We never planned on homeschooling, in fact, I just assumed that any children we would have would attend day care until they started school. That is the way it was done in our family. So, we enrolled our first-born at nine weeks old into a home daycare that was recommended by my supervisor who had her daughter enrolled there. Our oldest son was in day care from then on until he was 27 months old, although he did not attend in the summer months because I was working part-time and was based in a school.

Now, am I knocking sending children to day care? Sort of. Why? 1) We NEVER got comfy with placing our child in someone else’s care each day. I would drop him off and I would pray on my drive to work for the Lord to keep him safe and to allow him to be loved on and well cared for.( Thank God, he was cared for in both day care settings that he was placed into) and 2) Unless you place your child into the hands of a Christian stay-at-home mom who is already raising her children in a loving, safe, stimulating setting, I would not do a home day care again and 3) When you send your child to a larger, mainstream day care your child is in larger group, which means less one on one time, more germ spreading, and a MUCH bigger price tag, like say, a $928.00/month price tag—for ONE child! That’s college tuition— for preschool!!! Crazy! I could go on about the pros and cons of both types of daycare but that is enough for now!

**Note**Please keep in mind that if you are a single parent, I understand that you may have no other choice and I get that! But, you may want to try to link up with a SAHM(stay at home mom) who is currently home educating her own kids and approach her to care for your child or children instead of a commercial day care. Your child will reap the benefits from being in a two parent home daily with a few other kids, learning about the Lord, AND being prepared academically for school. Just a thought. You could request that she and her husband get background checks, work out a fair fee, and take it from there!! It would be a win-win situation for your family as well as an additional income and ministering opportunity for her family.

So, once we got pregnant with our second son, we knew that my part time salary would just cover tuition for both boys to be in someone else’s care. That’s when my precious and very wise hubby suggested that I stay home. Besides, it would allow him to give up his two part time jobs he was working to pay for our oldest son’s tuition. We decided that upon our second son’s birth we would keep both of them home from that point on and would take it from there.

At this point, I was still under the mind set of being home until our kids started kindergarten. But God had other plans for our family. As time went on I began to research homeschooling because I knew I had to ensure that the kids were ready for kindergarten. As I poured over the many methods and styles of homeschooling God began to open up a world to me that I knew very little about. He also showed me how these amazing moms train, disciple, and educate their kids to love, know, and serve Jesus Christ and to be prepared for whatever path the Lord may have for them.

As I researched I became overwhelmed at the thought of home schooling middle and high schoolers. But then God’s peace would enter in and I would just focus on preschool items. I would stop getting ahead of myself!I know that some moms think they “could never stay home with their kids” but I believe that is fear talking. I believe that within all mothers is an ability to care for our kids full-time for any length of time. We just have to tap into our source, Jesus Christ. He will not give us more than we can handle and if we are open to Him, He will equip us for ANY and ALL undertakings that He has outlined for us.

I know that for us, God had to get our attention and then slowly change our hearts to His will for our family. We know that He desires that our kids be home educated K-12 and we could not be more excited! I can tell you that we do not have it all figured out but we are completely trusting God and are following His guidance.  God has provided us with so many great resources and we are blessed and excited to be on this journey! I would not trade this opportunity for anything in the world!

So, how did your family come to the decision to home school? Tell us your adventure!

 

I am still here!


Hello out there! I am still here! I have taken these last few months to begin a business from my home (more on that another time!), to allow the Lord to continue to mold and shape me as He sees fit, and to really allow Him to set the course for this blog. I also must admit I had a severe case of writer’s block on more than a few occasions!  I am not giving up on the assignment that God has given me to encourage and equip others! I think, at times, we can be really hard on ourselves. When I do this, I sometimes get stopped in my tracks.

Some revelations that God has given me since I have last shared have been 1) He loves me just the way I am and that I am called to love others no matter what (this one is NOT easy but is getting easier!!!), 2) I do have something to offer my readers-Him (with some other tidbits thrown in)! 3) the success of the message of this blog is NOT measured in numbers of readers or comments and 4) I need to use my gift to encourage others to share my love on other blogs that bless me instead of just reading and running!

Now that I know how it feels I am making it my mission to tell others when their words bless me even if it is just one sentence or a thank you. Why? Because I have felt a little lonely out here in blog land with no one to give a thought, add their opinion, or to just say hi since I began this journey and it can feel like you are speaking to yourself. But alas, God gave me another revelation in that too! I realized that I need to continue to do all things to the glory of God and not for the approval of man. I blog as unto the Lord! If someone is blessed by the words that I write, great! But, if not, this blog is a public celebration and an acknowledgement of all the things God has taught me, brought me through, transformed me into, delivered me from, and given to me!

So now that I got the cobwebs out I am ready to continue this journey with you all! I am ready to reach out to some of these women who have really been an encouragement to me and share them with you! Thank you to those of you have been checking back even when I hadn’t written a post in months! We will press on!

 

7 Standards of a Single Woman-Standard 4-Godly Role Models and Mentors.


This next standard is another key component in preparation for future married life and motherhood. As a single woman it is vital that you connect with and spend quality time throughout your single years with a godly wife and mother or more than one if you are so blessed! Go and babysit for her, offer to come and help her to do some housework so you can work and talk alongside her, or just offer to go and visit with her. To have at least one woman like this to whom you can ask questions about marriage, homemaking and motherhood will help to prepare you for your future role.

This woman can share with you about her journey as a wife and her wisdom about what she does to contribute to a good, stable, and Christ centered marriage. She can pray with you for your husband (even if you haven’t met him yet!) and for God to bless you with the characteristics of a godly wife and mother. She can also point you to scripture that you can review and meditate on about God’s plan for marriage and for wives. Don’t forget to read Created to Be His Helpmeet or Preparing to Be a Helpmeet.

My mother was not married during my childhood so I did not have the teaching of what a wife’s role was. But God in His grace has come along side me and has taught me in portions. I have not arrived but I am much farther along now than I was as a single woman and as a newlywed! Praise the Lord! In addition, I have had the privilege of getting to know some women over the years who have been awesome examples to me of a godly wife and mother. I am still learning more and more each day I can tell you that!  The more that I gain an understanding of God’s word and His plan for women, the more I understand why our role as homemakers, wives, and mothers, has been so attacked in our culture.

In order to prepare us for such an important undertaking, we need other godly women to be role models that some or many of us did not have growing up. We need strong women of faith to come along side of us and teach us the things that we need to know. Being a mother and homemaker is an art and a full-time job! I have been at home full-time now for a year and I am just now starting to get into a groove. I am grateful for Passionate Homemakingan amazing site that offers so many encouraging bits of information. Lindsay does not know it but she has been an amazing role model to me as I am sure she has been to countless numbers of women. If you are so blessed to have a person like this that you can reach out to in your daily life, do so!

Are there any other women in your lives who have been that godly role model for you? Are there any other sites out there that have also filled in that gap? Please share!

Blessings!   

 

 

 

 

7 Standards for Single Women-Standard 3-Serving others in the Lord


The third standard that we are tackling regarding being a single woman is service to others. If you are a part of a church, great, then this is the place to start. If you are not a part of a church, you can look into picking a group of people who you have a heart to help and contacting an agency that serves in this way. This could be the homeless, abuse shelters, adoption agencies, pregnancy crisis centers, schools, retirement homes and hospitals to name a few. If you have a gift with teens, babies, seniors, technology, music, the arts, administration, teaching or the like, seek to let your church know. Even if you serve at your church, do not be afraid to volunteer in an agency outside of the church in addition to this service if you have the time.

If you have children, depending on their ages, try to serve along side of them. If they see mom serving others with a grateful heart, they will develop a servant’s heart as well. Try to make it consistent, maybe once per month and maybe on Holidays, when possible. Talk to them about why you are serving those less fortunate and read scripture with them about being a servant. Pray before you go to serve and make sure to pray for those that you are serving. This could also be a prayer assignment after your volunteer day during devotional time. I believe that the more we infuse serving others into our everyday lives, the more powerful the impact and influence on our children’s hearts we will have.

My little ones are not quite old enough to serve yet I am already beginning to make a list of some things that we can do to serve and minister to those around us. Some examples are: blessing our neighbors with a baked good with scripture, reading bible stories to kids we meet at the park, practicing acts of kindness with peers, and serving friends and family in small ways. I truly look forward to molding their little hearts to serve!

I have listed some scripture passages to refer to and mediate upon. They are to remind us that we were sent here to complete an assignment for the Lord while glorifying Him along the way. Glorifying Him with our lives is our reason for existing, we are His servants.

John 13:1-17 (Read this whole part, it is powerful!)

John 13:14-15   If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also outght to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you and example, that you should do as I have done to you.

Deuteronomy 10:12   And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

       1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

       Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

John 12:26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”

These scriptures speak to me about serving the Lord. We do this by serving others around us in the name of the Lord. We do not have to do these huge things that everyone sees and notices, it can also be the smallest of things that no one knows about that bless the Lord. Even praying for others behind closed doors can be better and more powerful than any expensive gift we could buy. Start each day by thanking God for a new one and then ask Him to use you to be a blessing to someone else. Make each day an adventure for the Lord whether you are serving Him as a single, married woman, parent, teenager, twentysomething, thirtysomething, or beyond! He values and can use all of us if we are willing!

If Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords can bow down low and wash His disciples’ dirty feet then we should be willing and able to do ANYTHING that He asks us to to serve Him and to be His hands and feet!

 

 

 

Potty Training-It can be done!


I had always heard that potty training a male child would be hard. So with my oldest, Myles, who is now three, I did not know what to expect. But let’s be honest, what truly motivated me was that I had two in cloth diapers (we use flip diapers). I suddenly decided that I hated diapers, well not hate but had become annoyed with the washing of diapers for two. It was at this point that one of my fellow stay-at-home-mommas, Kay, told me-again, about the book The Diaper Free Baby.

This book is such an easy and informative read about elimination communication or EC. It is really about watching out for and responding to our babies’ clues or signs about their elimination habits or when they have to go to the potty. It is also about empowering both parent and child to help our little ones eliminate in the proper place, the potty. There are lots of scenarios as well as questions and answers from real parents who have chosen to take part in EC. I would highly recommend this book!

I had observed Kay “pottying” her little man for a while and had no interest in it until this very day that we spoke at the park. My biggest mission was less in potty training Myles and more on lessening the diaper load! So she blessed me with her copy of the book and can I just say that the rest is history! At the time that I started, Myles was 31 months old and Liam was 4 months. I did not even read the entire book but simply went to the sections that were relevant to the ages of my boys. I am a “keep it simple” type of gal so I knew that I was not going to want to have to run to a potty that was out of reach. So, I purchased 4 Baby Bjorn Smart Potties as well as leg warmers for around the house.

SInce Myles is a toddler, what I got from the book was to give him some “diaper free” time to get untrained from using the diaper. So, what I did was I left him with a shirt and his “potty socks” (leg warmers) and a shirt when we were at home. It was a little awkward for him and me at first but in time it became second nature to us. He knew that when we got home, off came the diaper and pants and on came the potty socks! He immediately used the potty to go pee from day one! Poo poo was a little harder at first because he was use to eliminating in his diaper. So when he had to go poop, he would ask for his diaper for about the first two months. I would gently yet firmly tell him that his poo needed to go into the potty.

There were times that he would actually hold himself until his diaper was back on. But in time, he began to go in the potty when he had no choice. He had two accidents with poo and that was it. Myles was completely potty trained by 36 months! Liam was easy in that I would simply put potty socks on him at home but I kept him in his diaper. Whenever I changed his diaper I would potty him before I put a fresh diaper back on. I would also do my cue sound and sign potty for him when we pottied him. At this point, he will pee about 80% of the time when he is on the potty even if his diaper is saturated and I only get a few drops from him.

I often catch his poo but sometimes I do not and his diaper catches it. The thing that I love about this book is that is lets parents know that you can do EC full or part-time, there is no pressure. EC’ing empowers parents and kids and it is so exciting and encouraging when you catch their elimination in the potty! I also love that my frequency of diaper washing decreased significantly because what happens is they go more in the potty then they do in the diaper and so diapers stay dryer longer.

I also learned in the book that many countries potty their kids from birth and they have great success at it. When we have more children we will potty from birth as well because we see that it really does work! I never realized that by wearing diapers, especially disposable, we are training our kids to go in them instead of on the potty and letting go of their waste. Cloth diapers can be a bit better in that they are not designed to wick moisture away from baby. Get the book and try it for yourself! I think that you will be pleasantly surprised at the ease and accomplishment you will feel when you potty your baby and they will too!

I can honestly say that potty training has been a breeze and it is because of this book! Has anyone else out there tried EC? Has it worked for you?  Anything that you would do differently? What would you suggest for new EC’ers?

 

Chapter 4- Thanksgiving Produces Joy


In this chapter, Debi talks about making love fun and being our husbands’ playmates. She gives a cute example of a practical joke that she plays on her husband that culminates in them having some “alone time”! The joke preceded her sharing about the fact that he does not take out the trash and that instead of letting this being a source of contention in their marriage, she joyfully does it without complaint.

Debi gets to the heart of our need to be playful and fun in our marriages even when we may have the right to be offended or irritated with our husbands. She challenged me to make joy and playfulness a goal to reach for daily.  Imagine how many more marriages would be glorious if both spouses committed “to please and forgive the other no matter how hurtful the actions or words that were spoken” as Debi and her husband did.  This is what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross and this is what we as wives must do for our husbands.

I enjoyed the way Debi encourages women no matter their current situation or their past. She reminds us that Jesus and His shed blood on the cross can make us who we are to be. He can restore and redeem, he already has in the moment that we accepted the gift of salvation. SO when the enemy attempts to remind you of your past sin or starts to suggest that you should fight fire with fire when it comes to your husband, get out your Word and start speaking it out loud. Start pleading the blood of Jesus over your mind and rebuke those thoughts that you know are not of God. Stop beating yourself up and move on in praise of all that God has done for you!

What I really got from this chapter is that as we walk in thanksgiving, which consists of praise, singing, laughing, and reminding ourselves of all that we are because of Christ and the love of our Father, then joy will so easily follow. We need to stop ourselves before we start speaking negativity over a situation because as believers, our words have power. We need to refrain from gossip, murmuring, and complaining and run toward sharing the gospel, sharing what Jesus did for us, and taking a look at all that He has given to us.

I strive to daily walk out Debi’s descriptions of a good help meet mentioned in Time to Consider. Debi shares that a good help meet is joyful, makes love fun, and is thankful and content. The 5 scriptures that I have chosen to read out loud and meditate on daily are: Psalms 26:7-That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of Your wondrous works. Psalms 50:14- Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High. Psalms 100 (the chapter). Philippians 4:6-Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Revelation 7:12-Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen. (All verses from NKJV).

I believe that Debi makes a good point when she says that “joy is often lacking in a woman’s life because she is not thankful.” Ask the Lord to reveal all areas where you are not being thankful, repent and ask forgiveness, and then start to use the scriptures above or other scriptures that bless you to be able to stand on daily until thankfulness and joy becomes second nature for you! I truly believe that we as believers give God a bad name when we walk around sulking, uptight, and just plain dry as toast. How can we ever minister to others(including our husbands) when we represent something opposite of Christ?

Go to the Word and get your prayer partners on board to start helping you tackle this area. We can do it!  I speak supernatural joy from on high for all eyes that see these words! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

7 Standards of a Single Woman: Standard Two-Debt Eradication


This next standard is something that I wish I had been counseled on during my single years. So I pass this lesson learned on to you. Work to get and stay out of debt. It is fine during those single years to stay busy with college, jobs, ministry, travel, etc… However, what ever you do with these single years, do it in a way that does not cause you to acquire any debt such as credit cards, student loans, or personal loans.  If college is your path during this season of life, attend community college part-time and work to pay as you go.  Pay all bills on time. Do not live above your means. Live with parents or responsible roommates during these years to free up that money to pay off debt. Use lay away plans at stores instead of store credit. If you cannot afford it, do not buy it. Save for big purchases and buy it with cash. Once you get married and become parents, you will understand why I say this.

I spent a lot of my single years buying clothes and shoes of the current trend to look a certain way and to fill a void. But guess what, those things never did and never could. I was not taught how to budget money and to save so many of those years were learning as I went and living paycheck to paycheck. You do not want to live this way at all let alone when you have more mouths to feed, a mortgage, and other things that will pull on every penny of your income. Daycare alone can be about 700-1000 per month, for ONE child!  So if you have credit cards, cut them up and pay them off now while you are single.

If you have a vehicle or student debt, pay them off now! If you are single with no kids you have the time to get a second job to knock that debt out now. Why do I say all of this? When God finally brings you your husband, you do not want to bring financial debt and bad credit to the table. It will get your marriage off to a stressful start because you take on each other’s debts once you are married.  You do not want to place that burden on your new husband’s shoulders, do you? Look at the statistics, most marriages that end in divorce list finances as the reason for their demise. Be open and up front with your fiance’ about all debt you have and your credit score as he should be with you.

It is biblical to be debt free and to be a wise steward of God’s (that’s right, it’s not ours to begin with!) money. In Proverbs 22:7 it says, the rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant or slave to the lender. In 1 Corinthians 7:23 it says, owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.

As a single woman waiting on the Lord for her husband in faith, when he finally gets to you, if you address your debt and stewardship habits, you are then free to make wise decisions about things such as whether you will stay home with your children.  If you have all kinds of debt racked up, you are forced into working and sending your children to daycare which is in addition to your debt. I never imagined I would be a full-time mom, I never even thought about it. I brought an auto loan and student debt to our marriage because I did not go to the Lord before I made these choices. But God, in His miraculous power and mercy upon us, He has made a way for us to live on one person’s income. You do not have to do it this way, you can plan ahead now.

Once you are saved and the Lord begins to work on your heart like He did mine, He may truly start to turn your heart toward your home, to your husband, and to your children and you want to be free, debt free to let Him have His will.  I was a woman who was very career focused and wanted a certain type of lifestyle, I thought that mattered. Now, I gladly give up my title and degrees to work at home and teach and train my kids and serve my husband. No salary, material things, or circle of “friends” in the work world could EVER top what I do every day. I do not miss a day of life outside of my home. And my clothes? I am not the most stylish woman on the block but I know my Lord and my husband think I am beautiful. Do not be afraid to shop at consignment boutiques, don’t buy clothes that are in the current passing fad, be your own Unique Creation woman!

No matter what your plans are if you use your money wisely and work to be debt free, you will reap this reward mightily when you are married. If you spend too much, are a shopaholic, think you have to dress a certain way or look a certain way, these are strongholds and are idols in your life. This behavior can keep you from God and all that He has for you. It says in Ephesians 5:5 that For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man (or woman), who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Get with a seasoned woman of God, confess your struggles, and allow God to help you address the inner issues and lack that are contributing to these choices.

Some resources that we use to continue to get better with our finances and stewardship habits are: Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey and we listen to the MoneyWise show on the radio in our area. I urge you to make this a focus of your single years and you will not regret it! If you have children and are single, consider using one or both of the resources mentioned to tackle your debt and get some accountability partners to walk along with you! You can do it too!

May the Lord bless you with wisdom from on high so that you may walk in His perfect will! I pray this has blessed someone today. Blessings!

 

 

Chapter 3-A Thankful Spirit


One of the many scriptures that are scattered throughout this chapter is “All of the days of the afflicted are evil, but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” This is from Proverbs 15:15. What this scripture says to me right from the start of this chapter is that no matter our circumstances in life or how hard things can sometimes get, if we stand on God’s word, and we stay in prayer we have the power to stay joyful, thankful, and contented with all that we have. If we search ourselves we have hundreds, probably thousands of reasons to be thankful every day (read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are– Thanks Lindsay!. This scripture really spoke to my heart and this is something that I want to daily apply to my thought life.

I know that many, many years ago I was not this type of person, I was not joyful, I was the angry, woe is me, why do these things happen to me, the world owes me, and a look out for myself type of woman. This mindset is a spiritual stronghold and it needed to be addressed (Read Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer). Thank the Lord I have been set free and delivered from this and you can be too! I am able to truly be thankful for everything that I have from the tiniest thing to the biggest thing. For the most part, I am beginning to see them ALL as big things from God.

This chapter talks a lot about contentment, one comment the author makes is that “discontentment is not a product of circumstances, it is a state of the soul”. I fully agree with this. If our hearts are not content, if they’re not thankful, if they’re not joyful, we must begin to use the powerful weapon in our arsenal to change our discontented soul to a contented soul. The ONLY way to do that is through Jesus Christ and the word of God, through DAILY application, meditation of it, and through DAILY prayer. We cannot do this thing called life with out Him. When we try we get beaten down, burnt out, bitter, and then our bodies begin to weaken. This chapter is a great reminder of the need to change our view of life by looking through the lens of Jesus Christ.

Now, for all of you type A personalities, this ability, this gift, is not something that you can acquire overnight, it takes practice, more practice and lots of prayer! Don’t beat yourself up if sometimes those old thinking patterns return. Simply come against them by having even one scripture regarding joy and thankfulness that you can speak over the old mind sets when those moments occur. Stay vigilant because our marriages could depend on it! I know that if you do these things this characeristic will manifest into your life in every fiber of your being.

There is a letter at the end of the chapter and I pray that those of you who read these posts get this book and read it if you have not. It is a pwerful book and I can’t fully do it justice here. There are letters from real women that write to Debi and she responds to them throughout this book. You have to read these! There is a letter titled in this chapter called the Queen of His Heart. In a nutshell, once a wife became sweeter and more joyful in serving her husband, he responded in such an awesome way and her change of heart and actions toward him changed his heart and actions towards her! This changed their lives forever!

The letter spoke to me loud and clear! When we are tired from dealing with the kids all day, when we have worked all day, and then hubby comes home and needs or wants something from us, we need to joyfully provide and meet that need! I say this to myself as I say it to you! Seek to delight your husband daily to keep your marriage joyful as mentioned in this chapter.

With God’s help we can do it! Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, Debi reminds us, and since we  are children of God joy should be a visible and tangible presence in our lives. If we are saved we should absolutely stand out from those who are not in this area. If we stand on God’s word daily, we will stand out for Him! We need to walk in this joy no matter our circumstances. It is possible!

Some things to ponder are listed at the end of the chapter and they touch on the fact that our joy starts with the Lord. Get scripture on joy and pray over it daily, start to look at where we need to address the discontented attitudes in our lives, are we showing thanksgiving to our spouses? Would our friends describe us as joyful, thankful, and content? Ask some trusted people in your life who walk with Christ to tell you the truth about this area. Ask your spouse!

I am challenged to take a deeper look at this area, speak my scripture from Chapter 2, and take feedback from those around me. I know one area for me is my facial expressions and the rolling of the eyes. This is not reflecting Christ to my husband or kids and I am not modeling a Christlike behavior for them. It is a spirit of impatience and I need to go to God to find out the source. Keep me in your prayers! Any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you! Don’t forget to read the book of Philippians!

Bless you!

 

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7 Standards of a Single Woman: Standard One-Purity


God has placed it upon my heart to share the top seven things that I would suggest to all single women from 18 to 83! I will share these topics one post at a time because it might get really long! If you are single, whether you have children or not these would be the top things that I believe are imperative as a single woman of God to maintain as the standard of your life. These are things that, looking back over my life and the things I did or did not do, I would do differently. In addition, these are the standards that I will always stand on when ministering to a woman or if the Lord would bless me with a daughter someday that I will share with her.

The first most important is abstinence or purity regarding sexual intimacy. If you are a virgin, PRAISE THE LORD! Cherish it, guard it, and keep it like the precious jewel that it truly is! Don’t advertise this to others especially other female friends who may not walk with the Lord and definitely not with any men. These individuals  may be used as a set up from the enemy to make sure that you lose it. It is something to be proud of and to not be ashamed of at all, however, some men may see this as a goal to conquer and some jealous women who may have already gone too far may want you to join them in their struggle with guilt, regret, and low self-esteem from giving away something so precious that they can now never get back. Keep this between you and God and a close knit group of friends in Christ who can encourage you in keeping your virginity and purity.

If you are no longer a virgin, that is okay, remember Jesus loves you just as you are. You can make a choice right now by confessing your sin to the Lord, asking Him for forgiveness, repenting meaning turning away from that sin and making it your mission to not engage into any more sexual intercourse or sexual activity until you are married to your husband.  Again, same for the virgins, get one or a few trusted Godly women who can encourage you in your choice to remain celibate and to abstain from this behavior. These are women you can call when you are being tempted, when you need prayer, when you need someone to hold you accountable so that you do not give up on your new committment to the Lord.

I must confess that I was not a virgin when I got married but I was two months shy of four years, yes you read that correctly, FOUR YEARS of celibacy and abstinence when the day came that I walked down the aisle with my husband. I can tell you that over those all but 4 years of celibacy and purity, my self-esteem skyrocketed, my sense of value and worth in who I was and who I am grew exponentially, my intimacy and dependence upon the Lord to strengthen me to be able to press through when my flesh was acting up flourished. When my flesh would start telling me that I needed to have some physical and sexual attention from a man, which is a lie from the pit of hell, I had my spiritual mother that I could call when I was really struggling with this issue and she would help redirect me, give me Truth, prayer and remind me of my committment to wait for my husband. Amazingly enough, this is the very woman who, four years after we became friends, would be the person whom God chose to marry my husband and me! How God works things out when we let Him! I would recommend this type of purity walk to every woman on the face of the earth. Hold tightly to your virginity or hold tightly to your renewed recommitted celibacy and purity as a woman until the day comes when you walk down that aisle with your husband.

I have to tell you that even though I was not a virgin on my wedding day I sure felt like one by the time our wedding night arrived! It was the most beautiful gift that I could have given to myself, to God, and to my husband! I do not regret  that choice at all!

During this walk of purity, people would say to me,” you’re a grown woman, no man is going to accept this, he is going to want to be physical before marriage”. I was told that it was old-fashioned, that it was unrealistic to think that I could expect someone to wait for me until our wedding night. I was told that concerns over whether we would be sexually compatible would be a good reason to “try it out”. But, guess what, I pressed through and God gave me the man of my prayers! He LOVED that about me and, although it was hard for both of us to wait, we did it and I know that we have been so blessed because of it.My husband and I were married about 6 months after we started dating. God redeemed my life because of my obedience in this area and He can do it for you too!

To help you in your walk of purity here are a few resources:

Two really great sites about purity, womanhood, and singleness are Pure Freedom and Revive Our Hearts.

I pray that this post has been an encouragement to ladies out there who struggle with purity! You can do it! Let’s get out there and live this standard that God has called to walk until we are one with our husbands!

The next Standard that we will discuss is Debt Eradication! So stay tuned!

 

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Chapter 2- A Merry Heart: The Joy of the Lord is my Strength


This chapter has really challenged me to press through my circumstances and to keep my joy. It really points out that our husbands are attracted to our smiles and that is what they prefer to come home to.  I agree with the author when she talks about a smile being the most powerful things we can do to enhance our appearances and that not make-up, plastic surgery, or any other means can do the job.

How about the letter from The Desperate Wife? That letter was powerful and is so common. But, even more so, how about the author’s response to her? Now that was an  unexpected yet profound response! How did this speak to your heart? When I first read it I wanted to say, “come on Debi, that’s harsh!” But as I allowed God to minister to my heart, I knew her statements to be terribly correct.  The old Tiffany would have scoffed and mocked Debi’s response to the Desperate Wife. But the new, unique creation Tiffany would absolutely encourage this wife to humble herself as Debi has and fight for her man.

So my challenge has been to walk daily in this joy. How do I do it? I am in my Word daily, I am praying daily, and I am calling on the Lord to equip me DAILY. I could not do this on my own strength and would not want to! I commit to flirt with my husband, to excitedly greet him when he walks through that door, and guarding my mouth so that I am not a nagging wife but a loving and joyful wife.  In the end, I trust in the Lord that my honey misses me when he is not at home and that he will look forward to getting home to be with me. And guess what? Tom recently sent me a text message saying that he can’t wait to get home! That one little statement blessed me in so many ways that I cannot explain!

I am purposely, on a daily basis, thanking Tom for working so hard for our family, for being a goof husband, a good father, or I just hug and love on him. Is it always easy? No, especially when I may not be happy with something he may have said or done but when I press through that, my heart lets go of the irritation and offense and this sets an atmosphere of joy where we can talk about it later or I can let it go if it is deemed not worth discussing.

We have to remember that in marriage, even with kids and other responsibilities, that we have to continue to “date” our husbands and have fun! I love when the author says to the Desperate Wife that “the tool of warfare is your loving, kind, delightful, radiant, adoring self.” That is so true! I think at times we are taught that if we nag, complain, withhold sex, or other forms of negativity, that we will get our husbands to do what we want or need but that is a lie from the pit of hell!

So to help me to continue to increase my joy I have chosen 5 scriptures that I will read out loud, meditate on, and practice (stand) on daily. My prayer is that this important characteristic of joy will manifest within me in a mighty way and that it will be consistent.  The blessing is that this joy can then overflow to our children and to others outside of our homes which reflects the love of Christ.

The dictionary definition I have of joy (n) is the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires, a state of happiness or felicity, a source or cause of delight.

Scripture:

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (NKJV)

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fille you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 55:12 For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Psalm 33:21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.

Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.

I pray that these scripture fill you up as you read them each day. Let me know how they transform you as we go!  Any thought on this book so far? Please share! I trust in the Lord that someone out there is being blessed by what I have shared! Onward to Chapter 3!