one of your favorite dates or even your first date.
  • Utilize the internet and apps to search for coupons to keep these dating spots budget friendly:
    • Ice skating rink
    • Bowling alley
    • Restaurants
    • Movies
    • Mini golf
    • Concerts
    • Ballets
    • Plays
    • Sporting events
    • Bed and Breakfast
  • Write love letters or poems to each other.
  • Try to remember a time when your sweetheart was complaining about a problem. Surprise them by fixing it if possible. I love it when my sweet husband fixes something my clumsiness has broken. It shows he is paying attention and cares about the little things that bug me.
  • Write or sing a song to your sweetheart.
  • I am a list maker. If your sweetheart is to, try to nab their to-do list and take care of as many things as you can on the list.
  • Treat your sweetheart to breakfast in bed.
  • Make your sweetheart a thoughtful, crafty gift from the heart.
  • Make a coupon book of your sweetheart’s favorite activities.
  • Take a long walk hand-in-hand.
  • Orchestrate a scavenger hunt with clues and little inexpensive gifts like favorite candies, snacks, etc.
  • Hold your own prom in your living room. Get all dressed up and dance the night away.
  • Watch old romantic movies together. Don’t forget the box of tissues!!
  • Talk and listen. I know it means a lot to me when my sweet husband cares enough to let me vent to him about my struggles, and I listen to his, and we pray for each other.
  • Watch your wedding video and reminisce over photo albums.
  • Discuss and set goals and dreams for your future.
  • Simply plan nothing. Set aside time in your calendar for your sweetie and then just enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes the best days are when you have nothing on the agenda at all. Just let the Lord guide your time together.
  • Plan and begin a Bible study or devotional series together. These studies are amazing:

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive. All you need is a little thoughtfulness! Putting God at the center of your relationship will help you celebrate your sweetheart every day of the year!

For the Love of the Church

churchRecently, a friend of mine commented on the faithfulness of my oldest daughter. She is a full time college student studying youth ministry, works part time, and volunteers in the nursery, choir, children’s church, and youth departments of our church. This sweet friend wanted to encourage my daughter and let her know how much she appreciated the fact that she is at church every time the doors are open. If anyone has an excuse not to be there, it would be young people with busy schedules like my daughter.

My children want to be at church every opportunity they can get. They can’t stand missing church for illness or having church canceled for weather or holidays. I have to admit there are times when I am just too tired and too overwhelmed. I don’t want to go anywhere. I’d rather just crawl under the covers and hide. I say I’ll just worship, read my Bible, and pray at home, but I don’t. By skipping out on the message God has for me in His house, I’m telling God that what I want is more important. I don’t have time to accept his invitation.

In reality, I’m only kidding myself to believe staying home will do me any good. It is these times when I really need worship in His house the most. I should strive to be more like children who have a consuming fire and hunger for God.

I am so thankful The Lord has changed the course of the history of my family. My children are much closer to Him than I was as a child. My parents weren’t Christians and didn’t talk to me about God. My grandmother didn’t get saved until my early teens. God’s influence on my grandmother began a chain of events that changed eternity for generations. Thanks to The Lord, my grandmother was saved. I saw her faith and what God was doing for her. Through that wonderful influence, I got saved and so did my sweet husband.

Unfortunately, this change wasn’t immediate. I remember walking down a path contrary to God and His Word as a teenager and young adult many times. I had justifications, reasons, and excuses for all of my failures.  I don’t think I took much responsibility for my choices back then.

Even as new parents, we allowed the world to press us into its mold. We let the pressures of being working parents prohibit us from being faithfully committed to church attendance and service. We still had time for work, children, shopping, running a household, friends, family, sports, television, but we didn’t have time for God.

All of those other things seemed to take precedence over church. I’m not sure why. I guess because we were slaves to the world’s way of thinking. We thought we had to skip church to be able to take care of everything else we had to do.  We were overwhelmed physically and financially. It didn’t take long for The Lord to get ahold of our hearts. He reminded us that if we sought Him first and His righteousness, that He would take care of the rest.

He began giving us a hunger for the things of God. So we began stepping out in faith. We started tithing regularly.  He provided more financially for us than we ever had by holding back our tithe.

We began attending church every time the doors were open. The days still consisted of 24 hours, but amazingly we had more time to do the things we needed to do. It was difficult because we had to alter the routine of our children. They were used to eating, playing, sleeping on a schedule, but on church days and nights those schedules were interrupted. We were worried about our children being irritable and unruly because they were grumpy, hungry, and out of sorts, but those fears never really came true.

The Lord took care of everything just like He promised He would. God has blessed us even more along the way by taking a stand against anything taking precedence over worship: Jobs, sports, recitals, etc. We have said no to all of them and our children are blessed, well-rounded, and close to The Lord.

Even when we go camping and there isn’t a church around for miles, we simply have devotions and church as a family. I know the world is getting further and further away from corporate worship. It breaks my heart. I know it breaks The Lord’s.

There are Christians all over the world who want to worship, but they can’t. Sacrificing their very lives, they worship in secret. We take that honor and privilege for granted. We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing the world to press us into its mold.  We let any and every circumstance interfere with our worship. When you get down to it, we are just making selfish excuses.

We need to be in His house. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” God loves the church. We should love all of the things of God, because they are one. I’ve heard this analogy given many times. You can’t get married, occasionally go home to your spouse, and then expect your spouse to believe and know that you love them. It’s the same for God and His church. How can we say we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength if we give Him lip service?

Worship is the very reason we exist, and we think nothing of pushing it aside. Nothing is more important! The Word says we will worship every second in Heaven for all eternity.  If we don’t have the time or the hunger for worshipping The Lord now on earth, how do you think we’ll feel in Heaven (if our choices don’t keep us from getting there)?

Home Is Where the Heart Is

heart homeYou’ve heard that old saying: “Home is where the heart is.”  It’s so true–your home is wherever you long to be.

For encouragement for your heart and home, visit today’s post over at Raising Homemakers!  Thanks for stopping by!

The Controversial Proverbs 31 Woman

 

 

 

charmWho wouldn’t want to be the Proverbs 31 Woman?  I will tell you who–many women these days.  They’ve fallen for satan’s lies.  Unfortunately he and the world have completely distorted the truth about her.  They have created a false controversy out of TRUTH – something God meant for our good and His glory.  The enemy wants to defeat women because he knows how strong we are with God by our side.  But I say the controversial Proverbs 31 woman is a myth.  Let’s uncover the truth:

Proverbs 31:10-31


10A wife of noble character who can find?

    She is worth far more than rubies.

She lives a life of gratitude, obedience, and submission to God, who in return creates her flawless, polishes and makes her shine.  She is a precious gem, a sparkling jewel, a priceless treasure…  I want to be thought of as priceless.

 

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.

She is virtuous–honest, loyal, and trustworthy.  Her husband trusts her implicitly because she keeps means what she says and says what she means.  She can be depended upon.  She is soft and beautiful, yet tough and solid.  She is a steel magnolia–lovely and courageous.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

She exudes goodness, morality, virtue, and integrity. She relies on The Lord to live an upright life.  Love never seeks to harm.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.

She is a diligent worker.  She sees her responsibilities as loving acts of service to her family. She is thankful she has a family for which to care.  She does her work with joy in her heart for the family she adores.  
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.

Have you ever worked with someone who only did exactly what they were told and nothing more?  That is not the Proverbs 31 Woman.  She takes initiative and is motivated to do whatever she can to help her family and her community.  She uses her creativity and determination to go the extra mile.  

15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.

She plans her day wisely by getting up early, praying, giving God control of her day, anticipating and preparing for the needs of her household.  This takes discipline and self-control.  

16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She plans ways to utilize the gifts and talents God has given her for His glory and the good of her family.  They benefit from her initiative, hard work, and abilities.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

She doesn’t just strive to be “good”.  She strives to be better.  She doesn’t just settle for better, but for the best.  Just when you think she has done her best, she works to push past her best and sets a new record for herself.


18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.

She works tirelessly and selflessly, sacrificing for her family.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She is passionate about her work.  She utilizes her passion to strive to be better, to work hard, to serve her family and others.

 

20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.

She sacrificially serves her community. She is gracious with her time and her talents, sharing and giving from her blessings.

 

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

She has no worries when it comes to whether or not her family has everything it needs, because she has taken the time and initiative to plan accordingly.  She hasn’t just prepared physically for her family, but she has also looked after their needs by praying for them and giving them to The Lord.


22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

With class and modesty, she clothes herself as a princess and daughter of The King.  She represents Him with virtue and integrity.

 

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

She represents God, her husband and her family well through her character.  She is known in the community as virtuous and noble and this reflects well on her husband.

 

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.

She is industrious and seeks ways to help her family financially.  This does not take up the largest portion of her day.  This industry is not her life.  It is something she does as a side note after she has taken care of her family’s physical and spiritual well-being.

 

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

It isn’t just her physical appearance that is dignified, but her dignity comes from within, from her Godly character.  She gleans wisdom from God’s Word and speaks truth in love to others. They come to her because she is trustworthy and they know they can depend on her to pray.

 

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

She doesn’t leave the affairs of her household to others.  She doesn’t expect others to care for her children, husband, or home.  She knows God has entrusted these blessings to her and she takes responsibility for them.

 

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”

Her family praises and appreciates all that she does.  They know many women are noble, but they acknowledge the extra that she does because of her love for God and them.  

 

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

She doesn’t waste time on the temporal.  She fears The Lord and utilizes her time to have a relationship with Him.  Why?  Because she loves Him and is grateful for all He has done in her life.  His love and blessings motivate her to be better.  The Lord praises her.  Her heart and works demonstrate her love for God and people.

Who wouldn’t want to hear these adjectives describing them:  VIRTUOUS, PRAISEWORTHY, FAITHFUL, CLASSY, LOVING, SELFLESS, LOYAL, WORTHY, WILLING, GOOD, INDUSTRIOUS, HARD-WORKING, GODLY?

Don’t let the world distort your view of God’s truth about the Proverbs 31 woman.  He placed examples in His Word for us to live by.  With God all things are possible.  Proverbs 31 is noble, attainable, and it is God’s plan for His daughters.