Sherri first joined us here on Habits for a Happy Home with words of homeschooling wisdom in Mentors, Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are. She brings new encouragement today. My friend, Sherri…
Proverbs 14:1 says the wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
Our family has been through a tremendous growing period during the last year and a half. It started with the car accident of our daughter, in which she broke her back and knocked out her front tooth. From there, it intensified into a nine-month period of unemployment capped off with another car accident (involving my husband this time), which activated a walk through the valley of unpaid bills, collection calls and heightened tension around the home. Eventually, dad went back to work and all things involving the car accidents had resolved themselves.
As we settled back into the routine of dad going to work daily and me homeschooling just my son for the first time in thirteen years, while I worked part-time, it did not take long to realize that things were still going to be tough around our home. The economy in Georgia was at its worst in ages and having a job did not exactly mean having all you wanted or even needed. Faith in God instead of faith in a job is what we had to continue to remind ourselves that life was all about. I realized that this was a time for me to build my house up instead of tearing it down and I realized what exactly that meant.
You see, because I am a very open person, I am prone to telling more details about my life and what happens behind our closed doors than I should sometimes. God showed me that by constantly complaining about (and even just talking about) not having the things we wanted or the things we needed, like food and clothing and bills paid, I was tearing down my home. Why? Because I was sending a message to my husband that I thought (and that everyone knew) he did not make enough money to pay for the things we wanted and needed. This is not at all what the desire of my heart was. I truly appreciate my husband’s efforts to be our provider. I love him for facing the wolves every day so that I can stay home and manage the home and do ministry. By constantly complaining, since there was no one to actually blame for the terrible economic drought our country and our family was going through, I was tearing my home down and conveying to my husband that no matter what he did, it would never be enough.
Even though the new job is a huge pay-cut, it was the best (and only) offer out there during this tough time. I watch my husband head off to work every morning with his sack lunch and his coffee, shoulders held back, ready to face whatever he has to face. He comes home beaten up, bruised, shoulders somewhat slumped. But a hot meal is waiting for him and all the love he could ever want. I know that whatever I have had to face while at home with the kids, facing the bill collectors and the other obstacles that we still face due to the unemployment, it is nothing compared to what he has faced out in the world that day.
I began to allow God to work in my heart, listening to the advice of others, letting others guide me toward being a better manager of the resources God had given me to manage. I began clipping coupons, watching for sales, reducing our budget, resisting the urge to splurge on items so that we can be better prepared for an uncertain future, and most importantly, refusing to be envious of the “Joneses”.
Gradually, my eyes were opened to the fact that no matter what we were doing without, we were still far wealthier than the majority of this world. My focus moved from my needs and wants (our needs and wants) to the needs of others. I wanted to make a difference in the world around me and to show my children before it was too late that life does not revolve around us.
I began to pray that God would allow us to give to others. I did not know how this would happen, but I knew that if we could somehow get caught up and get things paid off quickly, we could give to others as others had given to us and then we would finally be on the road to normalcy. I prayed that God would hurry up and let my Christian Romance novel be released. Maybe that’s how He was going to solve our problems. But still, nothing happened.
God had other plans than to use the proceeds of my novel. He also had other plans than to make us wait until that happened. He wants to prosper us when we seek Him and when we leave the details up to Him. He heard my prayers and took my willing heart and provided me an opportunity to give to others abundantly through resources that He already owned in the first place. He provided me with a food ministry and I am now regularly able to give to those in need and it doesn’t even cost me a dime.
Suddenly, I began to feel wealthy beyond measure…in so many ways. Suddenly, the pressure was off of my husband to feel that he not only wasn’t providing enough for us but wasn’t providing enough for us to give to others. God showed us that when we praise Him and ask of Him, He will answer in ways we cannot fathom. His ways are immeasurable.
To me, building up our homes must start (after committing it to the Lord) with watching our words and actions and making sure that they glorify the Lord and honor our husbands. To build up our homes, we must look for opportunities to serve those in need, therefore, pointing those in our homes (and those whom we serve) directly to the Great Provider.
I long to make Proverbs 14:1 a verse that I live by – a verse that provides a blueprint for a well-built home. Won’t you join me?
Catch up with Sherri at Sherri Johnson Ministries