Sunday, December 17, 2017

When the Rug is Swept Out From Under You

When Dusty and I made the decision to come to seminary in the summer of 2012 I had no idea what was in store for me. We would be moving to a new city, with new people, and a whole new way of life. And I was terrified.

Then, when we got here I learned all about the opportunities that were afforded to me as a seminary spouse. There is an organization dedicated to ministering and equipping ministry wives. There were even classes just for the seminary wives. I was super stoked to jump in and begin learning just as much as my husband was. After all, if one of you is called into the ministry, the whole family is. I felt like this was just what I needed to be able to be the helper I was supposed to be.

As I got deeper into the Seminary Studies for Student Wives program I realized just how much I was LOVING being in the classroom learning and growing. I also learned of the Master of Arts in Christian Education program that had a concentration focused on Family and Consumer Sciences/Home Economics (Homemaking) and realized that was something I really wanted to do.

So, I applied, and was accepted and I began the journey toward my Master's degree. I was stoked. However, the amount of confusion, push back, and critical response I got from people when I told them what I was seeking a degree for was monumental. There were people that were genuinely confused as to why this was a degree option at all. There were others who decided that I had completely turned my back on my gender by going against everything the current feminist movement stands for. And with each level of criticism I felt more and more like this was exactly what I needed to be doing.

I soaked it all in. I took as many of my concentration hours as was offered each semester. I attended almost every women's conference that took place on our little campus. I read books, I wrote papers, and I did all the research. All my seminary core classes have taken a back seat to those that have been offered in the concentration. So much so that I am just now getting around to taking a few classes that I should have taken within my first two semesters.

I had even made up my mind that I would continue taking the concentration courses as they were offered even after I had finished with my program in just 2 short semesters as a non-degree seeking student just so I could continue to grow and add to the wealth of knowledge that I had already received.

My path had been set. And then I had the rug pulled out from under me Wednesday afternoon.

You see, as I was handing in my final assignment to my professor for the semester, I was informed that the program was no longer going to be offered her at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. And not only that, the woman who has mentored me over the course of my educational career here, who has encouraged me, cheered for me, and showed me what it truly means to practice what she preaches will be leaving the school. And my heart is saddened. I am sad to know that the institution will be losing such a valuable asset both in the instruction and the program. Especially for a place that claims to champion the notion of biblical homemaking and encourages women and wives to be keepers of their homes.

The entire course of my life changed trajectory when I began the program here at the seminary and I was excited and encouraged at the way that the administration championed those of us who feel led to truly embrace the call to be keepers of our homes. Sadly, at the learning of the ending of the program, that in many respects is still in its infancy, it feels as if those who were championing the biblical mandate is now turning its back on us and leaving those in the younger generation to continue to flounder and wander aimlessly through this walk of life.

Motherhood, wifehood, homemaking…these are challenges that come with very little support, encouragement, or instruction. Like much of life, there is no clear-cut user manual, and the Family and Consumer Sciences concentration helped to give young women that guidance and encouragement that is so lacking in our feminist driven world.

Since I have already completed all the required concentration courses this change does not have any effect on my graduation plans. I will, Lord willing, be finishing up my degree by December of 2018. And then the question comes of "What's next?" Where do I go from here? How to I use the information to pick up the mantle that is being laid down so carelessly so that I can ensure that the knowledge that I have gained does not just become like the dusty books on the shelf that never get read?

That is my new goal for my little piece of the internet. To figure out exactly how to continue the work that had been started in me and through me. My hope and my prayer is that even though there are no longer going to be structured classes available where one can just sit and soak up the information, I
will be able to serve as a resource for help, guidance, and encouragement as we all seek to navigate this world and do it to the glory of God each and every day.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

November Blessings: My Kids

It's November 5th and I am already behind on my gratitude challenge. That is about par for the course for me though. However, this time it actually works out in my favor. Because day 3,4, and 5 are all about my kiddos. This way I can put it all down in one post and it works nicely.

November 3: Collin Dartanion

This boy is amazing. He is the one that made me a mommy for the first time. We have enjoyed 7 years of light, laughter, and love from him in ways I could have never imagined would come. He is smart, caring, and gentle. (Although he still doesn't realize his own strength most of the time). The way that Collin cares for and protects his little sisters is wonderful to me and I pray that he never loses that. He has a HUGE heart and longs to see everyone in the world have it as good as he does.

When it comes to learning he is quick and bright. We enjoy (mostly) our time of learning together each day and I look forward to seeing that little light bulb go on each time we sit down to learn something new. His face lights up when he figures it out and he can't wait to share with everyone the things he knows. 

He has plans to be a police officer when he grows up and is already wanting to do his part to protect and serve those he cares the most about. I couldn't be more proud of who this young man is growing into each day.

November 4: RaeLynn Arielle 

Rae-bear as we like to call her in this house. RaeLynn is spunky. She likes to be in charge and for everyone around her to know it. Her favorite thing to do is play "family" and she loves being the mommy to all her beautiful baby dolls. She can usually be found running around outside with her long hair blowing behind her and her shoes lost somewhere on the playground (I'm not even really sure why I make her wear them out the door since they never stay on). They say the definition of boy is "noise with dirt on it" but I can attest that you can use the same defining characteristics to describe RaeLynn, my little girl through and through.
She has started kindergarten this year and we are having a blast learning each day. She BEGS for her school time so she can learn something new. Teaching her to write has been fun and interesting since she is left handed and the only thing I can do with my left hand is hold a water glass (and even then I tend to be less coordinated than if I were doing so with my right). However, she has taken to it like a fish to water!. She is also an amazing gymnast who is quickly progressing through her skill work and has dreams of competing some day. 

Her life long goal is to become a princess and live in a castle. She also tells me she wants to be a mommy and take care of her kids like I do and I couldn't be happier with that decision. If she changes her mind as she gets older that is fantastic but for now, if she wants to be a mom and wife and spend her time devoted to her home I am all for it!

November 5: Madilynn Lane

Our newest bundle of joy. This girl has kept us on our toes since the day she got here. She is bright and alert taking in all around her most of the time. She has her moments of being cranky but that generally only happens when she is hungry or needs to be changed.

Her smile lights up the room and she is already trying to master the art of rolling over. Tummy time isn't her favorite because she can't get up and go just yet. She also isn't really a fan of being down flat on her back. Maddi wants to be upright where she can see the world around her.

I often hear how surprised people are at how well she holds her head up, how alert she is, and how tiny she is. And to that I generally respond that the tiny part is just how she likes it, and as for the other two, well..she has a big brother and a big sister to catch up to and she is ready to get out there to run around with them!

I am so thankful that God has seen fit to allow me to be the mother to these 3 amazing children. I see the goodness, faithfulness, and love God has for us in them each and every day. Many believe that life is in the big magical moments that take our breath away. However, over the last 7 years I have come to see that life is in the day to day. The routine and the normal that we experience is where I get to know and grow with my kids. It is my earnest prayer that when my children are grown I have the opportunity to not only call them kids but to call them friends because I am taking the time now to invest in their lives each and every day.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November Blessings: Day 2

November 2: My Husband, Dusty

Dusty Ray Marshall

My other half, partner in crime, and rock. 

This man is amazing. He works hard, loves deep, and laughs often. I never now what is going to come out of his mouth next so I have to always stay on my toes when he is around. 

My favorite thing to do is watch Dusty be a father to our kids. It is clear to see that they are his world and he would do absolutely anything for them, but his ultimate desire is to see all 3 of them come to know and love Jesus as much as he does. (we are 1/3 of the way there!)

I am thankful that God saw fit to put us together in this life. He allows me to dream a little and I force him to keep at least one foot firmly planted on the ground. Together we take this wild ride together. 

I couldn't have asked for a better person to go through marriage, parenting, or any other challenge we come up against with. My heart is forever his and I am thankful that I can call him mine.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Blessings: Day One

Here we are. November 2017

It's that time of year again when everyone takes some time to focus on the things they are thankful for. Generally I don't get involved with all the gratitude posts and writings because I want to think that I strive to be thankful for what I have all year long. However, the past few months have been both a huge blessing and incredibly hard and I feel like it would be best for me to spend this month really focusing on my blessings and what God has given me to remember that even through the hard times.

November 1st: My Salvation

I would be remiss if I made the decision to start this off by showing my gratitude for anything other than the blessing of my salvation in Christ first. This has to be the one thing that I am the most grateful for in my life. It it weren't for the saving grace that I received 23 years ago I would not be the person that I am today and I would not be living the life that I have today.

I don't think that at 8 years old when I made the commitment to Christ that I really and truly understood what it was that I was doing. And even at the age of 16 when I made the decision to rededicate my life after having made some less than stellar life decisions, did I really understand what I had made a decision to do. 

Even now, at 31 I don't think that I fully grasp the fullness of the sacrifice that Christ's death on the cross is. But the thing I do know is that I can wake up every morning knowing that I have a fresh start and I can go to bed every night knowing that no matter how good or bad the day may have been, no matter what mistakes might have been made I have hope and peace that all is going to be as it should be. 

Christ's death meant that I can life and life abundantly and for that I am grateful and thankful each and every day. Now my only prayer is that I do my very best to guide my children to the same hope I have.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

This Week In Review


My whole week was paved with good intentions. Unfortunately, none of those good intentions were actually accomplished. It truly felt like every time I took one step forward life pushed me backward at least two steps.

This week's topic in the Rest and Release Bible Study was focusing on God bringing beauty, friendship, fatherhood, and love into our lives. Each day focused on another aspect of God's love and beauty in the world.

I found that this week in particular that I needed the constant reminder that God is always around, always with me, always protecting and guiding me.

With that in mind I realized I needed to take a moment to see the good things that took place over the week instead of thinking about all the things that went wrong. So here we go:

Monday Collin was able to attend his art class and come home COVERED in black paint. He had the biggest smile on his face and said that class was awesome. I am super excited that he is enjoying the class. We also had a wonderful home group Bible study that evening. We even had a new attendee. It was good to see him again since he had been working out of state.

Tuesday we drove Dusty to work. First we stopped as a family and did some grocery shopping and then enjoyed an early lunch together. Once we got home from that little trip we got a bit of school work done. The rest of the afternoon went less than smoothly but we all had full bellies and warm bodies by the time we went to bed.

Wednesday I had the opportunity to enjoy lunch with some other seminary wives. The kids had a great time getting to play with friends and I had conversation with other adults. Then I went on to teach my weekly sewing class. The girls I get to work with are wonderful and I truly enjoy spending time with them each week.

Thursday was the rough day for me. This was the day that it felt like everything was going wrong. I am sure that much of it has to do with exhaustion but that isn't an excuse for the way that I found myself reacting to my children. The bright side is that they forgave me and we were able to move on with our lives. Another high note was that I had the opportunity to play with my new phone.

This day was exciting. I attended a hand lettering workshop where I learned the techniques that I have been puzzling over on Pinterest for a while now. I also spent a bit more time with some ladies here at the Seminary during the monthly "Porch Days" meeting at the Horner Homemaking House. The afternoon and evening were also fun while I played around with the new things I had learned and finished up a new sign for the house. I also received a beautiful gift from a friend right when I needed it.

Today I cleaned the church while also supporting the fundraiser trip to Rio. I picked up 7 photo frames and I have used them to redecorate the kitchen wall. The kids got to spend time relaxing and playing at home and I Madilynn spent a bit more time playing and being awake than she has so far. And now here I am sharing this all with you.

It's easy to see how when we get caught up in the moment we can forget the good things that are going on in our lives. However, when we step back and evaluate everything we can notice that life really isn't all that hard or bad.

Have you ever had a week that just seemed like nothing every goes right? How did you over come that struggle?

Monday, October 9, 2017

My Current Reading List

I LOVE today's writing prompt. It simply says: What are you reading.

I love to read. I always have. When I was a teenager living at home with my parents my mom knew one of the best ways to get my attention when I had gotten into trouble was to take away my books. Then I love all things fiction. I read through Little Women countless times and I read through the Harry Potter series at least twice.

As I have gotten older my taste in books has changed only slightly. Thanks to my grandmother and her love of reading I have become hooked on a handful of different murder mystery type books. My favorite ones are the ones that have recipes scattered throughout the chapters.

One of the other areas that has changed in my reading is that I find I am enjoying more nonfiction books with the purpose of helping me learn and grow. One of the HUGE benefits of going to the type of school I go to and being in the program that I am in, my "textbooks" aren't really textbooks at all. Not in the super huge long and boring book that is a better doorstop than reading material sense of the word anyway.

This semester my "textbook" is Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. This book is all about how we as women are called to live our lives together, learning, teaching, training, and fellowshiping as Paul described in Titus 2. Nancy breaks down the passage in easy to manage sections and really digs deep into what it means to life out life in the Titus 2 model of women helping women to become the individuals God designed us to be.

The second book that I am working my way through is titled Where's Mom? written by Dorothy Kelley Patterson. Mrs. Patterson is the wife of the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where I attend school. I have had the pleasure of learning from her in a few different capacities. This book, although short in page number, is jam packed with the biblical importance of having a mother in the home as her primary focus. Mrs. Patterson lays out a case for why God designed women to be keepers of the home and helpers to their husbands, not as inferior beings, but as strong cornerstones of the family structure.

Book # 3 that I am currently reading is titled Eve in Exile: And the Restoration of Femininity by Rebekah Merkle. Rebekah was one of the plenary session speakers at the Biblical Femininity conference that I attended Thursday-Saturday of last week. During her session she laid our a solid case for why we as women in America are in a perfect place to rebuild the importance of what it means to be innately feminine and how we were designed as women by God for a greater purpose than to just wear pretty clothes and have pretty things. This book takes the hour's worth of information that she shared at the conference and goes further.

The fourth book I am reading is Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes. This book, though biblical teachings, stories, and the opportunity to reflect through question, breaks down fifteen disciplines that are vital to living a Christian life. Barbara helps to guide women to grow into mature Christian women no matter what is going on in the world around us.

The last book I am reading (which isn't in the photo above because it is lost somewhere in my bedroom at the moment) is Jen Hatmakers new book Of Mess and Moxie.  In her new book Jen, through her humorous method of story telling, reminds readers that we are not living life on an island. We are all intertwined together and while we may be a bit of a hot mess, we as women all have a bit of moxie within us. All we have to do is tap into that moxie, band together, and we can take on this world for Christ.

All of these books have one central theme: Women living out the life that God has designed for them following the biblical principles found in Scripture. Each one carries a bit of a different perspective but the message is still there LOUD AND CLEAR. We as women have a responsibility to take back our unique design given to us by God. We can not just wake up one morning and decide we want to be something different that what we were created to be any more than a donkey can wake up and decide it wants to be a quarter horse. It's just not possible. It is my goal and my dream to teach my daughters to embrace fully the women God has created them to be and it is through resources like these I will be able to gain to tools to do so!

Have you read any of these books? What is on your current reading list? Share with me in the comments!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Rest and Release Weekly Wrap Up

Just a few short years ago, no matter where you went you couldn't escape the words "Let It Go"  The chart topping song that went along with the box office hit movie Frozen was everywhere. From hearing it on the radio to humorous memes on the internet people from all over were being encouraged to just "let it go."

We have since moved away from the intense popularity of the movie and the song (although it still ranks pretty high in our house) but the idea that sometimes we just need to let it go hasn't changed.

And that is what this first week of the Rest and Release Bible Study has been all about. The theme for this week was STOP. Stop and truly evaluate all the things that are going on in your daily life. Take the time to determine what needs to stay and what needs to go.

This weeks Scripture passages were:
Luke 10:38-42
Ephesians 6:10-20
Leviticus 25:1-7
Ecclesiastes 10:10
Matthew 14:13-23

Each one of these scripture passages has a central them of slowing down and really resting in the Lord. The more I read through, highlighted passages, and thought about application for these Scriptures in my life, the clearer the picture began to be on what areas of my life I need to step back from and how I need to release things into God's hand.

However, the idea of letting some of these things go, things that are good but not great for me to be doing, is a bit terrifying. And then I attended a break out session at the Building a Culture of Biblical Femininity in the Home, Church and Community Conference on Friday and I heard a remarkable thing.

The speaker, Rachel Jankovic, said that when we find that we are struggling with the busyness of our lives that it may not be the activities that we are doing that's the problem. The real problem may be our attitude toward the things we are doing. We are told in Colossians 3:23 that what ever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord. This means if I am sitting in a board meeting as a high-powered CEO I am to do it as unto the Lord. This also meas that if I am crawling on the floor picking up the spilled Cheerios again for the 3rd time that day I am to do it as unto the Lord.

As I listened to what she said, I really started to think back on the passages of the study for the week and everything comes back to resting in the Lord. And I realized, that even if I am busy running from one activity to the other or if I am at home with my 3 young children with school text books all around us, if I am doing "as unto the Lord" then that is where my rest is. I can rest easy knowing that God has it all under control. When chaos erupts and it feels like I am going to crater at any moment, God will still have it under control.

So now, over the course of the next few weeks, as I finish going through this study, as well as taking time to seek wise counsel and talk through things with my husband and others I trust in my life, I believe I will be coming at "what needs to stay and what needs to go" from a different perspective. I believe it will be my attitude toward the various activities I am involved in that will need to be evaluated more than the activity itself.

Does that mean I will continue to do everything I am doing, just with a better attitude and spirit? I don't know. It could very well mean that there are areas of my life I need to step away from. But it could also mean that I just need to shift my perspective and make a clear determination of what type of rewards I am seeking.

What areas of your life need to be evaluated? Do you need an attitude check in some area? How can you take steps to make that happen?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fall in Fort Worth And What I am Watching

Fall. A time marked by the changing colors of the leaves, pumpkin spice everything appearing on store shelves, shorter days, and cooler temperatures. Unless you live anywhere in the Southern part of the United States.

September 22nd was the "official 1st day of fall" but here in North Texas it still looked ad felt like mid summer.

That's the problem with living in Texas---We have 1 maybe 2 seasons. We have hot and the occasional cold day around mid January to early February. But we don't ever really get a "Fall" season.

Sure we get some cooler temps once the sun goes down but even now, it is 9 PM on October 5th and it is still 87 degrees outside. Day time, while we aren't getting to the triple digits, we are still seeing high 80's and low 90's on our temperature gauge.

However, just because it doesn't really feel like fall, that doesn't mean that I can't treat it as such. One of my favorite fall evening activities is sipping on a good cup of hot tea and watching some of my favorite things. 

Currently, I am re-watching through NCIS. I am actually several seasons behind where the show is at currently but I couldn't remember exactly where I had left off so I made the decision to just start back from the beginning. 

When my awesome hubby is home, and we have a spare minute or two, he and I have been watching through Star Trek Enterprise as well. To be honest we were never big Star Trek fans but for some reason that show has caught our attention. It's kinda sad to me that we haven't had the opportunity to sit down and watch anything together since Madilynn was born. Hopefully we will be able to get back at it soon now that she is finally falling into more of a regular sleeping schedule. 


Fall can be a busy time of year with school, holidays, and any other number of activities so it's always nice to be able to slow down a little, enjoy some tea, and just relax!

How does fall feel where you are at? And what are you watching lately? Share with me in the comments. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Writing through October

It has been several months since I took the time to sit down and really write out my thoughts. Between finishing up a very busy semester in school, the birth of a new baby, and lots of other things that have been taking up our time I have found that I really miss writing. However, over the last few days when I sit down to write I find that I am drawing a blank for topics,

So when I was scrolling through Pinterest and this image for October writing prompts popped up I decided I would give it a shot. Maybe if I can get consistent with a little bit of help the word will come back to me.

Blog Prompt Day 1: My Goals for this Month

So here we go. One of my big goals for this month is to get back into writing. I really enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts with others. I often find that when I go for a long time without "brain dumping" I get lost in my thoughts and find it hard to focus.

Another big goal I have is getting back into my daily quiet time routine. I have started a new Bible Study with a discussion group on Facebook and I am really taking the time to dig back into the Word of God and spending time in prayer and meditation. More than just my quick prayers for patience, peace, and calming when dealing with my crazy kids!

And my third goal for the month is to get back into the routines that I had set within my homemaking. Of course some things are having to change a little bit with the new baby here but now that she is just over 6 weeks old I am finally able to see where we can adjust and still get things accomplished on a daily basis. Meal prepping, daily and weekly chores, and the big kids taking on more responsibility have all started to fall back into place.

And lastly, I am hoping to get back into a light exercise routine. I was fairly overweight when I got pregnant and this time I am hoping to get back into a consistent exercise routine and dropping more than just the baby weight. 

There we have it, folks! My goals for October. 

What are your goals for October? What are you going to do to meet those goals?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Rest and Release

Hello Internet world! Can you believe I haven't been here to write since July? A lot has happened since then.

The most important thing that has happened in our crazy life is that we added to our family. Madilynn Lane Marshall was born on August 21, 2017. It's hard to believe that she has been part of our family for a month already. Adding a baby into a family is such a strange experience. It's like you can't remember/imagine what life was/would be like with out that little person there on one hand. And on the other it's like time is flying by so fast that it was only yesterday that you brought them home.

Along with the excitement of adding to our family, the kids have started their school year, Dusty and I are back in school (I am taking a VERY light load this semester), and we are slowly getting back into the routine of daily life.

As we enter into the Fall season, I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year.

I absolutely LOVE the fall season due to the colors, smells, decor, and the beckoning of the holidays. I am a huge fan of pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and everything else that goes along with this time of year. I look forward to the changing of the leaves and the rich reds, yellows, oranges, and browns. (Yellow is my FAVORITE color after all).

However, I HATE the fact that the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. I am not a fan of the dark and I'm not a fan of the cold. To be honest, if we could have the colors, tastes, and smells of fall smack dab in the middle of summer I would be a happy girl. The shorter days cause me to spend much of the fall and winter season in what feels like a panicked rush. I have always been wired to feel like when the sun goes down, the day is over. Which means, when the sun is going down at 4:30 in the afternoon, my body begins to shut down and I still have SO much to accomplish. This means that I spend much of my days rushing as fast as I can to get everything done and often times go to bed feeling like I am starting the next day behind schedule.

That is why, when I came across the Women Living Well 4-week Bible study called Rest and Release I jumped all over it. Having the reminder over the next 4 weeks to slow down, rest in God, and release my anxieties to Him is going to be a great experience.

How It Works

Each week has a focus for the week. This week is :STOP. Everyday there is a passage of scripture to meditate on. The journal lays out the SOAK method: S for Scripture, O for Observation, A for Application, and K for Kneeling in Prayer.

There is also a weekly challenge that is designed to draw your thoughts back to the devotion for the day as you go about your daily routine. This weeks challenge is to light a candle and each time the flame catches your eye to stop and pray for peace.

My Study Set-Up

I have recently fallen in love with Traveler's Notebooks. I love having the separate inserts for various things. i decided for this study to create a travelers notebook just for my "Spiritual Life" I have an insert for prayer and praises, one for the study notes, one for Sunday sermon notes (when I make it into service), and one for notes at conferences and meetings. 

I have my Bible, the bookmarks provided, and my notebook all kept together in one place. Along with those things I have a little pouch filled with colorful pens, high-lighters, and sticky notes for using in both my journal and my Bible. 

Each morning I start the day by lighting my candle and reading through the daily passage, high-lighting in my Bible and writing out my SOAK thoughts that go along with the devotion. 

It is a great way to get my day started before the craziness starts and I get lost in the routine. Each week I plan to share the focus for the week along with the challenge on Monday (or early Tuesday) and share a weekly wrap-up on Friday (or early Saturday). I hope you will enjoy following along as I go through this journey of learning to rest and release during the busy seasons of my life.

Are you in a busy season of life? (Aren't we all?) Can you use a bit of Rest and Release we would love for you to join our Facebook Discussion Group

Monday, July 17, 2017

When Things Don't Go As Planned


Can you believe it has been since the end of April since I have sat down to write anything here!?! I have both enjoyed the break and missed putting words out of my head and into some type of cohesive format.

However, I am attempting to get back into the swing of things so here we go.

It's the middle of July and we are just a few short weeks away from welcoming our newest addition to the family. I saw on the weather report today we are in for a heck of a heat wave this week so this terminally pregnant mommy will be spending as much time in doors as she possibly can. And that is absolutely OK because we kicked off our 2017-2018 home-school program year here at Mars Hall Legacy Academy. 

I made the decision at the end of our home-school year in May that we would start our school now and get some of the learning under our belts then take more time off once the baby is born. That way we might still manage to get in some type of a summer break next year with the off chance we can take a trip to see grandparents or aunts and uncles.

I ordered our curriculum and received a ton more for free early on so that I had plenty of time to plan and prepare. We have hit all the great school supply sales early so we have fresh new crayons, markers, and paints. Notebooks are stalked up and my lesson planner book is filled in and ready to go.

Last night, before I went to bed I even mapped out a loose schedule for us in my mind so that we were able to incorporate chores, play time (inside and out), quiet time, and lesson time. I had it all ready to go so that we would have all our structured learning time done by 3:15 at the very latest.

Then we slept in about an hour later than I had planned. Yep, I was starting off the "First Day of School" behind already. But it was ok. I knew with a few minor adjustments we would still be able to meet my timeline and all would be right with the world.

Needless to say....thing's just didn't really work out that way. Here we are, at 4:!5 in the afternoon as I am writing this and we still have one subject left to get through. Only about half the chores I had hoped to get done were accomplished. And I really should be getting dinner going in the oven.

But, instead the kids are playing with friends outside and I am here taking a much needed break to remind myself that even on the best of days things rarely go as planned. And that is OK.

There are countless stories from the beginning of time all the way to my less than stellar planning today of how things just didn't quite go as planned. However, once a step back is taken it is clear to see how God had His hand in everything and was truly orchestrating things within His plan. It's not that things "didn't really go as planned" but rather "things didn't go as I (we the human race) had planned"

Collin's 1st day of 2nd Grade
Today may not have worked out the way I had envisioned it to but as I have sat here and thought about it, I got some extra rest that I clearly needed being 36 weeks pregnant. Dusty had an opportunity to get the day started with us through our morning Bible lesson and prayer time. And I got the opportunity to have some good conversations with my kids as we entered into our new journey of 2nd grade and kindergarten. Today, though not "planned" has been just what it needed to be, and if I can manage to keep even half of that perspective throughout this journey we are going to have a great home-school year!

RaeLynn's 1st day of Kindergarten

How do you handle things when they don't seem to go as planned? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Principle of Being Rewarded

Everyone likes to be rewarded now and then. A pat on the back for a job well done, receiving a prize at the end of a long competition, or taking that extra day off because you just know you earned it through all the extra hours you put into a major project.

There are several people I know who enjoy running. They have participated in 5 K runs, 10 K runs, and even full on marathons. One of the things they look forward to is receiving that medal at the end of the race that says "Hey! You did it!"

It's true that being rewarded with a tangible, physical item is something to look forward to, but what about in the race of life?

Proverbs 31:31 says:
Give her the reward of her labor and let her works praise her at the city gates.
The woman of Proverbs 31 was receiving her reward day in and day out as she faithfully served her God and her family through her tireless efforts. But what exactly did that reward look like?

Defining Rewarded 

The basic definition "Rewarded" is compensation or something given for good works, service, or merit. The woman in this passage was compensated through her reputation at the 'city gates'

In short, when her husband went to work, everyone knew who he was married to and the quality of work that she provided for the community. He was affirming her to the people in the community who were of high importance.

The question here is this: Who are the people closest to you and what are they saying about you in the public?

What are some of the ways that living out the principles found in the Proverbs 31 passage can bring rewards? Lets take a look.

The Rewards

The woman described in Proverbs 31 was rewarded by integrating each of these principles into her live.

First of all she was rewarded through her pure life of virtue. Here is where her character is rooted completely. She draws close to the Lord and is given blessings from the Lord for it (Psalm 24:1-5) 

We, in the world today, have the opportunity to do the same thing. If we center ourselves on the Lord we will have the capabilities to understand spiritual truths in a way that many others can't. (Matthew 5:8)

We  see the rewards this woman had for being a trustworthy wife and mother through the reactions of her husband. His heart trusted in her completely. He was confident in the woman he had married and knew that she had his best interest.

This applies to us today even if we aren't married. This applies to the people who are closest to you. Can they trust you implicitly? Proverbs 31:25 reminds us that our actions are born out of our character. It is our job to walk in an upright manner so that we can be sure that God will provide his grace and thing things He deems are good. If I focus on the tasks I have been called to do and not worry about the things going on around me it is easy to life out this principle daily. (Psalm 84:11)

We learned when we talked about being energetic that this doesn't necessarily mean that we are a basket full of energy and excitement all this time. Here we see that being energetic simply means using the skills we excel at to benefit our homes and our families, (Proverbs 31:24)

The reward here can be great. If we are using the talents we have and coupling them with our spiritual gifts we have the opportunity to not only serve the family we are in charge of but we can also serve the Lord in wonderful ways. If we focus our energies into the areas that we excel in we can be sure to avoid eating the fruit of slothfulness (Proverbs 19:15)

Physically Fit
Being 'physically fit' is another area that is often misconstrued as being something that it's not. In this context, being physically fit is knowing your personal limitations and having the ability to work at your maximum potential. Of course, if you strive to keep you body as a holy dwelling place for the Lord, a clean vessel, the benefits will be far more than you can imagine. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

The rewards of this principle are that you are able to enjoy the tasks placed before you because you know how to get things accomplished. And you are able to avoid the judgement of God because thing things you are doing are holy and pleasing to the Lord. (Isaiah 3:16-26)

Here we are able to see true, tangible rewards. We we learn to live within our budget and we see the appropriate place and value of our money we can benefit from it working FOR us rather than it working AGAINST us.  When we are able to embrace a spiritual attitude toward our finances it is easy to know where to store up our treasures. (1 Timothy 6:6-8) When we have a strong foundation for our economical principle to be rooted in we are able to provide for our family the best quality products, at the best price, with no reason for guilt, doubt, or shame at the end of the day (Proverbs 31:18)

We all want to be known as unselfish, but what are the rewards to living such a lifestyle? For starters when we learn to be generous and unselfish we can know that we are not only serving our fellow man but we are ultimately lending to the Lord. (Proverbs 19:17) And while we may not see the rewards on this side of heaven, we can be like Dorcas, who was deeply loved and missed at the time of her passing because of the generous, unselfish heart and spirit that she possessed. She made it her mission to provide for those in the community and her loss was felt deeply. (Acts 9:36-41)

To be prepared means we are ready and excited for the tasks God has placed before us. (Jeremiah 17:7-8) We are not easily frustrated or filled with regret. (Matthew 25:21,23) And our reward is to be a role model and an example for those who are also striving to live a life of this magnitude, which means that we can be patient as we teach and train others to fulfill their service to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 11;1)

When we choose to live an honorable life we can be confident that we are walking in a life of fulfillment. (2 Corinthians 9:6) While the world may be telling us we will be lacking we can know that it is through these honorable actions that we are going to be reaping the true rewards in the form of blessings from heaven. And as we interact with others we will see the observable changes in the lives of those we have had the privilege to affirm. (Psalm 119:11)

 How we communicate is often more important than what we are actually communicating. It is easy to say the right thing the wrong way, or the wrong thing and even worse way. However, when we learn to be prudent with our tongue one of the rewards is that people will confide in your. This principle ties directly into the principle of being trustworthy. (Proverbs 15:1-2) People will also seek out your advice and be thankful for that advice once they receive it.

Being lovable and being loved begins with a strong vibrant relationship with the Lord. The closer you draw to Him the stronger the lovable characteristics come to the forefront. In turn the people in your life will come to grow in their love and respect for you. This then leads you to be an open and valuable mentor and example to younger women in your life. (Titus 2:3-5)

Living out the principle of being 'God-fearing'  will provide you with a bright, vibrant life with the Lord. It opens up the doors and pathways for you to become a positive role model for others on their walk with God. The true reward will come once we get to heaven and we are counted as the good and the faithful servant of the Lord. (Matthew 25:21) And through our relationships we are able to learn and grow when we come into them with the right mindset and heart-attitude.

A Final Thought

The Proverbs 31 Woman is not a laundry list of things that we as women are called to check off and if we don't ever get there we are failing at life. The truth of the matter is that, if you were to sit down and take an account of your daily life, many of these principles are already being lived out. The question that comes to mind then is, if you are already living out many of these principles, what is the heart and motive behind the actions. The ultimate reward will come when we reach heaven and stand before God and we can with confidence know that the Lord is proud to have us as His children.

How would you respond if God called you to accountability today? What would you say in your defense?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Principle of Being God-Fearing

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10
The book of Proverbs is 31 chapters of insightful words that the Christian man or woman can (and should) use as a guide post for daily living. Often times when we thing about having a 'fear' or something we have images of people running for the hills screaming at the thought of something. But when we are talking about having a 'Fear of the Lord' that isn't what we are meaning at all.

Defining God-Fearing

To have a healthy fear of the Lord in reality means to have a reverential trust in God. This means that you not only trust Him with your entire being but that you also seek and strive to to assimilate all your values and standards to those of the Lord. This comes with a realization that the standards of the world will constantly change and we will never be able to keep up. However, the standards of the Lord never change. They are a constant that we can strive to meet each and every day. Having a 'fear of the Lord' also means that we are true to the relationship that we have with God. This means we make a conscious decision to not live in a 'its better to ask forgiveness' frame of mine. We can't take advantage of the relationship or abuse it. 

Far to often I have come across people who live under the principle that because they have accepted the free gift of salvation from Christ they are now living with free reign to do anything and everything they would like to do with no regard for the consequences. This is the exact opposite of living a life by the principle of being God-Fearing.

Attributes of a God-Fearing Lifestyle

If living a life of doing whatever you would like to do without regard for the consequences is the opposite of God-fearing, then what characterized this type of life?

First of all you need to have a hunger and a thirst for the Lord. Think of it this way: Has there ever been a time in your life when you were so hungry or thirsty you were just sure you would not be able to carry on? That is the type of desire we should have for our relationship with the Lord. The craving to know God so much that we are sure if we don't have the opportunity to commune with God we will not be able to accomplish anything else the rest of our day.

The next thing that is necessary for living a God fearing life is to with an attitude of submission to the will of God. This type of submission moves far beyond the simple compliance and placing ourselves joyfully under the control of our Heavenly Father. This means that we submit ourselves to the authority of God even when things aren't going in a direction that we might think they shouldn't be going in. 

Another attribute of living a "God-Fearing" lifestyle is making all of the spiritual principles real in our lives each day. This also means that we have to work to put into practice the things that we are learning through out time in the Word each day. To make sure we are remaining in the Word each day we need to ensure that we don't find ourselves in a slump or a 'boring' routine when it comes to our daily quiet time. Through the action of mixing up the different methods and modes of studying the word of God then we can remain active and interested in our daily growth in the Lord. 

A Final Thought

There are so many other attributes that describe the principle of being 'God-Fearing' but ultimately it all boils down to ensuring that you are striving to maintain a strong, flourishing, and healthy relationship with the Lord on a daily basis. Proverbs 31:30 says,
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
This woman, whom we have been studying for the past several weeks, took the principles, commands, and desires of the Lord and she applied them to her life. Not only did she benefit from the actions but her husband, children, and the community did as well. This woman, though she was busy, was not distracted from the important things, ultimately her relationship with the Lord.

How do you ensure you maintain a vibrant relationship with the Lord? Do you keep your daily quiet time fresh and exciting? Are you willing to admit that you might need a kick-start to revitalizing your daily walk? If so, how will you get back to where you need to be. Join me next time when we wrap up this series with the principle of being rewarded.


Friday, April 7, 2017

The Principle of Being Loveable

"If you wish to be loved, be lovable"

What an interesting concept. But what does that really mean? So often we live our lives thinking that we all just deserve to be loved no matter what our actions might say. As a parent, I know that I do and will always love my children, however, there are times when their actions and attitudes make it seem challenging to do so.
The question then is, how do I go about 'being lovable' on a day to day basis? The woman in Proverbs 31 had it figured out!

Defining Lovable

Before we can talk about the HOW of being lovable we first have to understand what 'lovable' really is. Miriam-Webster defines 'lovable' as
Inspiring or deserving of love or affection
 That definition fits the bill pretty well but I would probably add in:
A benevolent (well meaning or kind) feeling of brotherly affection toward one another. 
The action of 'being lovable' goes deeper than those fluttery "butterfly" feelings that we get when we first begin to love another person, no matter what the context. When we first come to find that we have a true deep love for a friend or another individual in our lives we begin to realize those 'fluttery feelings' have gone away and now there is a deeper connection that is still there even when we find ourselves disagreeing with one another.

Where Does Being Lovable Begin

 How do we know where to begin if we want to cultivate a 'lovable' life? The first place to start is with our Heavenly Father. We read in 1 John 4:16 that
God is love, whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
In order to begin to know how to love and be loved we first have to know what love is. And the only true way to know what love is, is to cultivate a strong relationship with the Lord. God is love. God is also lovable. And He is loving. He is the total package. It is only through the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father that we can learn the action that is LOVE.

Once we have that foundation in place, and we continue to abide and grow in our love with the Lord we can then put our new found ability to love and be loved into practice with those in our immediate circles. The more we exercise a new muscle the stronger it will get. The same is with our attitude toward how we love those around us.

12 years ago I left my home and embarked on a new journey that was college. I moved to a new town, with new people, and was placed in a dorm room with an individual I had never met. (Fairly typical college experience). I had to make a decision to learn to love the person that I would be living with for several months or I could make the decision to not regard her at all. If I had chosen the latter decision I would not have spent time cultivating my heart for love and I would have really struggled when new people entered my living situation. Roommates came and went but I was always able to love those who were part of my immediate circle because I was deeply rooted in how to love through God.

Taking Love to the Next Level

As I was cultivating my heart to love those who were placed in my path I was given the blessing of meeting the man who would become my husband. As I put into practice my desire to love all those who God had directed me toward I was able to develop a deeper, more intimate type of love with this man. Now, almost 9 years later, I have the ability to cultivate a passionate, deep love for him that goes beyond that of what I would extend to my friends and my neighbors. This is a love and a passion that is beautiful due to it's confines and restrictions within the marriage relationship. And this is a love and a relationship that is unlike any other out there so there is no need to wonder or compare my passionate, intimate relationship that those of other people around me. 

Cultivating a life with my husband that is worthy of being lovable also comes with some action on my part to learn to work creatively within the leadership of my husband. In Genesis we learn that God created Adam a helper to work along side him tending and cultivating the garden. The woman was designed to be his helper and not his adversary. It is my job to be the helper that I was designed to be and not a detriment or a distraction. I can know my husband as I honor, respect, and help him just as I am told to do in 1 Peter 3:1-6. 

An Example for a Younger Generation

Train up a child in the way he should go;   even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6
Often times, in today's culture and society, the idea of discipline and corrections of children is frowned upon. Parents are releasing the duties of training and teaching their children over to schools, day care programs, and even church leaders. However, as a mother, if I am going to seek to cultivate a lovable life both for myself and for my children it is my job so train them in the proper manner. First and foremost I must ensure that my training is directly from the Scriptures. While it is my husband's responsibility to be the leader of the formal training of our children, it is my job to be in the trenches with them daily. I am to be the example. My actions should say to them:
Follow me as I follow Christ
This is not a responsibility to take lightly either. At some point, I will be accountable for the training of the young lives that God has entrusted into my care. The goal is to be able to stand tall in front of the Lord and be proud of the job that I did in the lives of my children.

A Final Thought

Family life comes in four stages:
  • The inception/beginning of a family
  • The expansion of a family
  • The child rearing years
  • The twilight/senior years.
As a parent the first half of our life is an investment and we reap the benefits of that investment in the
second half of our life. How we treat that investment will determine what harvest is reaped. The woman in Proverbs 31:28-29 took her role as a wife and a mother so seriously that the harvest she reaped was one for praise and encouragement. The woman in this passage was honored by her children and adored by her husband. She taught and trained her children with loving care and she brought good to her husband as we have already discussed in several other principles. This is the goal. To have our children rise up and call us blessed and to have our husbands shout that of all the wonderful women in the world we surpass them all.

How does your husband speak of you to those in the world? Does he sing your praises or does he wish that you could do more? What about your children? Are they thankful to have you as a mom or do they wish you had a little more love and care about your training? Join me next time as I talk about the principle of being God-Fearing. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Principle of Being Prudent

"If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all"

"Hey! You should watch your mouth!"

How may times as a child were you told that? How many times as a parent have I said that?

One of my jobs as a parent it to teach my children how to become effective communicators. And it is my responsibility to train them in how to do so with grace, dignity, and a loving spirit.

The best way that I can teach my children these skills is to model it on a consistent basis.

The woman found in Proverbs 31 shows us how this is accomplished through the ability to use a prudent tongue.

Defining Prudent

Being 'prudent' can fall in any number of categories, however, for the purpose of our study on this remarkable woman we are going to focus on the area of having a prudent tongue. 

To paint a word picture of a prudent person we see someone who is practically wise. They are aware of the potential consequence and makes action decisions based around that. 

Proverbs 31:26 says:
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue
 Here we see that she thinks before she speaks and she uses words to project kindness to others around her. James 3:5 reminds us that our tongue is such a small part of the human body and yet it has the capabilities to lift up or destroy so much. Backing up to James 3:2 we learn that if a person has control of their tongue the are able to be in control of their whole body.

This woman, our picture of the ideal, is capable of having that type of control.

Examples of a Prudent (and Not So Prudent) Tongues in Scripture

The Bible is full of places that direct us in how we are to use our tongue. We have examples of how to speak and how not to speak.

In Exodus we find that  Miriam, a woman who longed to follow God whole-heartedly, allowed her tongue to get the better of her. Her sharp, complaining tongue got her into a heap of trouble and she found she had to reap the consequences in the form of a physical malady.

We see that Isaiah had his tongue cleansed first by God before anything else, a reminder that we too need to have our tongues cleansed from. 

Think Before You Speak

Colossians 4:6 says 
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer another person.
We are called to use our words wisely. Colossians reminds us we need to stop and think before we open our mouths and speak. However, before we really begin to get control of our mouths and the words that we say we have to stop and take the time to evaluate what is in our heart.

Luke 6:45 states that what is in our heart will come out of our mouths. If we want to be sure that we are allowing up-lifting, edifying, gracious things to be what comes out of our mouths we have to first start with what we are allowing into our hearts.

The best way to ensure the things that are going in are the things we want coming out is to daily make Psalm 19:14 be our earnest prayer.

Once that prayer has become a part of daily life, the next step to take is to filter everything you intend to say through the following list of criteria:

  • Is it kind?
  • Is it necessary
  • Is it true?
  • Is it gossip?
  • Am I defending my own opinion rather than engaging in active listening?
By filtering our words through these 5 questions we might just be surprised at how little we will have to say to begin with. Once we start to really hone in and focus on using our words for edifying and uplifting, we begin to really see just how little of that has actually been done in the past. 

Becoming An Encourager Rather Than a Discourager

The Proverbs 31 woman made encouragement a part of her daily life. She used her words for imparting wisdom and kindness, seeking to lift others up rather than tear them down. We can follow her example by becoming women who encourage by inspiring others with a renewed courage, spirit, or hope. We can use our words to affirm other's character while directing them to more beneficial actions. Through prayer, coming along side those who are in physical need, and learning to display gratefulness we can train ourselves to search for the positive character qualities in those around us. 

A Final Thought

Early on in the semester we were encouraged to try out a little experiment. It goes a little like this:
  1. Determine your height in inches
  2. Stick out your tongue and measure the length when out as far as you can get it
  3. Determine the size of your tongue compared to your height in inches
I did this little experiment and I came to find that I am roughly 65 inches tall. When sticking my tongue out as far as I could get it, it measured at just shy of 2.5 inches long. That is a BIG difference between my height and the length of my tongue. However, that little 2.5 inches is often far more powerful than any of the rest of my 65 inches could ever be. We see throughout Scripture that if we do not learn to control the smallest of body parts we will be overtaken. It is truly amazing how something so relatively small can either build up in a great fashion or tear down in utter devastation. The question that we have to answer is how are we going to use our tongues?

How do you use your tongue to encourage others? Would you consider yourself "prudent" when considering your speech? How can you more more in that direction today? Join us next time as we discuss the principle of being lovable.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Principle of Being Honorable

"That was an honorable thing to do"

Have you ever heard those words? Or maybe even said them?

I can remember a time when I witnessed a young boy, about 5 years old, find a dollar on the ground in his Sunday School classroom. One of the other teachers in the room told him it was his lucky day because he just made a whole dollar. However, he made the decision to bring the dollar bill to me because he knew it wasn't his so he knew he shouldn't keep it. It didn't matter that he was the only child left in the class and the other teacher and I were on our way out as soon as he was collected by his parents. He knew that dollar wasn't his to keep. I told him, as I took the dollar, that he was doing a very honorable thing.

What made that young man, in that moment, worthy to be called "honorable"? What about his decision in that moment stood out? And how does that apply to our lives as women striving to live out the principles found in Proverbs 31? Let's dive in and see.

Defining Honorable

"Honorable" can be described as the quality of displaying a high regard or giving of great respect. The idea of integrity comes to mind when I think about this definition. Acting from what is within the heart rather than what is on the surface is what determines our level of integrity.  This means that when acting from what is within your heart your true motivations are shown. To be an honorable woman our motivation needs to come from the Lord and not from whatever perceived glory we may receive. 

Being Honorable in our Appearance

Proverbs 31:25 says:
Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come.

I have often heard that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Generally, that first impression is made without ever having a single word spoken. People make a snap decision about a person the minute their eyes meet the visual picture that is presented. The style of dress and the way a person carries themselves is usually the first impression that is made.

So what is it that motivates our clothing choices. If you talk to any person who is worth their salt in the fashion world you will learn that clothing is designed to draw the eye to various places. Prints, patterns, lines, and shapes are all used to draw the attention to any number of body parts. I remember a time when I was watching a popular television show and one of the main characters was being criticized for his over the top belt buckles. He (the main character) insisted that he wore them because they made him happy. The person criticizing countered that it made him happy because it caused individuals (especially women) to look in a region of his body that was less than appropriate.

I watched that scene in that show probably close to 10 years ago and it still stands out to me today. Why? Because it reminds me that the clothing I choose to wear matters. If I make a choice to wear a t-shirt that is a bit to low cut I am all but inviting men to stare at an area of my body that should only be reserved for my husband's view. I am also communicating that all I have to offer the world is my physical appearance. Psalm 119:105 reminds us that we are to allow God's words and principles to light our path. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 calls us to abstain from all appearances of evil. By passing our dressing decisions, the world's first
impression of us, through the filter of Scripture we are able to put not only our best foot forward each day but also that of the one we are called to represent.
physical appearance.

Reflecting Honor for Our Husband's Sake

The woman in Proverbs 31 not only acts in a way that brings her personal honor but we see that she is also able to bring honor to her husband. In the principle of trustworthy we talked about how this woman's husband's trust in her was so complete it was a reflex reaction. She worked hard to not put his name in the dirt. She used her influence in the community to bring him good as we will see when we get further on in our study. She embraced the principles found in Genesis 2:18. Here we see that God has a design and an intended purpose for the man and the woman. This particular woman, our example, embraced her role as a helpmeet coming along side him excitedly to work with him and not as a competitor against him. She was his partner in all things.

Excellence as a Craftswoman

God created us to be creative. We all have gifts to share and use with the world. Often times we (and by 'we' I really mean I) have bought into the idea that if I am going to produce something it has to be perfect. In our world of Pinterest and Instagram it seems that if we can't produce perfection then we can't contribute to the world. The truth of the matter is, that's just not true. See, what God wants is excellence, not perfection.

God wants us to give our all when using the gifts and talents he has given us. He wants us to excel but that doesn't mean that our products won't ever be without flaw. But what it does mean is that we present good quality. This doesn't have to be in the market place either. It can be in the things you make, do and prepare just in your home for your own family. In order to practice the principle of being honorable when referring to excelling as a craftswoman four characteristics are required: 
  • Humility: knowing we can't excell on our own but only through God's strentgh
  • Unselfishness: sharing what we have and can do with others.
  • Gentleness: teaching and training in a kind manner
  • Patience: bearing with others as they continue to learn and grow while you focus on teaching.
If these four characteristics are put into practice then becoming a woman of honor we can put our pride away and be able to develop relationships that will last long into the future.

A Final Thought

All of these thought can be boiled down to how we have control of our bodies. Our bodies, according to Romans 12:1-2, are to be presented as a living sacrifice to the Lord. This means that we are not to conform to the ways of the world and we are not to use our bodies as instrument of sin. When we make the decision to present ourselves as living sacrifices we are acknowledging that our bodies are the dwelling place of the Lord and that He has the control of what it is we are to be doing. When we filter our thought, actions, and motives through this context living a life of being honorable is within our reach each and every day. 

How do you filter your thoughts, decisions, and motivations each day? Do you live a life based on being a living sacrifice to the Lord? How can you make adjustments so that this becomes more of a practice? Join me next time when we talk about the Principle of Being Prudent.