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Cailyn Kahleen Fouts/ Born Oct.25, 2013 / 6 lbs, 13.5 ounces, 20 inches long

proverbs31

I apologize for being quiet lately. I had my baby! She was healthy, and beautiful, and born Oct.25, 2013. Labor was awesome and SO MUCH better than my first birth, so praise God for that!

I also apologize if using my own photo for this verse is self-praising. I just couldn’t think of any other photo to use, and prefer to use my own whenever possible. BUT, the more I think about it, the more I realize it can work because it’s a prayer and desire for my own life: I want to be honored by my kids at the end of my life, and gaining a reward for all that I do would also be sweet.

In the end she received praise from her children, and received public praise…or “at the gates.” I know doing what I do as a stay at home mom doesn’t reward me a ton of public praise; it’s very much a private affair. It took me my first year of marriage to adjust to this.

I feel I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m secure enough with who I am that I don’t need public praise and approval from others to feel validated and important. I know that being a stay at home mom isn’t always praised in elite circles, and among the “educated” but I’m okay with that.

That being said, it’s encouraging to know that what I do, and don’t do, means something, and will receive the reward it’s due. I’m doing this career as stay at home mom and wife for Jesus. It’s Him I will stand before, and I look forward to meeting Him face to face.

Of course its only by His blood that I can stand there spotless.  It’s by His grace I can be honored and receive a reward from Him because what He has done for me and for you! His blood was shed for us to cover our sin. What awesome news!

You too can have this great reward and eternal life, by believing with your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and died for your sins.

It might sound too simple but having this hope makes life worth living, and gives me a purpose bigger than myself. It’s all I want for my kids and everyone I know and love including you.

Much love,

Amanda.

 

 

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Charm can certainly be misleading, and beauty doesn’t last forever, but a women who fears the Lord is to be praised.

I think this is a verse that most people can see the truth in, yet it’s so very difficult (at least for me), to really pursue fearing God over beauty in the culture we live in. It’s no mystery that “the fear of wrinkles” reigns, and that women everywhere (and even men) our trying to fight the inevitable aging process.

I get sucked into it too, and I’m not even very old yet! I’m 26, but I do value looking my best and taking care of myself, as well as not accelerating the aging process. I try to protect my skin from the sun, and apply sunscreen everyday. I’m dedicated to removing my makeup every night and applying a night cream.

I care.

This verse made me look at myself and truly ask myself if I pursue beauty above fearing the Lord.

Truthfully, I do fear the Lord; I revere Him, I’m in awe of how awesome He is, but I want to value fearing Him over the fear of loosing my beauty if you know what I’m saying.

I really don’t care whether or not it’s respectable anymore to be a God-fearing man or woman. I do care that the shift in our culture’s values has degraded to a point where being Christian isn’t popular, but I’m not worried about it being popular; I want to be genuine.

In the end, those who look to Him are radiant. I think a woman who fears the Lord can maintain a lasting inner beauty that someone with only outer beauty cannot. What’s more attractive? An older woman who carries herself with dignity, and can laugh at the days to come, or the woman that has a furrow on her brow because she’s worried about wrinkles?

I don’t think this verse is saying beauty is a bad thing. I think it just heeds a warning to those who place too much value on it. For example, when a man chooses his wife by only considering charm and beauty, what will become of their relationship when her beauty eventually fades?

I think this verse provides hope that there is a higher calling than beauty that is worthy of praise, actually much more worthy of praise; that being the fear of the Lord.

I don’t want to be misunderstood by what I’m about to say, because I don’t think it’s wrong to buy nice beauty products and to wear makeup, but as a step toward valuing the fear of God over beauty, I declined from going to Ulta this week like I had planned to pick up some new bronzer.

Instead, I thought I’d try to look to Him for my radiance.

Much grace to you,

Amanda.

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She is honored here in the first part because she is blessed.

Blessed is really another word for happy. Her husband and children, who know her much better than anyone, can see her happiness.

Family can sometimes be the most critical to one another, but in this verse they praise her.

She made an impact because of her happiness.

It’s not from striving that her happiness is born. It’s not from wearing herself out being super mom, or  from her impressive cooking skills but from her happiness. I can think of no better place where she found this happiness other than from the Lord.

It’s in His rest, and in His presence that we can be filled to joy in its fullest–it’s in the quiet, not the striving, that we find blessing. It’s where I find blessing.

It matters to my kids that I’m happy. It matters to my husband that I’m happy. And yes, it matters to me that I’m happy. I’m going to make happiness more important to me than performance. I want to seek Jesus above striving.

In the end her husband praises her. He praised her not because she was the most amazing homemaker ever. He praised her for her character: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

In the past, I would read that verse assuming that she was awesome for her amazing superwoman abilities, but it goes so much deeper than that. The root of her nobility stems from her depth of character.

A dear friend texted me today a word of encouragement on rest and she finished quoting Heidi Baker: “One minute of God’s presence can accomplish more than twenty years of our striving. Fruitfulness flows from intimacy.” Intimacy from none other than Jesus himself.

I guess my point in all of this is that it’s really from enjoying my relationship with Jesus that I can become my most blessed self, my most fruitful self. It’s only from the true source, Jesus, that I can have my children rise and call me blessed, and my husband also, and praise me: Many women do noble things but you surpass them all.”

All because of Jesus, not because of me,

Amanda.

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“She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

She looks well to the ways of her household. She doesn’t just putter through, but exercises careful thought to the practices of her home; not just in management of the “domestic” tasks and to-do’s like laundry, cleaning, food, clothing and marketing, but also in the habits and practices of those in her home.

She diligently keeps surveillance on her home

As I was thinking about the ways of our household, I became inspired to write out some house rules so I could have something on paper that represents my vision for our home. It adds intentionality and accountability in “looking well to the ways of my household.”

The house rules are still in there “rough draft” form because I’m still working them out with the husband, but once its complete I’ll be glad to post them. I’d also like to create art work out of the rules, by displaying them on pallet board or canvas and hanging them on the wall in our home.

As for housework and all the other “practical” to-do’s of being a housewife, I want to tackle them by priority because I really can’t afford the time or energy to have our home looking perfect. So here’s my priority order:

  1. Clean clothes and food before a clean house, a clean house before new purchases for decorating.
  2. Sanitation before spotless…i.e. clean bathroom and kitchen before vacuumed floors and sparkling windows and mirrors.

She does not eat the bread of idleness…

but of life. Certainly she’s not lazy, but she’s also not on a constant treadmill.

She eats the bread of life by taking time to read, pray, and listen to God. Proverbs 24:3-4 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

How can she obtain this wisdom, knowledge and understanding without taking the time first to eat from the true bread of life, Jesus himself?

Much love,

Amanda.

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“She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26

After digging in deeper to what this verse really means, a common trend in commentaries is that her language was kind and loving.

It was regulated by love.

She guides her family with words of wisdom.

Gossip, slander, idle talk? Nah! She didn’t waste her breath on that.

Prudence, sound sense and most of all grace abounded in her language.

Her words were seasoned with the essence of love: grace.

She would only speak if it was actually encouraging or useful for the given moment.

I know of at least a couple special women that are like this. Maybe you know the type too? The ones that really think before they speak, that only say something if it’s encouraging and helpful to the person listening. They are wonderful to be around, full of wisdom, and you always feel encouraged after being with them.

That is a woman I’d like to be.

These women love the Lord, spend time with God, filling their minds and hearts with good things. They actively regulate their thoughts and get rid of any lies the devil may throw at them. They are good listeners. They are thoughtful speakers. They can exercise self-control over their tongue.

Amen and amen. That’s what I am striving for.

Much love and grace,

Amanda.