A few years ago (we won’t say how many) I married a guy whose presence made me feel everything would be alright.
There have been times (many times) I’ve wondered whether I’d made the right decision and whether I’d married the “right” guy.
I think, if most of us are honest, this thought crosses our minds every now and then.
I’ve been asked a few times how I knew my husband was the guy I wanted to spend my life with.
Two things things, nay three, stand out about why I married him.
The first happened, one day, before we started dating.
We had just become friends and enjoyed each other’s company insanely. I was having a really terrible day and then… and then he walked into the room.
When I saw him it was almost as though the weight of the world I’d been struggling under just lifted. I saw him walk into the room and, without him saying one word to me, I felt everything was going to be OK.
The second happened the first time I ever appeared on TV.
Unless you’ve known me all my life it would be hard to describe to you what it meant to me to appear on TV that first time!
Ever since I was a little girl I had dreamed of being on TV.
I had wished for it, envisioned it, worked toward it, done so much to achieve my dream and yet when it finally happened it felt so… empty. Because he wasn’t there to share it with me.
I don’t know how to put into words what that felt like.
At first, after my first broadcast, I didn’t think his absence bothered me.
As I returned to my office it sunk in how lonely the most incredible achievement in my career had been without him to share it with.
So I phoned him. The moment I heard his voice I burst into tears.
There were some very dear people who had helped me achieve this dream- and yet this man I barely knew, and had only been in my life a few months, had made such an impact on me that it seemed as though my whole life would be futile without him to share it with.
The third happened as I pondered a life with him. He’d been married before, had a son, and those terrified me.
I was 24 at the time. I barely knew what life was about and it scared me to start out life with someone who seemed as though they’d already had a life… would there be anything left for me if I came into the picture now?
With all my doubts and reservations if there was anything I knew for sure it was how much this guy loved his son.
I remember once he was asked who would be the one person he would take a bullet for. Without thinking he replied: “My son.”
Until then, never had I met a man who loved his son more passionately than this guy.
In fact looking back I remembered that at our very first, proper, conversation he told me of his son.
So when I began to consider the reasons why this guy was probably the guy for me, one of them was, I knew that by saying yes to him I was saying yes to an awesome father for the children I’d have one day.
…fast forward to several years later: The three (main) things that compelled me to say yes to him have proved to be true.
For the most part, he does lift the weight of the world off my shoulders. To this day he walks into a room and I feel that everything will be ok.
He has a way of making me believe in me when I’d rather give it all up and sink to mediocrity or even less.
He lifts me up when the world beats me down and when others criticise me- he steps in to defend me and reminds me of the incredible person he sees in me.
I have achieved many things since that day I first appeared on TV. And yet with each achievement I’ve felt more blessed to be loved and wanted by him than the things I’ve achieved.
He’s cheered me on when I haven’t felt reason to cheer.
He’s encouraged me at times I’ve just wanted to curl up in his arms and wish the world away.
He’s supported my dreams and ambitions and helped me make them happen…
The third thing is perhaps what I love most about him: He is an awesome, generous, insightful father to my children. Together with my love for them, I don’t think I could have given my children a better start to life than such an amazing dad.
No marriage is perfect. And I wish I could share the depth of my heart to every woman when I say that no man is perfect.
The lives we see of others are almost like a movie: A movie is a snippet of all the work and slog that happened for months, sometimes years.
We get to watch the finished product. Enjoy it. Or not. Give our opinion on it (sometimes). And then we move on to the next piece of entertainment.
For most of us, hardly ever, do we fully comprehend what really goes into making a movie.
We don’t know the full story of how it came to be. How the originator of the movie concept birthed the idea. How he brought it to life. Where the funds came from to make it happen. The insane time constraints and brutal deadlines… The hundreds of people that worked day and night to turn an idea into something the rest of us could watch… it’s hard to fully grasp all the toil that goes into it.
And yet when we see the movie, we view it in one sitting- and then as soon as it started it’s over.
Often the marriages we come across are like that. We have no idea what other couples are going through.
What I’m trying to say here friends is: don’t envy what you’re not in.
That girl’s husband may look like the best thing ever and you might even compare your husband to him- but you have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.
I’m not saying that guy isn’t great but what I am saying is that what you see is a mere snippet of an entire existence. Focus on your own guy instead.
I heard someone say when we women look for a husband we should look for someone who is merciful, gracious and kind.
I heard this just the other day and looking at my guy he is those three things to me.
And here I must say that somehow, with all my mistakes and shortcomings, God’s grace still provided a man for me who was gracious, merciful and kind.
Yesterday I watched a teaching from Joseph Prince on marriage.
Ladies a good man is worth waiting for. There is no such thing as a perfect man. But don’t believe the lie that there are no good men.
Growing up what I saw of marriage made it extremely unattractive.
So much so that by the time I was getting married I didn’t believe in marriage vows. I’d seen way too many people violate them.
In my late teens I was pretty vocal about how much I didn’t want to get married because of what I’d seen of marriage.
One of my uncles sat me down one day and told me that despite all I’d seen wrong of some marriages God’s grace was sufficient for me.
He went on to say that the things I’d observed that repulsed me about some marriages didn’t have to happen to me.
Back then I didn’t believe what he said. Now I wish I had because I would have saved myself from some really bad encounters.
I can honestly say being married has been one of the most challenging paths I’ve walked. But it’s also blessed me in ways I never thought possible.
This post is not about putting band aids on rotting wounds- I really do pray for Godly discernment as you read this so that you can hear my heart and what I’m trying to share.
And so I leave you with this:
The other day something spectacular happened.
My husband and I were in our kitchen having tea.
It was a normal day.
We were having a normal conversation and then something he said transformed our conversation into something straight from heaven.
My husband told me that he used to want to dig for gold. He shared how at some point he believed he would discover the Kruger millions. And then he looked at me and said, he didn’t have to look for gold anymore because it was right in front of him. Me!
He told me I was solid gold through and through!
At first I didn’t think I’d heard him correctly. Me? Gold? He thought that of me!?!?
But eventually his words sunk into me and made a home in my core.
I carry these things in my heart because they matter. Because these moments make life worth living. Because marriage isn’t always easy but boy can it be pretty spectacular.
He told me I was gold. Through and through! I’ll never forget it.
And perhaps this has now become main reason number four of why I said Yes to him!
It’s the assumption of “just” that irks me in my new title as Stay-at-home-Mom.
What I’ve realised is there’s little point in trying to explain to folks that my job is far from “just”. It is as many women before me have described: the hardest job in the world.
There isn’t a single job I’ve ever done- in ALL my life- that is tougher than looking after my two smallies.
I’m not writing this so those who don’t know what it’s like can “get it”, because, I think it’s difficult to really understand unless you’ve gone through it- I’m writing this for other moms like me who may sometimes feel a little disheartened when people call them “just” stay-at-home moms.
And here’s the reason why the “just” is insulting:
– It’s to imply that the mom who’s at home full time does nothing else except “play” mommy all day when she really could be doing other things of “importance”.
– It’s to imply that somehow she has “sold out” on all those hard working career women of old who suffered many things so she could have the opportunities she now has to be “anything” she wants to be.
– It’s to imply that she is “wasting” her intelligence, talents and potential on the brain numbingly boring tasks of being home with the kids- all day!
– It’s to assume that she has no goals, no vision and has “settled” for the lowly position of changing countless diapers, wiping running noses, cleaning house and of course let’s not forget: while being “subject” to her husband and serving him- subject to a man! A man! Oh goodness what is this world deteriorating to when everything women have achieved can be erased by these… oh what’s the word because we can hardly honour them with the title of “Woman” when they betray the very fabric of what has been achieved for the progressive woman of the modern world!
Oh well… This is what I hear when people, especially other women say: “Oh so you’re “just” at home now,” as though I’ve betrayed some sacred movement.
I can see the disappointment in their eyes; These women look at me as though I’ve let the entire female race down- I can only think that perhaps in their eyes I’ve broken the ranks and reversed decades of hard work regarding the progression of women.
I can’t defend myself in the stark condemnation of these perceptions.
There are times I feel compelled to apologise to these women who feel I’ve betrayed the movement- but I catch myself and remind Me that I’ve done nothing wrong.
If anything I’m celebrating the women who suffered many things to give me the choice to pursue a career or stay at home and invest as much I want to in my children.
I keep saying women because in my experience it’s other women who’ve been most critical of my decision to stay home with my kids.
I realise that there may be some stay-at-home moms who may also judge working moms for working instead of being at home- that fight is just as ridiculous.
We live in an awesome time where women have the freedom to choose- and the joy is knowing that you’re staying home because you choose to not because it’s been dictated to you.
I am grateful for all the women who look me in the eyes and acknowledge that my role is hard.
The importance of “sisterhood” during your journey
For other moms who may be full time stay at home moms- I urge you to connect with other moms who are also at home- I have one such friend (let’s call her Lauren) I cannot fully describe what a blessing she’s been to me.
We share tips on how to save time, we talk about our ambitions, we pray together…
Perhaps one of the most important things Lauren does for me is to remind me why I chose to stay home with my kids.
A few days ago I felt the pressure to earn an income weigh down heavily on me. Lauren shared with me that while she too wanted to earn an income she reminded herself why she’d decided to stay at home with her kids in the first place. It was to invest in them as much as she could. For her, then, any means of earning an income now would usurp that purpose…
Lauren sharing that reminded me why I’d chosen to spend as much time as I could with my children.
Lauren and I share difficulties that we might not easily share in other settings.
For instance I went through a period when my son’s tantrums were weighing me down. He was unhappy and I was frustrated. Lauren told me that something might be wrong and I needed to consider the situation carefully and adjust.
Her saying that caught my attention. All the while I’d thought my son entering the “terrible two’s” stage was why he was being difficult. So I blamed his age and him but didn’t think the problem might actually be me!
I was able to share with Lauren that while I loved my son I’d started disliking being around him because he was driving me nuts! Slowly I’d started disliking him. It’s something I wouldn’t easily share but I felt safe sharing it with Lauren because something about our relationship told me she wouldn’t judge me.
Lauren knew too how exhausting it could be to be home with the kids- all day. Add impossible tantrums to that and it can drive the most loving of moms over the edge!
On Lauren’s advice I found out that part of my son’s problem was that we had become so busy we weren’t spending as much time with him as he was accustomed to.
Another reason for his being difficult was I’d stopped making the effort to understand him. I was under so much pressure with everything else that I’d stopped getting on my knees, looking him in the eyes and giving him the opportunity to be heard.
I applied what the author imparted in that book and before the day was out my son’s tantrums had decreased to almost zero. My son and I re-connected and I fell in love with him all over again.
Not being understood is OK
I’ve stopped sharing with others how tough being at home with the kids is.
The main reason: I realised that simply put I was, in essence, complaining.
I realised that what I was seeking, when sharing what a tough time I was having, was validation for what I was doing- but here’s the thing: No one asked me to stay home with the kids. It was my choice and I cannot ever play the martyr!
I also realised that complaining meant I was seeing this most precious gift of being home with my kids as a burden. Instead of being grateful that I got to be enjoy these wonderful, quick, years with my babies, I was moaning about it- seeking sympathy where I could.
Perhaps one of the main reasons I shared was to make people realise that I wasn’t “just” a stay-at-home mom.
I was trying to get others to see how important my role was because on some level I felt I needed to justify why I’d left an illustrious career to stay at home.
I wanted to impress others because being at home wasn’t as glamorous as my TV job had been- far from it. And while I enjoyed being home with my kids- I allowed others’ perception of it being a “demotion” from my career path, to make me feel that what I was doing now was a fall from glory.
I also stopped sharing the challenges of my new role as stay-at-home mom because I realised that people who’ve never had to (even once) do what I and many other stay-at-home parents do… couldn’t understand what it was like. It was futile trying to explain.
My doctor (who’s perhaps one of the most sensitive practitioners I’ve ever come across) looked at me totally bewildered when I shared with him what a massive change it was for me to be home with the kids.
His question was: “What’s hard about it Hannah?”
He really is such a darling man. But I could see that he had no clue what I was talking about. Perhaps he thought I was probably mistaken; surely being at at home couldn’t be as hard as I made it out to be!
Oh let me tell you it is…
OK just in case you may be interested to know (part of) what makes it hard…
Even in the most demanding jobs I’ve ever had – I got lunch breaks- Not so with being a stay-at-home.
I’m always eating on the run because there’s never enough time to sit down properly and eat like a civilised lady- I whoof food down! Brush crumbs off me while I rush to the next task… It’s barbaric! Hehehehehe… (Please don’t ever ask me about this. I’ll deny it!)
No matter how tough my jobs got I got to pee whenever I needed to…
Pee breaks now…. Hahahahahahaha… It’s actually funny! Really it is 😀 There are times I’ll take a pee (eventually) and realise I’d been needing to go for the longest time but couldn’t get around to it. It’s hilarious!
Even in my most demanding of jobs I got days off and enjoyed the luxury of leave- not so when you’re a stay-at-home mom. There is never time off- none.
This of course is made worse if you don’t have a reliable person to help you with the housework and the kids- it’s madness.
Even in my most toughest of jobs- I was allowed sleep… not so with this gig… you learn to operate on very little sleep (if at all) and make peace with it.
Even when I feel ill I can’t lie in bed- who will make food for the kids? Who will feed them? Who will change their diapers? Who will watch that they don’t hurt themselves? Who will keep them out of harm’s way if I stay in bed?
No matter how sick you feel when you’re a stay-at-home mom you get up and you keep going.
I’ve never had a job that ever required for me to be alert 24 hours a day- this one demands it.
There are times my husband has had a minute taste of what I do at home. On those days he’s told me he looks forward to going to work so he can get some rest… I grin. Wide.
There is no sleeping in when you’re a stay-at-home mom.
From the moment I wake up- till I pass out in bed in the evening- there’s always, always, something that needs to be done.
I get You
So sister girl, when people say: “Oh you’re “just” a stay-at-home mom…” Know that I get you.
I know that you’re not “just” anything. You’re a kick-butt, hard-working, woman who’s doing one of the most important, toughest, jobs in the world.
There’s a reason you chose to stay at home- please remind yourself of that reason.
There are few things that will reward you as much as knowing you invested all you could in your children.
I’m not saying that working moms invest any less. All my closest friends who have children and work are awesome AWESOME moms!
But for the stay-at-home mom you need to be reminded that you’re doing a fantastic job!
You need to know that leaving your career to look after your children is not a demotion and you should never, ever, feel apologetic for your choice. There are millions of people who can do the work your career required but you are the only one who can be mom to your kids.
I know how thankless it can be – and boy does it suck to not get paid (in cash, praise and recognition) for all your hard work- but I believe you pay yourself when you remind You that there are few things more important than raising a confident, happy, human being.
Your kids won’t be kids forever. They’ll grow. And even if they never verbalise their gratitude for you taking time out of your ambitious life to raise them- you’ll see the rewards in the grounded people they’ll turn out to be.
If you stay home out of love for your kids and not obligation I can almost guarantee that you won’t regret giving them this much of you.
I may paint SUCH a dark picture about being a stay-at-home mom and for this I profusely apologise.
I can honestly say that of all the jobs I’ve ever done- none have ever given me more joy, more freedom, more peace than serving my children in this crucial part of their lives. For that I know I’m blessed, privileged and forever grateful.
My top tips for thriving joyfully as a Stay-at-home-Mom
– Be grateful that you can stay home with your kids. Some moms would like to but can’t, mainly due to financial reasons. Some don’t have the support that would allow them to stay home.
– Connect with other stay-at-home moms who love being with their kids. Please don’t hang around martyrs- they’ll ruin the journey for you.
– If you can afford it get someone to help you with the housework or the kids or both.
– If you can afford a play group a few times a week send your children (toddler years) to play with friends – this gives you some time to breathe and re-align. It also helps your child develop in other ways due to exposure to something different.
– Be humble enough to ask for help when you need it. Being a super mom doesn’t mean doing it ALL on your own. Don’t be too proud to ask for help- it’s your kids that will suffer the repercussions of that.
– Relax. You don’t have to get it right all the time. Hand your kids over to God and trust that He is faithful to watch over them. You can never watch over your kids 100% of the time. Trying will feed into fear until it makes you paranoid and so stressed out you can’t really enjoy your kids- so sister girl: relax. Rest in God’s ultimate power to look after your kids. He loves them. It’s hard to believe but He loves them more than you ever can- so hand them over to Him and work with Him when it comes to your kids. I pray you would find peace and rest as the truth of His heart toward you and your family sinks into your being.
– Even when it feels there is no time make some time to do something you love. I love writing and sometimes I can’t sleep so I use that time to blog and scribble… make some time to feed your soul. It will make you happier and it’ll teach your kids the power and joy of doing things they love.
– For some, investing time into what you love might create a whole new way to exercise your gifts and talents. This might take you down a whole new career path or you may be inspired to start your own venture.
– Find a way to stay connected to your industry so should you decide to go back to work sometime you’re not so out of the loop it becomes difficult to re-enter the job market.
– Remind yourself that being at home means being at home. The time to start businesses or go back to work will come. Now’s the time to focus on enjoying precious time with your children.
– Manage your time wisely and effectively.
– Plan. Most times I’ve felt as though my life is spinning completely out of control and it’s been because of my lack of planning. Just as you planned your days when you had a job – you need to plan your days now that you’re at home. Diarise/schedule things that need to be done and when they need to be done.
– Cook a few meals in advance. Cooking takes up a LOT of my time. My friend Lauren told me she cooks lots of food in advance. So she’ll cook lots of porridge and refrigerate. That way a healthy breakfast is set for her kids for a couple of days. She cooks large dinners so her husband can take food to work the next day. I’ve found that cooking a few meals in advance does a lot in freeing up some time for me.
– Give yourself time off. I fully understand the need to want to get everything done- but you’ll burn out. On some days let the dishes pile. Don’t clean. Resting is crucial to you being able to be a great mom for your kids.
– Leave hubby with the kids once in a while. It will give you some much needed time to reboot and recharge. Daddy can then experience first-hand what it’s like for you. It’s vital that he appreciate that you really aren’t just twiddling your thumbs all day playing hide-and-seek with your kids. Getting a taste of what your life at home is like will also help him understand you on those days when you get take-out instead of cook, or don’t do dishes and clean up. Your husband knowing that your job is just as hard as his (if not harder) will also free you of guilt when you ask him for help. It may also give him the empathy to help you when he’s able.
– Pray. I cannot share enough how this has helped me. Especially with my two year old who can pulverise my energy to absolute zero sometimes. Father cares about you and your kids. He will give you the wisdom and strength when all you want to do is lie on the floor and have someone rescue you from your kids- Yep! I know those days do happen – to most of us- so don’t feel guilty about it.
– When you go out, be it to the store, coffee with a friend, church, even a simple trip to grab some take-out food with hubby and the kids… put some effort into looking nice. I get that it’s more comfy to stay in your sweats or PJs because, granted, there’s nothing sexy about changing diapers, washing floors, doing laundry, wiping running noses… but it’s important you look really nice on a regular basis- it makes you feel good about you and does much for your confidence.
– Take care of you and the body that carries you through your life.
– Get your hair done!
– Once in a while get yourself some nice clothes and shoes… As one mom once shared with me: Be a yummy mommy! Again I believe this will do loads for your confidence.
– Every now and then do something that is only for you. Spoil yourself and learn to enjoy it. Prudence with your finances is essential. However don’t feel guilty for splurging on just you every now and then.
– Stretch. I can’t even talk about exercise because I’m very bad in this area. But if you can, exercising is great great great! It’ll make you feel good and it gives you much needed energy. While you’re busy all day- your body can tense up a lot. Taking some time to stretch and exercise releases some of that tension.
– Flirt with your man. I know it’s hard to feel sexy when you feel like a work horse pretty much all day- but flirting with your guy will make you feel sexy and it’s a great way to remind you to stay physically intimate with your husband.
– Maintain your friendships. It’s hard to make time for friends when you’ve so little spare time. But don’t isolate yourself. Loneliness leads to depression. You can’t be a good mom or a good anything when you’re down.
– Pamper your husband. It’s really easy to neglect your husband with your smallies needing you so much. But it’s important to spoil your man. Granted, as a stay-at-home mom, you’re probably working more than he does at his job – but he has quite a plate in front of him too. For most men work isn’t a fantastic environment. You need to create a place of rest, joy and freedom for your man at home. Squeeze in some time to find out how he is. My Aunt reminded me of the importance of making my husband breakfast and packing him healthy lunches for work. I can honestly say this has made SUCH a difference and I can see how much he appreciates it. I believe looking after him in this way has rekindled something between us and I HIGHLY recommend it.
– Something else when it comes to your guy… Initiate, initiate, intiate… you know what I mean… 😉 Let him know you’re not too busy for him and for crying out loud don’t’ be unapproachable! Which is why it’s important to look good regularly and not look like “mom” all the time. And when you initiate please don’t do it with your babies gob all over your shoulder- and hair tied up in an ugly bun- look really nice!
– You get a lot done when you wake up early.
– Try to nap when the kids nap. This will give you some much needed rest.
– Play with your children. The housework does get overwhelming and it’s easy to fall into the trap of going through the motions with your children by getting so busy with their obvious needs: feeds, baths, diaper changes etc… but PLAY with them. Take some days off to just play with them. On those days sneak in some take-out- leave the dishes unwashed, beds unmade, floors unwashed etc… playing with your kids is such a crucial part of their growing up – give them a fun childhood and show them that life is meant to be enjoyed. If they see you stressed and unhappy they’ll learn that- they may even blame themselves for your unhappiness and that’s not fair on such little impressionable souls. Have fun! Teach them that joy is the point of life.
– Take your kids out. Sometimes children, especially spirited kids, get cabin fever by being cooped up indoors all the time. This makes them irritable and very difficult to deal with. You’ll be amazed at what outside play can do for your kids. It also gives you a change of scenery- you need some time out of the house.
– Remind yourself often why you decided to stay-at-home.
– Keep a journal and jot down some of the cute things your kids do or say. You’ll be amazed at how time flies and how easily and quickly you forget these moments. Keeping a journal is good way to capture this awesome journey… it also gives you some incredible material to share with your children when they’re older (and perhaps their children one day).
– One of my dear friends told me the other day that our children actually belong to God. He entrusts them to us to look after for Him. This was such a beautiful illustration for me. I was so blessed by my friend reminding me that. Because my children are God’s He provides for them. And He gives me everything I needed to be an awesome mom to them. This encouraged me. Don’t panic too much about meeting your children’s every needs. Don’t worry about their futures. Trust God. You’ll be amazed at how this relieves pressure.
– Dear Stay-at-home-Mom, Enjoy these years with your children. They really do fly by way too fast.
Yesterday I heard someone say: “Christianity is not for sissies!”
Nothing, in my mind, could be further from the truth.
If there is anything out there for sissies Christianity is it.
One of the very vital things I’m learning now is how an effective walk as a believer in God requires removing focus on self and focusing, instead, on Jesus.
My sentiment is that as long as we feel the bravado is in us- that somehow we (and our strength) have something to do with our walk and life in God- I think we miss the mark.
Throughout The Scriptures we see ordinary people doing extraordinary things – never (ever) because of themselves but because of God and His Power. I think that ought to say something to us-
When I wrote the title of this post- I looked the word “Sissy” up- can you believe the dictionary actually has a definition for “Sissy”!
Some of the definitions for “Sissy” include “timid, cowardly person, weakling.”
One of the biggest problems Jesus had when He walked this earth was people who thought they were mighty- According to the Scriptures few things angered Him like those who thought themselves great… and He was very clear about who He came for… It wasn’t those who didn’t need Him… He came for the sick, the weak, the poor in spirit.
Throughout the Old Testament we see mere mortals achieve incredible feats… tiny minuscule armies go against great and mighty brigades… and the tiny armies would obliterate huge, mighty, formations not because of who was in the tiny armies but because of Who was with them- God was their might. It was He Who won their battles.
Sometimes those tiny armies were a single individual (only a boy) against incredible might (an ENORMOUS giant)… But when the tiny army knew Who was with them no enemy (or feat) they came against was ever too great.
In a world that praises men and women for their strength it’s hard to not want to shine and be seen as powerful and strong. I’m finding though that it’s a lot less hassle to rely on God’s strength.
You may have an awesome dream that keeps you awake at night- it excites and yet terrifies you… and when you look at You- you know there’ s NO way You could ever make what you envision happen.
I recommend that you please stop looking at you. Look to Jesus.
I think God takes tremendous delight in “the timid, cowardly, weaklings”… because their lack of puffed upness gives Him a tremendous amount of room to work in. Because those people know it’s not about who they are, it’s about Who He is… and in knowing this they open themselves to insane, massive power to do incredible things.
I’m a sissy through and through.
I hope I’ll get weaker in myself every single moment I’m alive- so that His strength would POW through me!
A lot of the time I’m terrified and scared and would rather stay in my shell and do nothing. But I bless God who doesn’t cease to remind me how awesome I am in Him. I thank God Who tells me often that Him and I- we’re off to great places.
When I was fourteen I heard Dr Myles Munroe speak of purpose.
It was the first time ever I was hearing that I was created for a specific purpose- this, in my mind was the meaning of life.
There were times, particularly in my teens, that I obsessed about this.
What was I created for?
Why did God put me on this earth?
What was my reason for being?
These may be questions many of us ask of ourselves often.
I used to think “Purpose” was this mighty, weighty, thing that would be brought to me in a vision “from the heavens” or whatever… and that I’d spend all my days slogging to achieve it…
I know now that nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m beginning to discover that living out your purpose in this life is really quite simple: Do what you love. Do what brings you joy.
We get so busy- I get that- but if you really want to live a purpose-Full life- spend some time doing what you love. Invest in doing things that put on a smile on your face and bring you joy. It really is that simple.
And you will find, as I have, that when you follow the Love- you find incredible things. Including why you’re here.
It’s been an emotional couple of days for me- I find myself on the verge of tears often; Things seem to permeate me so easily- I feel exposed and overwhelmed but in such a beautiful way- it’s really hard to explain.
This morning I woke thinking of a message I’d heard in church fellowship over the weekend about resolving issues God’s way.
I revisited that teaching today and was reminded that it’s not just conflict I need to resolve God’s way but every aspect of my life- That’s what it means to be “Set-Apart”.
Which brings me to this post.
Last year I started reading Napolean Hill’s Think and Grow Rich.
The copy I started reading wasn’t mine- I was so captivated by Napolean’s writing I was determined to get my own copy and did so promptly.
I was excited about what I was reading- sparks were flying around in my head… As I devoured and lapped up page after page of Napolean’s book I envisioned a spectacular life- filled with LOADS of money!
But my reading was interrupted and I had to shelve the book for a while.
I picked it up again this week- mhm… it’s really amazing what an adverse reaction I’m having (now) to some of what Napolean writes.
Napolean writes that “Desire is the starting point of all achievement.”
I agree with that.
But within the chapter on Desire, Napolean writes: “Only those who become “money conscious” ever accumulate great riches. Money consciousness means that the mind has to become so thoroughly saturated with the desire for money that one can see oneself already in possession of it.”
Oh wow! Every part of me rebels against that. No! I don’t believe this statement at all.
What is so fascinating to me is, had I read this a few months ago, I do believe I would have completely agreed with Napolean.
What’s changed? You may ask.
My response would be: More of God’s love for me has been revealed in my life. I no longer want my mind saturated with a desire for money-
I’ve heard that one of the most misquoted verses in the Scriptures is the one about money… Some misquote and say: “Money is the root of all evil”… that’s not true. The Scriptures say it’s the Love of money that’s the problem (1 Timothy 6:10).
It’s quite interesting that this verse goes on to say: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
Need I say more? I think the verse explains itself.
To desire money so absolutely as Napolean advocates is not the beginning of riches it’s the beginning of trouble.
I named my daughter Chayil which is the Hebrew translation for the woman described in Proverbs 31.
One writer says: “The word Chayil in Hebrew means…… to be ‘strong and valiant’, like an army having many resources, full of strength, virtue and high moral standard.”
In the Scriptures we’re told that Chayil fears God: “…a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31: 30).
Chayil is also a savvy business woman. Much of Proverbs 31 describes the endeavours she’s involved in.
Because we’re told Chayil fears God, it’s no surprise then that she knows how to do so much. Her knowledge comes from God: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” Proverbs 1:7.
The Scriptures tell us that “She opens her mouth with wisdom…”
Where does this wisdom come from?
Proverbs 9:10 tells us that: “The fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgement.” (New Living Translation).
Chayil submits to her husband and yet she can hold her own as a business woman in a man’s world: “She makes fine linen, and sells it; and delivers girdles to the merchant…” I believe in those days merchants (leaders in business) were mostly men. In our modern day they still are.
Chayil is a real estate investor too! The Scriptures tell us that “She considers a field, and buys it…”
…And yet while Chayil is running her home, being an awesome mom, taking care of the people in her household (including those that work for her), being a fantastic wife, and amazing business woman – The Scriptures tell us that what truly sets her apart is that she fears God: “a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31: 30).
From this I deduce that it is at the Feet of her Creator that Chayil can fulfil all these roles with fullness of joy and without burnout.
I didn’t name my daughter after this incredible woman just so she could be fantastic in business– I gave her this name so that she would remember always that every success in her life will begin at the Feet of her Creator.
To have the kind of “rich” most of us truly desire… (I call it the “Wealth, Health and Joy Package), we cannot start with the desire for money.
That kind of wealth cannot be had by being so “saturated with the desire for money that one can see oneself already in possession of it…”
Many of us lose our inheritance in God because we don’t believe in the riches of heaven.
We get so wrapped up in achieving high levels of wealth that we don’t realise how much we compromise along the way.
Over the weekend I visited with family friends of ours.
During my visit, the matriarch of the family, Aunt Margaret, told me of times when life for her and her children was so tough, she said to this day, years later, it still made her cry when she remembered what her children went through.
As she spoke I was so inspired to hear how faithful she’d been with her tithe in those years when putting food on the table was a daily battle.
There are many other things she did but since we’re talking money let’s zoom in on her faithfulness with her tithe.
Aunt Margaret told me how, after paying her rent and her tithe, she hardly had anything left over to feed her kids.
She told me how strong in faith her kids had been during those dark days.
She tearfully reminisced how her children encouraged her when she felt so down and out.
“My kids kept telling me: ‘Mom God will come through for us.'”
When I asked her daughter, Ruth, what’d kept them so faithful despite their hardships… She replied: “Even in those rough times we still saw the goodness of God. God always provided for us.”
It is my belief that tithe is not about giving God money. He doesn’t need our money- never has, never will.
I believe the act of being faithful in the tithe is a declaration of who we believe our source to be.
Aunt Margaret could’ve easily not given her tithe. No one in their right mind would have faulted her for it. She had kids to feed.
But it is my belief that with each tithe she offered to God she declared Him as her God, her Provider and she put her trust in Him instead of in her money.
Today I can see how her faithfulness to God has benefited her children.
Despite being a single mom she has raised three awesome children.
Each one of them loves God and serves in their local fellowship.
What God has done in her life and in the lives of her children no amount of money could’ve done.
Somehow we become so lured by the riches of this world that we allow our steps to be ordered by money and not by God.
The earth and its fullness belong to God.
In Haggai 2:8 God declares: “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine…”
I don’t know about you but I’d rather connect with the One to whom all things belong than the stuff He owns.
If you were a budding entrepreneur would you rather hang out with Bill Gates or with his computer?
You laugh… but that’s how we behave when it comes to God.
When I was growing up there were times we had it really tough.
One of the memories I dredge up every now and then was being kicked out of our home a number of times then walking around in the street because we didn’t have a place to stay.
When I started working, not having a place to stay, was something I never wanted repeated in my life.
It’s hard when you’ve had a hard upbringing to not have such a desire for money your every thought is on how to attain it.
Having money is wonderful. I totally condone making money and having it- lots of it. But I don’t believe money brings joy.
This past week there’ve been times I’ve wanted to start my prayers by telling God everything I feel is wrong in my life and I’d like for Him to fix… But every single time instead of getting into the (very long) list of things I need from Him I’ve ended up in sweet worship to God – because in His presence I feel full. In His presence nothing but more of Him seems to matter.
I still desire to make my business work – but now I’m more concerned with what God has in store for me regarding my business.
It’s utter nonsense, the notion, that children of God should be poor and struggling all the time… It’s contrary to God’s will for us.
The Scriptures tell us that God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His people: “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant…” Psalm 35:27.
To live every day with meaning, To wake up joyful in a world that seems to be eating itself into destruction, To have peace knowing that what I do here on earth matters in Heaven also, To trust in Someone who will come through for me when all else fails, To have confidence that my children will turn out great in a world that is more evil every day… No amount of money could ever give me these things.
People pay Warren Buffet millions just to have a lunch with him.
I don’t pay a cent to converse with The Guy who owns EVERYTHING (including silver and gold) … I can speak with Him whenever I want to for as long as I want to- no charge. How AWESOME is that!
For those of us that have called upon the Name of Jesus and belong to Him we are richer than rich.
Don’t worry about your bank balance- set your eyes on Jesus. Not for His stuff but for Him. From what I’m experiencing I can confidently say you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find in Him.