A new little space

 Posted by on March 27, 2014  No Responses »
Mar 272014
 

This month I thought I’d share a simple project recently completed at our house.

Our house is a good size, and with only three children, there was enough room when we moved in for everyone to have their own room.  (Except me and hubby, we like to share, but when one of the kids moves out, I’m going to make her room into a pink, “Shabby Chic” reading and napping room just for me and any future granddaughters.  Shh!  Don’t tell!)

A New Little Space www.habitsforahappyhome.com

Anyway, the girls were 12, 10, and 6 when we moved in, and we let them choose their rooms. Each chose a different one based on her personality.  Youngest chose the largest room, which was good, because she had lots of toys.  Our middle girl chose the room with slanted ceilings that was the most old-fashioned looking, one that one of the heroines from her many books would live in.  Our eldest chose the sunny room at the top of the opposite side of the stairs…  the whole south side of the upstairs is her room.  It looks like a little attic and was technically called a “bonus room.” If you know real estate, you know that means it has no closet. For years, we dealt with this issue by having her share a closet with hubby and I (the other girls’ closets were too small to share) for her “hang ups” and shoving the rest of her clothing into her dresser, storing off-season clothes under the bed.

She also had two beds in her room, which was convenient for having friends or little sisters spend the night, but took up a lot more space in the tiny room, leaving her no room for bookshelves, which she desperately needed.  I don’t have many pictures of her room, and I forgot to take a before picture. I just wish you could see the books stacked on the floor!  We even painted it aqua and added those neat, peel and stick dots… but no closet rendered it just not “done.”

Our sweet eldest went off to college over two years ago.  Even though she spends more time away from home that at home now, we wanted her to feel like we cared about her personal space, and that she is special to us.  We finally found a way to fix it up that would work without calling in a contractor or spending a large amount of money.  (Pinterest helped.)

Here’s what we did:

new little space www.habitsforahappyhome.com

As you can see, we used one of the popular “expedit” bookshelves from IKEA.  (Hate to say it, but they were being discontinued. There are other, similar bookshelves in that line.)  Hubby anchored it to the wall and purchased a closet rod from Home Depot and a little hardware to go with that.  The whole project cost less than $75. (If you wanted to be even more frugal, you could find a bookshelf at a yard sale or thrift store.) Now her clothes AND books have a home, and I can’t wait for her to see it.  (The shoe rack on the bottom is also from IKEA.  I love the simplicity of their designs.)

I am keeping all the hangers the same color to add to the simplicity and for color continuity (can you tell I love to read Better Homes and Gardens?!).  Hubby thought of putting a curtain across the front, but I like the look of openness, and if you peruse any of IKEA’s catalogs, you can see many designers like it, also.  But the main point is that WE like it, and I think our daughter will, too.  Better late than never!

I’m so glad she chooses to come home for Spring Break, and that this little treat awaits our girl.  We love her so!

The Greater Work

 Posted by on March 25, 2014  2 Responses »
Mar 252014
 

Icebergs, what in the world do they have to do with what’s going on in your life?  My husband, Bob, had surgery and developed an infection. We were praying earnestly for his healing.  As I was crying out to the Lord one night, He used the illustration of an iceberg to begin revealing what was really going on in our lives. You can only see the part of an iceberg that is above the surface of the water, and I had no idea know how much of an iceberg is hidden. Wikipedia says that typically only one-ninth of the volume of an iceberg is above water. The shape of the underwater portion can be difficult to judge by looking at the portion above the surface.

This has led to the expression “tip of the iceberg“, for a problem or difficulty that is only a small manifestation of a larger problem.  Bob and I were so focused on him recovering from the surgery and the infection all we could see was the physical problem and what we thought God needed to do.  Bob is an action person and the forced inactivity was very hard on him, but God used it to put us in a place where we had to stop and take a hard look at our relationship with Him.  Since Bob’s retirement we had just sort of drifted along, we got spiritually lazy and couldn’t seem to find our place. I am so thankful God would not leave us in that state!

When I dress his wound I only see the surface, but we know a healing is going on underneath the skin and that part must close up before the healing can be complete.  In the same way God is at work in the spirit realm, underneath what we can see with our physical eyes, performing a FAR GREATER WORK than we could ever begin to imagine.

The infection in Bob’s body was nothing compared to the infection that was developing in our spirits, but God is a healer of spirits as well as bodies;  He is interested in our total restoration.  If you compare His work to an iceberg, that means eight-ninths of what God is doing FOR us is not visible TO us.  He is performing a FAR GREATER WORK than anything we could ever imagine or hope for; and when He is finished we will come forth as gold that has been tried in the fire; pure and untarnished.  So when you are faced with a situation you can’t understand, remember it is just the “tip of the iceberg”; not of the problem, but of what God is doing.  He is at work!  You can’t see Him, but He is there!

So don’t give up, stay in the lifeboat, help is on the way and your deliverance is going to be amazing.  Let me close with this prayer: Now to God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen. (Ep. 3:20-21 The Voice)

Do Your work Lord, do Your work!

Mar 202014
 

The Book of Job is a book many people turn to in times of suffering.  It is a great lesson from God about trusting Him, even when we don’t understand our circumstances.  Job teaches us that God does not need our understanding and He does not owe us any explanation for His actions.  We learn to put our trust in God and allow Him to work in our lives, regardless of our understanding of our circumstances.

A Lesson in Friendship from the Book of Job www.habitsforahappyhome.comStudying Job recently I thought I would be reminded of God’s power and control, but God has shown me more through the trials and suffering of Job…

A little background… Job was a righteous man.  He had a wife, many sons and daughters, servants, and large herds of livestock.  God had blessed him with much because of his faithfulness and righteousness.  To prove to Satan that a righteous man would still be faithful in any circumstance, God allowed Satan to test Job.  During this test, Job loses everything and becomes very ill with boils and sores; he is about as low as man can get on this earth.

In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. 

Job 1:22

His very well-meaning friends hear of his affliction and come to offer support.  I believe these three friends had Job’s best interest in mind when they arrived.  They truly wanted to help.  They sat with him for seven days and seven nights and said nothing, just mourned with him.

For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven.  

Job 2:11b-12

Job’s friends came to mourn with him and comfort him, but as soon as the door was open for them to speak; they began a long, miserable debate about the reasons for Job’s suffering.  They tell Job that it is his fault that he is suffering so.  That the righteous do not suffer like this, that he needs to repent and God will make his troubles go away.  Job knows in his heart that this is not the case, he is an innocent man.  The friends tell Job that God only acts with justice and fairness. Therefore, they question Job…Who is Job to question God and His actions?

Job is confused and frustrated because he knows God is just, but he also knows that he has not done anything wrong.  The debate goes back and forth throughout the book.  The friends are on attack, insisting that Job’s suffering is his own doing and he is getting what he deserves.  Job continues to retort that he has done nothing wrong, and calls out to God for proof.   God eventually rebukes the friends and blesses Job’s life even more than before, never offering an explanation.

The lessons I learned from Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar:

Get to know your friends. The Book of Job mentions more than once that Job was a righteous man in the eyes of the Lord.   His friends obviously did not know and understand Job and his relationship with God.  If they would have spent the time to really get to know him, they would have believed and trusted that he was a righteous man.

Sometimes Most of the time, it is better to just listen to your friends.  So many times we try to help our friends understand ‘the why’ or try to offer solutions to their problems, when all they need is comfort and support.   When you listen, really listen to others, it is easier to understand what their needs are. There are times when they are looking for a solution to the problem or advice about what to do, but many times the only thing your friends need is prayer, an encouraging word, someone to lean on, cry with, or a comforting hug.

One of my fondest memories occurred during one of my eldest son’s hospital stays last year. At the time, he had an undiagnosed tumor on his spine, he was dealing with emotions he didn’t know how to express at 10 years of age. I spent much time in thought about what to say to him, how to help him deal, how to get him to express his emotions.  His best friend came to visit and gave me a picture of what true friendship is. His 11-year-old friend climbed up in bed with him and just sat there next to him. They didn’t say anything, just sat. How awesome is it that his friend knew that is exactly what he needed at that moment, someone to just sit with him!  He was so peaceful in that moment and it still warms my heart to think about the example those preteen boys gave me of true friendship.

When our friends do seek advice, avoid criticism.  In the story of Job, we see the crushing effects of criticism.  In a time that Job only needed comfort and support from his friends, they were arrogant and insensitive, only offering criticism and judgment. They made him question everything. If you do speak or offer advice, make sure it is an encouraging word.  Job’s friends wanted to analyze his suffering and look for answers, but they only found misdirected ideas that God rebuked in the end.  They did not help at all in this situation; they only made it worse for Job.

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

1 Corinthians 15:33

Bottom line; just be there for your friends in their suffering. Don’t worry about what got them where they are, just make yourself available to them. There is no need to analyze and/or criticize every circumstance in life.  Job’s friends did not know what was going on between God and Satan, they did not need to know, they just needed to be there to offer support for their friend. Don’t make the same mistakes Job’s friends made.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 

Ephesians 4:29

 

 

Nature versus nurture

 Posted by on March 18, 2014  No Responses »
Mar 182014
 

Nature versus nurture.

It’s been long debated by psychologists whether you’re the way you are because of nature (your genes) or by nurture (your environment). The debate will probably go on until the Lord comes back.

Have you thought about the nature versus nurture debate in regard to your parenting? Whether or not you let nature take its course or if you nurture your children, molding them into what you feel like the Lord would have them be?

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freedigitalphotos

Today in our society, many parents neglect the opportunity they have to make a difference in the lives of their children. They neglect discipline as if it were a plague. They let other people raise their children (if not physically, at least emotionally). They subscribe to the theory that it takes a village to raise children and while it does take more than one person to have an impact on a child’s life, “the village” ultimately is not responsible to God for the raising. Parents are.

When parents let nature take its course with their children, they have no way of knowing how things will turn out. Because we’re sinful creatures, we’re naturally inclined to sin. The world would say our sinful nature is nothing more than human nature and our life experiences make us better people. Yes, our failures do make us better people if we use them for the good, but that doesn’t make some of those things any less sinful or acceptable.

Our goal as parents should be to nurture our children. To grow them in the admonition of the Lord. To make sure that nature doesn’t take its course to the extent that our children are untamed like a wild river.

But how do we do this?

It’s easy to say that you should raise your children to follow the Lord. It’s an entirely different thing for it to actually happen. The truth is: we, as parents, are sometimes just as wild and untamed and unwilling to be nurtured as our children are. We rebel against any type of structure. Even in our homeschooling sometimes, we tend to neglect our schedules and take too many relaxed days. What happens? We get to May 30th and realize we still have 30 or 40 days of school left and we’re going to miss our summer break.

So while structure sometimes isn’t fun and allowing ourselves to be nurtured and groomed in a certain way feels restricting, in the long run it’s better for us and it’s better for our children. I certainly do not subscribe to the theory that life shouldn’t be fun and that it should be all work all of the time. The Lord knows I would have dried up and withered away long before now if that were the case. But when let people influence me in a Godly way and smooth out my rough spots and nurture me instead of letting me be the natural wild beast that I’d be, I come out so much better on the other side. The same is true with our children.

If we never instruct our toddlers to behave and if we never teach manners and general proper behavior, they’re going to be like untamed beasts. If we fail to teach them how the Lord would have them live, they’ll bring shame upon the Lord and upon your family. And upon themselves ultimately.

So the debate between “nurture or nature” may go on for generations to come, but I hope you’ll see that the most natural way to parent and to grow children who will walk in the Lord is to nurture them.

Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Mar 132014
 

March 2014 Around the Web by @littlesanctuary at www.habitsforahappyhome.com

John Stott’s Prayer for the Next Generation

Why We Shouldn’t Neglect to Meet Together

How to care for your family into eternity

Is Your Grandmother More Alive Than You?

Will America Be Judged?

Preparing Your Teen for College

Beyond Blushing

Sin and the child of God are incompatible. They may occasionally meet; they cannot live together in harmony. ~John Stott

Kim ~littlesanctuary